Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Klashnekoff - Lionheart: Tussle with the Beast

Klashnekoff's 'Focus Mode' mixtape left me wanting more, whilst at the same time feeling content that I could also just hit the play button again. 'Lionheart: Tussle with the beast' is The Black Russian's first full-length set and is exclusively produced by Joe Buhdha. Klashnekoff is one of my favourite UK artists; I feel I can trust him to bring out something that I will enjoy listening to, and I bought this on pre-order on the strength of that.

So, what's Klash like once his music is translated into album format? Impressive really - you can't expect another 'Murder' or 'Jankrowville', but the way the album flows is good, although I've never been a fan of skits.

The track that stands out to me, the one I would skip to, is 'Sayonara' with Terra Firma (Kyza and Skriblah). Thankfully, this was recorded before Kyza's departure from TF. He spits pure fire over the piano driven loop. The three had a real group dynamic; cadence, voice and flows complementing each other well. This track leads to 'Bit by Bit' via some skit, which is another more classic sounding Klashnekoff track and more heat.

I could mention other tracks here, as I pretty much enjoy listening to all of them, but look out for the funky beat of 'The Revolution', the laid back reggae styles of 'Refuse to Die' and 'Bun Dem' featuring Capleton, or the rowdy 'Terrorise the city' with none other than Kool G Rap. 'Can't you see?' is a banging street anthem and 'Make P's' showcases Klashnekoff's thoughtful lyrics well.

One track I would advise you to skip would be 'My life', which has some lovely melodies going on, but the part of the beat that has been looped doesn't quite convince me that it's a whole product; rather that there are two separate parts, a good bit and a bad bit! Chances are, you will have heard the story told here anyway (every rapper seems to like to tell us their life story with their own twist). To be fair, Klash does talk about some negative experiences with positive and mature hindsight.

For a Klashnekoff fan, nay, a UK Hip Hop fan... make that just straight Hip Hop fan, this won't dissapoint - for me it's quickly become an essential. The US should hear this. They're not producing much at the moment that shows as much diversity, and most sets from across the pond are not ones that I can listen to in one sitting.

It's the K, lash your rassclart neck off...


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

couldn't agree more, i like uk grime, mainly devlin at the moment but i had the sagas a while and focus mode was a sick cd to fill the gap, i hope this guy makes it big, he is working harder than most overground artists and has gotta catch a break, as for american hip hop, it sucks, don't listen to that crap!!!