Review: CAPPO – THE BOOT EP [+ Stream]

In Hip Hop by Benny Diction

Review: CAPPO – THE BOOT EP [+ Stream]

The Boot EP cover art

Considering he’s only 4 years my senior, it’s striking to know that I’ve been checking for Cappo for almost as long as I’ve been buying hip-hop music full stop. Along with Roots Manuva, Lewis Parker, Task Force and Jehst, the veteran Notts MC was one of the artists that got me heavily into UK rap music.

Hailing from the East Midlands, I was especially keen to hear his music and purchased his first vinyl release the ‘Cap 3000 EP’ in ’99 off the back of its favourable reviews (no streaming previews back then!), before the follow-up ‘The Codex EP’ in 2000. Since then he’s amassed one of the most impressive discographies in the scene, notable for not only its sheer volume but also its consistent quality and uncompromising hardness, with a distinctive voice and a style unlike anyone else.

Rather than slow down, if anything he seems to be more productive than ever. Last year saw the release of the ‘Thousand Word Exodus’ 12”, the Nappa-produced ‘Red Hot’ 12”, his third collabo LP with Theorist ‘G3TOUT’ and the ‘Un:Programmable Raw’ EP with Sam Zircon, which bore the heavyweight ‘Swagbasco’ (tune of the year if you ask me).

This time round, Jazz T and Zygote handle the production on the 4-track ‘Boot EP’, propelled by the monstrous opening track ‘Yul Brynner’ (see video). Over a bass-heavy, bell-driven beat, the Iron Condor sets it off perfectly with a clear statement of intent: “Enough, you want the same again, I’ll serve it to ya”. “Hailing from the underground I can’t dumb it down” he later adds, summarising in succinct fashion his uncompromising attitude and approach.

The rest of the EP continues in a similar vein, Capps delivering his trademark, esoteric lyricism over dramatic, minimalist production, ‘on some 1970s cop show type shit’ as the creators put it. After ‘Yul Brynner’, the best example of this is ‘Out Of Your Mind’, moody electric piano and woodwind/brass samples layered over neck-snapping drums to wicked effect. ‘Tree Frog’ exhibits wonderfully Cappo’s inimitable turn of phrase: whilst most rappers would just say “My hat and sneakers is designer”, he opts for the far more descriptive “five- panel same colour of a African tree frog… fitted cap same colour as the wings of a peacock”.

If the ‘G3TOUT’ LP was the sound of Cappo experimenting with more contemporary production, the ‘Boot EP’ is more of that classic, head-nodding boom bap that he is known for doing expertly. As ‘Yul Brynner’ makes clear, Cappo is well aware of the facets that appeal so strongly to his fan base. The fact that the vinyl copies sold out days before its release is testament to the strength of his cult following and the ‘Boot EP’ is another solid release for both long-time fans and latecomers.

Cappo – The Boot EP produced by Zygote & Jazz T is out now –