Mish-mashed hip-hop soundclash trying to make sense of a dead end world...
Swet Shop Boys - Cashmere

International rescue has landed, going beyond covering Lake Geneva to the Finland station as London rhymer-cum-actor-cum-activist Riz MC and Das Racist emcee Heems out of NYC brainstorm an abundance of ideas. Racial profiling and everyday prejudices are agenda list toppers, just in case you were thinking ‘Cashmere’ was merely going to honour Messrs Tennant and Lowe.

Heems’ flow, like Vast Aire when it comes to circling the right rhyme, can simmer down when it appears easier to hammer home. Both can take it down into stereotypical rapper egotism/randomness (‘Tiger Hologram’), though Heems is a good pay-off against Riz’ prickly Wembley verbals (“we’re militant, you’re on a Milli Vanilli vibe”) — it’s their own version of Flava Flav to Chuck D in duo dynamic. “I’m getting paid to lecture at unis that turned me down”, leading into wordplay about Emilio Estevez’ finest film moment, is Heems doing pure Kool Keith on ‘Swish Swish’.

Being tracked and treated with suspicion, or rather the matter-of-fact nature of how it is on ‘Phone Tap’, features the best mic swapping on the album. ‘Shoes Off’ contains a stinging swipe at Rupert Murdoch, finished by overwrought confessional ‘Din-e-ilahi’. It’s this shrug of factual recollection that leaves you wanting more detail and damnation, though the stark scenarios both construct, particularly on ‘Shottin’, can’t be argued with.

Stirring the pot on the boards is Numbers producer Redinho, ramming together bashment vibes and Asian flavours that are as vibrant as they act as a mantrap to snare you from the undergrowth (the grainy ‘Half Moghul Half Mowgli’). Laudably, no two tracks are the same. ‘Aaja’ sounds pitched at the wrong speed yet has a party bounce a la Yung Joc’s ‘Coffee Shop’, and the hurtful synths of ‘No Fly List’ put a twist on trap.

At times the clash of rhyme and sonic styles is too full or disjointed, sounding like the Boys are still finding their stride and working out how to cram everything in. Plenty here though to be blasted throughout Suburbia.


Words: Matt Oliver

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