Ripping hard drives full of music from Limewire was a popular activity back in the day. As soon as everyone realized a SWAT team wasn’t going to descend on them as they ripped obscure Afroman demos, it was open season. It is this freedom of expression alluded to by The NorthaZe in their new track and video, “RIP Limewire.” The Leeds, UK duo comprising of rappers Swish and Kosi Tides are returning from a two year hiatus with a refreshed outlook and a focus which alternates between laser-sharp and blurry at regular intervals, in the interest of universal balance.
“RIP Limewire” is a glorious revival and reinvention of Cloud Rap, a seemingly forgotten sub-genre which is here given a good British hiding with a Doc Marten covered in bass. The clouds in this version are perpetually producing precipitation, which gives The NorthaZe a certain edge lacking in many contemporaries, who don’t seem to realize that just smoking a lot of weed doesn’t guarantee greatness. There is a certain amount of talent involved, displayed in abundance by the two rappers here, who trade off technically stunting yet critically blunted verses which speak on the relatable need for a sense of identity.
“So much stock think I need a store /Stay uncut, I bleed this talk /Sway like the lake and the shore /They can’t put a name on it /Face sonics, monsoon, rain and pour /I came with the same allure.” The lyrics portray a defiance of the templates artists are expected to fold to fit into, and the flows are smooth as a sniper. Kosi’s verse contains the memorable confession, “Man watch anime and I still link black tings,” both commendable activities. The video shows Kosi and Swish cavorting around the city, surrounded by neons and embers, distorted by tripped out effects intended to disarm and disorientate. The NorthaZe are a truly unique prospect on the UK hip-hop scene, brimming with confidence, artistic flair and a discerning eye for aesthetics. There is no word on a follow-up album to 2018’s Pulp Diction 3 as of yet but check the website for updates, it’s bound to be transcendental.