Undercurrent is a duo made up of Baron Samedi and Lixx The Warrior, two like-minded MCs. The past 8 years have seen them release an EP an LP, and this, the Crisis Talks mixtape.
At 18 tracks long, it may initially seem a little overwhelming to a casual music listener. Even so, right from the beginning of Push My Product to the end of Big Shots, you forget the length as you listen to track after track of pure British hip-hop. This is the real deal, this is how it should be done.
A lot of the tracks have a very Wu-Tang-esque vibe to them, production-wise, as if RZA himself was behind the boards. Gritty, dark lyrics are complemented by the classic sound of mid-90s New York, but with a distinctly English edge.
The opening track, Push My Product, is a witty and honest account of how they both want to ‘make it’, but various things are keeping them back (with laziness seemingly being the main offender) Knocked Up uses the same beat as Akon’s breakthrough hit Locked Up, and offers a biting commentary of a relationship gone wrong.
Chamber Zero contains more than a few references to Wu-Tang, with vocal samples used (including ODB’s instantly recognisable ‘Wu-Tang is here forEVER!’ from the beginning of Triumph, and even the title of the track takes you back again to mid-90s NY.
Gamblers Anonymous and Dark Marvel are the two distinctly stand-out tracks of the mixtape. The former a tale of a poker game (you might wonder how you can possibly write a song about a game of cards and make it entertaining, but seriously, listen to this), and the latter a short but intense track with haunting and hypnotic strings to match the flawlessly delivered lyrics. At only 2 minutes 41 seconds, it seems a lot longer than it is when you’re listening, purely because of how much happens in such a short time.
Overall, Crisis Talks shows two MCs clearly on top of their game, blending quick-witted wordplay with intricate lyrics and that 36 Chambers, Infamous vibe running through it, but still managing to remain very English in the delivery. For a mixtape (and in general, whether it‘s an EP, LP or mixtape doesn‘t really make a difference in this case), Crisis Talks is outstanding.