Out on Savingrace Music and mixed by DJ IQ, the first volume of Asaviour's 'Play 2 Win' mixtape series is jam packed with tons of familiar and exclusive tunes, including guest appearances by a very strong bunch including Verb T, Braintax, Kaspa, Kashmere, Konny Kon, Jehst, Ghost, Rodney P and more.
As the CD's intro track mentions, tons of people are dropping mix CD's these days, many of which seem intended to be official debut albums but which hide behind the 'mix CD' title out of fear that the material will flop. This release certainly has a sense of a mix CD though, thanks to DJ IQ's presence and many non Asaviour tracks ranging from a Nas remix, Slum Village and Jay Z. Also, there's lots of top notch turntable trickery throughout.
Out of the many tracks, those of most interest are taken from the forthcoming 'The Borrowed Ladder' debut album. 'Bangers N Mash' has some cool but faint production and it's cut up quite a lot but you can hear an interesting flow and solid lyrics. 'Drama Thing' is produced by Mr Thing and looks to be a very atmospheric track. Braintax features economically on 'So Northern' whilst the forthcoming album's title track is great stuff, consisting of a soulful beat with a quality drum pattern, over which Savy gets reflective upon his career in UK hip-hop so far. There's a down to earth and humble vibe to it as well as a positive and inspirational element. It's all an appetising taster of the slightly delayed album that's dropping soon.
All of this material is particularly nice for people who may not have heard Asaviour's EP 'Savoir-Faire' or have only come across the emcee via collaborations or choruses on Jehst tracks. It offers a chance for the listener to become fully accustomed to Asaviour's voice and rhyming style. Once this is done, the unique sound of the voice which some initially perceive as an obstacle in the way of enjoying the artist, actually becomes an asset to the whole affair. The voice and flow create a combination which really works.
The inclusions of freestyles from 1xtra shows are a merit to Asaviour's credentials, as they're certainly genuinely off the dome, yet barely sound different to a penned track. It's good to see Cappo present with his track 'I Know' and the Evil ED produced 'Weed' featuring Jehst will satisfy people who copped the wax of Ed's album which didn't include the tune. The relatively unknown Bill Zoot contributes 'Are You Ready?' which shows promise whilst a computerised voice slightly annoyingly chats here and there across the whole track list.
With the extensive preview of the forthcoming album, the incredibly healthy array of guest appearances, the quantity of exclusive material and the manner in which it's all sliced together by DJ IQ, this is one of the most enjoyable and value for money mix CD's in a while, that actually aims and achieves to be a mix CD. If you're of any doubt as to Asaviour's ability to hold his own, look no further.