Three quality artists who have earned their stripes independently join forces as Swet Shop Boys. New York MC Himanshu Suri (ex Das Racist) and London’s Riz MC meet up with Redinho’s production. It’s fierce and on fire beats with a huge array of worldly instruments, particularly percussion backing two incredibly deft MCs.
8/10 Robin Staff review, 11 October 2016
Wherein ex-Das Racist MC Heems and Riz MC team up for a new, fairly substantial LP as Swet Shop Boys. There’s the topic sentence, but Heems has been doing plenty in a solo capacity since the days of DR, while Riz Ahmed goes above and beyond the call of mere music by acting and writing -- he’ll soon be in Rogue One, so Ian’s bumped them up to a 7/10 in advance. This record is a joyous, inventive mess of beatwork, with hooks and tone spiralling wildly out of control, and for that, yes come on.
“Aaja”, the record’s third track, just jumps out with a wonderfully spiralling hook; it’s one of the most immediately endearing tracks I’ve heard this year. “Zayn Malik” sends that that liquid fluidity to the recycling bin for a track that crashes and reassembles itself, stretching out between half absent-minded, half full-force verses before cutting to a totally separate sample. “No Fly List” sounds like Heems making something that could go straight to a funtime playlist, with its sharp, euphoric synth squelches and flatlining beats -- Riz MC enters the track at a completely different tempo and injects the party-time laziness with a flash of energy.
It’s got so much going for it, this one -- the two of them pull as many ideas into one final source, creating a versatile record of constant up-my-sleeve reveals -- their musical ideas and winning one-liners are never presented with a flash of lightning or a raising of the tempo, because this record’s best moments are more internalised, running front to back. It’s a great record that speaks to Riz’s and Heems’ separate experiences of aggressive racism, cities and countries apart, bringing together two different styles of rap to share and swap. Special shout to to "Swish Swish", whose off-kilter ad-libs and wild synthlines are extremely very quite thank you yes good.
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