OK, this is a bit long, but, I feel it needs to be…
Anybody manage to get their hands on the ‘Dopamine Hit’ Test Press, NO, me neither and I am absolutely gutted about it, in fact, I was gutted before I had even heard the album and now I have heard the album I am even more gutted. Have no doubt I will be grabbing the vinyl release of this album the day it comes out because, it is, to sum it up in two words ‘SO ACCOMPLISHED’. Chrome has done the time, he’s practiced his skills over decades, not weeks, not months or years but since he was in his school years in the 1980’s and this album has taken all those years of hard work and shouted ‘this is how you do hip hop’ to everybody, especially the young guys practicing their skills. From dropping rhymes with Def Tex to trading rhymes with Ill Inspired, Chrome has given the UK scene so many memorable moments.
His latest offering opens with an introduction to the meaning of Dopamine entitled ‘Dopamine In’, which get’s you prepared for what is to follow and explains the reasoning behind the album title.
It’s kind of ironic that I’m writing a review of the first full length track entitled ‘No Idol’ on a website called Heroes Of UK Hip Hop given the subject matter, but there’s no arguing with the way Chrome and Uncle Mic Nitro deliver their opinions and put them forward on this track. Opening with Blade’s ‘no-one is my idol, no-one is my hero’ line, this is when you realise you are about to witness something special. Chrome and featured artist Uncle Mic Nitro deliver impressive vocals over a quality beat. I’ve always known how good a producer Chrome is, but this album really is next level stuff, big drums, excellent use of samples and everything seems to be in the right place on every track, nothing feels forced or uncomfortable, it just works. This is the perfect tempo for both artists, clear vocals (as always), intelligent lyrics and a wealth of knowledge to digest with lines like this, “try to better myself with every line that I write, put this knowledge into practice and keep the sound tight” this album summed up in one rhyme…an excellent start.
Bristolian veterans Kelz (Smith & Mighty) and Sir Beanz OBE accompany Chrome on the next track, a track close to my heart entitled ‘Old Man Sport’. This track could have been written by me (if I was more talented), the lyrics mean so much to me on this track and knowing the background of each artist involved makes it more admiring.
One of this years finest releases is up next, ‘Shockwave’. When I first heard this tune back in September I realised it was possible to please everyone who likes hip hop. This tune has something for everyone with Andy Cooper (Ugly Duckling) featuring alongside Chrome. Bass that is very reminiscent of early 90’s Muggs, just at a higher tempo and fast vocal delivery displaying how well these guys can drop rhymes and write lyrics, definitely a floor filler.
Next up is the title track, ‘Dopamine Hit’, every single second of this tune is perfect, love the “well known” 70’s funk break running through it which most will be familiar with, it works really well. Lyrical content is all about people’s addiction to social media, cuts fit the beat perfect, one thing that I did recognise when I got to this track (track 5) is Chrome’s use of catchy rhymes in the hooks not just cuts or samples, which I have always been a big fan of, sometimes there’s even rhymes accompanied by cuts which I’m an even bigger fan of.
I’ve got to start trimming things down now before it turns into a novel, so next up is ‘Cookin Up’ which was the flip side to the ‘Shockwave’ release in September but without the instrumental edit at the end ‘Part 2’. This is probably the most early 90’s sounding tune on the album (they all have a touch of it, in a good way). For some reason when I first heard this I thought of Ice Cube’s ‘The Bomb’, I think it’s just me. Up next ‘ ‘The Product’, slower tempo, but, still hard and funky, excellent production by Sure D, I think, I don’t have any information on it and vocal delivery superb once again.
After a quick ‘Dopamine Extra’ interval comes ‘To The Maximum’ with Chrome and his partner in crime Ill Inspired trading lines with each other with ease, they just work so well together. Hard drums and clever lyrics, special mention to Ill Inspired’s “you get pulled up on your short comings like dwarf porn” line. Unlike this review, the next track is ‘Less Is More’, Chrome featuring Stepasaur who, like all the other artists featured on this album drops quality rhymes and delivery. Production is, again, top notch, hard guitar riff running through it, but, not too overpowering like you get in some hip hop tunes. Tempo slows down again on the next track ‘Pushing Buttons’, it’s a dope track but not my favourite on the album, featured artists Buckers The Realist and Ricky Lix do a fine job on the vocals as does Chrome, but it’s probably the first track on the album where it doesn’t seem fresh and different…it may just be me.
OK, people who have heard this album know what’s coming, this tune shows off hip hop, you want to know what hip hop is about then blast ‘A Reintroduction To Cuttin’, ‘He’s The DJ, I’m The Rapper’ anyone? Chrome and Super JB displaying skills that people like myself just have to sit there and admire, I could listen to this tune over and over and over, they just don’t make them like this anymore…just buy the album and blast this out, no more needs to be said.
Chrome get’s aggressive on the next track ‘Teach Me’, he really does sound like a man on a mission on this and he’s bringing the listener along with him, I felt myself getting angry with him. This track is different to the rest of the album, but I really like it. Finally, unfortunately, it’s the outro ‘Dopamine Out’ and we all calm down until we go back to the start.
I can’t say enough good words about this album, Chrome get’s a lot of props, deservedly, for his vocals, but, for me this is about the production as well. I’ve read reviews comparing it to old school hip hop etc. but for me it’s not old school, it’s just pure hip hop, real beats, real rhymes the way hip hop should be made. Go buy it when it’s released on the 17th December 2018 from B-Line Recordings HERE. Don’t miss it like I did with the promo, you will live to regret it.