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Reviewed by Jason Chan

Dharmarat: Belial

Reviewed by Jason Chan

Dharmarat: Belial

With eight albums under his belt in the short span of three years, South Auckland rapper and producer, Dharmarat (Adam Tukiri) celebrated the release of his ninth, ‘Belial’, in October 2020.

Like a fever dream, the production of the album is heavy and complex. With a mix between dance breakbeats melded into a strong electronic framework, the album has a full-bodied and rich sound, featuring raw and explicit vocals. A coined term by musicians worldwide, ‘bass face’ seems to be a naturally occurring phenomenon throughout the full length of the album.

Dharmarat’s slick production bounces from the dance floor to the kitchen sink filled with dishes; a rare mix of versatility. Through the underlays of this album concise use of simple generalised production techniques such as distortion, reverb and echo add a nice touch of resolution amongst the dissonance.

Despite compelling rhythmic elements though, the album at times seems lacklustre and less than genuine. An emphasis on developing these preliminary hip hop production techniques could have benefited Dharmarat, particularly in songs such as GEEwhizz.

Dharmarat uses catchy phrasing lyrically and melodically, playfully enticing the listener with new facets of his artistry in each track. He has a unique delivery reminiscent of megastars such as 6ix9ine, Ice Cube and 6lack. The best songs here are the ones that have that gloomy electronic sound while containing flourishing nuances that beautifully develop into memorable and catchy one-liners, such as Buzzy Kunt.

Use of loop pedal techniques with a keyboard adds raw instrumentation, unable to be re-created by production, a strangely humanly and comforting touch. He has been creating quite a name for himself through his hard-hitting beats and unforgiving delivery in his music. Including his work with his group Valleyside Boys, Tukiri has released over 20 musical projects. With mahi so strong, it is exciting to watch this artist truly get those treats.