Pegz - Axis
Mon 19th Sep, 2005 Music Reviewsin
When your label has taken hip-hop in Australia to uncharted levels, your solo album comes with a fair level of expectation. On Axis, Pegz steps his rhyme game up to new levels, proving he has a lot more to offer Australian hip hop than just a record label. Axis is release number four since the year 2000 for Pegz. As the CEO of Obese he could quite easily sit back and take credit for pushing his roster of artists, like Hilltop Hoods, Funkoars and Layla, but instead Pegz brings a refreshed sound to the table, completely comfortable in his own skin, riding the fantastic production of Plutonic Lab. There is no doubt this is his finest work.
A man at ease is probably the best way to describe Pegz. He does still have his signature monotone delivery, yet his ability to chop and change pace and topics stops it from every falling into the boring side of things. Another factor that will hold your interest is the brilliant production. Plutonic Lab has released three albums in the last 12 months yet the beats here are outstanding. Really well placed funk and soul samples and quality drum loops are coupled with live instrumentation in small doses, the end result are beats that can hold their own against those of any producer worldwide. The only guest production are two tracks from Suffa, which are different to his typical sound. This Is For Life rides a almost J-Zone like guitar line while Fucking Wid Pegz features a loop that oozes classic funk appeal.
A beat backing as impressive as this requires some impressive lyrics and that is exactly what Pegz provides. Whether commanding you to take control of your life on cuts like What Would Happen, Blink Of An Eye and Put The World On Hold, to venting his frustrations on Fucking Wid Pegz and Chechen Gorilla, he displays impressive levels of mic presence and skill. The first single, Back Then, seems to have split fans with some describing the hook (provided by his sister) as naff, whereas I find the clever wordplay like “St Kilda junkies rob you like which bank” and references to an era I grew up in impressive. Pegz also steps up as a storyteller, The Last Bushman giving a nod to our outback culture whilst Living On Earth delivers a perhaps fictional tale of a RnB divas career. For me, some of the standout tracks are the collaborations. This Is For Life features some of the best punchlines of the album as Pegz and the Hilltops trade verses. Lines such as “I’m not full of shit that’s my colostomy bag”, “Pegz is at the bar getting a round of Teas”, “Suffa’s got a comb over rocking a Volvo”, and “It’s Suffa MC host of your bingo game”, all had me grinning and picturing some very grey, fat and bald oz hip-hop stalwarts. Other guests include an amped up Debaser on the hot US OZ mash up Two Sides Of The Map, and the clever wordplay of Hyjak N Torcha on Mad Luv, where Pegz’s verse delivers shouts to each and every Obese artist. It would be remiss of me not to mention the contribution of Selekt throughout with his cuts and sample scratches, all well placed and perfectly executed.
Axis has clearly been a labour of love for an artist who, rightly or wrongly, will always carry the pressure of his label into the studio. As comfortable as he has ever sounded on wax and backed by two brilliant producers, this is without a doubt one of the year’s best releases.