Zagnif Nori x Tone Spliff - Stone Cold Killer

Add this to your ‘Albums of the Year’ list, playlist – whatever you do, just make sure you give this release the props it deserves. Tone Spliff has been hitting us over the head with dope music for more than a minute. Last year he won our Raw Side Hip Hop Award DJ of the Year, and now he’s out for that Producer crown. He already has one AOTY contender with his flawless production work on the Vic Monroe collab ‘Words to the Wise’ and now he’s back with another monster. The joint is seven tracks with a couple of skit / interludes, and it packs some major punch. The pairing between Spliff and Zagnif Nori (who is criminally slept on but better start getting some recognition after yet another superb offering with the pen) is first class and we can’t get enough.

Cold Blood Flow‘ kicks it off on the back of the intro, and instantly the dusty, boom bap drums knock your block off. Instant head nodder than only builds as Zagnif grabs the mic and puts in that work delivering with precision and passion. The cuts on the hook are nuts and the tone (see what I did there!) has been set. It gets a little more eerie and dark as ‘Assassin Tier‘ hits the headphones, and Nif gets raspy on this one, almost like he’s embodying the covert ops nature of the track. It’s one of my favourite tracks on the album and reminds me of another DOPE AF emcee who gets mad overlooked – June Marx. The guitar riff and the juxtaposition of the chime and cymbals on ‘Highly Regarded‘ make this instantly intriguing, with it’s dark and grimey vibe. Hearing King Author and Zag back at it together again just gives me all those Killer Manual feels again, understated but big time bars with that effortless but all-encompassing flow just rides… and of course, the cuts are surgical.

Tone Spliff delivers an intriguing score on ‘Better Than Zag‘ which sounds like a modern day take on a classic 90’s arcade game or similar. ‘These rappers ain’t even better than 7th grade Zag‘ he spits without any arrogance, just a confidence in the skill and way he commands the mic. ‘Resonate‘ moves back into that more traditional boom bap, but the keys are telling a story behind the snappy drums and the melancholic flow Zag is spitting. Kool Taj The Gr8 adds his veracious verbals to this meaty joint that sticks to the ribs. You can just FEEL the production on this one, reverberating through your mental. The final track ‘Curse of Slumber’ is ethereal in nature and the hook is equally as haunting as it feels low-key triumphant. Zag gets introspective on this one just showcasing the quality visuals he paints with the pen rounding out an incredible listening experience.

Bangers: No Further Discussion, Assassin Tier, Cold Blood Flow, Highly Regarded.

Score: 10 / 10. Anything less would be a disservice. There is a carefully curated and crafted offering here that needs to be played on repeat to appreciate. Tone Spliff is cementing himself not just as one of the best on the wheels, but also behind the boards, crafty BANGERS that hit the mark every time. Zagnif Nori should be mentioned more. His ability to flow so poignantly yet effortlessly is severely underrated, and his pen game is as sharp as the cuts Spliff supplies. Make sure you get this one and give is some solid airtime.

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About The Author

By Brutus Maximus

Founder of Raw Side Hip Hop. Been rocking with the hip hop culture for over 30 years. Love the creativity, authenticity of the art and the culture as a whole. Shout out to the real ones making and supporting true hip hip and the artists who make it!

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