FFO: Robert Johnson, Propaganda, Jimmy Jitsu.
At first glance it may have come off as something a little out of the blue from the High Focus camp when Rag N Bone Man was enlisted to join their ranks. I’m sure large swathes of people have come to expect a certain sound when it comes to HF, and at least think they know what they represent and produce when it comes to UKHH. However if you can cast your short term little memory back. To when HF was first establishing itself, and everyone was getting their knickers in a twist because they were fast becoming the label that was releasing music and promoting artists that other companies wouldn’t have even given the time to. They became a household name for a reason, because they weren’t stagnated in a little pool of what people thought UKHH was or should be.
Fast-forward to the present day Rag N Bone Man’s EP ‘Put That Soul On Me’ is released, and hoohoo everyone’s surprised again. A blues artist? That’s not very hip-hop. That’s not what High Focus is all about! Except, yeah it is mate. It’s exactly what High Focus is about. Releasing music you didn’t even think to listen to, and now you’ve got all their records and a big picture of their face on your bedroom wall. That’s how it’s done, and that’s how they’ll continue to do it.
(Besides, if I really have to explain the timeline of hip-hop, and in fact music in relation to the blues then you’re a dummy and I’m afraid this relationship just can’t carry on. Your mate’s fitter anyway).
When first listening to this 3-track release (well 6 with the 3 instrumentals to be precise), it’s obvious why Rag N Bone Man’s picking up so much steam at the moment, especially after his previous joint effort with Leaf Dog. Whether you’re a fan or not there’s no questioning his talent. Dude can sing. Whilst he’s still relatively young, his voice has a lot of age and life to it that is complimented well by Dirty Dike’s production. The slightly off kilter samples and tones worked really nicely with Rags’ vocal range which I really enjoyed. The fluke in the EP’s title track was a nice touch, and does a good job of mirroring the content of the song itself.
Ronnie Bosh’s feature is a welcome bonus to the record instead of outshining his label mate, which a lot of MCs tend to indirectly do when adding their vocals to a singing-based song. It gives the track an interesting angle, and Ronnie Bosh has such a recognisable style that you can’t help but enjoy it.
This is a short but sweet offering from Rag N Bone Man, and I’m sure they’ll be some among us that can’t get their head around HF supporting what is essentially a blues artist, and don’t realise that the two genres can be and are constantly mixed ALL THE TIME. That being said I can only speak for myself here, but if you’re one of those people then you probably don’t know who Kool Herc is anyway, and I don’t want to invite you to any of our BBQs, sorry.
This is fun and catchy as fuck EP that’ll have you doing that skanky shaky foot shuffle you do when you’re not sure how you should be dancing. Whether you’re fan of the blues or not, I suggest you give it at least a few listens before you make you’re mind up. Trust me here kiddos.