It’s dump season folks, but then again, when isn’t it? In my humble opinion, the Dump Gawds have exemplified the idea of quality AND quantity better than anyone since August 11th, 1973. ‘Duck CZN: Tiger Style’ sees Mach-Hommy and Tha God Fahim both dropping for the sixth time this year respectively, teaming up for the who-knows-how-many-eth-time, delivering a sequel to 2018’s ‘Duck CZN: Chinese Algebra’, and by my account, superseding it too.
‘Tiger Style’ shares a lot of similarities with its Shaolin Kung Fu namesake. “Hēi-Hǔ-Quán” or “Black Tiger Fist” is a form characterised by an emphasis on footwork, pliable movements and stability. Analogously, the Dump Gawds put in more work than anyone else in music, they are really pulling lyrical acrobatics all over this project, and ‘Tiger Style’ exists in perfect equilibrium. Vocally, Mach and Fahim are a one-two punch, musically, Nicholas Craven and SadhuGold exchange fierce blows: together, these four collaborators form some sort of rap Megazord, placing another jewel in all of their prolific discographies.
‘Shakes Pears’ follows up the brilliant balladry of ‘Bone Strait’, and sees half of the hydra working at transcendent levels. Produced by the incomparable SadhuGold, ‘Shakes Pears’, opens with roaring and blistering horns drowning out one of the slickest bass lines from this year as the drums echo in and out of comprehension. A vocal sample swirls around the beat throughout its duration, chopped, cut, and skewed to sound like a siren lulling in passing listeners to the Dump Gawds. Mach opens up the races with a whirlwind flow, but really, it’s Fahim who shows out.
“Hear me through your stereo, running circles round these rappers like a merry-go, throw a hail Mary, military, yeah, there we go, don’t get scary or you’ll get buried by this very flow”
Fahim’s flow is relentless for the near two minutes that he spits without pause. This hunger is carried across the entire project; no one works harder than the 100-tape legend.
Now, if we’re going to talk about Mach, I think we have to go to his verse on ‘Gossamer Wings’ where he makes good on his claim of being a “literary giant” from "Shakes Pears". In about eight seconds of rapping, Mach covers: the abuse of religion for money, Māori religious leaders and Biblical naming and translation, Saint Peter, the keys to the kingdom of heaven, a Tigrayan monastery, numerology, and the Haitian revolution. It’s up to you to decipher it, but your only conclusion can be that Mach is indeed, a literary giant.
And last, but not least, we come to Nicholas Craven. The album closes on the track ’30 Stone Grouper’, a track that taps into your soul. A masterclass in minimal grandiose, Craven blends pitched synths with tight strings and light, playful keys to allow Mach, Fahim, and the secret, fifth element of this album, Juju Gotti, to float. Focusing on the long-time Dump Gawds collaborator, Juju Gotti is a godsend on the three tracks he features, giving an added accent to this project that elevates it greatly.
‘Duck CZN: Tiger Style’ is a great introduction to all of the artists involved, and is a must-listen for fans, and ultimately, for those who love crazy flows, lyrical rap, spiritual rap (no miracle rap though) and some of the best work of the year from some of the most prolific and essential producers working today.
Words Oliver Hogg (@o.liver_)