Review: Alwayz Recordings (AR15) – Concrete Jungle
If there were any doubts as to the thriving diversity of the UK rap scene Concrete Jungle has arrived to showcase it at its best. Billed as the biggest UK rap release of the year the all-star mixtape consists of over 50 of the UK’s biggest acts across its 16 tracks courtesy of urban hit makers Alwayz Recording, the North London label who helped launch the careers of Wretch 32, Chip and Frisco to name just three!
The album opens with some familiar faces in the form of grime heavy weights Bashy, Skepta and Kano setting the pace of things to come on Can’t See Me Again, a track that serves equally well as one of the album’s bangers as an intro. The diversity of the album is set early on though as it next transitions to the more soulful Amen, a vibe similarly continued on Concrete Jungle and We Pray. Whatever the tone though the album maintains a gritty integrity and street narrative throughout.
Even before it’s release this album has been making waves with Section Boyz’ Trapping Ain’t Dead making it to 1Xtra, including a live performance for Charlie Sloth’s Rap Up, and racking up over half a million hits online. Perhaps the most impressive feat of the album though is its ability to seamlessly unite such a wealth of artists from all stages of their careers into previously unseen collaborations. In achieving this Concrete Jungle serves as a snapshot of the extent of the UK rap scene celebrating the old and introducing the new. A strong contender for this years biggest UK rap album Concrete Jungle is a must listen tour de force for any follower of the genre.