Smiffy@ukhh: ”This is Life’s debut solo longplayer – following up a series of twelve inch introductions through up n’ coming Brighton label ‘Zebra Traffic’. ‘Everyday Life’ is the first part of an album double header, with the follow up ‘Realities of Life’ already pencilled in for a summer ’03 release.
I dont need to describe the default flow and delivery of main emcee Life – you can check any of his records and its his trademark stamp. I was wary of a whole seventeen tracks of this rap style. In the past I’ve been beaten into a numb stupor by the sheer unbroken stream of the same couplets – after a while I wasnt listening to each individual metaphor as it all became a blur of sped up catchphrase punches. In effect I wanted to hear an actual album rather than a compilation of club oriented twelves – I wanted to hear other sides to Life’s reportoire cos with seventeen tracks theres plenty of space for topic and tempo experimentation.
The immediate hook in this records armoury is its music – Nappa’s production is top notch. He brings a heady brew with a nice mixture of modern stuttery beats sittin alongside organically chilled n’ straight up boom bap nodders. These beats would form a tidy bass laden backdrop for any rapper to rip the mic – and Life doesnt hold back when it comes to the rip. With the emcee dropping some mindful lyrics on the pro weed track ‘Never Be A Crackhead’, the Stephen Lawrence tribute ‘In Memory’, the religious ‘Babylonions’, and the heartful family oriented ‘Slaves Revenge’. He also comes with a straighter battling style on cuts like the bragging ‘Chosen One’, the confident ‘The Number One’ and the albums best track ‘Pound for Pound’. Its on you for which style you prefer but its nice to hear some subtle variation.
Even within the framework of these loose tracks theres plenty of venomous narrative. These verbals work best when placed within a tight structure – best exemplified with the Mike Tyson tribute ‘Baddest Man’, the boxing oriented ‘Pound For Pound’ and the cinematic ‘Moviedrome’. Whilst those arent automatically the lp’s best tracks they are naturally the most listenable as your head can catch the general drift of the tracks vocal and metaphorical direction. For me theres nothing more annoying than someone who starts telling a story and keeps on stopping, changing track and telling different threads in the middle – its fun to know them for ten minutes and then you just want to hear the tale that was first trying to be told.
Overall, a slightly patchy record with some standout cuts of varying style – the one consistent factor which ties it all together is Life’s trademark style. This isnt a record I’d listen to in one sitting – its a bit long and whilst the beats are killer throughout I found myself switching off during the albums home stretch. When I did listen it was notably evident that the tempo had been switched down, probably because this created a little more breathing space between punches. Still its all good to see another label willing to invest in its artists – lets see more longplayers in uk hiphop – it gives artists a chance to shine into themselves and find new diverse musical territory. ”
02. Rock It Right (feat. Skit Slam)
03. Never Be A Crackhead
04. Kung Fu
06. Always Living
09. The Pound For Pound
10. In Memory
11. The Number One
12. Slave’s Revenge
14. Baddest Man
15. Chosen One (feat. Skit Slam)
16. Time Crisis