A solid example of independent UK hip hop.
Lou Thomas 2009
For this twelfth album London MC Funky DL has taken the often unnecessary rap skit and stretched it into a mock interview split into 11 parts, one before every song. These segments loosely tie in to each song’s subject matte,r but consist of platitudes and distract from the music.
Though he’s from Hackney, DL, aka Naphta Newman, raps in something of an American accent as he has since 1997 debut Classic Was the Day. As his themes are universal – relationship troubles, work, music as a saviour – this never rings false. It’s hard to imagine a rapper who uses British colloquialisms or subjects getting away with this approach.
Hip-Hop (no relation to the Mos Def track of the same name) sees DL praise the titular genre in sharp couplets: “I could’ve been the last sperm drop instead of the first / I could’ve been up in the Third World dying of thirst”. A cracking beat seemingly stolen from Gang Starr’s The Rep Grows Bigga and playful piano melodies round off a witty, honest number.
1947 is ambitious but doesn’t work – comedy US gangster and detective impressions may work in Bugsy Malone, but should be avoided on rap records. Out of Touch evokes introspective moments from The Roots’ Things Fall Apart, but lyrically is closer to Girls Aloud’s Love is the Key, with a couple’s differences summarised succinctly with humour. Among many lines sure to provoke sage nodding: “I liked red meat, she liked tofu / I was a leader, she’d do what most do.”
A Guy Called Gerald’s Voodoo Ray may have been an unlikely influence on The Party. Minimal percussion and synth blips seemingly exported from the acid house classic and slowed down make for a subdued, subtle ditty.
Newman is clearly a talented rapper with a tight and funny flow and The Interview is a solid example of independent UK hip hop – even if it treads little truly original ground. Unfortunately, the aforementioned skit overkill is a big problem. Buyers will have to make judicious use of the skip button with a hard copy or cherry pick tracks when downloading.