Manchester has long been a focal point for musical talent, with the city seeming to embrace more cross-genre collaborations than their counterparts around the UK. Voodoo Black are a perfect example of this, having all already been established on the scene in their individual forms and also through other mutual collaborations like The Mouse Outfit, before the four members decided to form a crew of their own. And even then Voodoo Black existed long before their debut LP emerged, which is what we’re celebrating today.
Consisting of three emcees – Sparkz, Dubbul O and Ellis Meade – as well as producer, Cutterz, the Manchester quartet have served up a superbly executed full-length, which serves as the debut they deserve. Jazz is a recurring building block on the album, underpinning a lot of Cutterz’s production and providing the perfect rhythms for the emcees’ often intricate flows. Those flows flit between head-nod inducing bops and double-time flourishes, with an ease that has earned Sparkz, Dubbul O and Ellis high ranking positions in my UK emcee rankings.
They’ve drafted in a good selection of guests too, including fellow Manchester voices, LayFullStop and EVABEE, as well as a couple of tight features from UK stalwarts, Jehst and Leaf Dog. It also stands as another win for Village Live, a label who have built a name for themselves thanks to their predominantly instrumental back catalog. But with albums like this being released too, it’s clear their musical tastes are in fine shape across the board.