Hackney lyricist Brotherman’s 2008 album The Dark and the Light still gets regular spins here at BCHQ. A deep, poetic insight into inner city youth, it was an intensely strong debut that staked a bold claim to his place in the UK Hip Hop scene. However, since then he’s been relatively quiet in terms of new music, something he’s began to change in 2013 with a live version of Heart of Dem on picture disk vinyl (here) and a new single Drift Off (here). The latest release comes in the form of the first in a brand new mixtape series entitled The Tapes. A six track release, volume 1 sees Brotherman flowing laid back, soulful lyrics over his favourite selection of relaxed beats, from the classics to the lesser known.
Far from the gritty tales and street wisdom of The Dark and the Light, Brotherman focuses more his own experiences and his current situation, giving more of an insight into his own character rather then that of what surrounds him. However, you still get the sense that the streets he’s living in form his outlook and are a large part of his rhyming subject. From the up front rhymes of Piece of the Pavement to the incredible avant-garde inspired references of Minute Mile (bars you may remember from the guest bars we shot with him waaay back when- check them here), he pens himself as a soulful pavement wanderer finding the light and warmth among the cold darkness.
A soul tinged release, the floating sounds of Memories and the warm hook of I’m In Love form the core of a release that’s about good, heart warming music that takes you right back to the golden days of summer. Chris P Cuts and the rest of the Funhouse gang feature on the decks and get plenty of shout outs throughout, particularly on the laid back, casual hook and verses of In The House, it’s almost rough nature aiding and defining the mellow mood of the EP. It’s not the most highly produced release by any means, but it doesn’t need to be. Instead, it’s natural feel helps you relax into the sounds, often with the feel of a live performance, as you smoothly work through the six tracks for a mixtape that that shows the progression of Brotherman’s effortless style. The last track I’m yet to mention, Stickers, is also something we can definitely relate to: “Rolling through your venue, bare stickers in my back pocket”.
Listen below and go grab it completely free over on Brotherman’s Bandcamp.