Dr Syntax & Pete Cannon - Wallop
Reviewed by David Taylor
Genre : Hip Hop
Anyone that isn’t fully aware of the Dr. Syntax & Pete Cannon sound needs to visit Spotify and Bandcamp and get up to speed. The duo have steadily been building up a highly respectable back catalogue of Hip Hop gold in which Pete Cannon’s super sharp production skills provide the perfect setting to Dr. Syntax’s rhyme style.
I rate Pete Cannon as one of, if not the best producers on the UK scene. He has absolutely nailed the warm analogue boom bap sound when it comes to Hip Hop and he has also mastered the art of ripping apart jungle beats and has released a whole heap of jungle tracks on his own label N4 Records.
Opening track ‘Fine’ has pretty much been on a loop in my headphones since the album dropped. Syntax entertains us with raps about life’s simple pleasures, fresh new pair of trainers, nice hot bath and girls with curly hair (it’s about time someone did). It’s the ultimate Friday morning feel good jam and the tongue in cheek rhymes float nicely along to a simple melody and steady beat. Nothing fancy, does what it says on the tin.
The UK Rap scene has a tendency to put out melancholic, dark music and there is a place for that, but it is a breath of fresh air to get hold of an album intended to put a smile on your face.
‘Life Force’ tears into the album with an anthemic string loop and a wicked cut up Bollywood sounding vocal sample. The beat kicks along at a strong pace with head nod factor set off the scale. Every track on the album has a strong structure, verses followed by hooks which are well put together and dare I say catchy. This is another refreshing aspect to the album, it is good to hear traditional song structure rather than just relentless bars of lyrics over beats.
Sonically the production is superb, even the dirtiest beats and loops cut through the speakers with clarity and the bass sounds on some of the tracks such as ‘Classic in the Making’ are to die for.
When it comes to Hip Hop you can’t beat a good producer and M.C combo and Dr. Syntax and Pete Cannon seem so synced together they come as one unit. It seems that Pete Cannon’s beats were made for Dr. Syntax’s analogies and phrases that are laced over each track with punchline delivery.
‘Differently’ displays Syntax’s ability to rhyme double time with aplomb over another steady head nod beat. Illaman makes an appearance on this track and his fast flow works well alongside Dr. Syntax’s verses.
‘Mayhem’ let’s Pete Cannon’s penchant for Jungle breaks loose with style. Personally, I can’t get enough of a nice jungle break so this is right up my alley. Dr. Syntax’s vocal rides the beat deftly and every word jumps out above the track with superb clarity. The track reminds me of early Prodigy productions with some retro synth notes ala ‘Jilted Generation’ sneaking in over the break. Overall one of the strongest tracks on the L.P.
‘Somnambulent’ draws the tempo back down as Dr. Syntax kicks a slower paced rap over a back and forth beat with a moderate pace. Riski as guest M.C provides a nice contrast to this with a faster pair of verses that have a different delivery. The ever-present warm bass line finishes off the track nicely.
‘Killah’ is a full-on Jungle assault with some more retro rave synths and a nice warped Jungle bass sound to spice up the sound. This track was definitely built for a live show and this is something that is apparent with most of Dr. Syntax and Pete Cannon’s work; they definitely know how to lace a track together that will get a crowd moving at a jam.
Overall this album is out of the ordinary, it most definitely is not your average UK Hip Hop release, from the artwork to the videos to the music it is easy to tell that Dr. Syntax and Pete Cannon occupy their own lane and hats off for bringing this original flavour to the table.
One thing that the album has in spades is entertainment value and if you are looking for something to stick on, turn up and escape to this is it. I defy anyone not to crack a smile at Dr. Syntax’s humorous character and the bass heavy productions and obese drums of Pete Cannon’s arsenal pay the perfect complement to his quick-witted flow.
Go grab this you won’t regret it.