Humor is a worryingly rare thing in music. How many dour indie boys have you endured in the past week? How many po-faced laptop artists? How refreshing, then, to find Bang On! – an MC with a sense of humor uncharacteristically well formed, even for his native Liverpool. Put it this way: the video for the Big Dada-signed rapper’s latest single, “Got It”, features men in pig heads, Abraham Lincoln, and vampires with breathalysers. Oh yeah, and the Queen playing a guitar.
Acid-washed Nathan Barley videos aside, it’s the combination of out-of-nowhere puns, ack-ack delivery, and heavy, heavy production that makes Bang On! (known to the taxman as Elliot Egerton) so compelling. “Got It” sounds like the hyper-intelligent class clown rapping over a remix of a lost Beck tune, with a chorus that warrants endless spinbacks. “I’ve got the saffron / I’ve got the ark of the covenant / I’ve got the cat’s pyjamas”, he insists – in-between moaning about the price of beer and, apparently, expressing solidarity with Peter Andre.
Meanwhile the MC’s debut release on Big Dada, the fittingly titled “Hands High”, could easily be straight out of London’s E3, the birthplace of grime, such is the weight of the kick, the wobble of the bass, and the verging-on-psychotic aggression of the vocal.
The only giveaway that Bang On! hails from further north is the accent. Yeah, about that. If you’ve not been to Liverpool (what do you mean you haven’t visited the European Capital of Culture 2008?), you’re going to struggle. It’s not just a different pronunciation – it’s more an entirely new dialect. Vowel sounds are exaggerated to obscene degrees, while consonants are all accompanied by varying amounts of phlegm. On paper - odd. Coming out of Bang On!’s face? Nothing short of wondrous.
British hip hop has focused too narrowly on a little sliver of London for too long. Thankfully, Bang On! is here to demonstrate that northerners do it just as well – and he’s doing it with a glottal stop and a smile.
Kalaakaar Ki Jaankaari