Dean Blunt is a difficult bastard. Contrary to the point of impossible. Thriving off of conflict. His albums are built around fractured sound intent on putting off his listener. And Blunt employs all of these techniques fully and wonderfully on this Babyfather album.
Babyfather’s album DJ Escrow presents BBF sounds like many things all at once: a grime mixtape, the soundtrack to a Kidulthood style movie and the most fucked up pirate radio station to ever air. There are a multiplicity of sounds taking place throughout each track, which means that repeated listening is required to make the experience rewarding. It is of course worth noting that as this is Dean Blunt repeated listening is difficult as Blunt has set out to challenge and aggressively confront the listener.
Much of the album’s subject matter deals with the state of being young and Black in Britain today. However, Blunt doesn’t just reach the usual conclusion of it’s tough and everyone is against you. But instead aggressively attacks black youth for lacking cohesion and losing their way and for turning repeatedly to almost tragically comic violence. This criticism is also volleyed at the door of the Grime music industry with pot shots taken at its lifestyle and MCs including Wiley. Much of this is revealed through the skits between each track which are garbled out in distorted machine-like voices that sound as if they have come from a Garage MCs nightmares.
DJ Escrow presents BBF also includes a sizeable amount of mocking gunshots and sirens ring out regularly you sense Blunt has included them as a send up more than anything else. There is both real anger and mocking in the presentation of this record.
There are, however, real moments of beauty such as Meditation and Motivation though Blunt rarely lets these tracks develop and build beyond a couple of minutes length before plunging the listener back into an urban hell. Several tracks consist of white noise, feedback, bass and MC shout outs yelled over the top, you’d think based on these tracks that Blunt has got himself a weekend job with the C.I.A.
The aggression and sense of challenge presented by Blunt on this record is however all part of the brilliance of the experience and after several listens you come away with these sense that Babyfather have produced a record which approaches and sums up very differently Britain’s current urban landscape. Coming out as it does a few weeks after Kano’s brilliant Made in the Manor. You are left feeling that British MCs and Urban producers are finally finding a voice and moving away from simple Road jams.
If you like a challenge and enjoy the music of Arca, Kanye West’s most recent albums or anything Dean Blunt has previously put out then this is for you. But if you don’t want to approach music with an open mind and some patient repeat listening then I would advise you avoid the thrilling challenge of DJ Escrow presents BBF.