It seems like an eternity that kids growing up in the UK looked up to American hip hop artists, and UK hip hop emcee's were in awe of their US counterparts. It's no secret that the UK scene has been heavily influenced by the worlds biggest hip hop superpowers from across the pond, the likes of Jay Z, Nas, Tupac and Biggie are just some of the faces that adorn the walls in teenagers bedrooms across Britain. It looked like, for a short while at least, that the UK hip hop scene was doomed, and that it was always going to stay at the same mediocre level and confined to the underground. One collective that have been changing the way people on both sides of the atlantic view the UK hip hop scene, are Piff Gang.
The North London boys are five mixtapes deep into their career, and have been causing quite a stir in both the UK and America, with their weed influenced raps showing a lot more complexity than their name suggests. Following the release of the visuals for their lead single "Middle Finger" last month, the Piff Gang lads are back with their brand new mixtape Pizzy. The whole crew; Phaze What, Don Silk, Skits, Super Dertie, Young Skout & Nick Bam all come through with their own individual style and swagger, blessing every single beat with slick verses. Production is taken care of from a host of producers, including Piff Gang regular collaborator Sumgii, French beat wizard Dream Koala and San Francisco native Ikeda, who all come together to produce backdrops that continue the stoner rap, airy vibes, but add in deep 808's and snappy kicks throughout the project which feel almost trap like at times. In fact, one of the highlights for me is the track "G.A.M.E" which features some classic sounding west coast influenced synths, that wouldn't sound out of place on a Dr Dre or Snoop Dogg album.
Pizzy is the group's fifth mixtape, and continues to build on the solid foundations that the London boys have already laid with their previous efforts. After listening to this mixtape, I can safely say I didn't have to skip a single track throughout, and that every song that came on instantly put me in a zone. Piff Gang, along with other artists such as ItsNate (who also features on Pizzy) and Mic Righteous, are the shot in the arm that UK hip hop needs to revive itself from the brink of death. Don't take my word for it though, stream Pizzy below, and if you're feeling the project you can download it from here.
- 5th December, 2013