Although rapper and producer, Sporting Life’s, main posse is RATKING from New York, his sounds relate well to the harsh concrete of British urban music. Performing under a train track two weeks ago in London’s Corsica Studios, the 3-man rap collective revels in harsh beats that are erratic as they are poetic. Armed with a Roland SP-555 sampler, collaborator Sporting Life, aka Eric Adiele, releases his new solo album, 55 5’s. This forthright record goes to show how the tight knit collective give each other the freedom to create as they wish.
“Whatever we do, we’ll make it remain strong in the roots of RATKING – the way Wu-Tang was.” This is where the group further begins to imitate their idols, Wu-Tang Clan, with music that strives to “mix the uptown rap scene with downtown punk and No Wave and then give a modern perspective of how it is at street level now." With low, fleshed out melodies that are undercut by sonic booms and tight snares, SL’s sound is never lethargic as the athletic alias would suggest. Eric is happy to explain the connection between sport and music: “they can be quite close, I believe. Sport is definitely based off competition, and a lot of the time I am quite competitive when it comes to sound. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not, but I definitely recognise the link there.”
Only by listening to the first two singles from his new album do you realise that he’s trying to beat his personal best. The increased fluidity of production is most assertively laid down in ‘Looks Good on You’, a track that could, if filed, appear under deep techno house. True to form, Sporting Life continues to challenge what we’d expect to hear from the US underground.
Every Wednesday, one of our young contributors picks a piece of music that has meant something to them in the past seven days.