Paul White – ‘Rapping With Paul White’ (One-Handed Music)

Last years ‘Paul White & The Purple Brain’ was a fascinating jaunt into the world of prog and psych-rock from the talented South Londoner, which displayed a level of versatility and divergence that has further cemented his position as one of the most impressive talents in hip-hop today.

White’s first full-length vocal project comes in the form of ‘Rapping With Paul White’, released via Alex Chase’s One-Handed imprint, and another significant left-turn in his current body of work, showcasing seven relatively lesser-known MCs and vocalists on an album spanning 18 tracks.

Lead single ‘Trust’, featuring Stones Throw regular Guilty Simpson, is a sparse affair. The Detroit rappers sullen cautions of “suffocating in the drama, these days I only put trust in my Mama” are met with an ice-cold, minimalist beat collage. Rising star of the rap world Danny Brown provides his unique, debauched flow over the cascading funk of ‘One Of Life’s Pleasures’, the piano-driven banger with it’s hyperactive synth-noodling, on a par with any production talent within the upper echelons of the rap world.

UK hip-hop survivor Jehst shines on ‘Indigo Glow’ whilst Moe Pope’s ‘Stampeding Elephants’ see’s White tackle a rough Afrobeat whilst Pope’s smooth verse compare finding success in a saturated rap-market to the hierachy of the jungle.

Nearly half of this album is made up of instrumentals, and it is here where Whites more prolific Akai and Emu wizardry is put on display, reminiscent of his incredible debut ‘The Strange Dreams Of Paul White’. From the pounding medieval vocoder of ‘The Doldrums’, the Dilla-esque romanticism of ‘Thirty Days’ and the pensive textures of ‘Right On’, all of this bound together with his trademark tongue-in-cheek skits and vocal samples. White has once again shown justification for his championing by many as being at the forefront of the current
crop of upcoming hip-hop producers.

One would anticipate a sense of dislocation from this album, given the often vibe- sapping online musical exchange between producer and MC; not under Whites watch. Resoundingly there is a real sense of collectiveness in these tracks, which can sometimes be lacking in producer full-lengths. As the opening skit ‘We Make A Lot Of Noise’ suggests, “We don’t know where we’re going, but we sure make a lot of noise getting there.” Were not quite sure where Paul White is trying to get to, but it’s definitely the “getting there” that’s worth keeping a close eye on.

Josh Thomas

‘Rapping With Paul White’ is out now on One-Handed Music.

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