Raw Side Hip Hop

PREVIEW: Get Down with ‘Dirt Locker’ from the Knuckle Dragguz

Knuckle Dragguz Dirt Locker

Let’s give you the heads up before you read any further…. get this on your watchlist ASAP because when it drops, you’re going to want to get it straight into your headphones and experience the fire for yourself. If the interim though, let us run you through what you’re going to be getting when Knuckle Dragguz drop this heat rock later this month.

First up, we’ll get you familiar with the crew. You’ve probably heard them all on various collaborations or individually, but like Voltron and the hero that is created as the some of all parts, let us break down the Dragguz for you. The crew consists of G Fam Black, P-Ro & Tali Rodriguez (Unstable Components), Uglyjon, Crack Sizzlack & Mathias (CLOAQxDAGGER). Think of them like the Avengers of underground hip hop, each bringing their own special skillset, style and form of ‘kick-assery’ for the people. Not to mention, the seamless, cohesive nature of this clique is on full display with ‘Dirt Locker’ from start to finish as they deliver one of the best offerings of 2021.

This release epitomises hip hop for me. It’s not just the dope music which features very creative and cohesive production and it’s not just the lyrics and flow – which this joint has in spades, but it’s also the idea of collaboration, that competitive fire with a fun and funky attitude and of course the killer street art that is evident from the album art. It’s the complete package and one that I am currently spinning for the THIRD time back to back to BACK as I write this piece.

The album kicks of with a somewhat surprisingly soulful first track ‘Knuckle Sandwich‘. It’s hauntingly beautiful production and strings is a beautiful juxtaposition for the lyrical darts and gruff & determined delivery. “What’s a Knuckle Dragga to me? It’s a family….” this line resonates from the get go and sits with me for the rest of the album. ‘CloaqxDragguz‘ is more of a punchy, hard hitting track which I expect from these guys and it comes straight for the jugular. ‘Bushmeat‘ is the third track and we are now fully immersed in that dark, grimy, dusty shit that gets the head nodding and the face stanking.

When ‘Rue Morgue‘ hits the headphones, it’s mesmerising. This track with its wild west meets West Coast G Funk vibe is incredible and something that Ras Kass and his HRSMN project would have LOVED to get their hands on. As it stands though, the Knuckle Dragguz rip it apart for a true standout moment on an awesome album. It’s back to the dark bangers now with ‘Shoe Fitting‘ which takes aim at the industry and sheeple. It’s flames. ‘Name That Tune‘ is one of the best concept tracks I’ve heard. It features G Fam Black and P-Ro spitting verses that use song titles from the others catalogue.

The drums come stomping in on ‘Sewage Advisory‘ allowing the emcees to spit anthemic bars that make you stand up and walk taller, the darker, grimier, gun play returns through ‘Viktor Bout’ and an airy, summer-esque vibe infiltrates the listening when ‘Trading Paints‘ starts spinning. This is a fun ‘trading places’ kinda scenario and introduces us to G Fam ‘White”! ‘Brow Ridge Bullies‘ has that iconic, haunting yet hard hitting vibe, and ‘Five Knuckle Shuffle‘ is a braggadocio track over some thumping boom bap drum action. ‘Losses‘ is a really poignant, introspective track that is delivered with authenticity and is a welcome insight into the minds of P-Ro & G Fam Black. The whole ‘we take an L, we slip and fell, we back hard as nails‘…… it’s a dope track with a real message.

Finally, the album concludes with ‘Simian City 2021‘ which is one epic posse cut that unifies some of the best underground emcees associated with these crews. Alongside P-Ro and G Fam Black, we get I.N.F, CM aka Creative, BCH20, J Fliz, Judge the Disciple, Oblivious and Grimm each emcee carefully interwoven over the string-laced track to close out a fantastic release.

Bangers: Rue Morgue, Bushmeat, Name That Tune, Simian City 2021, Viktor Bout, Losses.

Score: 9.5 / 10. Yes, this album is well-deserving of a near perfect score. Two reasons this release is SO epic: 1. the way the entire project has come together to create something different and special yet also familiar and 2. quality lyrics, dope flows and a variety of all of the above. It’s a great listen, a fun album with some real highlights. A must have for a hip hop heads collection.

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