New Album: UK Powerhouses Link Up On Philly B’s ‘Let It Play’
By Jake Leins
Releasing on his self run label “Philly Driven Riddim” on the 27th July, is one of the top underground UK Hip Hop’s Top Producers Philly B’s “Let It Play”
The albums is entirely produced by Philly, who has the cream of the crop of UK hip hops finest MCS; Dabbla, Son Of Light, Dubbledge, DJ Frosty, Mikey D.O.N, King Kaiow, Jam Baxter, Dirty Dike, Stig of the Dump, Killer Dread, Cobes & Ann-Marie Lataille.
“Let It Play” is the self titled track on the album and a perfect opener for the album giving that real emphasis on what the albums message is, Let It Play.
The track has some upbeat, low pass filtered bass samples, which are layered with the kicks insisting on significance. Overall it is a real deep funky sounding track that would put Parliament Funkadelic a run for their money.
Dabbla comes in with a slammer spitting with a menagerie of bars all relating and leading up the the track name “Let it Play”. Son of Light one of Norway’s leading foot soldiers in Norwegian Hip Hop, is second on the mic delivering clever imagery and usage of english & Norwegian in his raps. Dubbledge the final feature on the track is on top form as usual, it was a good move putting son of light between the two Problem Child MC’s as it makes all verses stand out and also in the meantime makes a Problem Child sandwich, resulting in one tasty track.
see the video below:
The next track “You Suck” never gets old, first released as a single in 2013, Philly has the included ultimate combination of fast, classical flutes layered on a gritty bassline, which gives it a slight air of sophistication but still holds that air of warehouse rave instantly deeming it a killer! Philly’s production has included boomy dubsteppy drums, a definite winning choice as it gives the track extra dimension. In my opinion its some of Dabbla’s best stuff, he talks on how people are fake and there are two many below par MCs, a middle finger up at all the wannabes and posers. Dabbla’s persistent style of catchy double-time bars and metaphors are next level, anyone would be a fool to not decipher his raps.
see the video below:
“Lookin’ 4 Cheques” is the next track on the album featuring Mikey D.O.N and it has a lot more of an african boom to it, with some really nice wooden sounding percussion, and booming afro-beat samples, Philly B is really showing off his production skills and Lookin 4 cheques really kicks out an impression. Philly B has included some atmospheric African outback samples towards the end of the track which really gives the tracks more depth. Mikey D.O.N talks his style compared to others, his life & making money. A take into old school MC-ing, Mikey’s flow is on top form.
“Everywhere I Go” is the fourth track on the album and features LDZ’s (LondonZoo) Cobes. It has rolling drums resulting in a dancefloor-shuffle and giving it that moody, dark, deep sound, the trumpets along with the high Mozart sounding piano samples. So far the tracks on the album have followed a trend of gullyness and Cobes hasn’t broken tradition. Showing off his skills spitting on the subject of the day in the life of a London beatmaker/rapper, Cobes goes hard on the double-time in such a way it’s almost relaxed, making it sound effortless.
Following “Everywhere I Go” is “Belonging” a more worldly track heading towards a far east sounding scale, with punchy drums it really goes hand-in-hand with all rappers featuring; Dabbla, Stig of the Dump King Kioaw and High Focus veteran Jam Baxter, Philly has really taken time to rendezvous the perfect rappers for the task. Each MC gives his take on different head-spaces or mind-frames in which they feel as if the routine they are found in, is monotonous and they need a change in their daily doings, following into where they think they do belong.
Slowing the mood to cruise pace, “Crunch Time”, with high sample hits that sound like an electro version of a theme from the x-files, it has some serious atmosphere. layered with deep guitar licks in the hooks it gives it a slight echo of smooth R & B. The drums are minimal, apart from a high sounding shaker which seems to isolate the different sections of percussion. King Kaiow starts the track off complimented by Ann-Marie Lataille on the hook which is a really buttery number. Dabbla provides the last verse, a real thought provoking set of bars which is a nice change to his style, revealing a more personal side, as he has adopted the schoolboy entertainer stage presence (who wouldn’t? being in hype rap groups like Dead Players, LDZ & Problem Child).
