It's hard not to feel a touch frustrated on behalf of Dabbla. Don't get me wrong, he's a very gifted rapper indeed and "Year Of The Monkey" is a fantastic album but three of his label mates have released albums in 2016 that are undoubtedly in the genre's upper echelons and one, in the humble opinion of this scribe, is of a calibre equivalent to that of Fear Of A Black Planet" or "Enter The Wu Tang". The larynx-perforating verbal gymnastics of Brighton's Ocean Wisdom left anyone who listened to his debut full-length "Chaos '93" in one sitting as breathless as if they'd just run 3 back-to-back marathons; the elegiac, imagery-stacked poetics of Ed Scissor backed by the tear-jerking neo-classical production of Lamplighter on "Tell Them It's Winter" demonstrated that a genre often noted for its uzi-toting, macho posturing could be as heart-rending as Tim Buckley at his most forlorn and Onoe Caponoe's absolutely staggering "Spells From The Cyclops", an album so extraordinarily far out that if someone had told me it was a transmission picked up from a space probe on its way to earth from somewhere deep within the Andromeda Galaxy, I'd have believed them. So psychedelic, it makes Love's "Forever Changes" sound like "Be Here Now", it was obviously the work of an innovator in the same class as The Young Gods or Disco Inferno, but whereas their decision to pioneer was a conscious one, "Spells ..." was the simply the work of a genius who, without toiling away for weeks in his studio, discovered a way to turn the untamed chaos of his imagination into a record. It was my album of the year after just one play, simply because the idea that someone could come up with anything even approaching its jaw-dropping brilliance is frankly, ludicrous. I think I just broke the world digression record there so back to Dabbla's "Year Of The Monkey". It's a superlative slab of hip-hop brimming with witty, self-deprecating, sometimes corrosive lyrics with scalpel-sharp production by (among others) Ghosttown and Chemo and the track "Penis For A Day" featuring Dubbledge and Dirty Dike is as funny as anything you'll hear all year. High Focus only deal in greatness and Dabbla has earned his place on their roster. Can you think of another label with 4 albums in their entire back catalogue of the magnitude I've just outlined? No wonder that thick, gobby plagiarist Noel Gallagher wants hip-hop banned from Glastonbury. One song on any of the albums I've just mentioned has more excitement packed into it than 5 hours of the plodding, tedious, recycled riff-raffery he peddles and has the audacity to say was his own idea rather than the '60s or '70s icon he ripped it off from. Cunt.
Favorite track: Penis For The Day Feat. Dubbledge & Dirty Dike.