The last 14 months have been weird. No pubs, no festivals, no shows. Thankfully, some things have stayed the same. British weather is still shit, Piers Morgan is still a blethering bellend, and BVA is still one of the sharpest emcees in the UK today.
For the uninitiated, the Beav established his impeccable credentials through his time in 3 Amigos, Brothers Of The Stone and Four Owls. But despite over a decade in the game, Lex Neville is only his second solo LP. Thankfully for BVA (and hip hop heads everywhere), itís quality over quantity.
Thatís not to say the album is low on tunes. The sixteen tracks zip by so quick youíd be forgiven for thinking itís just a ten-track album.
Lyrically, thereís more of what made ĎBe Very Awareí slap so hard; the righteous anger, puerile petulance and endlessly quotable slogans.
Jack Jetson and King Kashmere join BVA to usher in the apocalypse in ĎEnd of Daysí, while fellow Owl Verb T graces the instant classic ĎRollingí.
ĎBring It Backí is BVA at his best, painting vivid visuals with a liquid-smooth flow. Like his fellow RLD labelmates, he excels in mixing late the effortless vibe of Ď90s East Coast classics with a quintessentially British no-fucks-given attitude.
BVA is joined by the cream of UK hip hop, with guest spots from Datkid, Smellington Piff and, of course, Leaf Dog.
That oh so sweet mix of chopped up soul, obscure jazz and *** is still present. But the beats (courtesy of Leaf and brother IllInformed) throw up a few surprises too. The G-funk inspired ĎGroundhog Dayí, wouldnít sound out of place on a GTA soundtrack.
Likewise, ĎRole Modelí twists a nifty little bassline around a Greek lyre that works as surprisingly well as Ouzo and energy drink (trust me, try it).
Jazz T drops in to provide some sublime cuts on several tracks, most notably ĎCarving Tabletsí.
But this is BVAís moment. OK, so thereís not exactly anything new in Lex Neville. But the Beav is very much living by the ďif it ainít brokeĒ mantra.
After a year and a half of bewildering change, itís nice to know some things are exactly as good as you remember them.
Lex Neville drops 28th May 2021 on RLD Records.