Brighton has always been a great location for the arty types, often inspiring musicians and artists alike with it’s classic Victorian Seaside Town image. Jordan Stephens and Harley Alexander-Sule, who make up the hip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks, are among the many musicians to come out of the Brighton arts scene – creating catchy tunes that take the hip hop genre and make it something that can appeal to both retro and modern listeners.
Track one, This Means War, opens up with some smooth, lyrically clever, rapping before moving into a classic break beat and rap combination that combines the stereotypical hip hop sound with the more alternative instrumental grooves of Rizzle Kicks that have come to be known and loved by many listeners. However, after a while, the repeating sections begin to get cumbersome – and I feel the track could have done with returning to a section similar to that in the opening of the song.
The lead single for this album is Lost Generation, a heavily bass driven rock track featuring some great lyrics and enough catchy melodic lines to both keep the song interesting and make it catchy. The track features the classic horn parts that are signature to Rizzle Kicks tracks, as well as a brass solo which really seperates this single from the others that are in the charts in the best way possible.
Sometimes a band or artist will do a song that features some really interesting differences from their normal musical style, The Reason I Live definitely does this for Rizzle Kicks. One of the key instruments of the track is a honky-tonk style out of tune piano, which provides an interesting alternate feeling that is a breath of fresh air from the frankly quite bland form of hip hop which is becoming all too common – the individuality of this song also emphasised by a 50/50 split between classic Rizzle Kicks style rap grooves and melodic lyrics about romance and love.
Jive is a perfect name for track five, featuring a fantastic laid back groove that reminds listeners of early funk music more than hip hop. The bass groove and back of the beat drum beat work together with the rap grooves to force you to Jive like the title of the track implies.
Track number ten features a more dark song than I’ve usually heard in Rizzle Kicks tracks in the form of Wind Up. Wind Up has a feeling that could almost be compared to Reggae in some aspects, especially in the back beat and the style in which the lyricists rap. The song also features some clever changes in the style for a few sections, keeping it interesting all the way through.
The last track on the album is That’s Classic, expressing the “classic” sound with the use of retro sound with more honky tonk piano combined with horns in the intro, which returns every chorus. In between these funky old fashioned choruses we’re met with more classic sounding Rizzle Kicks, expressing two definitions of the word classic in a song pretty smoothly.
The album is worth a listen, with fourteen tracks that show that Rizzle Kicks aren’t just another hip-hop duo, but actually musicians who can hold their own with their use of some catchy melody lines as well as the great hip hop grooves and beats.
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