The first verse by Raxstar on “Queen” proves precisely why he’s the go-to guy for sensitive rap: it’s near perfect. It’s a strange song, and you’re never entirely sure who is meant to be the lead artist here; but to all intents and purposes Raxstar simply takes the song from Zack Knight. The beat is probably the only slight letdown, as those synths don’t work as well as they could have down; it’s also a bit fussy and over-produced, with too many vocal layers. But Knight does a solid job, and the Luton MC impresses. “Queen” will certainly find its intended audience. (Reviewed by Jesal)
Some days, I recall the original video that Jus Reign references and just start repeating to myself “BBCAsianNetworkBBCAsianNetworkinnit”. True story. That shit was the funniest takedown of UK bhangra I had ever seen. And yes, a lot of artists didn’t like it (probably because it struck a bit too close to home). Anyway, Jus is back and this time he’s made good on his promise: this is a fully-formed parody song/video and features cameos aplenty. Clearly he’s spent a bit of money here, but it does show how easy it is to deliver a formulaic bhangra track. Even if we did the “Available on iTunes” gag here first, you should still bow to the Canadian master. (Reviewed by Jesal)
An interesting new one from Raxstar. Detailing an argument with his missus, the Bearded One flows well over a DJ Harpz beat that has clearly been inspired by Diplo and Skrillex. The breakdown works particularly well, and although the instrumental could have been a touch more well-rounded, it’s certainly a bit different from the norm. “Poison” is definitely worth your time. (Reviewed by Rahul)
It’s nigh on impossible to tell whether “Brand New Swag” is really good or really shit. The beat sounds awful and brilliant at the same time. The chorus is dumb as fuck but catchy as hell. The rapping is either overly simplistic or perfect for the instrumental. The choice is yours. Sometimes music can be pretty damn confusing… (Reviewed by Raman)
“Got Me Singing” desperately sounds like the Raxstar of old – his lyrics and flow sound like the 2010 version, not the far more distinguished one we’ve come to know and love. The track is a smorgasbord of ideas, with some parts working well and others sounding shoe-horned in: Mumzy’s simple chorus is deceptively catchy but not one to necessarily connect to; the instrumental is decent but fussy; and (regrettably) the Luton MC is abysmal, phoning in every verse. It’s telling that his long-awaited album still hasn’t been released or even mentioned for a couple of years now. He’s getting YouTube views, making money, growing in popularity and doing well within the parameters of “Asian MC/Mela” standards. But Raxstar was the great hope: we were sold a different dream and his increasingly scatter gun approach hints at utility over artistic integrity. We hope we’re wrong about that, and pray that stuff like this doesn’t make the cut. (Reviewed by Raman)
A powerful and effective new track from TaZzZ takes a while to grow from Jaaneman 2.0 into Teardrops 1.0. The piano, use of a female Indian vocalist, Raxstar and the subject matter… They all play on those obvious themes, and fortunately most of it works well. Rax drops a stellar verse, Rita Morar is incredible (although it would have been nice to hear more of her, variety-wise) and the star himself is solid enough. TaZzZ’s delivery is, perhaps, a touch too angry for the overall tone of “Teardrops” and I’d argue that the drums slightly overwhelm the orchestration, but that’s admittedly nit-picking. This will find an audience. (Reviewed by Jesal)
And as an added bonus, here is the Unplugged version which, for our money, works better in almost every way (even the video, perhaps). The aforementioned orchestration is suddenly brought to life with only the occasional timpani for company. Excellent stuff. Rita Morar has incredible eyebrow control, FYI.
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)