This West coast pairing when combined make up the new album Beastmode. The MC Bitter Belief, who, from the age of only 14, opened his rhyme book penning lyrics to bring to life the cuts and bruises of his own cousin’s rough experiences found his motivation and through wordplay has never put the biro to rest. The DJ, so to speak, is the super producer Rob Shaker and one part of the Syllabolix fam whose handy work behind the boards and across his catalogue of credits helped craft a horde of Australian hip-hop’s most notable talents. Working out of the studios where every nut, bolt and panel is tailored to suit the signature Swan sound, Bitter B and Rob Shaker embark on the first joint album through Shake Down Records.
Shake Down Records released three singles prior to the album’s drop, running hot across the indie circuit. First single ‘The Dharma’, Bitter B finds himself in this spiritual awakening, a young Ron Burgandy without courtesy in full tilt. Here, he batters the Shaker beat, line by line laying the boot in with successive punchlines - “the type who used to smack a stranger in the face and think it’s humorous... Throwing middle fingers out to the world from the uterus”. Bitter’s wit is sheathed only in the soft leathered hook delivered by Shaker where he proclaims his addiction to the dharma and running from his karma, although it doesn’t seem to have blunted the MC’s stabbing delivery. Second single ‘Battleship Pt. 2’ sees the joint chiefs enter the coordinates and turning their keys to launch this track, picking back up where ‘Battleship Pt. 1’ left off. Lyrically, Bitter B graduated “from scholar to sensei without a template” here where Shaker produced the beat, cut the cake, mixed and mastered the finished product. Third drop, ‘Hot Sauce’ has these chiefs return to the galley to bang out another MC killer with a recipe of rhyme slays and too-hot production left to grill on the burner.
Beastmode is a fairly closed-door affair featuring only the bare few who complement the workings of Bitter B such as the blessing tones of Sarah Pellicano echoing his sentiment on ‘The Aviary’, Perth rappers Complete (‘Popcorn’) and the strangled, razored vocals of Beni Bjah (2015/16 WAM Song Of The Year Award recipient for ‘Survivor’) on ‘Don't Call It A Come Back’. Packing an album’s worth into one booth, Beastmode’s posse cut ‘Squadgoals’ is the all-in swan song - a final statement from the Syllabolix Swans featuring Manaz, Ill Divine, Mr. Grevis, Azmatik, Omac, Paulie P, Bryte, Nate Deezy, Drastik, Sever, Kogz, Greeley and still more! True the form, the assault is relentless with no in-between mode - a slow death where the ending takes off once it begins.
From the long-serving Swan veterans across Australia’s arid hip-hop climate, the return of Bitter Belief and Rob Shaker’s dominance has the nation battening down hatches for what has culminated in the Beastmode LP.
Pro Fresh Media