Just before Dre took hip-hop out of the underground with The Chronic, the genre was going through it’s own civil war which, for sake of time, we can effectively boil down to NWA’s style of street life reality versus De La Souls progressive openness.
Whilst gangsta rap, and bling, have dominated the charts ever since Dre’s debut it’s been interesting to note a recent rebirth in broadminded, expansive, hip hop; Lolye Carner and Kate Tempest being the two most obvious recent examples.
Stepping into this light has also been Darlington MC Endem and producer Leum who’s work is continued on their new album ‘Anarchy is a religion’. Sonically structured around a stripped back, minimalistic, sound ‘Anarchy’ is an attempt to revisit hip-hops golden era, with an understanding that anarchy need not be about violence or negativity, but rather a commitment to being open with your bars and saying the things which others may avoid. And let’s be honest, being honest is, in an age of fake news and social media glorification, the most revolutionary thing to do; “I don’t care who’s fond of me, I don’t care for who likes me, I don’t care who hypes me; I want to look back and say we done it”. Precisely.
Social, political, and very aware ‘Anarchy’ should put Endem, Leum and Legitimate Anarchy Records on the map. To coincide with the album release, there’s a live show at the Vodoo Bar which, if recent shows at Last Train Home prove a benchmark, will be a knockout. “I’ll break your expectations” says Endem; not if you keep raising them so highly.