The new mixtape LVL 11 is out next week.
The loose-knit group of MCs, DJs and producers going by the name of Levelz has evolved into one of Manchester’s most vital creative forces in recent years, linking up locals like Estate Recordings and Hit & Run, clubnights Hoya:Hoya and Swing Ting, groups Riot Jazz and The Mouse Outfit, and labels Swamp 81 and Exit Records.
Rather than confine themselves to a specific sound, the 14-strong core crew play to their all of their strengths at once, whether it’s hip-hop or grime, dubstep or drum & bass, house or jazz. As Hoya:Hoya co-founder Jonny told FACT last year for our profile on Levelz, it all comes down to Manchester’s penchant for cross-pollination: “It’s part of what makes this city. There’s a diversity and synergy in the music.”
The crew’s new mixtape LVL 11 is further proof of their magpie-like approach, from the creeping funky of ‘Rowdy Badd’ to the loping hip-hop beats of ‘Drug Dealer’ to the MC acrobatics of ‘Dickhead’. It’s very UK, if you hadn’t guessed.
Now they unveil the mixtape’s closing track, ‘Jazzface’, which catches the crew in a more reflective mode, combining downcast jazz chords with loose, dubby breaks. As usual it’s a team effort: Bricks, Chimpo, Dub Phizix and Metrodome produced the track, with Werkha on bass and vocals from Fox, Sparkz and Truthos Mufasa. Hear it below.
Mixed and Mastered by Dub Phizix and Metrodome.
LVL 11 is out on January 11 through the crew’s Bandcamp – check out the full tracklist below. Top marks for artwork.