Ambush Tactics – RumpleStillSkint (Album Review)

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It’s been three years since this Rustik rapper, Bestival main stage botherer, erstwhile Born Ina Barn cohort and Peasant Theorist dropped his debut Intricate Simplicity. Back then it was a real marker in the sand that showcased Ambush Tactics’ eargrabbing flow and lyricism; it was an album that I played and still play regularly. RuppleStillSkint finds him angrier, bolder but still spitting over the finest beats held together by the Dub Proffesa.

Recently I’ve been looking around for this generation’s protest singers and I’ve maligned the lack of intelligent comment from any musical quarters, pulling up the scumbag powerhoggers on their foul dealings but I’ve been a little blinkered as hip hop is, and always has been, the place where the poets go to bring the flashlight on these wrongdoers. Ambush Tactics is right up there with the finest in terms of comment on the state of things…all be it with a somewhat potty mouth at times. Don’t buy this for your church-going granny!

Feed The Rich and title track RumpleStillSkint open the album with a duo of heavyweight rhymes and beats before a skit from Lush FM segues into some radio plonker intro-ing the monster that is Attack The Crown (I’m on a hip hop album!). It’s a relentless start so Hide Away comes as a welcome moment with it’s honking, fried soul sample. End Times comes next with horns and vocals loaded with more menace than an All Black prop.

First guests on the mike are Ambush’s longtime compadre Syko Logic and Bristol head Twizzy who are all over the statement of intent that is Real Music. Syko stays around for Time To Keep, a more understated and bluesy beat. Use My Eyes defines musical juxtaposition as Nick Drake’s I Was Made To Love Magic is sampled to soundtrack Ambush’s most vitriolic bars. No Way To Be changes the pace with a floaty, synthy beat that is locked into a real headnodder.

Better Way features another old bud in his new guise – Dabba Ranx – spitting one of his bounciest verses over the skipping breaks. Pianos trip through the verses of Remember before a ginormous soul chorus closes the track. To No Sunshine next with it’s dedications to Ambush’s son. King Soloman is on the beats again for Tension which loops a cold-filtered horn sample over cuts and vocal snatches.  The album closes with more bars from Syko Logik (Be Concious) and Shang (Be Concious and Weight On My Shoulders), the final track featuring Will Green’s incredible turntable skills.

With several beat doctors cooking up this could have been an album with a lack of conhesion but Stu Ballingall’s mixing skills along with, of course, the man himself throughout mean it’s a step up from the debut. It sounds heavy, thanks I’m sure in no small part to Studio Humbug’s mastering skills, and Noah Priddle, King Soloman and Dub Proffessa have all done a sterling job on their various tracks but the delivery from Ambush Tactics sets this apart from your average album. Get it now from his Bandcamp for pay-as-much-as-you-like but he’s RumpleStillSkint isn’t he so dig deep!

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