Piff Gang used to be a little delinquent, to be honest. A little comedy; a funny interview in a chicken shop. But never lazy. Five mixtapes deep, the north London collective look like they grew up this year. Lead single off of their ‘Pizzy’ mixtape was ‘Middle Finger’, the frankly eyebrow-raisingly good collaboration with Louis M^tters. Preaching about the lack of any kind of real hip hop in the face of incessant pop on the radio (true) and coming across like a young, pissed off Bone Thugs and Harmony, Louis M^atters sang the hook like Sampha. The real master touch here though was the slurred, codeine-laced beat supplied by French producer Dream Koala. A truly progressive track that raised the game of the rappers simply by the sophistication of the beat.

Another standout production comes courtesy of San Francisco producer Ikeda on the track ‘G.A.M.E’, the west coast synths coming thick and heavy, keeping the lyrics again in check; indeed the lyrical side of Piff Gang has always been in transition and development when compared to the fabulous dexterity of old UK emcees like Skinnyman, Rodney P, Ty, Taskforce, Phi Lyfe Cypher – but this is a new era, Piff Gang preach to a new generation where instrumental is mostly king. The Gang serve it with enough swag though to deserve a spot on the UK map.

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