Review by Stephen Harvey (A.K.A. DJ Fresh)
Ask anyone to name the top producers in hip hop and I will probably guess the top five. There is sure to be the Dr Dre and Timberland in there, but I very much doubt there will be any female producers on that list. The macho testosterone-fuelled world of mainstream pimp my Tim Westwood ride on MTV base hip hop, has little room for the fairer sex.
In Stoke on Trent however, we pride ourselves on being a little more open-minded, and it is this faith in the non-conformist world of underground urban rhythms that has raised a small glimmer of hope for mankind. Step forward Uchi.
Nicki Strike, or Uchi the spellamatician as she is known in the beat making world, is a female who is forcing her way into the scene feet first and doing a very good of job of it by all counts.
Her C.V. makes interesting reading with the likes of Parradox, Guti and Manchester-based Ash P from the band Skinless Finger instantly proving that the respect she has earned is making her one of the most sought after producers in the area.
Following in the steps of Forbidden Tongues, she is not only producing her own beats and rhymes, but collaborating to produce some very interesting results.
This album acts as a sort of introduction to the scene and to show that she is deadly serious with her music. The likes of Chapter and Parradox are evident throughout the album and push boundaries to the limit as you would expect.
Starting with a monster of a track in the form of 'Backward Thinker', which was recently featured on Radio Stoke Subculture programme, the album meanders around genres like the Trent and Mersey canal cutting through the urban sprawl of the Potteries. Dirty and industrious, but with the ability to be calming and get you away from it all at times.
Tracks like 'Soulmate' with its haunting melody and vocals showing the more caring and passionate side to Uchi's character and the side of relationships you don't get from the majority of 'male' hip hop.
There is the big beat in there for the 'Old Skool' with tracks like 'Pukka like a moron' hitting like a nuclear bomb of beats and rhymes, and the fallout from this album has been evident in the ever-growing list of MCs using Uchi beats on their own projects.
This album is far from the best work I have heard from a debut album, but it is enough to make the opposition stand up and take a good long hard look at their own work. Take this album for what it is, a very good attempt at being original, and as an introduction for even better things to come in the future.
1 Backward thinkers
3 Instinct (feat. Jenisus)
4 Our Roboross Collaboration (feat. Goon Squad)
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