Back with his second full project this year, Roll Deep member, Flowdan reminds us why he’s a still a top Don. Bringing a host of names on production, from OG to New Gen, and 2 2 features to boot, Flowdan has set out to create a quality body of work, that reflects his skill set both with a pen (showcasing his talent for storytelling), and with a mic (making the ting look easy), to give us an inside view of London as he lives it.
Level, Ft. Irah, Prod. Filthy Gears, comes in dramatic from the off, with a vocal synth acting as a bassline, and a high pitched, synth-like melodic flourish floats over the top, as well as a heavy kick, at the drop another melodic layer is added, which comes in and out over the course of the track, and changes notes, alternately, as well as a heavy 808, and skippy rolling hihats. Most of the space is left at the bottom end, for Flowdan and Irah to shell down the riddim, coming to school the younger Dons, and show them the real ‘level’ that they’re reaching for, still, on road or in music. Hard.
Deal Wid, Prod. Riddla, starts with some light piano melodies (which change to a darker tone later, and are pushed to the back of the track as Flowdan Comes in), a soundscape, and then a low horn bassline, later changing, at the drop to a heavy 808 sub bass, as well a much lighter snare pattern keep pace, and the occasional triangle. Flowdan patterns this one in his lowest flows, shelling about fake Gs in the game ‘Can’t take man fi eediat, dem said dem are da realest, but we can’t believe dat’. He warns about claiming road when you ain’t really about it, sharing you’ll end up in a sticky one, still. A vibe.
Boss, Ft. Frisco, Prod. Filthy Gears, come haunting and heavy from the jump. Kicking off with some sort of flute and another synth layered underneath, following the same haunting melodic pattern, a heavy horn bassline comes in next, alongside Flowdan’s intro, then as the riddim drops, a heavy kick snare pattern comes in, with rolling hi hats, along with an occasional, additional bongo style pattern. The track is full and airy, adding to the overall vibe of doom. Flowdan spits about being at the peak of the scene, being a ‘boss’ in all areas of life, and demanding the respect that deserves, with Frisco echoing the sentiment. Heavy.
Cool Nuh, Prod. Riddla, is different again, kicking off with a vocal sample, a soundscape melody and a muted 808, that morphs into a harder version every so often, a hard snare pattern, and skippy hihats. Later vocal synths are layered up, adding depth to the melody, which occasionally changes instrument/synth. Flowdan flows over the low end of the track, chatting about people talking too much about road and music, and not being able to back it, unlike himself; ‘Nuttin, man don’t wan’ hear nuttin, Manna talk wicked, but they don’t do nuttin/Suttin’ beg a man try say suttin’. Wavey.
Deadly, Prod. Filthy Gears starts with what sounds like a plucked guitar synth, with another synth layered underneath in a similar pattern, for depth, there are also drum rolls, and synth accents throughout. Vocal samples signify the drop, where a heavy kick and light snare pattern come in, along with fully skippy hihats. During the hook we are reduced to the snare and melody only, a barely there, but full riddim. Clever. Flowdan starts each round of bars with an ominous hum, and shells the riddim by sharing how he’ll body anyone these times, he’s proven and ‘deadly’ already. Dark heavy vibes.
Welcome To London, Prod. Plastician starts with exceedingly sparse water-like synths, and then comes in with a deep, deep 808, at the drop we get a fully patterned set of hihats, and a simple snare keeping pace. Different light synths occasionally enter the pattern, but other than that there is nothing else in the track, it’s so empty but at the same time, so massively emotive. Standing alone the riddim would make you feel a type of way. Plastician has produced something really cold here. Flowdan patterns the riddim with a cold tale from the roads, ‘Cold when it’s critical, cool but cynical, maxed out, never minimal, that’s how we function/Cold when it’s critical, cool but cynical, maxed out, never minimal, Welcome to London!/That’s how we function, That’s how we function, nobody don’t trust nobody, Welcome to London/That’s how we function, That’s how we function, nobody don’t trust nobody round here, What? Welcome to London’. For the rest of the track, Flowdan paints a cold picture of life as he experiences it, in the capital, explaining the police can’t be trusted, there’s homelessness everywhere, the government are scamming your Ps, and that street crime catches all the yutes, because to live in London you need bare dough, so this is often the only way to get it. The riddim closes with a cockney voice telling us all to ‘Fuck Off’. Cold, ice cold.
Cash Flow, Prod. Maniac starts with just a simple piano pattern, skippy hihats come next, and as the riddim drops, a deep bassline comes in, along with a light kick/snare pattern,and a light synth floating over the top continuously. Flowdan patterns the riddim spitting about both the corruptions, and the heady heights that come from money, and the pursuit of it. Very clever. Vibey as.
One Question, Prod. Muszolini, has been reviewed in full here.
News at Ten, Ft. Irah, Prod. Riddla, kicks off with a haunting piano synth melody, and the occasional string, along with what sounds like a sporadic soundscape, as the track kicks in, fully patterned snare/hihats come in, then later an 808, the whole track has a threatening vibe, which is fitting for the patterns from Flowdan and Irah, who shell down the riddim letting man know if they try to step, they’re gonna end up on the ‘News at Ten’. A rave riddim, for real.
Coldest, Prod. Footsie starts with what sounds like soundscape and bell-like synth melodies, later a light snare is added, then a deep 808, skippy rolling hihats and ad-libs, along with breathe synths. Flowdan comes dark with it on this one, telling the Mandem he’s coming for the whole cake, still, and they better look sharp. The Flow Farda has come to skool any young pretenders; ‘Coldest you could ever come across’. Icy.
Weed Soak, Prod. Maniac starts with a vocal synth and a hihat, later a horn style melody comes in, which changes to a different sounding synth (possibly piano), a kick/snare and rolling skippy hihat come next, with an occasional drawn out horn stab, and vocal backing. At other times different floating sounds and vocal synths weave across the track. The whole tune has a lazy reggae/ska vibe, and is a wave all it’s own. Flowdan lazily spits low flows over the riddim, reminiscent of floating away in a haze, itself, espousing the qualities of green, and explaining the the whole process and properties. A full wave, still.
Flowdan has fully achieved what he set out to do; give us an insight into life in London, as he lives it. With influences from a multitude of genres, this project is a full showcase of Flowdan’s skills, and a wavey trip through London.
A wicked project, front to back. Cop it!