Rating: 7.5 // 10
Genres: Grime, UK Hip-Hop, Alt. R&B
Lyrical Strally proves that he has the ability to stick it out alone on Lyrical Sample, a freshened version of grime that entertains throughout.
You might have heard of Lyrical Strally before – probably through his involvement in the group YGG, who featured on AJ Tracey‘s breakthrough project and have put out a smattering of singles and projects over the years.
Even within the trio with Saint P and PK, the MC earnt a reputation as a direct, witty rapper.
And all over this mixtape we’re treated to some hard-hitting bars and funny quips.
The opener Hold It Down is a great example of this, serving as a strong introduction to Strally’s sound. There’s these echoing voice effects that compound the angry, aggressive energy. I’m a big fan of the old-school instrumental track, and overall this is a very strong opener.
What They Say features a nice, strong chorus that the song is built around. The percussion of the beat is a lot more prominent on this track, whilst the production is tight.
Minerals Freestyle veers more towards a garage, jungle and rave vibe. It has a fast energy and is over in a flash, with the song pleasantly fading out. I particularly enjoy the adlibs for emphasis all over this, and how the beat quickens up half way through briefly.
The next track, Wilderness features a beat seemingly straight out 90s era Nintendo games, with some interesting horn-esque synths. Whilst slightly repetitive, especially at the start, I do really enjoy the vibe and feeling of this track.
Giving It All That is definitely my favourite track, with Lyrical Strally spitting over a Wiley beat. It’s a very unique instrumental that again seems to draw from computerised sounds, and to me, sounds like a hyperpop sound that would serve the basis of a Charli XCX track.
Again it is rigidly structured, but the way the song builds up around the chorus is fantastic. The switch up after the introduction is class, and refreshes the track.
With this being a mixtape, there is less cohesion and connection between songs. That opens the door for more experimentation, which certainly comes across on Never Know. It definitely belongs closer to R&B driven hip-hop. It is probably the most repetitive song on the tracklist, however it is a decent take of a slower track.
If there’s any place to explore and develop new sounds a mixtape is the perfect place to do so. This trend of slower, more R&B styled tracks, continues til the end of the tape.
Spoon/Alakazam is more on the light hearted side, with some funny and actually quite clever wordplay regarding the ability of the Pokémon Alakazam. However the punchline is repeated numerous times, yet I can’t really be mad at the song.
Halfheart is probably the most laidback and personal track, but it is done very well. I can see why the back end of the track listing features more and more R&B, as Strally shows promise within the sound.
The closing track Sky Is The Limit features that similar personal, chilled vibe and is executed just as well. The rattling snares towards the midpoint of the track are a nice touch.
On balance I feel that Strally shows that he is accomplished and well polished when it comes to spitting over grime beats, but that he also shows talent and potential when leaning towards more mainstream, R&B.
One of my favourite grime and UK hip-hop projects of the year, and well worth a listen.
- Hold It Down (A-)
- What They Want (B+)
- Minerals Freestyle (B+)
- Wilderness (A-)
- Giving It All That (A)
- Never Know (B-)
- Spoon / Alakazam (B+)
- Halfheart (B)
- Sky Is The Limit (B-)