You hear that Doug? SON RAW IS COMING TO LONDON.

Despite what Drake says, I’m perfectly willing to make new friends, they just have to meet certain guidelines. One of the rituals I expect from my homies is the ability, nay the compulsion, to endlessly quote classic rap tunes and movie quotes. If you get a puzzled look on your face when I end a phone call with “Lick shot, peace Connecticut” or are unwilling to debate the merits of a Royal with Cheese, we’re not going to be hanging out.

Curly Castro and Zilla Rocca can hang out. Anyone who flips the soundtrack to one of my favorite 90s gangster films into a concept EP about London Gangsters gets a free pass. For those who don’t know, Snatch is Guy Ritchie’s magnum opus, pre-Madonna swag and/or lifeforce jacking. It’s ridiculously over the top, endlessly quotable and has little to do with actual London. It also has a dynamite soundtrack that switches from 70s funk to 60s ska to 90s rock on a dime. Which is to say, it’s perfect for a gang of whip-smart Philly artists to re-imagine.

Of course, these things can go wrong: get the balance of humor and seriousness wrong and it’s all for nought. Thankfully, Castro and Zilla rarely miss their mark, using the film as a starting point to stretch out their own unique style of storytelling. Musically, Zilla mostly keeps things dark – opener Going back to London evokes rainy nights and bad kebabs while David Rodigan pays homage to the famed Reggae selecta by sampling punk-ska originators The Specials, well played. “All Bets are off” is a ray of light amidst this darkness and a lighthearted anthem in the making thanks to its crashing drums and flavorful reggae sample. You can picture the hawaian shirts and Havana hats.

Lyrically, Castro recruits the Wrecking Crew to great effect, and the chemistry between the various rappers on record goes a long way to selling the concept. Far from an overly serious “album as a movie” – this is the kind of fun, off the cough project that comes to mind after a few two many beers at a homie’s place. Whether quoting LL Cool J on the opener or ending with a rap limerick (seriously), Castro and Co. manage to entertain without overselling the concept. Weighing in at 16 minutes, it’s perfectly time for a bodega run between two DVDs. I wouldn’t let them sell you a caravan though.


We rely on your support to keep POW alive. Please take a second to donate on Patreon!