Self Driven: Review
by Paul Norrington
The beast is back! This latest offering from the Bristol/London based hip hop trio 3 Headed Beast quickly dispels any doubts the group has lost the fire in it's gut that made their self titled free download release from 2012 so magnificent with an extremely strong 4 track opening salvo.
'3's A Charm' grooves and bounces along with a slick production from Fingerfood, an instant nod-a-long track that hooks you in with a snare heavy, instant beat and some of the excellent worldplay I've now come to take as standard when listening to Twizzy, Jinxsta and M.A.B - "always coming with the heat it's a habit not a trend" intones Mc JX quickly followed by "we're here to set the pace differently, second time around we're more trouble for you infantry" from Twizzy. We're here, we don't care about trends and we're not going anywhere seems to be the underlying vibe throughout these introductory tracks.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKX5041-93Y - Three Headed Beast - '3's A Charm'
"And I suggest you wrap up your neck up in a mic lead and hang it up, no metro man in tight jeans can hang with us" rhymes M.A.B on track 2 'Guess Who's Back' continuing the vibe in impressively rhythmic fashion over a haunting, harpsichord style backdrop. Track 3 'When we were kids' takes a slightly more reflective before track 4 'Self Driven' continues to keep levels high skipping along on an eerie pipe sound type melody over a catchy percussive backbone which will appear to any fans of late 90's Wu Tang Clan or Gravediggaz type groups.
Track 5 'Gone Away' is my personal highlight on the album, an extremely impressive bass heavy instrumental driving the track in fine fashion after a catchy sample led intro and refrain topped off with more impressive flows from all the MC's involved. This track could sound huge on a big festival stage with the right man at the sound desk.
Better or worse than the 2012 release I loved so much shortly after first discovering the trio? That had been the main question on my mind when first ordering this CD back at the start of Summer, as the chilled, piano based vibes of 'Sometimes....I feel' , the soulful, breezy 'Devil Is Dope' and sombre but impressive 'Time Stays The Same' close out the release I honestly can't decide - it's not better, it's not worse, it's another solid, infectious, honest and entertaining collection of tracks from a very hard working and impressive DIY collective that I'd put at about an 8 and a half or 9 out of 10.
The Beast is back, it's in fine health and long may it infest our lands and ears yet!