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Rascals Takeover Week: Mixtapes

This week on PlanetNotion, it’s Rascals takeover time. We interviewed the prodigal grime foursome – comprised of Big Shizz, Tempz, Merkz and Kay Willz (boy, that’s a lot of zeds) – for our latest issue, Notion 063, and now we’re allowing them the chance to shout about the things that inspire them all week long. First up is that most magical of internet-rejuvenated forms: Mixtapes:

1. J ColeFriday Night Lights

North Carolina’s J Cole struck internet gold with his third mixtape, the evocatively titled Friday Night Lights. Released to a bevy of critical acclaim and featuring cameo appearances from Drake, Kanye and Pusha T (of Clipse fame), if anything it would be surprising if Rascals didn’t include Friday Night Lights.

2. A$AP RockyLive.Love.A$AP

If you listen very closely to Merkz’ verse in Rascals’ most recent single, ‘Fire Blaze‘, you might just hear him spit “A$AP, trill life”. Well, this is the man he’s repping. A seminal debut from the Harlem MC (and A$AP Mob leader), A$AP Rocky’s Live.Love.A$AP is without doubt one of the smoothest, filthiest rap records in recent memory; or, as A$AP puts it on ScHoolboy Q’s ‘Hands on the Wheel‘: “the illest, trillest.”

3. Frank OceanNostalgia, Ultra

Though it’s been a bit overshadowed since Ocean dropped Channel Orange last year, the Californian R&B kingpin’s debut mixtape still stands as a masterclass in fusing soulful pop, wonderfully bizarre cover versions (Coldplay’s ‘Strawberry Swing‘, anyone?) and a deluge of video game references. A cardinal release for anyone operating in the urban lexicon.

4. Lunar CSewer Side Sex

Labeling Lunar C as the biggest name in the rap game to come out of Bradford may not sound like the biggest accolade (let’s face it, the shortlist is pretty, well, short), but with walk-on guest spots from JME and Dot Rotten, there’s a lot of good to be said about Lunar C’s debut mixtape, Sewer Side Sex. Looks like this 22 year-old from south of the Pennines has done well.

5. SkeptaCommunity Payback

With the plethora of musical talent that’s sprang from Rascals’ E3 stomping ground, you’d have to expect one of their Bow neighbours to crop up in this selection. So, in the spirit of celebrating East London, here’s everyone’s favourite Boy Better Know main man: Skepta.

- Alex Cull

You can read the full write-up of our interview with Rascals in Notion 063 – pick up a copy via our online store.

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