Coming straight out of Notts is the latest project from Juga-Naut, entitled “Battle Of The Bulge EP”. Written, produced, mixed and mastered solely by the 21 year-old, it’s 8 tracks deep and features several guest verses from regular compatriot and fellow Nottingham native Vandal Savage.
Whilst I guess interpretation is always down to the individual, the EP is built around a strong concept; “…WAR, in its physical form and in metaphor”. Whilst it may not be abundantly clear on first play, the more you listen to “Battle Of The Bulge”, the more you realise the potential shifts between the literal and subliminal.
Take the off-key flute and sketchy sound effects of “Living In A Jungle” that create a definite wilderness to the soundscape, coupled with Juga-Naut & Savage’s wordplay and a hook that declares “The strong survive, the weak will crumble…” and you’re thrust into choosing whether they’re physically talking about battling through unchartered territories or whether it’s a reflection of the unpredictability of life and it’s conflicts. Similarly, the boom-bap simplicity of the title track carries a very similar dog-eat-dog vibe, with another hook that chants “Battle of the biggest, survival of the fittest, rap until I’m finished…”
“Take The Steps” is a more subdued affair with a soft piano loop and floating strings finding the partnership Juga-Naut and Vandal Savage in a more reflective mood, painting the picture of leaving the ‘comforts’ of home for foreign frontlines. The laid-back reggae intro of “Mortar Shells” quickly throws a massive curve-ball as the beat switches back to boom bap beats return to focus with the duo once again re-uniting for a verbal onslaught; no hook, just bars upon bars.
It’s refreshing to find someone that has the vision and ability to create an idea of what they want the project to be and the skills to make sure that materialises. Juga-Naut is the complete package, both in front of the mic and behind the boards. With his East-Mids twang brilliantly stamped all over, “Battle Of The Bulge” is a definite ‘thinker’. Whilst you can simply appreciate it as a body of work, the more you listen to it, the more you take away from the lyrical content. Music with a message; I’m all for it. Draw your own conclusions though peeps…
Download “Battle Of The Bulge” HERE
Review by Mike Pattemore @beats_n_pieces