Home Brew's latest all about honesty
Home Brew - Home Brew (Independent)
Reviewed by Luke Appleby
Home Brew's self-titled album is nothing if not honest.
The crew from south Auckland - MC Tom Scott, MC Lui Tuiasau and producer Harry "Haz Beats" Huavi has been making music for a few years now, but this album represents the first time they have tried to sell it, with all of their previous albums available at a name-your-price basis online.
Anyone born in the 80s will identify with many their lyrics. The group has a distinctly urban, Kiwi sound and isn't trying to be anyone else.
Initially, the subject matter might be a bit hard to swallow for some audiences - songs about living on the benefit, being an alcoholic and taking deadly drugs like datura are placed prominently at the start of the album and could come across as flippantly celebratory.
But Home Brew never set out to court radio airtime or four minutes on C4, and though many of their tracks probably would be passed over by mainstream media, it would not be due to poor quality but because of the explicit content.
That said, it's refreshing to listen to a group unafraid to make music about what ever they want. The honesty in this album blew me away. It shows a segment of New Zealand society that most people will identify with in at least some way.
Well - except John Key. He probably wouldn't like what he heard. You never know, though.
The two-disc album is packed with insightful lyrics covering themes like self-discovery, suicide, childhood memories, religion, depression, broken homes, relationships, materialism and life in the lower socio-economic bracket.
Standout tracks include Listen To Us, a clear and harsh critique of the government looking up from the bottom, and Dedicated To, which sets the tone of the album nicely.
I was also really impressed by Dandruff Dicky's work on Datura / White Flowers - smooth, foot-tapping stuff.
Musically, the album is fantastic. The beats are crisp, modern and diverse, with producer Haz Beats bringing a lot of variety to the tracks behind the flow.
Texture is added to melodies with saxophones, horns, bass, guitar, keyboards and haunting guest vocals from Esther Stephens, giving a professional sound throughout the album.
This is not Jay-Z or Lil Wayne. It's not even Deceptikonz or Scribe. You probably won't hear this in cafes, in clubs or even on the radio. But I get the feeling that's just how Home Brew wanted it.
Their no-consequences, no-holds-barred honesty shines through as the most admirable feature of the album.
It is one of the best, most genuine hip-hop releases I've heard in recent years and to top it all off, it's independent of a label.
Shot, Home Brew.
The Dominion Post