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WPGM Recommends: Snatcha – The Value Of Nothing (EP Review)

Snatcha apparently received his name for “snatching candy bars from smaller kids”. After serving punishment in an empty classroom where he was made “to write a thousand Latin folk songs in Sanskrit”, he plumped for snatching souls “and the occasional candy bar when no one’s looking”.

He is one half of the Rooftop MCs, who are currently on a break to embark on solo projects, hence The Value Of Nothing, which came out on July 25. Snatcha’s style is experimental hip-hop that “fuses alternative rock with Afro influences”.

Opening track, “Snatch”, featuring Spaceshipboi, starts things ominously, deep synth like an oldschool video game. It appears to drop an octave lower at times to give further brooding quality, intermittent claps building the song to subtle crescendo. There appears to be a Christian bent, even apparent at this early stage, with lines like “snatch them out of the Devil’s kingdom”.

Then there’s “Light”, featuring Mike Abdul, and it’s quite infectious with the lip induced “bam bam bam”. It’s certainly a moody one, and the African flavoured hook really creates an atmosphere. Any song that can fit in the lines “Jackie Chan…kung-fu” certainly fits the profile of unusual postmodern references.

The highly charged “Lgbt (Let God Be True)”, featuring Henrysoul, is rousing, urging feelings of inspiration and conquering all at great odds. The sedate piano, rattling drum and sometimes despairing vocals ground you whilst the melody floats, trying to surge for the skies. The closing section strips back, the drum pounding with industrial power before the vocals truly surge into the skies. The religious bent, however, seems to evoke servitude, to not leave before your time.

When you break “Free”, it’s definitely a mishmash, triumphant celebratory drums and tight rap ripostes with loud buzzsaw backdrop. In many respects it feels like an intermission, and at the right point, midway through the duration.

The noisy “Noiz” is refreshing in its call for abandonment, even just for a short time, of social media, smartphones, tablets and the like. It’s an energetic, and mishmash definitely the correct word to use this time round. It mixes rocking, nu-metal esque guitar and shouting vocals with moody grooves maybe more in line with reggae than anything on the rock end of the scale. The dirty, distorted bass ducking and diving in the latter is particularly satisfying.

The candid “I Love You”, featuring V Teck and Mr Juba, has that that R&B swing to it, strings to suit domestic bliss within the sphere of young love. The instrumentation swirls like the throes of passion, the heady feel of love on one’s mind. Lines like “you’re the apple of my eye” encapsulate this feeling pervading the duration of the track. Synth waves through the closing moments, evocative of sunsets on hot beaches.

“Yhwh” has a rave vibe to it, and when the rapping flows, tightly packed, it gets you right in the pocket, especially in the opening exchanges. Seeing someone successfully ride upon the seat of their pants, type of thing. The hook is quite triumphant, the power observed in the rocking moments of “Noiz”. The majesty of the righteous, heroic and the underdog saving the day. Waves crash and swirl for the song’s end, or could it be swirling skies, man saved before the very second of his annihilation?

The Value Of Nothing ends similarly as it began, with “Snatch (DJ Version)”, featuring Spaceshipboi. Again, ominous is the word. As will be in the beginning, as will be in the end. It’s almost like reinforcing the theme of God, Jesus and religion, which’s mentioned generally in the middle section and brought roundly into focus in the project’s living and dying moments.

The highlights include “Lgbt (Let God Be True)”, “Noiz” and “I Love You”.

The first track, upon initial inspection, worried this reviewer. It occurred to one that maybe this was an acronym for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals, and that, given the religious bent of the project thus far, and the song’s actual title, this was maybe a diatribe aimed towards all deemed ungodly in this world. In fact, it’s a bit of an anthem, one that acknowledges remaining grounded and humble, but rising with the pure joys of life, at the same time.

“Noiz”, on the other hand, is refreshing for its rocking sound and that, of course, fits in well with the song title itself. Like the loud proclamations of Christian head bangers, P.O.D, it also mixes moody reggae grooves that’ve got a bit of grit to them, its bass bobbing and weaving like a residual consequence of the rock influence.

Meanwhile, “I Love You”, is the lighter side of things, both in terms of instrumentation and subject matter. Indeed, they found a way of expressing head over heels in love whilst staying true to themselves, and not sounding prude as they remain dedicated to their Christian faith.

The EP, overall, is also quite well put together. You have the reinforced Christian creed and bent, through opener, “Snatch”, and closer, “Snatch (DJ Version)”. It gives the piece a thematic shape, despite the nominal differences between the two tracks. Indeed, if the likes of Pink Floyd were to do this, as they did with their track, “In The Flesh”, they’d be lauded for their progressive sensibilities.

Sandwiched between this are tracks “Free” and “Noiz”. These are quite diverse in their styles, both inspiring the word mishmash. Though, perhaps, the latter is most truly deserving of an accolade that attempts to portray how adept Snatcha’s attempts at marrying disparate genres are. Basically, the midway point is exploratory, and is very on message tapering from beginning to end.

Snatcha has displayed a range of styles, whether tailoring songs for the clubs and raves, or love songs and dedications to God. Though the latter seems a steadfast theme throughout the project, it doesn’t come across as too preachy, and perhaps is really more aimed at the joys of life than the potential pitfalls of the potential sinner. Snatcha’s The Value Of Nothing EP can be purchased on iTunes, here.

Also visit his Twitter, Facebook and NoiseTrade pages to keep tabs on Snatcha.

Words by Andrew Watson

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