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Album Review

Liverpudlian rapper Elliott Egerton, stage name Bang On!, describes his take on rap as "punk-donk-dub-hip-hop." It's hard to say whether or not that's an accurate description, but a listen to his debut album makes a few things clear. First of all, he's no slave to the beat or even to comprehensibility: "Teeth," the album's opening track, is both indecipherable (especially near the end, when multiple tracks of his voice are layered on top of each other) and beatless, accompanied only by sustained notes played on a distorted electric guitar. Second, he honors the grime tradition to which he is a clear heir: "Suttin Like That," the slow-grinding "'ands 'igh," and the desultory dub-funk of "No Lifts, No Ladders" all drink deeply of grime's dark, juddering grooves. And third, he's not much concerned with political correctness, as the confrontational "Your Gay" demonstrates. (That last track is more socially complicated than its title might suggest, though a song like this is something of a blunt instrument when it comes to conveying that kind of complexity.) Everywhere are hints of rockishness: that corrosive electric guitar that anchors the opening track reappears frequently throughout the album (notably in startlingly bluesy fashion on "Got It"), and the rock influence shows up more subtly in the head-long punk tempo of "Punk-Donk," thus presenting the closest thing there is to a recurring theme on this wildly diverse program — that, and the off-kilter, one-leg-shorter-than-the-other beat that dubstep appropriated from grime on its way to becoming the new default setting in U.K. club music. Above it all, Egerton's voice chatters and spits, deftly riding the rhythm at one moment and snarlingly disregarding it the next. It's a startling, challenging, and significantly enjoyable debut album.


Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '10s

With a style that's fast, fun, and often funny, Liverpool rapper Bang On! first came on the scene in 2008, cutting a Scouse version of Rusko's "Cockney Thugs" dubbed "Scally Thugs." Already burning up the Internet, Bang On! -- born Elliott Egerton -- took to the stage next, providing hooded audiences across the U.K. an energetic grime show that put him on many must-see lists. The Big Dada label...
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