Like Sweden, the Netherlands possess a solid base of anglophone rap artists, from the inception of these local scenes until today. While it all began with pioneers such as MC Miker G, Extince, 24K, D.A.M.N., Divorze and Dope Posse, the phenomenon persists in the present with dubstep hip-hoppers Dope D.O.D., busy Wu-Tang Killa Bee Cilvaringz, or crossover success Mr. Probz. BlabberMouf is a 28-year-old rap enthusiast from the south of the country (Parkstad/Heerlen), but his solo debut takes us back twenty years in time.
Living up to his nom de plume, BlabberMouf practices the energetic rap style of the earlier '90s, the high cadence chopped up by a steady staccato/stutter that is liable to instant accelerations and tuneful Jamaican inflections, resulting in a bumpy and jumpy but still unstoppable flow. Add a loudspeaker voice and you have a rapper whose idea of riding a beat suggests he views the task as a rodeo. Producers Truffel the Phunky Phaqir, Kick Back, Propo '88 and Zudo (collectively known as Da Shogun BeatCats) ensure the album's historical accuracy with beats that sound like they were found on DAT tapes from recording sessions by the likes of A.D.O.R., Artifacts, Fu-Schnickens, Miilkbone, etc.
It's safe to say that years of collective studying went into the making of "Da BlabberMouf LP" (subtitled "BackWitDaBoomAndBlabberastikRhymes.") As an excercise in a revered ancient craft, it aims to please a specific audience. As the Dutch MC says on "Da Blabberastik Intro": "You thought they didn't make joints like this no more. But you were wrong, yo. It's Da BlabberMouf LP." He's right. Technically the project is a faithful re-enactment of hip-hop circa precisely 1994. There are loads of scratches - naturally all vocal samples matching the time frame. It's full of these typical hard-hitting kick/snare hybrids and expansive, all-embracing basslines. Phrases like "Blow up the spot," "Make mad moves" and "Respect the architect" are strategically placed to provide the perfect nostalgic experience. Headnodding is literally inescapable. As far as creating the illusion goes that the good old days can be instantly resurrected, few have done it so convincingly.
"Da BlabberMouf LP" is also strictly rap about rap. It's only tangentially about hip-hop, what it might mean when you see yourself in a 'true school' tradition. BlabberMouf doesn't waste any time philosophizing about the culture. He's about recreating a certain sound and styles. "I represent the hardcore heads," he says. Perhaps then the theoretical framework of hip-hop is implicit, still good rappers are known to explain themselves in detail. BlabberMouf largely settles for the most common clichés. "Backpacks with raps, crates with breaks, and bags of reefer." Two turntables and a mic. Pop rappers are wack. He'll take you out.
Under these circumstances declarations to take it "to the next plateau, and beyond" and to have "an appetite for greater things" simply ring hollow. At one point he notes that his flows are "too fast for your current state of mind." That may be, but to be honest on a lyrical level you're not missing much if you're unable to follow BlabberMouf. And to brag that "this is what hip-hop is supposed to sound like" (following a quote of the old Tribe motto "Skilled in the trade of that old boom bap") is nothing short of ironic because yes, "Da BlabberMouf LP" may sound like the kind of hip-hop many of us still mourn after, but the kind of hip-hop that was worth being inspired by has always been more than a mere format. No doubt, BlabberMouf's pizzazz is contagious. The album is in constant forward motion and it's practically impossible to barge in between. There's some truth to his boast "Fuck all that half-ass shit, we goin' all the way." Blabber and his boys are skilled in the trade. Tracks like "Come Correct" and "StepInDaJam" provide a distinct rush that can't be compared to the dizzy high contemporary rap promises. And they are wise enough to see their potential in the global niche market that spans from Eastern Europe to South America to Asia and Australia. And neither is "Da BlabberMouf LP" an ego trip but rather it's a shared experience, one that reminds us that hip-hop truly occurs when it's something multiple people partake in. In that regard the album shows that Da Shogunz, the greater collective BlabberMouf is part of, understand the music they so feverishly recreate at least half-way.
Music Vibes: 6 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 4 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 5 of 10
Originally posted: June 30, 2015