Dabbla - Death Moves [Potent Funk]

Review: Dabbla – Death Moves [Potent Funk]

In Hip Hop by Joe Ponting

He’s tightened up his chokeslam, honed his half nelson and perfected his piledriver, and now he’s ready – Dabbla is back with a brand new album, Death Moves.

Over the last few months new Dabbla tracks have been rolling off the Potent Funk production line with some regularity and now the full package is primed and ready for contact, locked down and bristling with A-list feature spots and a roster of big-name production credits.

Not for nothing is the North London MC one of the most respected names in the game, and on Death Moves – his second full-length release after 2016’s Year of the Monkey and following on from his 2017 mixtape Chapsville – he cranks things still higher, stamping his signature flow and sharp-tongued lyricism on a family-size multipack of beats of all flavours. Check out latest track ‘Long Gone’ featuring Jam Baxter to see exactly where Dabbla’s at right now.

The frisky UK sound on which Dabbla set the foundations of his empire makes up the meat of Death Moves, and this is how it should be – there’s not many holding mics in the UK at present who can touch Dabbla when he’s handed sample-led tracks like single ‘Flying’ (produced by AJSwizzy).

It’s a similar vibe on the anarchic groove of ‘Tweeters’, a joyful Dag Nabit production which features vocals from Rag ‘N’ Bone Man alongside some of Dabbla’s finest lyrics to date, and the slinky ‘Spine’ (produced by Ghosttown).

This is classic Dabbla, carrying the torch which lit the touch paper on his breakthrough track ‘Psychoville’, but elsewhere he strikes out into new ground, making it his own with every step he takes. Recent single ‘FUTD’ sees Dabbla go in over a Sumgii beat as thick and heavy as a Range Rover full of Mr Whippy, all deep 808s and menacing samples, but the stateside instrumentation simply serves as a different colour canvas for Dabbla to let loose on.

This is in stark contrast to the claustrophobic title track – produced by Pete Cannon, Ghosttown & Dirty Dike – which sees Dabbla rattling off lines like a monotone low-key uzi, and again to the epic ‘Flex’ which, with features from Ldz and Eva Lazarus, might just be the most rounded Dabbla track to date.

Death Moves is out on Potent Funk after October 1 – pre-order here now.