The year is 2014. Hip-Hop is in an interesting state, we have the side of purists favouring hard crushing boom-bap production with light keys with samples from any form of instrumentation possible and lyricism driven raps with enticing flows and the other side hosts southern flared basslines acting like low-end sirens that can shake the ground with the right type of speakers and chants for choruses and catch-phrased rap bringing down the essential words into phrases that can be repeated to hype crowds for miles. These two sides in hip hop are often pitted against each other on the basis of what’s “real hip hop” and what’s not.
A while back I did a chill spotlight on the opener for this project called ‘The Cruise’ so you can understand how my anticipation was, it’s also gives you an idea of how the rest of the project reveals it to be over the course of 45 minutes.
The world Lord Apex creates sonically over this project includes lo-fi hip hop production by the likes of Bagir-Ba, Flying Lotus, Houseshoes and various other producers who help share their story with unorthodox use of sampling with abstract sounds and looming vocal samples (in the background of HNIC) and quotes lifted from animes, TV shows (Scooby Doo being placed midway on MEDDLING KIDS), in conjunction with other artists (a Busta Rhymes interview, Bonita Applebum reference in ON TO ME and an humourous reference to Randall from late 90’s Disney’s show ‘Recess’ with nods to Kanye West’s Touch The Sky and Bound 2 on OG SHINOBI as timemarkers to understand the range and how deep Apex’s influences are, plus also fill the spaces for intros and choruses in an MF DOOM fashion.
All the influences sprayed are free-flowing and are authentic and feel like an individual that doesn’t want to conform to the regular 21st-century narratives in contemporary hip hop today.
The way stories and events are told on this project are interesting. They’re presented in interchanging 1st person perspectives whilst shifting to 3rd person viewpoints, this in itself is a difficult task to manage and pulling this off seamlessly throughout the course of an album is incredible.
Lyricism is what ultimately drives this album though and they’re delivered in a freestyle manner, casually and warranting multiple listens just to make sure nothing goes over your head.
“She gave me 2p that means I copped head” – HNIC
Another aspect that’s interesting that even though the title and influences are clearly 90’s references, the album encompasses aspects of the modern day world and modern day London also.
Chaotic. Ruthless. Self reliant. Fear. Existentialism. Love. Freedom. – All reoccurring motifs throughout the VIRTUAL DOJO experience.
It’s LORD APEX’s most gripping product to date in terms of broadening subject matter and opening up himself with more visceral lines such as “Life’s a piece of shit, you make my days worthwhile so give birth to my child.” I eagerly look forward to any works Apex presents in the future.
I’ve finally managed to release my latest Beyonce and Andre 3000 remix, you can stream that below!
https://soundcloud.com/officialekmusic/faith Congratulations to Daniel "EK" Ibeh, of the Grammy-winning "Defend Music" Group with his new track "Faith". Hitting 1000 plays...