Lockah is not the first producer to match rave and Southern hip hop. AraabMuzik and Bird Peterson have been exhibiting the odd pairing for a few years now, but the results are largely cringe inducing (half of Electronic Dream being the exception). When done wrong, the results are surely flamboyant, but without any of the subtlety that Lockah has instilled on his latest Please Lockah, Don’t Hurt ‘Em EP. That’s not to say that the EP lacks flamboyance though. The progressive piano on the title track is undeniably corny, but the Aberdeen-native achieves a Rustie-like levels of absurdist cohesion, meshing the broad piano strokes with chipmunk vocals and rapid-fire drum hits. By the 2:45 mark, the song has morphed into an all-out slugfest, substituting the piano for huge, crispy synths akin to fellow Scot S-Type’s Billboard EP. The track teeters on the verge of disaster, but Lockah’s measured sense of chaos (if that makes any sense) prevails and the result is one of the most variegated party tracks oft the year.
“Sly Winking Usury” substitues rave for Nintendo, spattering 8-bit sounds and, you guessed it, more 808s. The track lacks the progression of the title track, but makes up for it with plenty of pulsating bombast. The third and final original on the EP, “This Is True Muscle Suicide”, is also the most restrained, slowing the tempo down and putting the emphasis on curiously clipping percussion. That is until the chorus when more emphatic synths and pitched vocals enter the picture, removing any doubts over what Lockah’s intentions are.
Please Lockah, Don’t Hurt ‘Em is aimed squarely at peak-time, ecstasy inducing pandemonium and attains that goal at every level. Unlike past explorations into rave on the part of hip hop producers, Lockah dispels the paranoiac nature of the come down, focusing his efforts on the youthful, drug-induced side of the come up. The EP is one-dimensional, but that one dimension is multi-textured, subtle and exciting. Furthermore, it seems pretty clear that Lockah is self-conscious of the one-dimensional nature of the EP and has embraced it. Rave is a beautiful thing when done right.