Klashnekoff is a pioneer of the UK hip hop scene and one of the most lyrically talent rappers to ever do it.
Throughout the noughties, Klashnekoff consistently displayed his impressive skill level, and grabbed the attention of many with his authentically raw lyrics and delivery. His debut album The Sagas of…, released in 2004, is viewed as an underground UK classic, and has stood the test of time. The album features his biggest hit “Murda” which provides a great insight into the unforgiving realness of Klashnekoff, and an essential song in the history of UK Hip Hop.
Recently, the legendary East London rapper has been relatively quiet with his last project, Back to the Sagas… being released back in 2010 but, his long-awaited comeback project, IONA is finally with us today
For those who are unfamiliar with the legend that is Klashnekoff, we’ve compiled a list of 11 essential tracks to whet your appetite.
As mentioned above, “Murda”, is an essential track, not just in Klashnekoff’s discography, but in UK Hip hop as a whole. The heavy use of Jamaican slang and hard, no-nonsense lyrics, accompanied by a simplistic, dark beat (produced by Harry Love), create a memorably aggressive anthem.
Some may remember this song for its use as part of the Kidulthood soundtrack; perfectly matching the gritty atmosphere of the culturally impactful film.
The dark, simple visuals of the video, provided the perfect backdrop for “Murda”, and adds a further element of rawness to the track.
“Sometimes remix ft Kano”
Home Sweet Home by Kano is considered a classic project by fans across the country and one of the realest tracks on that project is “Sometimes”.
Some people are unaware that this remix exists alongside Klashnekoff, but it features one of the best verses of the East London rapper’s career. Klashnekoff pours his heart out on the mellow instrumental; discussing the street lifestyle he has grown up around, and in a game full of MCs exaggerating for ‘clout’, its clear everything he says is authentic.
The remix also features a fresh verse from Kano, and the fellow East London delivers as always, following up Klashnekoff’s theme in his verse.
This track is definitely worth a listen for any fans of lyrical rap; with the two heavyweights delivering some of their best verses.
“Black Rose” is one of Klashnekoff’s most personal tracks as he details the dealing with young pregnancy in the first verse, and the passing of his father on the second.
Klashnekoff is a rapper that puts his heart into his lyrics, and this track is one of the best examples of this. You can hear the raw pain in his delivery, and is part of the reason why he stood out amongst all the rappers in the scene at the time.
“Rest of our Lives (Black Rose 2)”
Klashnekoff’s second full length project, Lionheart: Tussle with The Beast, showed real progression as an artist and one standout track was Klash’s follow up to “Black Rose”, “Rest of Our Lives’”
This Track saw the rapper outline difficulties with his mother growing up, from birth to now, and makes for a very painful track. The sample on the chorus fits the subject matter perfectly and Klashnekoff shows his storytelling ability; beautifully describing the changes in the relationship between him and his mother.
For those old enough to remember the beautiful days of Channel U, “My Life” may be a video you recognise from back in the day.
This track served as the lead single from Klashnekoff’s second album, and accurately detailed the struggles of London street life. Klash paints a vivid picture of London streets still very relevant today; showing that we have still not come very far in solving the violence and loss of life in the inner city.
“All I Got”
One of the lead singles off Klashnekoff’s debut album, “All I got” serves as one of Klashnekoff’s more sonically upbeat tracks but doesn’t lack in content.
Klashnekoff discusses being trapped on an estate which is a sentiment that resonates with people throughout the nation. However, the track finds the legendary rapper outlining what he has, despite all the hardships, namely, ‘his word and his herb’. Although “Murda” may have gotten all the plaudits, “All I Got” is undoubtedly one of the hardest tracks in Klash’s discography.
As the title suggests, “Parrowdice” describes a world of paranoia due to the government or just general street life.
The track features two fellow members of hip hop collective, Terra Firma, Kyza and Skribblah. Both severely underrated, the two rappers display their lyrical ability; both dropping stellar verses over the boom bap instrumental.
This track serves as another UK hip hop classic with an authentic Hip Hop sound.
“B4 u die”
Terra Firma were undoubtedly one of the most lyrical collectives in the UK hip hop scene and this track, which was another single off Klashnekoff’s debut, proves just that.
The chilling instrumental combined with the violent, threatening lyrics, creates a cold, hard-hitting track. One of the darker tracks from the album, this provides a great example of the aggression of the collective, with death being a theme throughout the track.
“Git Down (Remix)”
“Git down” was one of the most popular songs by the Collective, Terra Firma, with its ear-grabbing instrumental, produced by Beat Butcha. The original featured just Kyza and Skriblah but it was clear that fellow members, Klashnekoff and Diamond Ruff, wanted a piece of the beat.
The remix featured visuals with the whole group and the song also received moderate radio play from stations such as Choice FM (Capital Xtra) and BBC 1Xtra. The usual lyrical skill is on display here but the track also features a hook that could easily get stuck in many people’s heads.
Terra Firma dropped one project as a collective named The Foundation, featuring artists, Klashnekoff, Kyza, Skriblah, D.ablo, Sparrow and Diamond Ruff. The intro to that project was “War” which featured the main trio of Klash, Kyza and Skriblah, going back to back with no hook, over the frantic instrumental.
The video featured striking imagery within the theme of war, with each of the trio playing particular roles.
“The Revolution (will not be televised on Channel U)”
Klashnekoff never shies away from saying what’s on his mind, and “The Revolution (will not be televised on Channel U)” sees him speaking consciously about black people still be held down by society.
His passion for his people is clear on this record; discussing how more needs to be done to progress black people within the country, a message that is still very relevant today.
It’s a shame there was no video for this record, as with the potent message of the song, visuals could have pushed the message to a wider audience.