House of Pharaohs – The Fix EP

Camaraderie aside, AJ, Bandanna, Kevin Taylor, Sam Wise, Blaze YL and Danny Stern’s will for each other’s success, and synergy in a setting prone to egos colliding is starting to bring dividends. For well over a couple of years now, the South London collective known as House of Pharaohs have been making waves individually and as a unit for their rapid lifestyle raps over lucid, bass enhanced instrumentals.  Last year they dropped a project called ‘Real Faces’ to warm reviews, with ‘RWM (Run With Me)’ the standout track in particular showing their collective prowess and individual styles. No two members sound alike and it shows because if you ask HOP fans who their favourite in the team is, you’ll get an array of different answers. Last month they gave us the follow up in the form of ‘The Fix’, a five track EP that aspires to build on the momentum the group has created for themselves.

The project starts off with lead single ‘Take Flight’ a spacey, free-flowing effort that features each member of the group flexing in every single verse. One thing that stands out on this track are the seamless transitions from verse to verse. Each spitter in the HOP clique puts their own distinct flavour on a song that is akin to the cloud rap genre popularised by the likes of Clams Casino, A$AP Mob and Playboi Carti. For newcomers to the group, this would be a good reference point to determine what each member brings to the table.

For me though, the EP’s second track and my personal favourite ‘Flash’ is where things really start to take flight. Each member tweaks their flow to an exciting effect and the way the track builds up is exceptional, perfect for blaring out of a subwoofer. The minimalist nature of the instrumental gives them a big canvas to work with but lyrically they’re not at their best. In saying that, I don’t listen to these guys for their lyrical prowess. I listen because of their delivery, charisma and ability to show dexterity on a variety of beats; qualities that are crucial in this new wave of UK Rap.

Following up on their lyricism, their content is typical of rappers in their age bracket. Girls, smoking on the loudest strands of weed, securing the bag, their come up, their opposition, fashion and of course the act of fellatio. As I mentioned before, their delivery sets them apart from most acts that you’ll catch on a typical Spotify UK Rap playlist. This shows as ‘Flash’ seamlessly transitions into ‘Wrist Work’, a track that doesn’t punch as much as the two that precede it, but it is nice to see them vary their end product. Part of me feels like they had difficulty keeping their verses short because I listen back to Bandanna and Blaze’s verses and think “they killed their verses” but in actual fact it works well for the sake of balance. Otherwise we would end up with a 20 track project with a load of solo cuts.

‘Hold Up’ has an Afroswing vibe about it without completely diluting their sound as it is catchy and melodic but unique from start to finish. I’ve warmed to Bandanna’s verse (the second one) as I recognise the need to use a singsong in order to ride the beat. However I almost didn’t recognise him for a second haha! House of Pharaohs show their versatility and ability to simplify their sound in an appealing, viable manner, and I feel that this is important for their own future success as well as the progression of the new generation of rappers in the UK. It is not a crime to try different things and I feel that their proactive approach to change will serve them well as they retain creative control and the rights to their music.

The final track ‘Hundreds’ closes out the EP in a style that is reminiscent of the first two tracks with their quick fire delivery and deft breath control. The beat also highlights their penchant for atmospheric, atypically spaced out beats; this is demonstrated throughout the EP but this beat seems a fitting way for the 18 minute project to finish. These guys flow effortlessly on the final track and again, their personalities shine through in their coherent raps. It can be blunt and crude at times but what is rap without vulgar retorts and misogyny? This track wouldn’t sound out of place during a high octane car chase scene in a filn.

The Fix is short and sweet, serving as a taster to what the group bring to the table. For me it’s more palatable than their previous, longer effort Real Faces due to its length, clear direction and the quality of songs on it. That being said there is room for improvement and it is exciting for myself, a South London resident, to see more young people from my area flourishing. The Fix is perfect for the hype car journeys and small social settings alike. Such an effort should leave fans and new listeners alike curious and wanting another hit.

Written by /
Published /
May 11
Category /
Album Review