Macclesfield-based UK Takeover Battle Champion, Don’t Flop funnyman and Four-Max member Chris Leese is due to release a new album in late 2011 under the auspices of Innit Records titled ‘Everybody Hates Chris’. Here’s a trailer of the music video for the album’s eponymous single. Featuring the inimitable social and political critic/geeky rap artist, Dan Bull. The official video is coming soon, so keep your eyes peeled!
Chris Leese is also one half of Macclesfield hip-hop duo Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Check out my review of their debut LP (also hosted on www.rhythmcircus.co.uk).
DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS LP (REVIEW)
Flamboyant battle emcee extraordinaire, Four-Max member and Innit Records affiliate Chris Leese now also forms one half of Macclesfield hip-hop duo Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, along with fellow Maxonian R.O.B. The UK Takeover Battle Champion and Don’t Flop North veteran puts in some pretty zany, animated and consistently entertaining performances in his emcee battles, for which many of us will probably best know him. His latest release is a continuation of this irrepressible and energetic emceeing style of his but is instead set to wacky, eccentric, sample-heavy beats punctuated by some pretty outrageous and explicit skits. Indeed this new release certainly isn’t for the easily offended among you and I guess that “piss-hop”, as the duo have jokingly dubbed their style, is a pretty apt classification.
‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ is the Macclesfied duo’s eponymous debut release and takes that characteristic Northern honesty of theirs, tanks it up with booze (mainly Strongbow and Magners) and syringes it with a cocktail of drugs (mainly E’s and Ketamine). Interestingly, I recently reviewed another underground hip-hop release from the Northwest, specifically the ‘For Goodness Shakes’ EP by Bill Shakes and recall labelling it as, among other things, “depraved” and “debauched”; however ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ elevates the debauched drunkenness, the rampant drug-bingeing and the depraved sexual imagery betrayed by its authors to unprecedented depths of pure, unadulterated shamelessness. For many it will be hard to stomach and some are sure not to revel in the duo’s blatant and blithesome Northern humour, but you can’t deny they keep it hip-hop throughout with lyrics, flows and sampling galore.
With flows like greased lightning and faultless syllable placement, Chris Leese’s technical skills as a rapper have evidently been well honed by years of cyphering and battling, but as always there is that lingering question of whether such a prolific emcee in the battling arena can translate into a creative musician and artist. First off, I wouldn’t say ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ even aims to be especially creative or novel in its overall approach; moreover the two dirty, sex-obsessed, drug-taking, cider-swilling Northern scumbags that are Chris Leese and R.O.B. provide a massively entertaining listen from start to finish.
“Cider” is the LP’s first full-length joint and thrusts you immediately into the utterly amoral world of its creators; it heavily samples The Wurzels’ “I Am A Cider Drinker” but speeds it up and adds a lively syncopated beat over which Chris laces his dense multisyllabic verses which are rhythmically on point and lyrically jam-packed. R.O.B. has a coarser bassier voice and adds a good contrast to the squeakier tones of Mr Leese. The two play off each other well and evidently have natural chemistry as well as both being very able on-beat and double-time spitters. Joints like “Smash The Place Up” and “The Bastards”, the former featuring South Coast duo OSBz and Pedigree Chumps are bit flat in comparison though and lack the energy of the bouncier joints with the syncopated rhythms – which is when I think the duo’s humour comes off best. The short but densely-packed “Dirty Rotten” for example is where Chris Leese really showcases perfect syllable placement combined with that rapid-fire delivery of his; though short, it’s probably one of the best songs on the release. The brilliantly titled ‘The Indian Drugs Trade Conspiracy’ is another stand out joint on the album where the samples and skits incorporated in the song’s production are well utilized. Occasionally the skits, though funny, tend to be a bit gratuitous and their humour somewhat dissipates towards the end.
‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ will certainly not be to everyone’s taste and nor does it aim to be. Listeners may be thoroughly repulsed by its subject matter and wished they’d never started listening to it but credit where credit’s due, it’s a damned entertaining listen with some truly awesome emceeing to boot. Big up DRS!
‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ can be purchased on Amazon. To listen to album snippets click here.