Wellingorough based MC Rampage drops his first EP, “The Starting Line”, on Friday, and if you wanted a rough idea of what’s in store there, the main word is: grease. Whether Rampage lives that life, I neither know nor care, but the first thing that grabs me on playing this EP is how authentic he sounds, which automatically elevates this release above the majority of MCs that run a similar line in lyrics. Below is a closer look at “The Starting Line”, and why I believe Rampage is yet another MC that’s well worth watching.
Things get underway with “It’s Real” which sees a welcome return for Steel Banglez on production. Rampage sets the agenda for the majority of the EP right here, with bars that paint vivid pictures that take in themes from both the road and family circumstances. Rampage’s delivery is flawless through, which is a constant theme on the EP, and the productions use of guitars, piano, and stripped back drums adds a rising, almost anthemic feel to this track.
“Gangster” is lyrically what you’d expect from song with that title, but none the worse for it. Rampage’s flow is a bit quicker than usual on this one. Too Greezy’s beat is also well worth highlighting, taking in somber, almost Latin sounding trumpets and gangster film dialogue.
Third track, “IDC” is straight fuckery. Baza‘s on production duty this time round, and the soft, lilting beat he provides is a total contrast to the dark, hard bars that Rampage throws over the top. Sounds like it shouldn’t work? It does.
Izzie Gibbs makes an appearance (the only guest spot on the entire release) on “Nowadays”. That’s embedded at the top of the page, so I’ll leave that to you to judge, but suffice to say both MCs go in.
“Leaning” is possibly my favourite track on the EP. It’s essentially a weed song, but Rampage’s bars and delivery make it feel like so much more, and that’s one of the reasons I rate Rampage so highly. He doesn’t really bring anything new to the table in terms of lyrical subjects, but his execution, delivery, flow, and his presence on the mic are hard to ignore. Whether he’s talking about straps, drugs, or life, it always sounds believable, and it’s always delivered with intent. Consesus supplies the perfect production for “Leaning”, and I’d like to hear more like this from both Consensus and Rampage.
The final track on the EP, “I Don’t Play” is over Edgem‘s banger, “Secret Garden”. Now this track is me in a nutshell. To be honest, it’s a brave move from Rampage to tackle a track like this (but not the first time, check his “What You Know” track from DeadstockGrime’s Authentic earlier this year), but he comes close to a flawless victory with this one. My only complaint is the American sounding vocoder chorus, but it’s a minor complaint when a track is this heavy.
For a first full release, this is fucking hard and should, hopefully, prove to be the first of many from Rampage. From a production point of view he seems to have gone out of his way to pick tracks that haven’t been rinsed, and tackled the kind of beat I wanna hear more people spit over (Secret Garden). The EP maybe lacks a tune with a quicker production, but again, a minor complaint. From an MC perspective I can’t knock this at all. It’s a very sick, fully rounded release from an MC that sounds like he’s been doing it for years.
“The Starting Line EP” is out on September 11th (Friday), and it’s well worth investigating. It’s up to you, of course, but I get the feeling that, with a few radio shows under his belt, after this, you won’t have an option to avoid him.