MoJoe ‘Sour Diesel EP’
MoJoe has been making some serious waves in the underground rap scene of late. He runs Walsall’s own Chameleon Studios, he’s the boss man of Hip-Hop / Grime label Chameleon Audio and is also one half of local production duo Triple S alongside friend and fellow producer Chemist RNS. The label has seen a host of releases since it began in 2011 from MoJoe, Chemist RNS, Brains For Breakfast, Triple S and Big Dog Yogo and this latest output sees MoJoe putting out his first solo effort since 2012.
Titled the Sour Diesel EP, this is a contemporary excursion into grime that intakes influences young and old and outputs a showcase of the skills that MoJoe has honed over the course of his production career.
The title track, ‘Sour Diesel’ is first up and it’s got some serious attitude. The drum work is tight as hell, firing out rapid bursts of snares and claps alongside carefully sampled inhales, coughs and breaths. The low end accents it perfectly, big booming blasts of wobbling distorted bass that lay down a heavyweight rhythm all punctuated by his “MoJoe” audio signature. This one has a classic grime feel to it, you can hear a dash of old school influence creeping throughout it, Musical Mobs’s ‘Pulse X’ comes to mind, this isn’t to say it’s derivative however, this is very much MoJoe showcasing his sound, while allowing his influences to shine through. As befits a track called Sour Diesel, this one finishes up at a nice round 4 minutes 20.
For number 2, we get ‘Branny’ and this is an absolute monster of a track. The bass line again thunders out with unstoppable force but this time it’s even bigger, a room filling solid wall of low end engineering that meanders its way through the body of the track swelling and waning and evolving as it does. Minimal futuristic atmospherics fill out the rest of the track alongside more of MoJoe’s hard hitting well-crafted percussion. This one’s seriously heavy and begs for an MC to lay down some bars over the top, Chameleon Audio’s Big Dog Yogi would be an ideal choice.
Onto to number 3 then and this one is christened ‘38’. It’s a lot more stripped back than what this EP’s offered us so far but that’s not a bad thing. A delicate but punchy snare teams up with a nice firm kick and these provide the framework around which a sublime bit of sublow bass work plays. It’s simple but ridiculously effective, invoking memories of grime’s bridging of the gap between itself and early dubstep. This again is something that showcases MoJoe’s influences, the sort of thing that you wouldn’t be surprised to hear Plastician playing back in his early days as Plasticman . A low frequency wobbler where every part just works in synergy.
Finally we get the final track and probably my favourite of the four on offer -‘Duckin’. It begins with an epic string instrumental leading the way before it gives way to that audio signature again, chops up the strings and the weaves them into some more of MoJoe’s trademark weighty basswork. The drumwork takes a more trappy and hip hop inspired note here and clicks and taps its way along with the use of some wicked triplets and a seriously nice clap. The way the strings duck in and out on the 3rd beat of evey bar gives the whole track a wicked feel, balancing the truly grimy feel of his MoJoe’s production with the sinister musicality of the strings.
This whole release makes me remember what grime used to be all about; big wobbling distorted 808’s, the rat-a-tat bursts of percussion and a non-nonsense raw and up front philosophy that embraced a less-is-more aesthetic. MoJoe has definitely got a lot to offer the grime scene, his style embraces the spirit of grime’s roots but fuses it with more modern production techniques and you get the feeling that every track is built around a unique vision. Be it the hazy stoned attitude of ‘Sour Diesel’ or the minimal sub-low approach of ‘38’ there’s a lot to like here and I’m eager to hear what else 2016 will see Chameleon Audio bring to us.