“The C in Lunar C stands for dickhead” spat Don’t Flop veteran Oshea in his battle with the ambivalent Bradford bar-smith as Lunar returned to Battle Rap for the first time in three years. That line sums up the Fly Tippaz rapper pretty well, given his penchant for jaw-dropping punchlines which have been known to go way beyond the line to the point it’s become a myth to any of the listeners to his recent release, Breakdown Rebuild. His content may have an overarching sense of controversial, attention grabbing anarchy, but focusing solely on the shock-rap would be a disservice to a lyricist who is as culturally observant as he is hilariously scathing.
I despise rappers who recycle lyrics, but given the strength of his “Maybe I’ll get assassinated during a cypher session / And die for my profession like the flight attendants on 9/11” scheme, he’s more than forgiven. That’s just one of the bars which deserve fire emoji x 3 tweets. Looking past the surface of hypnotic humour though, there’s an undercurrent of a young man who’s grown up in a generation who’ve been told they wouldn’t amount to anything and instead of wallowing in self-pity, made something of the limited opportunities life in the North of England offers to a millennial.
Beyond dedicating tracks to calling his sister a slag, Lunar rips into old teacher, talks on feeling like a failure for not completing the album yet and more often than not, being in fame’s equivalent of purgatory. Lunar is known by the people that follow battle rap, and fans of Funk Volume style of music, but is far from a household name, and that makes his reflection on life much more interesting than most. In one verse Lunar can talk on the monotony of ‘normal’ life and in the next detail the monstrosity of being a celebrity, and denounce his rap peers in one fell swoop. For those worried that Lunar might ‘go pop’ in order to achieve mainstream appeal though, on Strictly Indo he quips: “I’m at the point in my career, where rappers usually do songs to stay on the radio, but I ain’t gonna.”
On top of Lunar’s lyrical prowess, his versatility with flows and the ability to execute those words with a divine delivery is second-to-none. As the man spits himself on the tape’s title track, “you rap backwards, that’s a par, write it down bitch / for me that’s an average bar, I just make it sound sick.” A captivating mic presence is something which a lot of Hip Hop lyricists lack, and genuinely great lyrics are often missing on records from rappers with brilliant mic work, but Lunar is of a dying breed who can boast possessing both.
All that said, it’s not a perfect project. In an era in which the line between mixtapes and albums is blurry, and as consequence the quality has to be of the highest standard regardless of whether it’s being put out for free download, or £9.99 purchase. Despite having some excellent excerpts, the tape has too many filler tracks. The strength of the Not Good At Life EP was that what it lacked in quantity, it more than made up for in quality. Lunar could have halved the track count on Breakdown Rebuild and it would have been a much better project, overall – sometimes too much of a good thing, can be bad.
At times even the better moments on Breakdown Rebuild felt like nothing more than something to tie us over until the album, given how many times it’s mentioned in the tape. In fairness, that’s probably exactly what it was intended to be, and maybe music fans are just too greedy nowadays, and ungrateful when we’re treat to preludes to full project. I’d just rather hear the proper release when it’s good and ready, rather than a selection of tracks which vary in quality, thrown together for the sake of maintaining existence in the music industry’s consciousness.
Overall, Breakdown Rebuild is a mixtape which makes for an appetiser for the inevitable excellence which is to come on the album, without quite reaching the standards set by Not Good At Life. With records like New World and Strictly Indo worthy of official release, but My Sisters A Slag falling way short of the mark, this mixtape is testament to Lunar’s terrific talent, and so long as he can streamline the album into a dozen records of the same standard as his EP and the aforementioned stand-out songs from Breakdown Rebuild, the UK might find it’s best album since Ghetts’ Rebel With A Cause.