Dabbla - 'Death Moves' album review
Dabbla's many fatal kung-fu flying kicks never miss, and leave a lasting impact to the tune of a healthy mix of entertainment and profound thought provoking offerings.
Replay Value8.7
8.5Overall Score
Reader Rating: (5 Votes)

London rapper Dabbla exists as a refreshingly unique, boundary bending entity of innovation primarily within the UK hip-hop scene. His incomparable style of furiously attacking the beats the few talented producers that are up to scratch with his imprint, results in a head-spinning fusion of hip-hop & grime with splashes of garage – this style has been branded ‘hybrid rap‘, and I couldn’t think of a better way to summarise it.

There is truly no other rappers out there doing what he does, or even coming close – not just in terms of the individualistic approach, but the high standard he executes every musical venture in. Having achieved widespread critical acclaim and a decent commercial performance with debut album ‘Year of the Monkey‘, he is back to menace your speakers again with new album ‘Death Moves‘.

The Potent Funk Records Problem Child tears up the multitude of lavish beats handed him to make up ‘Death Moves‘ from a range of crafty ears including Sumgii, GhosTown,¬†AJSwizzy, Dirty Dike, Pete Cannon, Hashfinger, Dag Nabbit, Purist and Don Piper. The spread of production ensures the project boasts a wealth of approaches yet the extensive amount of different producers does not result in a disjointed feel, rather creates a varied mural with lots to appreciate.

There is something very inviting about how words just roll off the tongue effortlessly with Dabbla’s delivery – lending him your ear for prolonged periods of time is always a wise move. Furthermore these words are punctuated with a confident self-assuredness that greatly increases the power the enter your skull with. Dabbla has full belief in himself and comes across in a fashion of making sure you know this.

For the title track, a slightly more monotone and almost reserved tone is taken up in comparison to Dabbla’s usual highly animated approach, and to good effect. Despite the toned down plain-spoken flow, his trademark vocal intensity retains as Dabbla’s style of rapping in the way he truly believes in every word he spits and makes sure you do to, perseveres. The sound of his voice here fuses so well with the mood of the instrumental to really elucidate the knowledge he’s kicking.

One of the many ear (and eye) catching moments of the alluring project is the observantly titled ‘Fuck Up The Dance‘; as it’s sure to do exactly that when mashed up in a live setting. ‘FUTD‘ see’s Dabbla going through the motions rapidly and has been visualised spectacularly. This utterly cinematic effort is totally befitting of such a neck breaking banger – take a look for yourself:

Eva Lazarus provides a somewhat raspy, soulful touch illuminating ‘Flex‘ where Dabbla also enlists his LDZ crew for a barring frenzy. This tune sees the group taking turns going in with equally impressive verses that let up for a blissful moment of Lazarus‘ chorus contribution, amounting to a fiery flex. On that note, there isn’t a single weak feature throughout the project: Rag n Bone Man’s appearance on Tweeters is sumptuous and golden, and I foresee it getting stuck in many a head. The tune is soaked in feelgood bouncy vibes, Jam Baxter turns up with the lyricism on point (as always) stoking the flame of Dead Players on ‘Long Gone‘. Whereas Illaman pops up on ‘Sumin¬†Like‘ with a momentous verse atop the floating, cloudy vibe of the track.

Death Moves‘ appears to grow broodier as the tracklist progresses; like a usually peaceful master of the martial art Dabbla is a big fan of (kung-fu) who has been consistently provoked and is finally beginning to lash out, without mercy. Dabbla’s many fatal kung-fu flying kicks never miss, and leave a lasting impact to the tune of a healthy mix of entertainment and profound thought provoking offerings.

In some places, Dabbla’s sophomore offering has me fully ready to bust down every dance move in my repertoire, and at others it has me equally as ready to search within and seek to better myself, ruminating on the wealth of topics he voraciously covers while meditating on some pretentious mountain top, on some faux Buddhist vibe. Not only is his range of lexicon deftly utilised, it can be enjoyed on a variety of levels – while you can sit back and devote full attention to each witty word and appreciate how he weaves it altogether, you can alternatively just bop and be swept with the highly flammable flow while not being too hypnotised.

The project finishes on a real high note as Dabbla does not hold back delivering the fatal blow that is ‘Legs to a Snake‘, which is supported by the orientally flavoured dojo-training style beat. A finale to match any of em, proving as if there was any doubt at this point that not only is Dabbla one of the best to be currently doing it, but he’s a true master of his craft; a highly certified kung fu black-belt that I don’t foresee anyone wrangling from him, considering his extensive wealth of MC-ending ‘Death Moves‘.

Death Moves

Death Moves‘ is available to terrorise your speakers on the 1st October, courtesy of Potent Funk Records. Click here to pre-order it!

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