Sly Moon – 'Why Am I So Sly?' Review

Infamous Blah bop with a funk inflection, Sly Moon finds an almost otherworldly magnetism in calling himself a “c!nt” on Why Am I So Sly?– a project that can only be called a debut when accompanied by a hefty disclaimer.

A reputation like a blue moon and probably equally as elusive, the disclaimer is that Sly has been sagging at his own distinctive drunken master pace for nigh on two decades now- dating back to when Milkavelli was Monsta and being ‘hip hop’ meant stealing Ralphie Polo’s. But if you asked him where this album has been all that time he’d probably laugh in your face, given the caustic sarcasm slathered all over track titles like posse cut ‘Sly and the Family Stoned’ and ‘Christ on Spice’, or cutting one-liners like “it’s the high lo-life”. Deeper still is the ‘O Sly Moon’ skit, whose bawdy folk-rock satire about Sly saving “all the witches from drowning” leaves one with no qualms as to production duo Sohio Players’ (Sly Moon and Salar) decision to forego samples completely on this project- the pair are replete with creativity between them.

Sample-free and packed with quotables, Sly and Salar’s characterful blend of oscillating riffs, stellar synths and spaced-out kicks practically amounts to a sonic-speed journey to the moon as a lack of contextual markers and a full Blah roster imbues this project with a sense of timelessness within the vacuum of UK hip hop history. Perhaps more refreshing for devoted 616 acolytes, however, is the subtle weightless melodies on tracks like ‘Why Am I So Sly?’ and ‘Through the Window ft. Salar’ that take all the gravity out of the room and juxtapose the softly-spoken vitriol that makes up the bulk of the project. And it is in this ‘swegged’-out maelstrom of technically impressive insults and boasts that Why Am I So Sly? truly comes into its own. With staccato chopper-style delivery gambling-man Sly Moon almost resembles a roulette wheel itself as he revolves through a torrent of carefully-constructed syllables until it is hard to predict where he’ll land.

Appearing in a glimmer of notes on opening track ‘Moon Funk’ and fading out into triumphantly psychedelic electric guitars and swelling bass throbs on ‘Through the Window ft. Salar’, Sly “cold sags” himself all the way to the moon in an instrumental planetarium populated with his exploits (and those of the family stoned). It’s not a debut, it’s not a comeback- it’s Sly Moon simply being his unrepentant self and we should make the most of it, because who knows when the blue moon will rise again.

Sly Moon’s Why Am I So Sly? available for pre-order on vinyl here and launching on all major space shuttles streaming platforms from midnight tonight.

We’ve thrown some Sly into our latest IYDK playlist on spotify. Follow the playlist for a regular injection of the best in UK hip hop…

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