KLashNekOff – Back to The Sagas

When I first got into Hip Hop, I’ll fully admit that I was listening to what MTV Base & BET told me to listen to. Eventually I woke up and realised that there was a world of better music, a world of better Hip Hop right under my nose in the form of U.K Hip Hop. The first album I bought that would fall into this genre was The Sagas Of… by Klashnekoff.

As a self-confessed lover of UK Hip Hop, you could say that I’d possibly be the harshest critic of Back to The Sagas, the album that follows what I had originally considered a class act impossible to equal or even top.

I was wrong.

At 4:14, the intro track – “Church Intro” is not your standard, bullshit album intro. The beat had me nodding before Klash started spitting and when he does grace the mic at 1:32 in it is energetic, passionate and assertive – a sure sign of a man who knows what he is doing and is still hungry after a massive 9 years from The Sagas Of… to Back to The Sagas.

“It’s a newer sound you’ll hear on Back to The Sagas but a cohesive one”

I’m of the opinion that a real artist keeps a relationship with their audience and I’m particularly a fan of tracks that communicate honestly with the listener with real details of the artist’s life – I think this is the best representation of ‘keeping it real’ and this is put across perfectly on “Back to The Sagas Intro” (you know an album is big when it needs 2 intros!) where Klash fills us in on some details of exactly what was going during his time off the mic. Details of business relationships that didn’t work out, failed projects and associates showing their true colours. The beat fits the concept perfectly, some ghostly choir vocals fade in and out and the beat stays lazy enough to let Klash’s vocals take centre stage.

One of my favourite tracks from “The Sagas Of…” was ‘All I Got.’ It inspired me on many tracks when I couldn’t quite get the words flowing. Track number 3 “Keep It Moving” is this albums equivalent. The beat is very nice and for me evokes a certain Stevie Wonder vibe. Some real soulful vocals from ‘D.Ablo’ set the track off perfectly and allow the mind to wander between some sick bars such as;

“Duckin the C.I.D undercovers, flingin’ the cuffs at me, bangin’ me up in custody; family started cussin’ me”

It’s a real simple beat on “Tek Time” that provides the backdrop to Klash, Skriblah, D. Ablo and K9’s vocals. A simple loop of some tabla drums, some vibraphone and some harpsichord every now and again gives an eery and mysterious atmosphere. K9 suits the track perfectly and his verse is flawless.

“Somebody Tell Me” is another favourite of mine – some simple piano chords, occasional synths, strings, horns and a very pretty vocal sample all come together beautifully as Wretch 32 shines on a guest verse questioning existence. His verse opens with a particularly poignant statement;

“I don’t know If I was planned, I never questioned my Mum about her plans”

“Paper Up” opens with some full on church organs that scream a full 45 seconds before the drums drop in which builds hype and atmosphere nicely. Would love to see a video for this one. Klash speaks on political corruption, police brutality, government sleaze and recession as the drums provide the rhythm to the looping organs.

It’s a newer sound that you’ll hear on back to The Sagas but a cohesive one. Every track fits the previous and precedes the next one spot on as a good album should. It’s cohesion and the way that the tracks gel give it a polished feel without sacrificing the validity of the content. Too many artists can have some great lyrics and concepts ruined by a less than average beat and poor mixing but all bases are covered here – the beats are not only sick but they fit the lyrics and the concept.

As I said – I’m likely to be one of the harshest critics to review Back to The Sagas because of the impact ‘The Sagas Of…” had when I first heard it but Klash has risen to the challenge, he’s raised the bar and he’s cemented his place as a UK Hip Hop artist that us lovers of the genre can be proud of.


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