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Low Budget/High Budget

In the mid 90s, before he became the street art force of nature he is today, Kid Acne was a graffiti and hip hop obsessed teenager living in the Midlands. Around this time, he joined forces with DJ Benjamin to form rap duo Mongrels. After releasing their first single, ‘Slingshots’, in 1996, the pair continued recording until deciding to take a break from music in 2008.

After realising all of his favourite MCs were dead, dying or past it, Acne decided it was time to return to Mongrels. Low Budget/High Concept arrives ahead of their forthcoming album, Attack The Monolith. Abrasive boom-bap beats meet Acne’s conversational, almost comedic raps delivered in a heavy East Midlands accent. Opener ‘Chokehold’ is the perfect introduction to this style - rhymes about champagne dropped in favour of tall tales about drinking Bovril and robbing bungalows.

Tracks like ‘Sky L.A.R.Ping’ and ‘Mic Tyrant’ wouldn’t sound out of place on an MF DOOM album if it wasn’t for Acne’s distinctive style. At a time when PR companies and brands mix so closely with UK hip hop and grime, it’s this style that sets Mongrels apart from many of their contemporaries. Unpolished and raw, Low Budget/High Concept feels like it’s come straight from a dusty South Yorkshire bedroom, more a product of the monotony of everyday life than the extraordinary.

As Mongrels' style grows more familiar, at points it feels like John Cooper Clarke has started spitting. In reality, the pair probably have more in common with the likes of Sleaford Mods and Scorzayzee. The glamour and excess so often associated with the genre don't really translate to market town England as well as piss-taking and stripped-down production do. Most importantly, with an EP this strong and fun, Mongrels’ forthcoming album holds a lot of promise.

George Springthorpe