Hungry Boyz Entertainment
8o8INK is hard to classify; their music is not grime, and it doesn’t easily fit into any of the other established sub-genres of hip-hop. Ambiguity however, is an advantage for the talented London (or Lundun, as they say)-based group, as they prove on their latest record, Hungry LP.
The 13 tracks may be hard to classify, but have a soundscape that’s nevertheless magnificent and attractive. The production, handled by 8o8Charmer, is brash but controlled; it’s drum-heavy, and interspersed with minimal 808 synth sounds (the drums on the album are crazy). The microscopic effect created by the production is one of the strengths of the album.
The group’s main rapper Mumblez along with 8o8Charmer (who takes up rapping duties occasionally), present an energetic performance, crafting verses focused on themes of sex, relationships, struggle and musical genius. The performances display significant growth and ability from both artists.
Another highlight are the guest performances from other artists. Curatation of these features seems to be critical to the 808INK, as they’ve displayed consistently on past records, and there is something to be admired about the unusual approach to collaborations. Marvel at Kahlia Bakosi’s outro crooning on “Huni Yo,” Sam Wise’s show-stealing and energetic verse on “45 With Sam,” (“A couple girls might let me bust up in their face”), or Daniel Og’s complete ownership of “Beeper.” Even with the added artists, the entire production feels intentional, while remaining distinctive as ever.
8o8INK, in their musical journey, have crafted a lingo specific to them that is extensively used in their lyrics, which would be indiscernible to some London natives much less a North American audience. This is one of the weaknesses of this record. If we’re playing to the standards already set by the contemporary music industry, one listen to the track “Dssy,” would definitely leave one confused.
But 808INK has already made it clear; they abide by their own rules. From production, to features, to lyrics, their uniqueness has become synonymous with their brand. Suffice it to say, when you put on your headphones playing Hungry, you’ll be transported to the gully reality of 808INK’s Lundun.