Review: One of Potential Badboy's absolute classic tracks is being given the remix treatment by one of the best rolling badboys in the game - L-Side. The Brazilian has historically worked mostly over on V Recordings, but this time he's banging out the goods on Playaz, and what a set of tools he has to work with. MC Fats and Yush deal the vocal magic on 'Girlz' in a way that must be a dream to produce, and the 'Intro Remix' lays their work down over a diving, sub-heavy concoction of a beat that more than does the original justice. The flip is similar, with barking stab of a bass note that moves with gruff authority - wicked stuff.
Sub Zero - "Missing Piece" (feat Roxi Yung) - (4:32) 175 BPM
Annix & K Motionz - "Stutter" - (4:33) 175 BPM
Review: Playaz are rounding out this year with their first compilation for quite some time, and their 2020 roundup relies on a fairly small handful of long-term label stalwarts across twenty tracks. In this case, less is more and the likes of Annix, Taxman, DJ Hybrid and Tyke all come seriously correct in this compilation, their collective decades of experience really shining through. Taxman's 'You Can't See' is absurdly good, with wonderfully stuttering breaks which emerge from shimmering synth lines before cutting into a raucously stabbing bass hits, a proper rowdy collection of sounds which get right to the heart of the Playaz sound. Bristol trio The Sauce pop up on the label with several contributions, including 'Spooked', an eerie roller with choppiness right at its core - big stuff from the crew.
Review: 2020 isn't all bad... Annix finally deliver their long-awaited debut album and every shade of grot and wonder you'd expect from one of the most influential D&B duos of the last decade. Masters at space, weirdo funk, unique sound design and the dark art of switch-flipping, it's no surprise this album is loaded with more twists and turns than an underground tube map. Highlights include the broken glass funk of "Stutter" (with K Motionz) the trippy turbine driller jam "Clapper" (with Skantia) and the curveball blast-ups like the techno-style marching title track "Tunnel Vision" and the beautiful euphoria of "Behind Time".
Review: DJ Limited signed up to The Playaz camp a year or so ago with a pledge to bring the big beats to Hype's label, and he's come good on that pledge and then some. This single has a rework of his acclaimed track 'The Elephant' from last year on the A-side, and he's managed to craft an even more dastardly piece of dancefloor construction from the potent elements of the first version. The flip - You Got - is a stepping, punchy number with serious weigh behind it. Banging.
Review: Quite possibly the most consistent artist Playaz have ever known, Taxman is always there for you when you need him. After his monthly assault of tunes last year he returns with yet more fresh goods in the form of "Can't You See". Breezier and lighter than his usual sledgehammer signature, the sensual vocal, dreamy chords and subtle rave elements roll-up together with total uplift... And allow just enough space for a stinky bassline to cut through in all the right places. One for the dancefloor dreamers.
Review: With Hazard rounding up another killer year for Hype and Pascal's label with his first release in five years, Playaz take stock of 2019 with this savage showdown from all their main mandem. From the eerie gurgles and scraps of Annix & Kanine's "Jackpot" to the flabby wobbles and groans of Limited's "Soldier" to the sweet seduction twist of Jam Thieves' "Love Forever" this 25-track pack covers the entire spectrum of proper rave-primed drum & bass with all manner of curveballs and boundary-pushing badness. No compromises, a healthy balance of elder statesmen, new headliners and young talent and a sound that's distinctively theirs, Playaz are about to bulldoze into a new decade... And this is how it all begins.
Review: Jam Thieves are the Brazilian duo who make simply sumptuous, minimal, rough and tumble rollers and they do so with an excessive amount of power and finesse. Love Forever is their latest EP and it's four more slices of sub heavy techy goodness, each individually packaged in an attempt to get your head moving in the dance. Title track 'Love Forever' is our favourite because it samples Marvin Gaye, but also because it's just proper minimal naughtiness, with in point drums and a chest-bashing sub bass. Excellent stuff.
Review: DJ Limited is the newest signing to DJ Hype's Playaz label and he's arrived with his first full length EP on the label. Based on his debut single and his track record, this release was always going to be on the naughty side and DJ Limited hasn't disappointed. Title track 'Minefield' is an expansive, steppy number with stripped back drums and a moody attitude, each new phrase brings with it an evolution or change and the sounds are constantly engrossing. 'Don't Be Afraid' is more choppy, rough-and-tumble madness and it's another highlight, alongside the vocal-laden rolling styles of 'Soldier'.
