Two Bournemouth based lyricists, Detect and Gambit have been steadily honing their craft down on the sunny south coast over the past few years, culminating in them both being featured in Welcome to the Future (an MC competition run by Backyard Boogaloo, Verb T and Leaf Dog) with Detect going on to win the Bournemouth heat. Now teaming up for the first time on Detect’s fresh label ‘Inner Method Records’, they’ve formed a collective entitled Ill Made, debuting their collaboration with a self titled mixtape. A ten track offering, Ill Made sees the two sharp tongued young MCs lace beats from Bournemouth based producers as well as those from further afield such as Sigmund Frued, of Birmingham based crew The Oddysee. Largely a laid back atmosphere, they nevertheless twist intricate flows as they talk on both the ups and the downs of life, juxtaposed by the occasional more up beat offering where swaggering battle lyrics meet hefty boom bap beats.
Gambit introduces the first track, Dark Ages, over the contemplative plucked strings and slapping snares of the releases most prolific producer, fellow Bournemouth head Aptitude who provides four of the ten beats. A rock solid intro, scratched samples give a hint of what’s to come between straight bars from both MCs for a tune that they’ve rightfully chosen as a lead single. Elsewhere, Zone Out takes one of my personal top spots, Koncise’s smooth beat intertwining strings, sax’s and pianos for a mellow zoner true to it’s name as both MCs juxtapose it with relatively up beat, yet soulful, bars around a silky chorus before the first head banger of the release swiftly follows; Narcissism of Small Difference. Gambit takes this one solo over Sigmund Frueds head bang inducing drums and energetic vocal snatches, going to town on toy MCs with chest puffing bars full of attitude. This track highlights something about the release as well, they don’t feel they have to both appear on every track, occasionally including solo offerings, which means it benefits from a natural, laid back vibe and allows them both to go add slight variety by fully delving into their own individual styles.
Almost splitting the release in two, Lemon Lips, acts almost as an interlude but in fact is contesting for the title of my percy. Over hypnotic string plucks and a slightly trill inspired beat from Aptatude, pitched down vocals create a deep sound scape, it’s jellyfish theme seemingly submerged in the ocean depths, as Aptatude slowly introduces wavey synths for an effortless zoner with a really dope style. Following this, Detect goes solo on Oceans and excels in terms of flow here, eastern melodies and a strong shaker providing a strong rhythm for skipping multis and a nice hook. Finishing things off, the rowdy brass and energetic pianos of Edzilla’s Roll a Cone allow Gambit to provide the mixtape’s second banger that ends proceedings on a high note.
A really strong debut release from two MCs that have been going from strength to strength since I first stumbled across them while living down in Bournemouth, it speaks strongly for the rising Hip Hop scene in the area, but even more so for their individual talents and the talents of those who take to the boards beneath them. An effortless combination, Gambit provides the more up beat moments while Detect’s thoughtful, insightful bars diversify the content for a mixtape that’s a varied listen but retains a confident, relaxed and natural style. Melodic boom bap beats provide an ideal sound scape for them, Aptatude particularly excelling and largely defining it’s instrumental style. There’s undoubtedly work to be done (something Detect himself references on one track) and both MCs are largely still finding and honing their styles, but, when combined with obvious talents and a nice style, it’s rugged, bedroom sound doesn’t detract from it’s listen ability and even enhances it’s honest, authentic nature at times. Listen below and go grab it from Bandcamp here.