Benny Diction is a London-based MC who met Uncomfortable Beats frontsman and wonky hip-hop producer Dave Di Paulo aka Able8 once upon a night out in Melbourne. The two have been steadfast friends and musical partners ever since, and have worked between Australia and the UK to make their first full-length collaboration album together, after a tester with their Spring EP, which was released in May.
Benny Diction’s rhyme flow is a dense tapestry of fast/slow delivery. Able8’s shuffling jazz sample-laden beats are tailored within this album to cater for Benny Diction’s lyrics, but still have presence to match many American producers pound for pound. The combination actually seems to make Able8’s beats exude a warmth I haven’t heard in previous works, as heard particularly in tracks like ‘So Damn Music’ and ‘Over Here’.
There’s also guest appearance by rappers like Melbourne’s formidable freestyler Julez (in ‘GHD’), and by American rapper Big Bronz in the sinister hoover-bass-hovering ‘Occidental Damage’. These cameos help make Life Moves shine a bit more, but they are outshone by Benny Diction’s unrelenting barrage of cleaner-than-thou wordplay.
Other stand-out moments for me include ‘Life Moves’ and ‘RPM’, which flex Able8 further in his vein of bass-style boom-bap. The latter track is effective in its minimalistic production approach and lack of vocal-interrupting frequencies, which helps rappers Benny Diction, Tony Skank and female vocalist Myla Vinyl to occupy the forefront of the track to be heard better. I also enjoyed ‘Fagin’ for Benny Diction’s rapid triplet delivery, and again show a new facet of Able8 production I haven’t heard before with its hovering piano sampling and 2-4 timing signature.
Life Moves is hip-hop for hip-hop’s sake, with Benny Diction spitting on point to compliment Able8’s warm, swinging J Dilla-style beats like pen compliments paper. This will hopefully will be regarded as nice listening by a broader audience of hip-hop lovers with some luck and time.
Written by Kristian Hatton.