Lee Hawthorn

Paull makes Hip Hop comeback with motivational Caff collaboration

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The Darkside

Monkseaton’s Paull was the first Newcastle emcee to catch my ear back when I initially gave regional rappers a chance, so it was a disappointment when I heard that he was putting his rapping dreams to the side, and focusing on creating indie-rock instead. So it’s with delight that I discovered the emcee would be making a comeback this week, and it came in the form of the Caff assisted Motivation.

The Hek-Tik records duo are undeniably two of the most talented prospects coming from either side of the Tyne, and it’s always good to see some friendly competition on the track for listeners to engage the eternal debate of “who killed it” that echoes throughout Hip Hop culture. While I’d have liked the trading of bars in this collaboration so that the pair could push one another to their lyrical best, it’s also refreshing to hear something emotionally resonant and inspiring from the North East scene.

While Paull contributes a verse that typifies both what he thrives at, and what he has failed to master – the nods to prioritising a listen to Eminem over school work, is something many a millennial will relate to, and makes for a welcome return from the Geordie bar-smith. It’s his ability to articulate stories with a raw honesty, leaving his life story in his music that marks Paull as one of the North East’s premier artists, and allows us to excuse his pitfall when it comes to rhyming. For one reason or another, Paull’s music has always faced the issue of ending lines with almost-rhymes. At best it’s lazy, and at worst it’s off-putting and detrimental to a songwriter that has all other aspects of his pen game mastered. In an era in where people like Crooked I who can rhyme a dozen syllables in adjacent lines, it’s simply not good enough for Paull to not rhyme at least monosyllabically in each bar. It’s a waste of the talent he has elsewhere.

As for Caff, he fails to recapture the magic of his verse when collaborating with Yoshi Riot for Energy, but that’s probably more because of preference on the paralleling styles than the actual quality. Once again, Jarrow’s top-tier talent brings a brilliant bar-game, despite his own autobiographical description of insecurity and loneliness while dreaming of stardom. At times, the switch up in flow is jarring to the impact of the lyrics, but what would a Caff verse be without a momentary change of pace? I just wish that he would learn when to use it, and then his versatile flexing would be all the more impressive for it.

Overall, the record is a welcome return for Paull and a continuation of Caff’s rise to becoming the North East’s Hip Hop kingpin. They’ve both dropped better verses, but they’ve done worse too and it’s good to see them working together, again. If I were to wish for two solo emcee’s to join forces and release a collaborative EP, it’d be these two – and despite the flaws in Motivation, it’s easy to see why.

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