Interview & Review: Cracker Jon & 2Late – ‘You Can Take The Cracker Out Of Croydon’

Cracker Jon & 2late Front Cover

From the deep depths of South London creeps Croydon-based duo Cracker Jon & 2Late’s début album ‘You Can Take The Cracker Out Of Croydon”, the latest showcase from High Focus Records. Cracker Jon first marked his stance into the scene with his 2011 mixtape ‘Only Built 4 Croydon Linx’ aside Toast Based Dinners. Producer 2Late has been dubbed as a rising talent, most recently celebrated for his part in the ‘2LiT EP’ alongside Tommy Dockerz. This shall be the duo’s second collaborative album together, following their 2011 release ‘Delusional Crackerz’, and have since shared experience over the past few years touring the nation alongside High Focus on top of collaborations with the likes of Split Prophets, Blah and RLD Records, which has fuelled the fiery anticipation for the Summer release.

For some first-hand insight into the début we speak with Cracker Jon to discover his early affiliation with High Focus, hear about the album’s creation process and more before we shall reveal our own thoughts on the release…

Cracker Jon Press Pic 9

First things first, big ups on your Boom Bap performance. Do you consider your set to be a highlight of your career?

Safe man. I wouldn’t say career but its always the highlight of the year. Its way too early to ask that sort of question! (laughs) I’ve been performing since it started and it’s only got better. I thought me in a Vietnamese suit would kill it off this year, and then I hear someone’s only gone and got some dominatrix girl on stage. So next year will be interesting.

For a bit of background info, how did you both become affiliated with High Focus records?

It’s been a couple years now, just doing the festival scene and working hard to get our shit out there for people to hear and see. One day I got the call, and we’ve just gone from there with my plan to take over the world. This album’s basically a collection of the most ridiculously funked out tracks we have made in the past few years. When I was first asked to send an album to Fliptrix I sent him over 50 odd tracks.

The album has got a mad range of top quality collaborations… For the readers, could you reveal some names who feature?

I wont spoil it but I’ll give you a clue, like hangman:

_ E E S_O_T

_I_ T Y D_K_

F_I_T_ _ X

S_E_L_N_T_N P_F_

There’s plenty more. I chose people I respect musically and/or as a person. You can call me a hater but I just see it as not tolerating average music. I want this to be a classic album so the people on it have got to hold down the fort with me. I think they smashed it. Shouts to every MC on the album!

How did you engineer the “gutter ruggedness” sound of the album and which artists/albums inspired the creation process?

Nearly all of the album was recorded at my old famous half way house, where it was always either about getting wasted and doing music… or getting wasted and doing music. The beats didn’t need engineering but my setup was pretty ghetto, sock over the mic shit, so I just sent the vocals to be mixed better than I could do it myself. If any artists inspired this project I’d personally say Redman, James Brown, Keith Murray, Quasimoto, EPMD, LOTU, LONS, Craig Mack, basically selectively funked out music from that old school 90s New York Hip Hop era we all love.

Cracker Jon Press Pic 3

How would you define the chemistry between both you and 2Late?

I see Cracker Jon & 2Late as a similar sort of vibe as say Pete Rock & CL Smooth, or Gangstarr, with the one MC and the one producer as a team killing the vibe.

What makes this album unique?

The Funk Levels.

What impact do you hope the album makes on the listeners once they’ve listened to it’s entirety?

I hope they listen to my album so much they go deaf. Im just glad this isnt America or someone would sue me.

Could you sum up the album in a single sentence?

CRACKER JON FOR PRIME MINISTER.

Have you got many shows lined up following the release date? 

CATCH US: FRI 1ST AUGUST – NOZSTOCK FESTIVAL, BROMYARD, HEREFORDSHIRE.

SAT 2ND AUGUST – FORTY OUNCE 3, THE RAFTERS, MAIDSTONE.

WEDS 6TH AUGUST. SLIP JAM, BRIGHTON, ALBUM LAUNCH.

SAT 9TH AUGUST. MATTHEWS YARD, CROYDON, CYPHER LOUNGE

WEDS 20TH AUGUST. THE WINDMILL. BRIXTON.

SAT 23RD AUGUST. CLAPHAM GIG. DETAILS TO COME.

WEDS 3RD SEPTEMBER – OUTLOOK FESTIVAL, PULA, CROATIA

Thanks for your time. Have you got any final shout outs to make?

EVERY CROYDON REPRESENTATIVE, DFN, 645, HIGH FOCUS, RLD, BLAH, REVORG, CUNT GANG, AND YOURSELVES.

REST IN PEACE DIFA.. REST IN PEACE LADY V..

