Under Review



Fool's Gold; 24/11/2015

James Shaw

Although G-funk has been mostly abandoned since the ‘90s, LNDN DRGS re-introduces the classic sound into their new mixtape, Aktive. The duo consisting of Vancouver producer Sean House and Compton rapper Jay Worthy have made a record to bring us back to the glory days of Warren G and Snoop Dogg. In fact, Aktive’s album cover was sketched by Joe Cool, the same man who brought us the iconic album art for Snoop’s 1993 classic, Doggystyle. Like many rappers of that era, this duo has painted a self-indulgent portrait of the pimp lifestyle.

Throughout the album, LNDN DRGS flesh out the context of the project with spoken samples woven into the songs. They present the confidence of hustlers and pimps, and their shameless means of making a living. These snippets add some texture to the album, and gave me an idea of what I was getting into from the first listen. The album falls under the ‘women, money and drugs’ rap archetype, so don’t expect heavy introspection.

Regardless, I enjoyed Jay’s laid-back cadence. When spitting in a similar manner, other rappers sound uninspired and fail to convince. Worthy’s chill flow stays entertaining throughout. Songs like “Susan” had me hooked from the first listen, with an alluring blend of quick, slapping guitar riffs and soulful synths. Jay outdoes himself with hard-hitting wit throughout the album, particularly on the tracks “Choose Up” and the title song, “Aktive.” Jay has no problem getting outrageous bars stuck in your head. You’ll be getting weird stares for mouthing his lyrics in public. Also, the late A$AP Yams appears on a few tracks so you can catch some of his last unheard verses.

This unique, stylish tape is better suited for jamming out and catching a good groove than it is for stimulating conversation on the hustling lifestyle. Though the album is somewhat one-dimensional, it plays to its strengths tastefully. The soulful samples and occasional sax solos contrast the simple lyrical content quite well, and there’s not much to complain about. As for Sean House, it will be interesting to see what he will be doing with his sound on the duo’s next project.