Raxstar – “Ego”

Burban, Hindi, Hip Hop, Panjabi, Rap, UK, UK Asian

Score: 7.6

We’re a bit depressed here at SuperCritic. You see, we were waiting until today to post this – which is Raxstar’s birthday – and expected to see a slew of “Ego” reviews around the rest of the internet. Much to our consternation, this was absolutely not the case and, yes, we had a bit of a Twitter rant about it. Why are so few other music critics and writers actually posting reviews of music from the kind of artists we cover on this site? Really, you can count them on one hand (more on this another day). It turns out that the birthday boy’s latest number is certainly worth highlighting, and also writing about. It’s full of hip hop quotables laid over a menacing trap beat (courtesy of Sunit); the combination of the final verse with the accompanying visuals is something special to behold (ONE TAKE). It takes practically a minute for Rax to even get going (this may well be the opening salvo of his album) and there are plenty of excellent couplets on this ‘controlled aggression’ brag-fest. The only qualm we have is the occasional example of (minutely) off-beat delivery. It’s interesting, as Eminem was recently talking about how his first two major albums – “The Slim Shady LP” and “The Marshall Mathers LP” no less – still irk him to this day, simply because he now believes that his delivery wasn’t crisp enough: he was too frequently “playing catch up” to the beat. That’s always been a wild variable of Raxstar’s – it’s something that most fans probably wouldn’t even notice, but hip hop heads can identify immediately. Putting that aside, “Ego” is another solid statement of intent from the Luton MC. After all, a bit of ego never hurt anybody. (Reviewed by Jesal)

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Beatboxer Ekko – “Never Be Enough” (Featuring Raxstar & Rita Morar)

Burban, Dubstep, Grime, Hip Hop, Pop, R&B, Rap, UK, UK Asian, Video

Score: 8.1

Produced by PKCthefirst, featuring subtly effective contributions from Beatboxer Ekko himself and Rita Morar, this is predominantly an opportunity to view the alternate side of Raxstar. Sometimes it is easy to forget – whether speaking as a fan or reviewer – that the Luton MC doesn’t just deliver tracks for the ladies. That may be because Raxstar’s currently in the midst of a genuinely productive era in his career – he is practically on the cusp of featuring in one brand new video every month, whether solo for dolo or as a guest. He’s firmly in the groove, and while the next step is releasing a genuinely solid album, his star is still rising. “Never Be Enough” is almost like that recent episode of “How I Met Your Mother” – the one called “The Over-Correction” where the characters go so hard the other way, it is both crazy and productive. Thus, we find our rapper almost snarling at the microphone throughout, and it most certainly works (the polar opposite of “Cold World”). Beatboxer Ekko has overseen a great record, here, and should really be putting it on iTunes – but it’s a free download. Generous chap. (Reviewed by Jesal)

Raxstar – “Cold World”

Burban, Hip Hop, Rap, UK, UK Asian

Score: 7.1

(In place of the traditional review, here are alternative lyrics that may or may not have been hacked from Raxstar’s BlackBerry…)

RAXSTAR:

It’s a Cold World like a Twister

Listen up, I’m the sickest barista

Fast-paced or slow, the Scarface of flows

But my chocolate sprinkles are heart-shaped for sho’

My jeans skinny like latte and though

We used to French on park bench til I stole your trench coat

I kept telling myself: “Rax, look slow”

But your eyes transfixed on a MacBook Pro

My service is cardiothorassic

I cut hearts into napkins, and certain other fabrics

Understand though, my story is hard luck

I’mma work night and day in this Starbucks

Until I can own shares and then refuse to pay tax

And then, baby girl, what will you say to Rax?

You dropping your pencil, making me get it

Staring at my arse, honestly it’s pathetic

Baby if you want me, you gotta show me love

Words are so easy to say, you gotta show me love

I’m out the door, you chase me, and I know that look

“When I went to the ladies, did you steal my MacBook?”

 

CHORUS x4

Next time, girl, leave a tip – at least 10% or I’ll have to steal your shit

Next time baby girl please leave a tip – it’s a Cold World, I will steal your shit

 

Shizzio – “Blaow!” (Featuring Humble the Poet)

Burban, Canadian, Hip Hop, Rap, UK, UK Asian, USA

Score: 6.1

Produced by Moghul, this fiery new track from Shizzio (that he’s been “sitting on”) has a somewhat throwback vibe to it. The production is cheeky and uptempo, and along with Humble the Poet, the two rappers basically just bullshit for three minutes – in the finest traditions of braggadocio hip hop. The flows are a bit hit-and-miss, and the punchlines are variable too. But the artists are clearly not taking this light-hearted song too seriously, so neither should we. (Reviewed by Jesal)

Burban in the Booth: G FrSH & RKZ

Burban, Freestyle, Hip Hop, Rap, UK, UK Asian

Score: N/A

Not the greatest “Burban in the Booth” there’s ever been, that much is certain (you can see it written all over Nihal’s face). The beat is weird, G FrSH has a charmingly unique style that might be labelled an “acquired taste” and RKZ just completely goes off on a fucking tangent near the end (he humourously alludes to this). However, the Lutonite’s first verse is – quite possibly – one of the finest he’s ever spit. Really. The tempo suits him down to the ground and he goes hard at it. Good stuff. (Reviewed by Jesal)

Shivani – “Lion”

Pop, R&B, UK, UK Asian, Video

Score: 6.3

This is a strange one. Without a doubt, there is much to admire about Shivani. She’s still a teenager, but quite advanced in the dark arts of how to look/act like a modern day pop/R&B star. She looks the part, has a brilliantly sequenced song, a pretty high budget video (great job, Joshua Best) and – it would be remiss to omit this – she’s probably quite attractive to her target audience. So yes, she’s a wunderkind in certain respects. However, Shiv is in no way a naturally talented singer. Obviously she can sing a bit, but she needs a lot more vocal training and she’s not one of these “talent show 15 year old” girls who come on stage and blow you away. In other words, yes she’s young but there is a lot of hard work ahead if she genuinely wants to achieve something (e.g. make it big, get signed, have a hit etc). We are rooting for her to do it, though, as she ticks a lot of boxes. The song itself is pretty catchy, although the pre-chorus is arguably stronger than the real hook, and the production is thoroughly professional. As a side note, it seems that she used Radar Music Videos to find her director – this is a great avenue for aspiring artists (Jesal himself pointedly told me that he was one of the very first people to use their services when they initially started up). Anyway, don’t get it twisted – a 6.3 score for a teenage girl is a damn good starting point. It’s just that now Shivani must endeavour to put the hard yards in – god, that sounds like such a UCAS statement thing to write. You go, girl. (Reviewed by Raman)

Dream Warriors – “Small Bump” (Ed Sheeran cover)

Burban, Hip Hop, Pop, R&B, UK, UK Asian

Score: N/A

He may hate us for saying it, but Raxstar is so fucking good at rapping about girls right now, it’s almost scary – and his breakthrough truly seems to be within touching distance. Whatever happens, this cover of “Small Bump” works very well indeed. (By Rahul)