Levelheaded began making aussie hip hop during high school in the late nineties with a group of friends on a budget set-up in the Adelaide Hill. Most of the stuff thrown down consisted of drunken freestyles and scribbled down raps that never made it our of Debate’s parents house.
In 2001, Levs and a few mates formed Train of Thought, In 2002 the guys released a demo that sold over 500 copies and played shows with artist such as Hilltop Hoods, Hyjack & Torcha, Crossbred Mongrels, Pegz, Funkoars, After Hours, the list goes on. One of the early highlights Levs recalls for the demo tour, was the album launch for The Calling with the Hilltop Hoods. A landmark mark show is aussie hip hop. The following six months were filled with blood, sweat and tears which culminated mid 2004 with the release of Train Of Thoughts first full length LP Moving Heads.
This release earn’t them support for international acts such as Jungle Brothers and regular airplay on Triple J. In 2006 Levelheaded left the group to move to the Riverland in the northeast of SA to teach PE at Glossop High School. For the next year or so no music was made. The only rhymes that were spat over this period were battles while on lunchtime yard duty with students.
Due to the common interest in education Levelheaded has a strong connection with Melbourne emcee Reason. Levs went on to appear on Reasons 2006 album Life’s a Lesson and supported Reason in various shows over the next few years.
The inspiration for the new album The Spice Of Life came when fellow Train Of Thought member Forecast, came back from a stint traveling overseas and they made the track Blazing Skies in September 2007. Levelheaded quickly secured some beats from Debate and began work on the new album. The Spice Of Life was intended for release in 2008 but with the combination of distance from the studio and difficulty of working with so many guests on the album made it extremely difficult to finish, so the blood, sweat and tears once again, pour through the release. With the help of Suffa and Debris on the sound and the expert production of Debate’s 15 years of beat making experience, The Spice Of Life was set for release.
The Spice of Life is packed with 13 tracks recorded at the Train of Thought lab, featuring production by Debate, appearances by the Funkoars, Reason, Headlock, Train Of Thought, Eslev and Sydetrak. The album has been dubbed a tribute to the hard-working, diverse nature of Levelheaded.
The cover art work features a cool Levelheaded logo and cover design by Darren Lock, we also see a nice 4 page booklet with the usual track info and shout outs. The first track Down To Earth is an intro tracks of sorts, reminding you instantly that Levelheaded is here to get your head nodding. Debate’s work on this track is exceptional and you can’t go past Levelheaded’s smooth, composed rhyming style. The album ranges from straight up party jams to deep thought-provoking tracks and everything in between. The main line in the title track The Spice of Life is a true representation of the sound on this album. This is the classic BBQ track, ie great on the stereo with ya mates, a few brews.
Countdown featuring fellow educator Reason, is a highlight track. Both verses from Reason and Levelheaded are lyrically tight as you could expect. Debate once again excels on Countdown, the pan pipe-ish type flutes set the track off. Doubleheader featuring After Hours emcee Headlock is a harder track carrying a dark beat, the two emcees team up well together here. Levelheaded demonstrates an experience, that only comes from an emcee with a long history in the game.
Bring You Back To Life is an instrumental track that really reinforces the Spice Of Life theme. The track features some dope samples from some old boom bap classics. This track, leads as a huge intro for the track Fat Tape, featuring Train Of Thought. This will really bring you back to the days of Sony walkmans and cassette tapes, forget those mp3’s and iPods.
Too Late Now tells the story of a young kid who gets bullied and shoots up a school. We really love these lyrical story type tracks. Debates work really sets the mood on this track and the cuts from Hacksaw are some of the coolest on the album. Levelheaded takes a step away from the traditional beats, collabing with Adelaide heavy metal band 8th Degree on two tracks. The combination of heavy guitars, passionate rhyming and killer cuts result in the tracks The Hills, an anthem featuring Slats and Eslev, and also the politically driven track Bring Them Down. Levelheaded really brings something unique here pulls it off quite nicely.
The Spice Of Life is an album with something for everyone, party jams, head nodding shit, and some thought-provoking tracks. Levelheaded really shines on the mic and his experience as an artist has seen him release an album that sounds exceptional. Levelheaded brings back that classic aussie hip hop sound. This album really reminds us of the reason why we feel in love with aussie hip hop in the first place, the ‘hanging with mates’, the ‘getting on it’ and as cliché as it sounds, the music.
The Spice Of Life should cement Levelheaded as one of the country’s most talented emcees. All in all this is one of our top albums of the year. In every area of production, and rhymes, the guys are all 100% solid. It’s great to see some South Australian hip hop back on the map and doing it large this year. If you love that classic sound of straight up aussie hip hop, then grab this release. We give this album 4.7 out of 5.
You can purchase a copy of The Spice Of Life here.
Here are the remaining dates on The Spice Of Life Tour:
Date: 13th December 2009
Venue: The Brisbane Hotel
Support Acts: Reason & Social Change
Tickets: cost/from: on sale NOW through Oztix
Date: 31st December 2009
Venue: The Berri Resort Hotel
Support Acts: TBC
Tickets: On the door.