Home Brew: Home Brew
- For me when I think New Zealand hip-hop the first image and pretty much only image that jumps to mind is that one Scribe song that everyone lost their minds to. It's dizzying success probably did more bad than good in the scheme of things, but we can hardly hold that against you Scribe. While I'm sure that in reality New Zealand has been and is powering away like a champ, producing some dynamite stuff, for one reason or another it hasn't crossed my arguably narrow cone of vision. I've been trying to expand it, honest, inch-by-glorious-inch. Admittedly New Zealand hip-hop crew Home Brew didn't seem like they were going to be the tastiest morsel in the musical buffet when I rocked up, but as I love being proved wrong time and time again I was practically in heaven when I indulged in Home Brew's first foray into the deep-end, this first full-length following on the tail of a string of EPs that I have never listened to with my own ears. In a slightly offbeat and ballsy move Home Brew have ventured down the the always slightly unnerving path of the double album. Producing a collection of 21 full tracks, with not one second wasted or squandered, avoiding any skits or interludes, even the intros and outros are fully-fledged songs. While all of this should seem a little daunting and slightly off-putting- like turning over a DVD and seeing that Peter Jackson's version of King Kong goes for like, three hours - you know how it is, sometimes less is more - in this case more is actually more. Home Brew have plenty to say and as much gusto again to back it up, covering a lot of ground and approaching their craft from a plethora of angles, somehow sustaining my attention over the course of 90 minutes. Though the first record has been deemed "light" and the second "dark", the album as a whole finds itself starting off grey and spends most of the journey exploring variations on the fringey morality. Aside from the surprisingly charming New Zealand twang, one of the first things that smacked me in the face was the extremely proficient level that Home Brew are operating at, with every aspect of the record being truly world class, and unfortunately for us chilling on the more populated side of the Tasman, Home Brew's debut record likely takes the cake for current best ANZAC hip-hop record of the year, hell maybe years plural. Home Brew aren't big on flash or sugar coating their brand of science, keeping their feet planted and lyrics honest and reflective, taking cues from that timeless stateside 90's era hip-hop, emulating and recreating a sound with modern day ingredients - there's no way these guys haven't heard Nas' Illmatic like a million times, but hell, it still sounds as good now as it did then, maybe even better, all things considered. Just one of about a trilly banging jams, "Basketball Court" is a personal favourite of mine - half of which is that silky smooth beat, the other half might just be the fact that I'm really into basketball so I can relate, who knows. What I do know is the this Home Brew record is crazy tight and is worthy of whatever attention it receives, and almost certainly a lot more. It's worlds above the rest and Home Brew have done themselves and the whole of New Zealand proud whether they wanted to or not. The best thing out of New Zealand since Die! Die! Die! and that film Boy, which is saying something because those two things are totally badass - you do the math dummy.
- Jay Edwards.