Conscious lyricism that works with the spectral legacy of UKG...

South-East London’s DC first made waves back in 2015 with his ‘Gleamin’ freestyle series and the bubbling, ‘Gotta Get Through This’ sampling ‘Strong’. He’s been one of UK Rap’s understated gems ever since, moving confident and quiet on the scene’s very loud strip.

With new EP ‘In the Loop’, he offers an important counterweight to the hyper-masculine posturing of many of his peers, cutting through the gas and hype talk with a refreshing dose of down-to-earth vulnerability - “Got stabbed at a party / ever since then, I don't party the same / Still got the scars on my face / It weren't my fault, but I'm partly to blame” - he raps over the emotive keys of ‘Neighbourhood’.

The conceptual project unfolds across a South Eastern train journey, capturing DC’s reflections of his come-up, surrounded by the badness and madness of ends. His laidback, conversational delivery paints relatable portraits of a man determined to make it out, while struggling against the many temptations and traps of a harsh environment. ‘Paro(noia)’ is the tape’s rawest moment, exploring ‘fear of the outcome’ in various situations, from a mother’s fear for her son’s safety to that son’s hyper-vigilance when he’s out on the roads. DC’s storytelling is pained and humble here (“must be the PTSD / wish I could rewind back to the times I was worried ‘bout GCSES”).

TSB handles the majority of production on ‘In The Loop’, drawing from warm textures and tones to build DC’s sonic world. As a rapper, he sits comfortably in the space between so many sounds and TSB’s genre-melting approach brings the best out of him. The Knucks-assisted ode to brotherhood ‘Bobby & Rowdy’ is buttery smooth, elevated by jazzy flourishes. Standout cuts ‘Receipts’ and ‘Blood, Sweat & Tears’ bounce into playful UK Garage territory, without detracting from the importance of DC’s message. It’s 2-step with a deeper meaning.

8/10

Words: Robert Kazandjian

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