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ruff sqwad - White Label Classics
No Hats No Hoods do the business with a 22-track collection of Ruff Sqwad's finest instrumentals. Whittled down from some 50 classics produced by Bow, E3's legendary Rapid and Dirty Danger, 'White Label Classics' scans their raw-to-the-bone output circa early-mid 2000's - a stripped down, sinuous body of work almost solely crafted on Fruity Loops software and dating to when they were both barely finished senior school. The riddims were fuel for their own talents as MCs - perhaps most notably Tinchy Stryder, who's gone on to score number ones and all that jazz - but they'll be best recognised for their melodically rich, itchily kinetic production style inspired by the likes of Wiley, a form which broke rank from the 2-step and garage which it succeeded, melding pitched-up licks from classic rock and '80s soundtracks with a mercurial swagger that can't be imitated. Next to stone-cold classics like 'Died In Your Arms Tonight' and the goose-pimplin' flex of 'Functions on the Low' you've got the lethal minimalism of 'Tings In Boots', the animated sample shredder 'Move 2 Dis', the alley-stalking string slashes of 'Xtra' and the roadwise emotion of 'Lonely People' for highlights. Recommended!