After the successes of their previous EP ‘Seasons’, a collaboration with London super-producer Nyge, we couldn’t quite believe that House Of Pharaohs would be back so soon with another project. The collective have been busy cementing themselves as one of Britain’s more enigmatic outfits, remaining right on the fringes of a true commercial breakthrough, even though previous mixtapes ‘The Fix’ and ‘Real Faces’ made them the names on the tip of every producer’s tongue.
With this said, H.O.P have opted for a variation of beat makers to push the sonics of ‘Seasons 2’. The end product provides eclecticism and a regenerated alternative rap sound, which is becoming intrinsic to the 6 piece. EP opener ‘Gang’, produced by Octavian collaborator O12, sounds straight from the Japanese Alps, rather than a studio nestled in the concrete of London. The muffled, whistling melody might be orientally inspired, but AJ’s hook brings it right back to the Capital, with his relentless delivery of the slang: “Let’s keep it gang” enhancing the energy that so naturally pulls through their music.
‘Lit Like London’ is equally as contagious and, once again, the chemistry between producer HoneyWood6 and Sam Wise shines through the single. Wise hops on the beat with his signature, skippy flow in a similar manor to ’The Pain Freestyle’ they both made a year ago. Contrastingly mellow, ‘Cigarette’ takes a slightly jazzy and percussive approach to UK Rap, which you’d expect when knowing 808Charmer was the man behind the beat. 808INK, his project with rapper Mumblez Black Ink, have brought so much diversity to London-centric sounds since they started in 2015.
The track personifies BlazeYL, Sam Wise, Bandana, AJ, Kevin Taylor and Danny contemplating the risk of making music, but having to do so to make money, and fund their lifestyles. It’s arguably the most American sounding export from ‘Seasons 2’, as Blaze takes on the hook with an a capella of auto-tuned vocals.
Referencing ‘John Wick’ for a tune would normally manufacture a strong pre-conception that the track would be one of ferocity. However, the Kadiata produced number combines scintillating drums with braggadocios lyricism about “fans trying to peep through the peep hole” back stage, and “extra cosy” nike two pieces. Every time you hear “Its crazy” before a tune, you know Its about to slap. John Wick is of course the Russian Assassin played by Keanu Reeves, and the bars the collective spit are delivered with a pin point accuracy not too dissimilar to him.
EP closer ‘Balmain’ brings out the group’s frustrations with industry copy-cats - who they claim are taking H.O.P’s individualities and trying to make them their own: “these n***** are lame, they wanna be me, they tryna be shadows of me” spits Kevin Taylor honestly on another infectious hook. KayGW has worked with the likes of Joey Bada$$ and Tory Lanez; this track nestles, sonically, between the aesthetic of both artists - matching contemporary R&B with classic Hip-Hop.
House of Pharaohs are currently on tour, and if you haven’t copped a ticket for one of their upcoming shows, then you need to change that this second. We will be catching them in Leeds.