Brother Beatbox - Vol. III (Review)

Brother Beatbox - Vol. III (Essence of Hip-Hop)

"Vol. III" is the latest album from UK hip-hop producer Brother Beatbox. The album features guest appearances from Deeflux, Rebels To The Grain, Joker Starr, Lakai and many others and is fully produced by Brother Beatbox himself. It is set to be released on June 30, 2014 via De Facto Entertainment.

1) Pick The Pace Up (featuring Deeflux and DJ Miracle) - The album kicks off with Farnborough, UK emcee Deeflux doing his thing over a real energetic instrumental with a sort of party vibe to it. Despite the lighthearted feel, the instrumental still manages to have me nodding my head and Deeflux sounds real nice over it. Very dope way to start off the album. - 4/5

2) Get It In (featuring Bet 1, Young Heff and Destruct) - The beat on this cut is much darker than the first, having a sort of exotic boom-bap feel to it that I'm really diggin'. Lyrically the song is pretty nice as well, with Bet 1, Young Heff and Destruct all coming correct and rapping about how they live for this hip-hop shit. Very dope track. - 4.25/5

3) Raise Ya' Glass (featuring Rebels To The Grain) - Los Angeles based hip-hop group Rebels To The Grain come through and spit fire over another real crazy instrumental, this time with light keys and sweeping strings over lively drums. The beat is banging and both Cheddy and MP rip it. This album is already shaping up to be something serious. - 4.5/5

4) Pen & Paper (featuring Joker Starr and DJ Miracle) - The instrumental on this track features a soulful vocal sample looped up over head nodding boom-bap drums and layers of subtle guitars. There is no way you can't be feelin' the beat on here and the lyrics are just as dope, with JokerStarr spitting about how his rhymes begin their life on the pen and paper before ending up on the stage while DJ Miracle kills it with the cuts on the chorus. This shit is fire. - 5/5

5) HarpNod (featuring Deeflux, Lego, Tenchoo and Destruct) - As you can probably tell by the title of this song, the instrumental on this cut features a soft harp and some strings over deep bass. The beat is real nice and all four emcees are on point with their verses, but I'm not feelin' this one quite as much as the others. Still, not bad at all. - 3.75/5

6) New Beginnings (featuring Mikey T) - Mikey T comes through and spits some positive rhymes about trying to change hip-hop for the better over another crazy instrumental with layers of samples and sliding drums. The production on this album has been banging so far and this track is no exception. Nice. - 3.75/5

7) The Hills Are Alive (Reworked) (featuring Lakai) - This beat on this joint is mainly centered around a chopped up jazz sample and boom-bap drums that should definitely get your head nodding. As far as the rhymes go, Lakai kicks some vivid lyrics describing how hip-hop is all around us via the five elements (such as water, fire, wind, etc) and via other various things in nature. I'm really diggin' the rhymes on here. Very dope track. - 4.5/5

8) Oversees (featuring South Broad) - This track features Philly hip-hop group South Broad spitting some ill rhymes over another breezy flute-based instrumental that is similar in tone to many of the other songs on here. As usual, the beat is real dope and the rhymes are on point. Nice. - 3.75/5

9) Another Day (featuring Rebels To The Grain and Laura Starke) - The instrumental on this cut is centered mainly around a beautiful piano loop over shuffling drums and it's real dope. Lyrically the song is just as good, with Rebels To The Grain showing up for their second track and rapping about staying positive and moving forward while Laura Starke provides some soulful vocals on the chorus. Nice. - 4/5

10) Jazz Cats (featuring Brassik and Deeflux) - Brother Beatbox delivers another crazy instrumental, this time with a chopped up sample and distorted keys over more shuffling drums. The beat is real nice and both Brassik and Deeflux rip it, kicking some slightly more aggressive rhymes than those featured on the rest of the project. Dope. - 4/5

11) Aviate (featuring Leo Miles and Dash) - This song is centered around a sample I've heard plenty of times before, but never flipped quite like this. Brother Beatbox definitely adds his own unique spin to it and the shit sounds real fresh, having an almost celebratory feel to it. Lyrically the song is really good too, with both Leo Miles and Dash flowing nicely over the beat and rhyming about how fly they are on the mic (among other things). Very nice. - 4/5

12) Zen (Remix) (featuring Tha Connection) - This instrumental on this cut tones down the energy level a little after the upbeat previous song, with Brother Beatbox delivering a real breezy instrumental with light chimes/keys that sound like they are floating on air. As far as the rhymes go, New York duo Tha Connection come correct over the beat while spitting some boastful bars about how ill they are. Another very dope track. - 4/5

13) Another City (featuring Benny Diction, Able8, Luke Rebbettes and Laura Starke) - Brother Beatbox delivers yet another beautiful instrumental with a summery feel that should uplift your spirits a bit if they haven't been already. The beat is blazing and everyone on here rips it while Laura Starke provides another soulful chorus. Nice. - 4/5

14) Slow Down (featuring Rebels To The Grain, Deeflux, Brassik and Nicole Rivron) - The final song on the LP features another crazy instrumental, this time with a chopped up string sample layered over boom-bap drums. As expected by now, the rhymes are ill and mesh nicely with the buoyant feel of the instrumental as everyone featured raps about trying to slow down and not let life pass them by. Great way to close out the album. - 4/5

I'm going to rate the album

4 / 5

because pretty much the whole thing is fire. Brother Beatbox really showed off his production skills on here, delivering beats that are both vibrant and summery while still being grounded in their hip-hop roots. The instrumentals all share a common theme while offering a wide variety of sounds, from aggressive boom-bap breaks to more relaxing beats that make you feel like you are floating on air. Lyrically the album is just as strong, which is a feat in itself given the amount of featured emcees. There is not a single weak verse on the project and each emcee sounds really great over the instrumental they are featured on. This one is going to get a lot of play, especially now that summer is rolling around.


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