UK Hip Hop: International
Task Force - Music From The Corner Volume 1
Task Force - Music From The Corner Volume 1Those busy lads - the brothers McBain, are back once again, but this time everything is self produced, self financed, and self distributed etc. This is total underground shiz straight from the source. On reading the liner notes of the black & white CD inlay we are told that these recordings were created in their living room and as such have not been professionally mastered. Noting this, one is prepared for some super lo-fi demo quality stuff, but the sound quality is pretty good and if they hadn't made such a point of this you wouldn't necessarily think it was under-produced. Rather, you'd just think that it was raw, grimy and unpolished, which as luck would have it is the type of Hip Hop I prefer, as opposed to over commercialised pop crossover music.

The album opens with a spoken introduction over some futuristic synth sounds, explaining that, 'This is Music From The Corner, its Dirty and Nasty' etc and sets the user up as to what to expect. Many of the lyrics don't depart too far from the usual accepted topics, except that there is a local slant and therefore more relevance to you and I. The first track is the title track - 'Music From The Corner', a dark explanation of what Task Force are all about, their Highbury environment and their musical philosophies. Its a slow paced head nodder and should be a favourite with all Itchy Town heads. Much of what follows is recorded in the same vein. 'It's Over' comes next, utilising a solo acoustic Spanish guitar sample to good effect. Accomplished bragadacio raps complete the track. 'Skarecrows' is next up and suffers from a repetitive beat, but is nice all the same, as usual the lyrics and vocal tones from Cherster P and Fama G raise the track up.

Stand out tracks for me include the eerie strings backed 'Solar Vs Lunar', which seems to stir some deep emotion within me, 'Walk With Me' with its lute type accompaniment and original beat pattern give it a medieval feel. It is more Jump Up than most of the other tracks and has real energy about it. 'The Three Amigos' featuring Braintax, the only real guest on the CD, was formerly available on the Stealth Mag cover CD, but this version seems to be mixed to a higher standard and creates a Wild West atmosphere with its spaghetti western guitar sample and interesting, imaginative theme based lyrics.

'Stranger On The Shore' is a decent enough track, but could do with further development. 'Hypadermic Verse' is for me another of the stronger tracks, no MC would want to mess with Chester and Farma after hearing this fiery display of spitting skill. Chester steps up for production duties on 'Red Light District' and delivers some of the most meaningful verses on the whole record breaking down all that is wrong with the music industry, the associated media and artists that change up their styles to pursue a commercial agenda. The final track 'Its Hard' is a tale of how life is difficult to make it being an MC in the UK rap game. Many critics will complain at UK crews propensity to gravitate towards this topic, but I feel it is a valid point to address, until the situation is remedied, and after all Task Force didn't milk the topic, an accusation that has been levelled at others. This track has a flute backing which gives it an even more medieval feel than 'Walk With Me' or indeed 'Lord Blatchford's Conquest' from Fleapit.

Pretty much all the tracks are produced by Farma G, except for 'Its Over' and 'Red Light District', which are produced by Chester P. Cuts by DJ Slippaz are featured on 'Solar Vs Lunar' and 'Red Light District'.

This isn't necessarily the Task Force you'd be expecting from their previous work, but most of their other work has either been produced by other people or has come about by way of guesting on other acts tracks. This is probably more like the real Task Force. The lyrics are all there, on point as usual, and although these beats are not ones that weren't good enough to warrant a proper release, they can on occasion be a little simplistic in terms of arrangement and progression and serve more as a metronomic backing for the MCs to display their skills over. However I would have this same complaint of a lot of contemporary tracks where a four bar pattern is left unchanged to the end of the track. Others are complete bangers which should move even the sternest Hip Hop critic and make us plead to the boys - put this out on wax for the DJs and vinyl lovers. This mini album shows the wealth of ideas and talent bursting out of the Task Force crew, so much so that they seem to be on everyone's records at the moment. Lets hope that they don't spread themselves too thin and burn out. I'm not one to buy CDs, I hardly play them, to me it is like I don't own the music, but basically, this one CD you need in your collection. At the moment it is only available from the official Task Force website @ http://www.musicfromthecorner.com or from directly from Chester or Farma themselves, should you happen to bump into them.

Visit Task Force on the web: www.musicfromthecorner.com :: www.lowliferecords.co.uk
Task Force Discography :: Email: taskforce@easy.com

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