Themselves

Ahead of this summer's comeback album CrownsDown Themselves have dropped this 39 minute mixtape and it's free to download. If you cast your mind back to when Real Madrid ruled the football world with their dream team line up, this mixtape would be the hip hop equivalent. Featuring contributions from a host of Anticon dudes like Yoni Wolf, Sole and Pedestrian plus hip hop's alternative elite like Buck 65, Aesop Rock, Slug and Busdriver. The whole thing is also tied up in a nice little bow by Odd Nosdam who mixes it all.

But despite all the se names it's the two main players that drive this and make it a non stop bullet train of beats and rhymes. Jel's beats are heavy and come at you like a techno storm. They swirl into each other morphing and changing organically according to the MC that has stepped up. Dose One steals the show as expected with his lightning tongue flickering with lyrical brilliance. The way they have both progressed their other band Subtle is a major influence here as multi layered compositions are constructed. Programmed beats mix with regular old school as Dose's vocals shape shift from being mumbled backing texture to his twisted pixie rhymes that dart out of the texture as gleaming bullets. The mixtape format gives it a nice old school feel and each MC comes into play with great fluidity. Buck 65 gets a gloriously booming beat to play with, Aesop's deep delivery sits perfectly with Dose's high pitched voice and as Nosdam brings in Yoni Wolf the cLOUDDEAD circle becomes complete for the first time in too long and it sure feels good.

It's been ten years since this group first emerged and six since their last record and this generous 39 minutes of perfect prose is a fine return to form. Featuring the 7 original members of the Anticon collective it really sums up this labels history and their current standing as one of hip hop's finest labels. The fact that this is free makes it irrisistable, like I needed any other reason to hear these boys play again.

You can download the whole thing here (for the next 90 85 days only!) or pay out for a limited CD version that features an extra 16 minutes of audio.