LEVELZ – LVL 11 The Mixtape (Album Review)
Woooooah! Serious future business here…LEVELZ are a true supergroup of the finest of the North West’s MCs and producers who seem to be on a multi-headed mission to prove that Manchester is THE top city for mike-wielding lyricists and next-step audio designers.
LVL 11 is a mixtape, a free album, a template or a statement intent or maybe even all of these things. But mainly it’s a collection of thirteen brilliant and varied songs from straight-up hip hop to un-pigeonholeable mind-blowing future beats. It was released mid-January but due to my recent tardiness I’m only just getting round to reviewing it…sorry. It’s got humour, funk and a massive dollop of party-starting quality. You need it in your life!
My highlights include King Of The Disco, which is a butt-wiggling Saturday night crazy times joint with the MCs all trying to outdo each other in rude comedicness. LVL07 is going to be hard to beat for one of my tunes of 2016 (admittedly it was released back in December 2014…I’m a little late to this party). It was the group’s debut release and what a debut. Rolling beats, dubby booming bass with glitchy pops and clicks, all in all it sounds like Underground Resistance have spent a month round Mala’s house. Then there’s the lyrical content as each MC teases each other to new heights of rhymes. Chimpo even manages to shout out Debbie McGee! Every new voice changes the pace and feeling…there’s a reason why they’re called LEVELZ.
Straight after LVL07 you get Dickhead that encapsulates a proper Northern sense of humour wrapped around a broken beat that jumps and funks. LVL 09 sounds like it has been spat out through a Space Invaders machine plugged into the aggiest soundsystem possible. Then there’s Ninja. If you don’t spend the rest of the day saying Ninja a a a a a after hearing it you have better self-control than me. The subbass hits a true high here, I need to hear this with my head in a bassbin. The mike gets passed as quickly as possible and for some reason the word megaladon appears to have been ingrained on my brain.
That’s just five tracks off this beast but every other one has quality too, they’ll be favourites before long too. I’m going to let you get the pay-as-much-as-you-like download from their Bandcamp and find out for your self, you won’t be disappointed.
Oi Gideon, this is what a Northern Powerhouse sounds like.