If you have yet to familiarise yourself with Dirt da General or Skeleton Grp as a collective, then wait no longer – go and cop ‘Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes‘ and enjoy some of the dopest hip hop you have never heard. Burlington emcee Dirt da General has a real knack for crafting dope hip hop albums – picking varied production and touching on a variety of subject matters with his deep, guttural and engaging flow. His ability to mix up his flow and speak so effortlessly with social commentary or bravado bars is rare, but he does so with ease and in the process delivers killer hip hop tunes.
‘Intro – Foreign Things‘ eases the listener into the album experience with a deliberate and slow flow, spit with meaning over a robust and heavy track that is equal parts head nodder and hypnotic. Next up, ‘Fish Oil‘ feature fellow Skeleton Grp member Ziglah and this joint snaps with some solid drumwork and an interesting electronic layer that evokes your favourite computer game score – but Dirt ain’t playing around. It gets grimier on ‘The Upside Down‘ featuring Sage & Wolf, the production sounding as nefarious as the flows each emcee brings to bounce all over the bopping production, before ‘Esqueleto‘ uses some delightful keys to really accentuate the beautiful vocals that dance over the hook and Dirt gets to work spitting some street poetry.
It’s another dark, melodic banger with ‘G.O.D‘ before we get a real soul infusion for the slow-jam ‘Ice Cream 2023‘ which features Chekar & Poncho. It’s not long until we are back in that gloomy, menacing pocket with Dirt spitting fire over a dope track to create ‘Prey‘ which asks “are you predator or prey?”. Ziglah is back to ride shotgun on ‘NC Optics‘ which has a light-hearted vibe in the airy production that would be at home on a summertime hip hop jams playlist. This track still slaps you in the eardrum with the bars, but the track captures your attention because of it’s juxtaposition alongside the grime, and the RnB infused hook.
‘Skull & Bones‘ lures the listener in with an interesting soundscape, again utilising a range of layers and sounds to create the audio canvas that the Skeleton Grp (Dirt, Ziglah and Poncho) demolish with brutal bars work. ’40 Weight’ has a dope bass that subtly rides all throughout the track and underpins the crisp drums and Dirt getting busy on the mic, before the album closes with ‘Prestige‘ which is a somewhat haunting, moody and melancholic number that Dirt da General destroys with his bravado, street corner bully rap.
This album is really impressive and even after a few spins, you’re impressed by something new – an intricacy of a particularly produced track, or a line or two that just hits different in context the second or third time around. The marriage of bars and beats is exactly what hip hop heads love, so spread the word….