The youth are on the move again; with rappers and producers popping up all over the place, it takes something completely different or special – or a bit of both – to stand head and shoulders above the rest. If that is the case, then these two have the formula.
The MC in question, 17-year-old Haleek Maul from Barbados, announced himself last year with the releases of his Oxyconteen EP and his Chrome Lips mixtape, and now he’s back again, butchering the beat in similar fashion. There are going to be the obvious Tyler The Creator/Earl Sweatshirt comparisons, perhaps rightly so, but Haleek is continuously venting lyrics way beyond his years, and for that, he deserves to be observed in his own light. Off the back of this release, I’d imagine he will have the attention of a few industry bigwigs.
Yes, Haleek slays this one, no doubt about it, but this track is as much about the production as it is the lyrics, so it’s only fitting that mystery man Forest Swords (real name Matthew Barnes) is paid his dues. The producer from The Wirral – just over the water from Liverpool – has built up a deep body of work that stands confidently alone in its genius, with or without an MC. The production comprises so many different sounds; it’s dark, bewildering and ominous, but it’s also gripping and exciting, ultimately evoking the mystique that currently surrounds the man himself. “Loba” is created in the same vein; its patiently building sound of impending doom wouldn’t be out of place on the score of a gritty gangster film, or even of the Metal Gear Solid games.
The track is available to stream below via Haleek Maul’s Soundcloud, while Forest Swords is set to release his new album, Engravings, via Tri Angle on August 26. Sleep on these two at your own risk.