You Can Take The Cracker Out Of Croydon – Review

After being thrown off stage at a Dingy Squat (intro skit) without another second’s hesitation 2Late goes in on My Demands, dropping rugged bass undertones to an old school hook which accompanies Cracker’s surreal lyricism, laying down his stark perspectives before dropping more street knowledge in No Need, defining his character by tackling his torn mentality; questioning the worlds deficiencies whilst envisioning brighter days, implying that nothing will stop his shine. What You Prefer see’s Cracker humorous side as he gives his present perspective from the bottom of the pyramid, speaking of a drain in finance and seemingly detailing the actuality of his pessimistic reality, ultimately spitting to maintain his bleak optimism.

I don’t like responsibility when I’m at work / to sit at home and get stoned is what I prefer / I bet you all relate to this even if you haven’t had a job / it’s probably because your lazy and a slob / I want a massive wad of cash so I can get on the lash and pull a fat amount of slags to come back to my pad / but at the moment in the future if I pull a lass / then I’ll be taking her home to my cosy council flat

 The Funk Off commences as 2Late drops some pure melodic funk to platform the lyrical guile of Cracker and Blah Records’ unofficial funkmaster Sly Moon (see Funky DownSly Moon Funk) alongside Dubbel O, Smellington Piff and Eric Da Red. Sly Moon spits a remorseless verse in his trademark slur of slick lyricism spat in a sporadic style but with an on point flow, before Dubbul O follows with a vicious set of quick-fire bars, effectively inducing an unnerving edge to his disconcerting wordplay that’s soon accompanied by the unruly behavioural tendencies of RLD Records representatives Smellington Piff & Eric Da Red. Smellington delivers his antagonising lyrical style spat with a familiarly venomous tongue before Eric finishes with an added enthusiasm to his comedic off-key tone, which does little to deter the potency of his fearsome verse.

Obnoxious first delves into the mindset of the Dirty Dike, who upholds his reputation for delivering shocking lyricism with disturbing snarls (“I’ll snap a cats leg off and fuck a dog with it”) yet maintains his focus to deliver intelligent rhymes which possess a degree of purpose and unparalleled originality. Lee Scott follows with intricately personified lyricism, exemplifying his mastered flow with unsettling bars to clarify the confidence portrayed by his peculiar persona before Cracker impressively holds rank with the veterans to finish. Fliptrix’s feature in Got The Style  showcases his intelligence as he combines rapid rhymes with composure making reference to revolutionary aspects before Sammy B-Side spins out with sinister cuts to the boom bap beat. This leads into All The Places, which stands out for a few reasons. 2Late dismisses the jazzed up funk for uplifting keys and a soft pounding hook, commandeering the sentimental nature of Cracker’s reflectively effective lyricism as he deliberates his actions, assesses aspects of his lifestyle and contemplates the fabric of the world and its society which influences his clinical perspectives.

I plan to act mature but fun I’m having more / grabbing bags of draw ’til my cash is back to poor / wonder what my nan would have thought / rather speak in my Irish native tongue then sound like some English faced scum from the minute my day’s begun / USA say the UK is dumb / coming from a place that creates displace trades and favours guns / I ain’t saying none

Leaf Dog comes through in That Time with the unique flair of a mastered lyricist, delivering his distinctive flow with engrossing rhymes spoken with clarity and purpose. Sly Moon returns in Say What with a fiery flow dropping more knowledgeable verses but generally further demonstrates his adept lyrical finesse. Fat Funk Flow features Datkid (Split Prophets), Strange Neighbour (Revorg Records) and DJ Al Might who contributes more meticulous cuts. The vibes are unnerving and the lyrics are hostile; Datkid raises the roof in a confident lyrical bout before Cracker drops a verse followed by efficiently disconcerting lyricism from Strange Neighbour to finish. The finale track Think About It see’s another feature from High Focus head honcho Fliptrix, in which the duo go back-to-back with gripping flows and fascinatingly intellectual bars highlighting their lyrical expertise over a rolling instrumental to end on a spectacular high.

The début is a strong benchmark that shall surely propel both Cracker & 2Late careers to further heights. It is the shared chemistry which ultimately prevails as perhaps the most important aspect of the release. 2Late’s raw productive traits expertly personifies the abrasiveness of Cracker Jon’s personality in a smooth coercion of jazz melodies and menacing hip-hop hooks across the album’s nineteen track duration. With a rarity of chorus’ the album plays through short bursts of hard-hitting rhythms and hardcore lyricism, enthralling from start to finish with an excellent range of features to effectively encapsulate the range lyrical diversity stemming particularly from the High Focus roster, who as ever have fulfilled their deserved reputation as the nations most prolific hip-hop label.

Don’t sleep on this album any longer – go cop your pre-orders from the links below:

iTunes purchase link: HERE
CD purchase link: HERE
Limited edition vinyl purchase link: HERE

Cracker Jon & 2late Back Cover

 

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