If you haven’t heard of them already, get the fuck over to Shadowboxing.org. Never have a bunch of chaps from the US been so on point with Drum & Bass. “Shadowboxing.org”: says it all, right?
There’s a sound lad on there called Wes who’s often posting up the ping-a-ling-ling – this time around he turned my attention to the latest incredible LEVELZ releases, LVL 09.
LEVELZ, for those of you outside of the know, are one of Manchester’s many hip-hop collectives (sort of…), though it’s not really that black & white. The crew is comprised of producers, DJs & MCs alike, and though the predominant noise pushed by these collected Mancunian slags is hip-hop(ish), there’s so much more gwanin’an here. Being Manchester heads, there’s a strong tie to the huge electronic Manchester scene and the consequent output is a sharp product blend of perfectly crushed 85 Drum & Bass, Grime, Garage, Techno and Breaks – with every ounce of British, Northern, silliness and sarcasm that you could muster. As Wes puts it perfectly:
[EDIT] I have very little use for American rap and hip-hop these days – Most [American] rappers take themselves entirely too seriously – I find the Manchester MCs, led by the LEVELZ crew, to be a refreshing change-of-pace from the high-signing, nutjobs like Drake and Kanye. The LEVELZ crew are out having fun and not trying to beat everyone into submission with their own egos. And while they might not take themselves super seriously, they put a lot of effort into their craft and have honed it a razor sharp edge with swarthy lyrics, perfect punch timing, and immaculate beat work
Production on LVL 09 comes fresh out the LEVELZ bucket from the 2 killer ‘Omes;’ Biome & Metrodome. With the lyrical disaster spluttered out by the big monster MCs (in order of appearance); Chimpo, Truthos Mufasa, Skittles, Sparkz, Black Josh + T-Man.
And that’s just the basics! Jonny Dub was on hand as assistant producer, DJ Richard Reason (wannabe feline) on full frontal Direction & Production, some dude/company called E-Man on the projections and fucking Zed Bias on the mix down! Zed Bias!!.. When you’ve got folks like Rich Reason & Jonny Dub on direction, Zed B on the final tidy-up and projections being done by an entity called ‘E-Man’ – you know things are as they should be – no middle man, no messing – simply beats and bedlam!
And you know you want to get involved – grab a copy for your own price – here