Mike Skinner and Murkage Dave present the Tonga EP. The project was born out of the club night run by the duo in London, and celebrates a successful year of the rap, grime and dubstep event. The artist behind the name are Skinner, Dave, Gaika, Oscar#worldpeace, Klepto and DJ Smith.
Tonga Balloon Gang is a stormer of an opening track. The refrain from Skinner is classic, and is a welcome reminder of his unrelenting talent. The energetic, wobbly bass and deep snares along with memorable, hyped lyrics in the verses. It's a great introduction to the vibe displayed on the Tonga EP, which is a great continuation and evolution of Skinner's legacy.
Big Narstie's appearance is pretty good too. Over a slow moving, textured instrumental which features some dope change-ups (it starts with some cheap brass synth sounds, and closes with emotive, stirring piano chords), Narstie displays his passionate writing, along with some witty punchlines such as "I am as straight as a ruler, I do not bend" and "I move more food than Waitrose". Big Narstie's charisma has always been a great draw to his music, and it is displayed in full on this cut.
Grime veteran Jammer appears on Make No Scene, and his instantly recognisable tone is a good match for the simplistic, piano-based instrumental, although it's not something I'd usually expect to hear the Murkle Man flow over. The up tempo, house-influenced track is complimented by a sincere message that is translated well through both the lyricism and the production.
The Tonga EP is a short and sweet project which sounds tastefully modern with some well-chosen guest appearances. Both Big Narstie and Jammer deliver the goods, and the production is classy and expertly handled, resulting in a cohesive listen. I feel now I have to go to the night itself and immerse myself in the experience showcased here.