I spent many a Friday night staying up into the small hours to tune into and religiously record Tim Westwood’s Phat Friday radio show broadcast live from the BBC centre based in central London. I can’t count how of my mother’s Anita Baker cassettes got wiped clean and then re-used in order for me to own a copy of Funk Flex live from the tunnel 90 minute mix. There was something about the energy from a mixtape that captivated me. There were many tracks, exclusives and drops, all in one cassette package. Non-stop newness. I was hooked. I was a mixtape junkie in constant play-record mode ready to imprint a mix from the radio waves to my (mother’s) TDK tape. My fiendish mixtape habits have never really lessened, unlike my mum’s cassette collection! Which is why reviewing M-Phazes‘s Phazed Out (Mixed by DJ Rhettmatic) felt like such a pleasure.
M-Phazes has been the jewel in the crown of the Australian hip-hop scene for a while now. He’s well known in the Southern hemisphere for providing polished production for Bliss ‘n Eso, Dialectrix, Phrase, Drapht and many more beer swigging, hoodie wearing Aussie heads. M-Phazes shouldn’t be mistaken for a local celebrity being limited by his island in the sun. He’s also caught on with plenty of US artists. He produced the politically poignant “Clap” for Pharoahe Monch’s W.A.R album, “Back On The Scene” for hip-hop’s luke-warm super group Slaughterhouse and Kweli’s funk driven “Gutter” Rainbows. His production credentials are unquestionably strong both home and away.
M-Phazes latest release is a collaborative effort with boom bap favourite DJ Rhettmatic (World Famous Beat Junkies). The album is a compilation of select singles taken from the Coalmine Records’ catalog. The tracklist reads like a who’s who of boom bap; Heltah Skeltah, J-Live, El Da Sensei and Skyzoo to name a few. Standout tracks for me include the hard hitting, “Midnight Madness” featuring Heltah Skeltah sounding like their Nocturnal days. Finite alliteration from a technical Sean P matched with the dragon stout Rockness tones. Classic! Or the horn laced “Another Classic” (feat. Burke & Torae), good strong verses with expert cuts. DJ Rhettmatic also deserves a mention, mixing and blending expertly, keeping my head nodding through-out the entire 38 minute mixtape. A steady amount of bomb-dropping, shout outs from various hip hop circles and an inoffensive amount of beat juggling keep the feeling upbeat and light in a classic 90s mixtape way. Listening to this I realised I hadn’t listened to a “real” mixtape in ages. It was a pleasure to reacquaint myself with the seemingly lost art. Phazed Out is a good package. It’s a musical throwback, which showcases two talented individuals’ skills without brash braggadocio. The sound is undeniably late 90s, occasionally with more contemporary beats like “All Out” (feat. Big Noyd, Phil The Agony & Krondon), where M-Phaze shows off his slightly darker side which suits the Big Noyd, Phil The Agony & Krondon combination nicely. Phazed Out is a strong mixtape which I recommend checking. *insert sound of dropping bomb here*.