From the get up, the production shines. Masterfully exploited synth loops, grimy kicks and snares, and subtle horn samples let this album punch above its weight, even before the round bell rings. It’s a necessary reminder of the calibre of producers NZ hip hop is boasting these days. The beatmaking talents of George ‘Shaqles’ Gavet draw heavily from the old school reigns of Dr. Dre and DJ Premier, but it doesn’t feel like a gimmick; it feels like a voice he knows how to wear, and he has a few tricks of his own, as evident on White Walls. The Doqument crew is made up of MCs $ikeOne, imaGe and Shaqles (who doubles as producer), and Mac Major on the turntables. It seems clear what’s brought them together is a shared appreciation for the golden days of the genre, the kind most of us grew up idolising. ‘Black Canvas: Wall & Piece’ is the first collaborative project for the four, and it successfully evades the awkward plasticity most hip hop collabs get trapped in. The MCs trade bars efficiently and to great effect, as seen on Heart of the City, one of the standouts on the album’s A side A, WALL. The heavyweight guests are reserved to side B, PIECE. The David Dallas‘ driven Legacy has all the commercial sensibilities of a single, but lacks the spark heard on the solo tracks. Avant Garde features an appearance from PNC, but still feels like something is missing. On the other hand Shawn Kemp, an ode to the NBA great, is instantly more identifiable. With repeat listens the depth of content is revealed. There doesn’t seem to be any fillers, instead an enviable collection of solid work the group has undoubtedly sweated over for a time, carried by the warmth of grit of the production. The Doqument’s is the latest in a series of albums to come out over the last year shining a light on NZ’s blooming hip hop scene.