Minus- The Warm Up Mix CD

September 13th, 2005

I’m always very sceptical about young rappers, especially of 15 or 16 years old. More often than not, the promo’s I get from these guys bug me immensely. They’re usually trying way too hard to sound and talk like Jehst, or they’re simply too big for their boots and think they can offer listeners twice their age, words of wisdom about life. With the first track on this Darkhorse Productions presentation, the MC Minus passes the first test. His voice isn’t particularly unique of substantially distinguishable from many others, but it certainly seems natural and free from emulations of established acts.

As for topics and lyrics, Minus passes this test too. He hasn’t simply swallowed an Oxford dictionary like so many of his young peers, and he’s not trying to impress through using words which he doesn’t know the meanings of. The lyrics don’t display the most talented form of wordplay or choice of language, but that’s not suprising considering he’s still a developing artist, but the vocals are of a listenable conversational flow, free of pretention.

The album begins with original sound bites from Lowkey and Jabba Tha Kut amongst others, and the track ‘Match On’ over the Jay Z beat ‘Moment Of Clarity’. All of the album tracks follow this format, borrowing a US production for the UK rapper to rhyme over. Jacked beats include those by The Game, Cam’ron, Talib Kweli, Mobb Deep, Gangstarr and Eminem. The beat’s aren’t bad and are appropriate enough for this introductory release, although if you’re going to jack US beats, you may as well jack the best ones, which aren’t these. However, it is nice not to hear some of the more obvious choices which many would automatically use.

‘Common Enemy’ is a story telling affair about the devil and his actions, I think, whilst ‘Dreams’ voices the rappers introspective opinions on his own mental processes. ‘Club Nights’ is a story about an evening in a club which uses some pitch control for a conversation between Minus and the bar staff. It’s a light hearted and entertaining track, which is one of the CD highlights. ‘Face Facts’ has an egotistic slant which isn’t all that convincing. ‘See Life Negative’ is a down in the dumps but honest piece of writing.

Overall, this is a solid and listenable first release, with some clear glimpses of promising talent. Out of the increasing number of young up and coming rappers in the UK, this is one of the more digestible, simply because he’s not trying too hard to be like someone in particular. There’s a hint that future releases could see some more entertaining song writing concepts like ‘Club Nights’. Hopefully then there’ll be some original production. One to look out for, for sure.