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Low Budget/High Concept – Review

After a lengthy hiatus, fans of Mongrels will be pleased to learn that the duo are back with six track EP ‘Low Budget/High Concept’, a certain triumph which maintains the qualities that make the inventive duo so appealing and unique.

In the gulf between releases as ‘Mongrels’, the duo has kept busy with a range of projects in music and the arts. MC Kid Acne is now based in Sheffield, with many of his street art installations dotted around Sheffield, in addition to a generous discography of three albums and many featured performances under his belt that made sure the Kid’s rapping skills never went rusty.

Meanwhile, Benjamin, beat maker for the duo, spent time DJing as part of the Finders Keepers crew, and also worked alongside Kid Acne and the likes of Chips for the Poor and Supreme Vagabond as a part of Toah Dynamic, a larger recording collective and ‘in-house band’ at the stable.

Fast-forward to 2015, and Kid Acne’s lyrics are biting as ever, maintaining his signature pointed humour throughout the rhymes. Pulling no punches, Kid gets straight into poking fun at the money-obsessed in EP lead single, ‘Chokehold’, ‘they’re bound to get their pints spilled, dumb flash harry, chattin’ bout salary, but we all know its bout reality’, which is accompanied by a perfectly lo-fi video in keeping with the low budget feel intended for the album.

Meanwhile, Benjamin (DJ) hits a real sweet spot musically, perfectly blending the best tropes of old school hip hop of the 90s with hints of electro. ‘Figurative Language’ and its drawn out moody opening make for a more melancholic listen than what you might expect from anything that Kid Acne has touched previously – but excellent none the less – while ‘Sky L.a.r.ping’ and ‘Mic Tyrant’ are all-out bangers.

Mongrels definitely achieve the low-budget feel they’re after with this EP, as the percussion can occasionally come off somewhat tinny – but this all works in the raw and ready package that Mongrels are presenting, and has a rather refreshing effect when compared to other modern hip-hop albums, which can often be over-produced and almost too polished.

‘Low Budget/ High Concept’ is limited to 300 copies on 10” vinyl with hand-printed sleeves, and each copy is signed, numbered and embossed by the artists themselves making them a bit of a rarity, so get ‘em while they’re hot folks.

8/10

 




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