As part of South East London grime collective OGz along with MCs such as P Money, Little Dee and Jendor , Blacks has built up a huge reputation for his flow and energy on live sets. Having released Sick Individual in 2009 and Disturbing The Peace in 2013, both to the critical acclaim of grime journalists and fans, latest mixtape Sick Individual 2 sees the Lewisham MC at his majestic, lyrical best and with huge productions featured throughout, the release is a clear sign that Blacks is certainly an MC to take notice of.
Beginning with ‘Barring Intro’, a live radio freestyle during which Blacks combines fresh, new bars with some of his classic ‘timid’ bars, for which he has become renowned, the mixtape starts at a brutal pace and leaves you no time to ease yourself in gently. Not to be fooled by it’s freestyle start, upon the conclusion of the intro it is instantly clear that this release is much more than another mixtape from an MC who threw something together in a short space of time. This is a very professional release from a very unique artist and second track ‘Fly Home’ exemplifies that perfectly. Blacks’ hype flow and domineering vocals combine perfectly with the thumping bass and grimey-dubstep-fusion beat to produce one of the strongest tracks on the mixtape with Blacks instantly asserting his control with lyrics, “Think they’re sick but they’ve got no talent/think they turned up but they haven’t”.
‘Bruce Wayne’ is another strong track and the Batman sampling, trap influenced beat produced by Sir Spyro sees a lighter side of Blacks displayed as he explores the concept that he is in fact the caped crusader, “I think I’m Bruce Wayne, I turn up wavey/then I get it wavey/they’re like Bruce you’re crazy”, albeit metaphorically.
The mixtape acts as a showcase of Blacks’ ability to spit over numerous genres; ‘Work’ which features Jendor and Slickman Party and sees Blacks flowing over another bass heavy, hip hop/trap influenced beat from producer Spooky and ‘Say What Like’ which features Ruger and Trim over a wavey dubstep beat are excellent examples of the diverse sound of Sick Individual 2 and it is a breath of fresh air to a scene where mixtapes can often be accused of being unoriginal, monotonous and often stay within the confines of the traditional elements of the scene rather than daring to push the boundaries of what grime can be.
‘Business Blood’ which features Flirta D and P Money is a massive grime collaboration with the combination of Blacks’ commanding vocals either side of Flirta D’s trademark sound effect lyrics and P Money’s rapid fire flow providing a dynamic and energetic track. Another collaboration, ‘Family’ which sees Blacks team up with Boy Better Know’s Frisco, serves as an ode to Black’s love for his fam with the chorus “You ain’t about that life/what you playing at/I like to sit down and rinse it with my family/yeah I love my family” repeating over an intense, rapid electro-bass beat.
The first video to be released from Sick Individual 2 was for the track ‘Top Boy 2’, a follow up to 2013’s ‘Top Boy’ from Disturbing The Peace on which Blacks featured with P Money over TNGHT’s energetic, upbeat trap anthem ‘Higher Ground’. The second installment is a similarly charismatic and lively track and again features P Money whilst Little Dee also makes his first appearance on a ‘Top Boy’ track. Around the turn of the decade OGz were famed for their back-to-back, breakneck energetic live sets and ‘Top Boy 2’ is definitely a hark back to those days, not quite displaying the interweaving lyricism that ‘Hot Ones’ which featured on P Money’s 2009 mixtape Money Over Everyone did, but still offers an up-to-date insight into the three MCs technical ability to feature on a multitude of bass genres.
In the same way that artists like Jammer and Tempa T are known for being hype MCs and causing chaos with their bars, Blacks’ sound and flow give him that militant, combative exterior that sees him get reload after reload during live sets, although once you listen a bit deeper it is clear to see that Blacks is an MC who has a talent for writing strong lyrics and definitely has something to say. Sick Individual 2 should be praised for it’s selection of intense and powerful productions, the diverse nature of each track and the vibe that Blacks manages to maintain throughout the duration of the mixtape. As a much more well rounded and complete release in comparison to Sick Individual, Sick Individual 2 is Blacks reasserting his dominance in the scene and with an abundance of outstanding tracks, it is safe to say that he is very much an MC at the top of his game.