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Jackal Trades

Trip Hazard Advisor (Traffic Cone)

By • Feb 10th, 2019 • Category: short players

Jackal Trades is the moniker of one Mark McGhee, also behind The Girobabies, and this 2018 album (apologies for the tardiness – Ed) is another strong contribution to the field of the genre known as “Scottish Rap”. Some people think this is a pointless genre but let BM tell yous, it is thriving. With MC Solareye, the previous work of the much missed Hector Bizerk, and of course Loki, this is going from strength to strength.

So this release involves MM and some guests – the overall atmosphere is oppressive, righteous and furious. MM’s raps are full of double-puns, using Scottish slang in the way that Public Enemy or Wu Tang use American slang… see it can be done, with wit, sarcasm and pure rage…

Not sure who did all the backing tracks but there are some seriously good beats and sound effects there – ‘The House That Jack Built’ is one highlight, MM referencing his alter ego (and sometimes they are the best vehicle to do some damage), and a guest rapper almost stealing the show (who is he?)

‘She Served You, Right’ is a heartfelt tale of young promise being snuffed out, or something like that. The lyrics are complex, dark and like a warped short story, referencing that man Jack again… “A job advisor, haha”…

‘Chaos Nights’ is another doomy tale of escapades… The background beats are spot on, with paranoid lines referencing Massive Attack (‘Blue Lines’ but also ‘Mezzanine’, which this album is a close cousin of…

Interlude track ‘Schemadelica’ is comic, but also builds the Jack character a wee bit more…

‘Badvisor’ is another furious rant – and MM has got a lot of it…”lost ma patience”…regretting, maybe, cops involved…

‘I Can See Patterns’ has a great sample, but more ill rapping by MM, rapping about zero hour contracts, hopelessness and Scotland in 2018.

‘One Star from the Gutter’ features beautiful female vocals plus another thundering diatribe from MM, a tribute to misspent youth, and a reflection on bad times and being inside…

And this album just gets darker – ‘Note To Self Destruct’ is another tight, barbing and sarcastic self-reflection about how to be, or not to be, an artist, doing what MM does…And ‘Death of the Centre’ isn’t exactly uplifting either, but is still wonderful, musing on broken Britain and personal issues..

The last few tracks are a blast of drug tales (‘Suspiciously American Drug Education’), (‘Commericial Advice Break’) and then we have ‘Jack To The Future’ sees MM wrestle with his alter ego Jack. There is a fair bit of self-analysis here but mainly just some incredible raps, lines and a more relaxed approach, “the older I get, the less likely I’ll be dead…”

Closing tune ‘Two Star Poet…’ weighs in at over 10 minutes, but is worth it – the female vocal samples are great, and MM excels himself with this. It is laid back, and he finally relaxes into this mid-paced track – does not stop him taking shots at The Old Firm, science, he just goes on, MM is unstoppable….the last man down, and it rounds off this extraordinary but very real album.

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