Donning masks of subway creatures that dwell in NYC subways, it’s no surprise that UK punk/rap band RATS make music as gritty and murky as the subway system, as raucous as oncoming trains. A swift glance at their Instagram page shows promise of a free copy of their EP, so long as you DM them with your email. Early by the next day, the Welcome to Hell EP was lounging mischievously at the top of my inbox.
Genre fusion of hip-hop and punk has been commonplace since each genre’s conception, with the echoes of rebellion sat comfortably at the root of each genre. The collective voice of the counterculture- the diligent and unapologetic side-eyes directed at power structures and oppression- ring loudly in both types of music. Bands like Death Grips, HO99O9, and RATS do the fusion justice, by making sure both styles remain present and functioning as a track runs its sometimes short course; the Welcome to Hell EP, for example, runs around 11 minutes in length.
From “American Heroin” to “Bad Habits,” the band shows rigid knowledge of cultures and ideologies outside their own, and makes a point to be savvy, intrinsic, and deathly rapid in their delivery. “Do you wanna get f*cked up, or do you wanna get f*cked?!” they yell in “American Heroin.” In addition, while “Handstand” reverberates more of a rap structure than a punk one, the very last track in the EP, “Welcome to Hell,” shows RATS at their most abrasive. Their live performances seem to echo this same vibration. To see a live show evolve into a riot wouldn’t be a surprise; after all, they love their “bad habits.”
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