“ Artist: Dr Syntax / Genre: Hip-Hop & Rap/ Release Date: 2008 „
Off the Radar vol 1 is the 2007 debut mixtape from Brighton rapper Dr Syntax, currently signed to my favourite UK label - Dented Records. The Doc originally made his name collaborating with the Foreign Beggars on a couple of tracks and becoming a part of their stage show and has since become one of the most talented artists in Britain.
One of my favourite descriptions of the man comes from the Dented Records website -
'Whether with keen-eyed, often scathing yet tongue- in-cheek social commentary, contemplative musings on life or straight-up cold rhyming, Syntax showcased his ability to work a concept with a skill and ardour all too often lacking in his contemporaries'.
Need I say more?
1 - Bring it to the Boil feat English & Koaste, produced by Juaninakka
To start us of we have a fairly decent track, although the other rappers on the track are very much over shadowed by Dr Syntax, I'm sure it's a Erik B and Rakim sample but this being a mixtape I can't check for sure, a good song, nothing too special.
2 - As sure as the Globe Spins produced by Ido
Basically about how bad most people act these days, men who try and act tough, people who are rude for no reason etc, it's a fairly short song but its hard not to agree with what's said in here, there's a large amount of people where I come from who fit the descriptions in this song, some really nice beats in here by Ido who ended up producing a large amount of the Doc's full album 'Self-Taught'.
3 - Million Skill March feat Foreign Beggars & Wildchild, produced by Dag Nabbit
I'm very much undecided on this track, I do like the raps but the beats annoy me, too repetitive for me, I mean I have no problem with simple beats like this if there done well but this doesn't work for me, Syntax sounds great but it's not a track I listen to often.
4 - Head Home feat Hinesy Hines, produced by Tom Caruana
I really love this track, basically a song about going out drinking but having a bad night and wanting to go home, the beat's are bouncy but chilled out, some really nice production here, the lyrics are pretty funny, I like the fact because Syntax isn't some millionaire American rapper the things he's saying in this song anyone who enjoys a night on the town drinking can relate to, I certainly can, things like bad music, expensive drinks, aggressive bouncers etc, love the line -
I'd call this cheap sh*t but this is one expensive show,
Three quid for the privilege of not wearing coats!
5 - Resolutions, produced by Tom Caruana
A pretty short but decent sounding track, the lyrics are the Doc taking a humorous look at his life and the things he could do with changing such as not drinking and smoking as much, quite a funny song, the beats are pretty upbeat.
6 - Glacial live in Stavanger, Norway
The original track 'Glacial' is from the Foreign Beggars ft Dr Syntax, one of the early tracks he featured on, this is a short version of the song with only Syntax's verse from the song and a small amount of the chorus, his rhymes are quite tight, the originals worth a listen as well.
7 - H Props & Doc Synners feat HP, produced by Tom Caruana
A very laid back sounding track with a head nodding sound, the base guitar really stands out and adds to this, some nice verses from both rappers, there's no real message or story to the song just the mc's showing off their skills.
8 - Lets Have Some feat Wordsmith, produced by Tom Caruana
What a wonderfully insane sounding song, the beats sound just crazily put together but in a good way, I'd love to know what the sample's are, the orchestra included, some really funny lines, love the commentary on the drinking culture in this country which many of us are mixed up in.
9 - Down to a Science feat Koaste, produced by Suspect
A upbeat track that really doesn't do much for me, the raps aren't anything special, Syntax sounds good and all but I'm just not keen on this track.
10 - Clowns Mask, produced by Steve Clear
A thoughtful song about Syntax's experience as a rapper and how people treat him and react to his music, some soulfully jazzy beats, love the piano, there's some violins in there, a very interesting sound, a very intelligently written song.
11 - Carnival Stomp feat Hinesey Hines & English, produced by Dutch Courage
A really upbeat track, a head bouncer, love the production in this one, all the rappers have top lyrics on this track but to be fair Syntax is the star on this one, the songs basically another one about going out drinking, clubbing, and having a good time.
12 - Fatty & Speccy feat Stig of the Dump, produced by Ido
Syntax is joined by his usual touring partner, Stig. Both rappers play of each other very well whenever their together. This is another comedic song playing on the fact Stig is a very large man and the fact Dr Syntax wears glasses. Both mc's make me laugh in this one, I love Syntax's voice, the different parallels' in the mc's raps is very funny, Syntax raps as if he's some sort of nerd, while Stig raps as if he's a drunken idiot with no intelligence, love the line 'It's Walter Softie from the Beano comics, and Jonny Vegas, the only difference is we're not as famous'. The beats are interesting to say the least, there's definitely a xylophone in there, I do like this track.
13 - Never Over feat Inja & Orifice Vulgatron, produced by Dag Nabbit
I like the production on this track, the beats work so well, all the rappers come strong here, love the Dave Chappelle (one of my favourite comedians) reference from Syntax.
Overall this album is somewhere between a 7 and 8 out of 10 for me but I'll go with 7/10 with a few really stand out tracks, its worth buying if you like Syntax and can be picked up fairly cheap, recommended to British rap fans.
Further Viewing (E.O.W. Rap Championships parts 1-6 featuring Dr Syntax, Stig of the Dump, Sonny Jim, and Reain)