Taking a more serious vibe “Status” is a more upbeat track. With latin sounding claps and shuffle kicks and high mariachi guitar samples, really giving it that traditional westside LA sound. A solo track featuring King Kaiow, who talks about raising social status and what comes with it, women, money and attention.
“Platinum F***in Rhombus” is probably one of the best DJ scratch skit we’ve heard this year, the track is bursting full of samples accompanied by some sick heavy scratching from DJ Frosty some real meaty basslines and drum beats from Philly B, really sets in the motions for the next track.
“Never” features High Focus’s own Jam Baxter & Dirty Dike, in true adopted Contact Play fashion, Philly B has provided an enigmatic feel to it with beautiful flutes and real oldschool boombap drums. It has a really space for it with moody bass in the background. Baxter & Dike supplies the type of metaphors that you sit down and are forced to analyse, giving their lyrics a third dimension. They both talk on subjects that have never happened; the notion that certain royalties in life aren’t for the duo anymore.
“Love” is another positive-vibes, happy-go-lucky track featuring Mikey D.O.N he talks on the things he loves in life, being excited about the future disappointments in life but having the right outlook to still be happy with the things you’ve got, your life, the people in life, and the things in life that are enjoyed. A faster upbeat track, its layered with samples of jazz flutes, accompanied by tightened, syncopated 90’s drums. It doesn’t have those heavily layered bass kicks but, its totally justified and evident that its not needed to emphasise as the track lies heavily on the jazz samples and Mikey’s fast paced, smoothly delivered raps.
“Gas & Air” A punchy 80’s electro drums sounding track, with a sort of martial arts computer game theme sample, you would hear on an arcade game in the back of a London pub. Philly has used pan flute samples and deep ambient effects on the synth break. The track is quick paced and perfectly suited for rappers Cobes (LDZ) & Killer Dread. Cobes covers city life and the attitudes you have to adopt to get by in the rat race. Killer Dread spins a web of lyrics that give across one message, this man is gassed and he’s gonna get his opinion to you whether you like it or not.
“The General (All Aboard Riddim PT 1) & Questions (All Aboard Riddim PT 2) – Philly’s love for Dub Reggae has really come out in the next two tracks as 2 parts, with a whole array of reggae instrumentation featuring saxophones, slow, smooth drums, a reggae piano skank, and traditional typical reggae baseline, it is a beat that would DR. Alimantado would rate. It was definitely a good move to cut the tracks into two sections, Dubbledge brings a rarity and something special to the track with his problem child charm in an almost half time reggae flow. Its a real nice change to his big hype bars on Sumgii’s beats. Just when you think its over PT 2 kicks in and Killer Dread destroys the track with a little bit of culture on his flow, showing his roots and his diversity in flow and style. Like many a reggae track, he talks struggle of the people and when they will rise up and overthrow the present order.
“Money 2 Da Rescue” Brings the album to a close. Philly has added some shuffley rolling drums with shakers to layer. some real outlandish background synths with effects that sound like wah-wahs the synth almost sounds like a modulated Jewish Harp Dubbledge and Dabbla smash through the speakers with a bombardment of lyrical damage. Dubbledge’s flows are about getting money, making money and losing money, things getting tight, lack of money and feeling stressed about it. Dabbla speaks about having an average income and getting by, but it not being enough and wanting more. where he’s come from i.e. Uni and still not having a high income.
With his eclectic style of production it really makes “Let It Play” a must have, the album really does take you through a trip of different cultures and worldly sound. All the MCs were a perfect choice for each track and killed their parts flawlessly.
To preorder your copy go to:
If you can’t wait till the release you can exclusively stream “Let It Play” on the wordplay soundcloud:
To follow Philly B and his Label Philly Driven Riddim go to:
For more of Philly’s music visit:
And to follow his YouTube channel “Philly Driven Vision” go to:
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