Remember the eighties? They were the golden age for hip-hop, making stars of the likes of Run DMC, NWA and The Beastie Boys. Whenever a new compilation of hip-hop classics comes out, that’s where it all seems to start. So it’s sometimes easy to forget what a great decade the nineties was for the genre. Bands like Cyprus Hill, House of Pain, and M.O.P (and of course The Beastie Boys again) created killer club anthems that stand up to anything created in the previous decade. Those classic old skool sound from the genre’s infancy will never go out of fashion, or stop being loved by hip-hop fans the world over. Enter new boys Galaxy Cloak. A duo made up of Menes The Pharaoh, and Sorcery Orchestra, the former providing the bars, the latter the beats. Possibly the best teaming up of MC and producer since Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip.
Galaxy Cloak have just released their debut self-titled album on Esque Records. What they have done is produce a collection of songs that thinks outside the conventional guidelines of hip-hop. It certainly has those big old skool sounds. There are plenty of pop acts using eighties synths, and dance acts using old house sounds. So it’s great to hear an act doing the same for hip-hop. The result of using these old sounds ironically is that it makes it sound fresh. They mix it up with the cut and paste technique that made a name of DJ Yoda, incorporating an interesting mix of vintage style samples, that nicely tie together the relentless fifteen full on hip-hop tracks. It’s pretty clear what we’re getting into from the offset, with album opener ‘Tha North Wind’. The mix sits perfectly in-between experimental and old skool. The album is a none stop mix of killer beats and bars, mixed in soul and jazz sounds.
‘Whoz There’ is a great track to launch the album campaign, featuring a brilliantly lo-fi video, that represents the eras their music is all about. The beats are scratchy and melodic, recorded in a way that makes it sound like it’s on vinyl. But the twelve inch has never been so in vogue. With so much rap music focussing on money and bling, it’s sometimes difficult to remember what it was all about at the beginning. Galazy Cloak are bringing it all back, and have created an album that will no doubt appeal to hip-hop traditionalists and new fans alike.