Technical prowess and lyrical complexity are skills hard to come by in an age of showy mumble rap and buzzy trap beats. It is in these areas where the auspicious Brighton, UK based rapper Strategy KI, exhibits his appeal. On the project “Mic On REC (The Mixtape; Vol.1)” he combines the much flouted vibe sound of new wave rap with profound insight into the lyrical stylings of the genre’s glorious past. Throughout his work, Strategy KI is reaching for meaning and gravity rather than just superficiality.
‘H.M.B’ provides a strong opening to the mixtape with Screwface’s enticing production, allowing Strategy KI to build hype and anticipation from the very start. The rapper presents a lyrical offensive here, asserting his self-confidence and assurance.
From here onwards, the mixtape is a musical analogy for being secure with his own talents and abilities regardless of what others think and is an inspiring recording for liberating self-esteem against external pressures.
“Emily” (prod. Trinocrolla), “Dirty Money” (prod. Mirical) and “I.T.B” ft. Snxxki (prod. Lxllo x Zed), continues to show Strategy KI at his best, providing a refreshing contrast to the shallow lyricism of much of mainstream hip-hop. The UK rapper has been making a comeback in his musical career, and the strength of his technical ability and the delight that he takes in displaying it, comes through full force on these tracks. Often it’s more than just his rapping chops.
“If I Was You” (prod. Screwface), has a slow-burning and haunting vibe, with rumbling basslines and skittering hi-hats. Though Strategy KI can rap faster than almost any newcomer in recent memory, he uses the speed as one of several tools and his flow is liquid, suited to any given moment.
Many of his lyrics operate on the basis of his speed jousting with listener’s expectations and making his songs surprising and catchy. This is evident on “Outstanding” (prod. O’Creed), “852” (prod. Screwface) and “Whip It” (prod. Jumble Beats x Lxllo).
Moving forward, Strategy KI’s mind and focus stays clear, as he unpacks his priorities and pleasures on “Senorita” ft. Kriptik x Eldarko (prod. Screwface), “Turn It” (prod. Screwface) and “Drippy” (prod. O’Creed).
You get the feeling that Strategy KI knows he’s better than the majority of his contemporaries, but still has plenty to prove. He reiterates his talent by effortlessly switching between different vocal speeds and deliveries on these tracks.
As we move into the mixtape’s final five, which includes “Your Love” ft. Simle Life x Kae Maui (prod. Jumble Beats), “Shine” ft. Arno (prod. Screwface x Lxllo), “7 Nights” ft. Kae Maui (prod. Jumble Beats), and “Foreign” ft. Bugzee Lix (prod. Moyz), Strategy KI’s technical performances hit with rhyme-filled, rapid-fire deliveries and vibe-filled twists that feel impossible to reel in. As expected from all parties involved, each feature on these tracks, sounds fresh and impressive.
“Still Shining” (prod. Lxlo) closes the official track list, with its claustrophobic and restless instrumental creating a cryptic sonic palette. On top, Strategy KI weaves his exuberant wordplay and undeniable hunger in the faces of those who don’t want to see him shine.
Up until this point, the mixtape has no skips, proving the rapper’s amazing lyricism, wordplay, flows and pen game. But it gets better still, as Strategy KI serves another 4 bonus tracks on a platter.
The bonus tracks include: “Organic” (prod. Ob3y x A2R), “Bandos” (prod. BCN), “Gas Is It Real” ft. Kae Maui (prod. Screwface) and “Amiri Denim” (prod. Boy Phlop). “Mic On REC (The Mixtape; Vol.1)” will be available on all streaming sites on the 31/Dec/2021.
Limited edited hard-case CD’s are also available which include the 5 bonus tracks. The UK Drill and Grime game will certainly be getting another powerful shot in the arm by Strategy KI, when this mixtape arrives on the scene.