UK Hip-Hop’s prodigal sons have returned
Cast your minds back to 2013. Lady Gaga had just bored us with ArtPop. Everything Everything were trying to convince us they were the same band after their promotion to Sony, sadly they weren’t. Broadcast released the excellent Berberian Sound Studio soundtrack. Oliver Wilde had just released his debut album to no fanfare or party poppers. Connan Mockasin’s second album was, and still is, one of the best albums of the year. Child of Lov suddenly died after releasing an exquisite post-pop album. In Hip-Hop Earl Sweatshirt released his ‘proper’ debut album and Childish Gambino was keeping Hip-Hop interesting and fresh. Well that’s not entirely true. In the UK a Hip-Hop group were making music for themselves and uploading bits and bobs sporadically, and I don’t just mean Young Fathers. This group was seven piece South London Baishe Kings. They seemed to have it all amazing beats and excellent lyrics that were funny but not slapstick. Their compositions were complex but not confusing. Baishe Kings had it all in droves. Then they vanished.
That is until now. News of Baishe Kings implosion and demise has been over exaggerated and premature. They have returned with new single The Promise. It’s chocked full of woozy synths, tight understated beats and their trademark lyrical interplay. What’s more, since their hibernation/hiatus the production has got slicker and unyielding. It’s reminiscent to Tricky at his most surreal and abstract. In short it’s brilliant.
The only real downside to Promise is its subject matter. Given that in the past that they’ve referenced social inequalities, wrestling, Wu-Tang Clan, a night out and sampled Collapsed Lung, all in one track might I add, a track about smoking weeds seems like a bit of a step down and sadly cliché. Rumour has it there is more to be released in the coming year, and dare I say it, there might get another album. Baishe Kings now need to step up. Things have changed a lot since 2013. Young Fathers have shifted the goalposts on what a Hip-Hop album should be. Let’s hope Baishe Kings have been taking notice and release the album we know they’re capable of and take their place at the top of Hip-Hop.