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8.0

Burp!
Reflect

Label: Self-released
Release date: 2012-10-10

Here we have the debut LP from Birmingham hip hop artist Reflect, known to some from his early days as an MC and live rap battler. This first offering took some time to be recorded and released but, boy, is it worth the wait, a mixture of dry/dark humour, angst, paranoia and a definite case for anger management.

Opening the album with a crude parody of the UK national anthem, it's clear from the off that there will be no boundaries here, the shackles are off and this is his time to speak (whoever it may offend). The 'National Anthem' skit leads into 'You're Mine', where Reflect tells of an overbearing, paranoid and somewhat unhinged boyfriend who will stop at nothing to keep his woman in his life. The feel of desperation oozes out as he describes the protagonist's emotions and even manages to reference Kurt Cobain's suicide (and this is just the first song!). Vocals on the chorus are supplied by Shereene Salmon, whose tone compliments the track perfectly.

'Sick in the Head' features Lady Leshurr, a female MC who has also gone onto to big things herself. This track gives us perhaps the most foul-mouthed sing-along chorus ever put to record. It's also a catalyst for Reflect to show off his rhyming skills and lyrical flow. 'The Bingedrinker' and 'It's Gonna Be Some Hangover' compliment each other so well they could almost be part one and two of a concept track. 'Suck My Left Nut' is a more laidback affair with an ambient backdrop perfect for Reflect to offload a tirade of insults and profanities, referencing and belittling more celebrities than you could fit in a cellar.

It would be impossible to breakdown every single track in one review as he manages to fit in so many innuendos, insults and scenarios that it would require a novel, but as the saying goes save the best to last. The standout track by a country mile is track four, the mindblowing 'Tip Toes'. This is where Reflect comes into his own, with storytelling of the highest order, portraying the role of a serial killer hell bent on inflicting physical pain on his victim. "Its nothing sexual" he claims as he dresses himself in the victims clothing.

The emotion in the delivery Reflect manages to execute leaves you on the edge of your seat, the kind of rare point in time where a song makes your hair stand on end. Reminiscent of the moment Eminem unleashes on his track 'Kim', this is raw, untamed genius at work. 'Tip Toes' would sit nicely as the soundtrack to anything from Saw to Friday the 13th, which is a real testament to just how strong Reflect's lyrical ability is and the imagery it conjures up.

To sum up, this album is dark, thought-provoking but, overall, a lot of fun if you approach it from the right angle. Of course it will offend some, which is something I'm sure Reflect will lose sleep over... Perhaps not.

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