Review: shortMAN (@shortman_spoken) ‘Jokesville [part won]’

All too often hip-hop is con­sidered a solely Amer­ic­an sport, an under­stand­able con­sid­er­a­tion given the his­tory of the gen­re and it’s firm roots in New York, but an offens­ive one all the same. Since the 1980s the UK has fought it’s own rap corner with many heavy­weights, acts such as Cook­ie Crew, X Pos­se, Rod­ney P and Monie Love fly­ing the flag spec­tac­u­larly and today there are still many UK artists who con­tin­ue to do this, it’s unfor­tu­nate that so often they don’t receive the cred­it or suc­cess their work deserves.

Earli­er this week UK spoken word artist short­MAN aka Matt­Black released new 5-track album ‘jokes­ville [part won]’ via his band­camp page. The album has no set price, you can pay as much or as little as you want, you can even down­load it com­pletely free.

Let’s start with Self Taught Beats, the pro­du­cer of this album. STB has pro­duced some of the slick­est, most pol­ished beats the UK scene has heard in recent years. He’s worked with artists includ­ing nation­al rap treas­ure Speech Debelle and the crim­in­ally under­ex­posed Real­ism (both of whom are cur­rently work­ing on new mater­i­al by the way) and pos­sesses the kind of beat mak­ing skill that, were the UK hip-hop mar­ket as luc­rat­ive as the Amer­ic­an scene, you would most def­in­itely have heard of. The pro­duc­tion on ‘jokes­ville [part won]’ is world class, the beats are soft where you want them to be and hard where you need them to be, the bril­liance of this album is reli­ant as equally on the pro­duc­tion and the sen­sa­tion­al sound­scape they pro­duce as it is on the vocals.

‘Get No Play’ kicks off the album, an intro­duc­tion to shortMAN’s vocal style, which is ser­i­ously high-grade. Part spoken, part rapped and part sung the deliv­ery is fault­less, wrap­ping around the beat at times and dis­tan­cing itself from it in the next bar. Major points are also earned on this track for the rhym­ing coup Julia Roberts/Hippopotamus (trust me, it works).

Track two ‘Lady Love’ keeps the bar up where track one set it. The beau­ty of this track lies in the uncom­plic­ated old skool beat (there’s rave horns too) and the rhymes and deliv­ery both remain fault­less.

‘God’s Gift’ fol­lows as track three, an upbeat anthem with organs and horns play­ing lead­ing roles in the beat and a chor­us that will stick in your head, in a good way. The vocal deliv­ery here reaches a peak, crit­ics who refuse to acknow­ledge the tal­ent of rap­ping should listen to this track, the way short­MAN goes through the track with subtle but effect­ive use of tone and aggres­sion really show­case the skills he pos­sesses as a per­former bril­liantly.

Track four ‘Pro’ is another ear-gasm. By this point it’s clear that the pro­du­cer and artist have an awe­some cre­at­ive energy com­bined, the beat and vocals wrap around each oth­er with amaz­ing ease and ori­gin­al choices of both instru­ment­a­tion and vocal style play togeth­er to cre­ate an immense hip-hop exper­i­ence.

The album closes in per­fect fash­ion with laid back rap slow jam ‘Tak­ing the Pop’, hon­est lyr­ics delivered in a way that really emphas­ises shortMAN’s tal­ent as a spoken word artist. With flaw­less poet­ic metre the vocal line cre­ates a coun­ter rhythm to that of the beat, cre­at­ing a really unique sound.

With this record short­MAN and Self Taught Beats have cre­ated a mas­ter­piece in mod­ern UK hip-hop, a work that deserves recog­ni­tion and suc­cess, a per­fect blend of ori­gin­al­ity, tal­ent and pas­sion that has con­ceived some­thing very spe­cial indeed. Short­MAN is def­in­itely an artist on the rise and it’s so excit­ing to have him on the UK hip-hop scene.

Micky Roots

Micky Roots

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Micky Roots

Micky Roots

Micky roots is one of the edit­ors of I am hip hop magazine, a pure hip hop head and visu­al artist he brings his strong know­ledge of hip hop, social con­scious­ness & polit­ic­al con­cern to No Bounds.

About Micky Roots

Micky Roots
Micky roots is one of the editors of I am hip hop magazine, a pure hip hop head and visual artist he brings his strong knowledge of hip hop, social consciousness & political concern to No Bounds.

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