This is a review i did a while ago for www.ukhh.com but forgot to post, enjoy.
Klashnekoff / DJ Skully Focus Mode (mixtape)
Focus Mode is the new release from Klashnekoff, the terra firma frontman responsible for one of the tightest UK albums in recent years, ‘The Sagas of Klashnekoff.’ Focus Mode is an independently released mixtape, hosted by DJ Skully. The wide availability of this album (HMV, Fopp etc.) reflects not only the increasing marketability of the UKs brightest stars, but also a move towards American style mainstream mixtapes allowing for top artists to release new material several times in a year.
Im usually not a mixtape man. I find the constant switching of tracks annoying and in my experience many mixtapes are a refuge for substandard beats and lyricism. Thankfully the tracks on Focus Mode are mostly quite long and definitely heavy. The CD brings together various white label releases that would otherwise be unavailable to a more mainstream audience. K’s ‘Jamrock Takeover’ rides the success of one of the summer’s biggest tunes. But its not pure coasting, he does add some dope verses of his own and his ragga tinged style is perfectly paired with the beat. The white label release of this tune has been changing hands for £50 and upwards on ebay so its nice to see it here.
Another standout track is the remix of Black Rose. Combining the original lyrics over a very different beat, Klashnekoff completely changes the vibe of what was already an amazing track and gets twice the use out of his tale of complicated young love. Son of Niyah is revisited more loosely, using a beautiful and thoroughly addictive Sizzla sample that is a compensation for some fairly shoddy lyricism.
‘My thoughts grow like herbs in wild fields of mango, while certain man are jankrow and flex like flamingo…im out the manor smoking a poisonous vegetable.’
Dropping the nature references like a hip hop David Attenborough doesn’t do it for me this time but trust me though, this sample will make you forgive all, and it’s rare that the lyrics grate on you as badly as that. ‘Let it Go’ has been a favourite of mine for a while. Unfortunately the version included on here is pretty short and anyone who has the chance should seek out the full version alongside a guest verse from Ty.
The CDs got a live feel and its perfect driving music. Its more about the beats than the lyrics but its no worse for that and its honestly not been out of my system since I got a hold of it. I recommend that anyone cop this, especially if like me, they’ve been itching for more tracks from K ever since they wore out their copy of the sagas.