With a new Guy Ritchie movie coming out ("RocknRolla"), it seems only appropriate to do a review of a British hip-hop record. In "Scene Stealers," MCs Skrein and Dr. Syntax craft an LP of boom-bap hip-hop courtesy of a bevy of unknown producers who rarely miss.
With a new Guy Ritchie movie coming out ("RocknRolla"), it seems only appropriate to do a review of a British hip-hop record.
Where fellow London native The Streets has been taking hip-hop in new and different directions with his most recent work, Skrein and Dr. Syntax (hence the collaborative name, Skreintax) go for a straightforward rap record, with pretty enjoyable results.
The title track opens things with a driving xylophone melody; pleading strings power “Express Train” and a low-buzzing synth gives a mean edge to “Mine for the Taking.”
And yeah, it’s a little weird hearing hip-hop rhymes with a “Norf Lundun” accent, but there’s no denying that both MCs can pen a verse; additionally, the production, courtesy of Nutty P, Kelakovski, Chemo, DJ Snips, Dag Nabbit, Tom Caruana and others, rarely misses.
Aside from the skittery faux-bounce drums of “Reach,” most of "Scene Stealers" works well by way of well-placed orchestral samples, rough-edged beats, a few jazzy flourishes and the Cockney cleverness of its two MCs.
It’s a fine cup’o’tea (sorry, couldn’t resist).
For more on Skreintax, visit their MySpace page or Dented Records' Web site.