Take one of the hottest, hardest working producers on the UK scene at the moment, put him alongside an equally hard working legend of that same scene and you would expect something special, ‘Guerilla Tactics’ is more than something special, it’s something outstanding. After the excellent first release from Blade and Baby J, ‘Mumps’, we have been waiting in anticipation for the long player, and here it is.
Firstly, take a look below at the tracklisting and take note of the three tracks on Side A, because you will not find three better opening tracks on any UK album this year in my opinion. ‘Mumps’ an uplifting, b-boy high tempo track is followed by, arguably the best song on the album ‘Four Walls’, Blade rappin about feeling trapped in his own mind and needing to escape his thoughts and finally being saved, I would guess, by Baby J. Lyrically it’s a very impressive display by Blade and with Baby J’s trademark funky mellow breaks underneath those lyrics it wets your appetite, leaving you with high hopes for the remaining tracks on the album. Next up is ‘MCs Just Wonna Rhyme’, with a beat that get’s your feet tapping and head nodding on the first note, high tempo, awesome flows over bongo influenced drums.
‘System Of A Damned’ is probably the most surreal track on the album, with an aggressive Blade, shouting out over a futuristic beat. Also on Side B are the excellent ‘I Found A Reason’, a very mellow tune about Blade’s son and the uplifting second single release ‘It’s Your Time’ featuring Laurissa . The first of two featured artists tracks is ‘Army Of Barmy Rappers’, which is a showcase of five emcee’s, who all do a great job, but, for me it is way to short and I would have liked to hear more.
‘Close To The Edge’, is also a very short track, which, for me, is the weakest track on the album, but that’s probably because the rest of the tracks are set at such a high standard. ‘She’s Gone’ is Blade at his best, story telling about a girl living on the streets over a brilliant mellow piano break, that keeps you gripped from start to finish. ‘The Massacre Begins’ is the second collaboration track, which is the better of the two, with breaks very reminiscent of old classic Motown and a beat that is perfect for the emcee’s, who all come good, not the strongest track on the album, but good nonetheless.
Now the final side of the album, which is of equal quality to the opening side, three tracks that are, simply, awesome. First is B.L.A.D.E., an up tempo guitar break track, that see’s Blade letting you know exactly what he’s achieved in his career and what he can achieve, ‘after two and half decade’s he’s still here, still going strong and releasing records each year’, not many UK hip hop artists can say that, and there’s many moments in this track that make you realise just what he’s done. ‘Round and Round’ is more on the crossover tip, with a funky disco feel to it, about a day in the life of Blade, ‘downloading porn but let’s ignore the details’, a bit to much information there I think, very honest though, but this is a very very good track. The reason I said arguably the best track on the album about ‘Four Walls’, is because right at the very end of such a high quality album, is one of my personally favourites tunes of the past few years. ‘UK Hip Hop’ is Blade, basically, giving a shout out to all the artists of the early days and what a track it is. Again, Baby J drops a funky as hell beat for him to rap over, with funky guitars and horns in the hook, a shiver went down my spine when the beat cuts out and Blade says ‘Sipho, beatbox extraordinaire man of the people’, but there are many moments in this track that get you nodding your head in agreement.
To sum this album up, it is real, raw talent by two artists that know what hip hop is all about, two men that love their music with a passion and work dam hard for it. This is a release that will set such a high standard so early in 2006, that a lot of artists releasing long players will struggle to even get close to it.
2. Four Walls
3. MCs Just Wanna Rhyme
1. System Of A Damned
3. I Found A Reason
4. Army Of Barmy Rappers
6. It’s Your Time
1. Close To The Edge
3. She’s Gone
4. The Massacre Begins
2. Round And Round
3. 1st Element
4. UK Hip Hop
Release page HERE
Reviewed by Websta for Heroes Of UK Hip Hop 2006