Review: Cheech x Morriarchi – Kush Garden EP
When Mancunian rhymer Cheech let it slip last year that he was working on an EP with Bad Taste Records producer Morriarchi. I knew we were in for a treat. Following on from on from Cheech’s group The Bluntskins’ second album, and the ‘Wasted Talent’ EP with Seymour comes ‘Kush Garden’, it doesn’t disappoint.
Morriarchi’s production is undoubtedly influenced by that classic East Coast sound. Rather than trying to replicate the DJ Premiers and Stoupes of this world, it echoes mid-90s Buckwild or early Fondle ‘Em releases, with a modern twist. The beats are subtle and nuanced throughout, characterised by thick bass lines, chunky drums and mesmerising, jazzed-out samples. This provides an ideal canvas for Cheech to paint his free form flow, more akin to The Pharcyde or Hieroglyphics than the formulaic, overly-metronomic style adopted by many post-2000 MCs.
Content-wise, there are frequent nods to the MC’s preferred pastime, as his moniker and the EP title suggests. These are nestled next to musings on daily life and society, statements of verbal superiority and amusing wrestling references, which seem to be Cheech’s second favourite topic –“Fly away from the cage like Mankind, but still can’t escape from the fate of mankind.”
The bar above is taken from one of the EP’s standout tracks ‘No Doubt’, a 3-minute lyrical workout where Cheech goes in on a bottom-heavy banger. The other highlight for me is the title track, where he rides a vibraphone sample so blissfully mellow it could make even the most staunch non-smoker want to light one up. The chemistry between the MC and producer is clear throughout and the choice of skits compliments the tracklist nicely.
If I had one criticism, it’d be that Cheech doesn’t really stray from the train-of-thought/braggadocio on this EP. However, his playful, unpredictable delivery is so entertaining that it doesn’t even matter. ‘Kush Garden’ is a wicked addition to a rapidly-expanding discography and probably the best £3 you’ll spend this year.