West London MC K9 made his name as a member of various grime crews during his youth, including the formidable Younger Musical Mobb, a regular feature on both the radio and rave circuits of the early 2000s. Having graduated from those initial forays into the industry, on the first instalment of his mixtape series he developed a reputation as a solo artist willing to join forces with what were, at that time, experimental producers, working at the fringes of grime’s instrumental scene.
Accordingly, he has found an audience among fans of some of the more leftfield bass sounds to emerge from the capital, not least due to the emotional breadth of the subject matter tackled in his lyrics. On ‘Mad in the Cut 2’, he delivers another slice of his trademark gritty, semi-barked vocals, over richly textured instrumentals from previous collaborators Dark0, Visionist and MssingNo.
The rapper’s style remains fiercely contemporary, though at times the listener might wish he strayed more often from the well-trodden template of hard-hitting trap flows over shimmering, effervescent synths and snares. While this record does represent a shift in his sound, to something more bombastic, K9 struggles to define himself against a tide of similar rappers currently active in London, perhaps relying too heavily on the credibility of the production values.
The third track — ‘Fall Of Troy’ — provides the strongest glimpse of the skippier, more grime-oriented flows readily employed on his first mixtape and, as such, while this is a release with much to recommend it, it is fair to say that the interesting elements of the music are often happening beneath the vocals. Nonetheless, fans of the MC will likely enjoy this sequel to his 2014 record, despite the fact that, vocally, it fails to cover especially new ground.
Words: Alex McFadyen
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