Review: One of the most delightfully unpredictable producers on the Playaz roster Tyke returns with two more flip-switching jams that will fit into any style, shape or size of set; "Lion Of Judah" harnesses the power of Jah and fires it across a ribbed bassline that scutters and jitters like a slug having a fit. "Seperation", meanwhile, shows off Tyke's soulful edge with a sunny-side dubwise vibe, heavenly vocals and a groove that flips between basslines like your mum flips through cakes when no one's looking. Naughty.
Review: Teddy Killerz are the cute, furry-faced bastions of horror and they've teamed up with Nais and the Playaz crew for this full-throttle display of dastardly sound design, monstrous bass construction and downright disgusting choonage. 'Twinge' is our favourite of the two, with a drum line that's constantly shifting and morphing across different patterns and punchy synth stabs, it's sharp on all edges and fiercely no-nonsense. The flip packs even more energy and it's what we've come to expect from all parties involved in this sick little single.
Review: Potential Badboy is one of Playaz's longest serving roster legends, the man behind 'You're Mine' and someone who always injects a refreshing mix of reggae infused dancefloor destruction into any dancefloor or release. That's exactly what he's done here with Bashy/Brederin, and his ability to span a mix of styles is clear in the two extra versions of each tune, which add a really nice element of variation. We love this format almost as much as we like the music itself.
Review: Woi and indeed oi; the consistent stinksmith Critical Impact teams up with the one and only Skibs once again to build on the havoc they'd created with "Creeper" last year. This time on Playaz, both cuts absolutely slaughter the dance... As you probably already know as the dubplate pressure has been hot on these for a while now. "Bulletproof Vest" is a pure steamroller situation, flattening everything in its path while "Mr Smith" takes a much more sinister steppy twist. Bringing out the bet in Skibadee once again, we hope there'll be more from this dream producer/MC team in the future.
Review: DJ Limited has been steadily making a name for himself the past couple of years as a man who crafts music rich with jump-uo energy and jungle vigour, music that broadly rests on the jungle/jump-up spectrum but which injects something new and fresh into the mix. Now, he's signed to Playaz and this is his first single, two tracks with animal names to match their respective sounds. 'The Elephant' is loud and bombastic, the piercing sounds of an elephant's call morphed into a dancefloor weapon that's reminiscent of Kings of the Rollers' 'Burnt Ends'. 'The Jaguar' is the flip, a coughing, tortured set of sounds that growl and hack over a speedy drum line, injecting a sense of movement and fluidity into the aggressive, cat-like vibe. Tunes!
Review: Jam Thieves are arguably two of the freshest talents currently residing in the Playaz camp, their less-is-more approach to the Playaz jump-up orientated ethos injecting every one of their tunes with an elegant sense of power. On this occasion, their music is being given a reworking by both TC and themselves. TC's remix of 'Minimal Funk' - the title track to their 2016 debut album on Playaz - is amped-up and outrageously aggressive, it's glitched out synth stabs and oily run of low-frequency energy suitably tailored to the original's minimal force. On the flip, 'After Blast' is given the VIP treatment and, despite the original being a heaving mass of bass, is made even heavier with added emphasis on the heavy. Two big tunes these.
Review: Real Playaz, originally set up by DJ Hype, DJ Pascal and DJ Zinc, is one of the longest standing institutions in D&B and a label which still manages to churn out quality music on a semi-regular basis. Their firmly rooted in the destructive end of things and Profile's New Life EP reflects that from the very first tune - 'It's a Trap - featuring Sub Killaz in a top-down showdown of jagged power. 'New Life' featuring ANFM takes things in a slightly more rolling direction but one that doesn't sacrifice on energy, with jump-up vibes knifed in round the edges to ensure it maintains the same veneer of unstoppability. The diving, wobbling sub bass on 'The Specialist' is arguably the best and most creative track on the release, though: unbelievably good.
Review: Taxman is one of Playaz's most reliable bass merchants, a man who consistently, if somewhat infrequently, drops music that's full of the old-school jump-up attitude that made Playaz so good back in the day. His Echo Vibes EP continues on that trend. Four slices of dirty, roughshod D&B that gives you a dirty look as it steps over your body. It genuinely doesn't care; it's not trying to be anything smart or sophisticated; it's not looking to impress you. All this EP cares about is giving you a sick night while scaring you to death at the same time and it does it fantastically. Our favourite is possibly the title track 'Echo Vibes' - not one to be missed.