The latter part of 2022 involved record high temperatures, furnace hot nights and train strikes, but none of those factors were an obstacle for a second Block Report live show taking place, brought to us by Mr. Block Report himself, who most know by the alias Flashy Sillah. Fast forward to February this year, and creatives that attended the previous exhibits, would have realised they were simply the pilot episodes leading up to another culturally powered night at Peckham Rye, which witnessed the continuation of what the creator has in store for us this season. To date, notable guest performances include the likes of Youngs Teflon, Tiny Boost as well as thriving performers who’ve soaked in the spotlight, among them being the winner Shakes, J10, JM7, Velkaz and Mosey.
Show number two witnessed how Shakes shook the venue in a refined manner, beyond what you would expect for an artist his age; this set the precedent for the kind of talent Sillah would be on the hunt for in preparation for show number of three. Commentated a success by numerous members across the scene in attendance, this explosive re-up like its predecessors fell nothing short of them.
A fresh line up of underground acts that included Elt Cheekz, AE, EmanfromDaA2, Kzee and OVE (Riskey), came to dominate the stage, following the Block’s first live Cypher that had served as pre-game for the evening. Each individual who made their presence known didn’t fail to immerse themselves in their performance, but there could only be one winner. The prize in question? An exclusive instrumental from acclaimed producer M1onTheBeat, alongside a music video upload to Mixtape Madness on the house, to push their next single. When making the announcement, Sillah adopted the style of 8 Mile’s underground rap battle host, ‘Future’, as he called out to the spectators; using noise levels as an indicator for the one who should be crowned victor.This time it was ELT Cheekz securing that much deserved, champion spot – with the artist’s performance of Estates being a notable number from his set list.
In the words of Sillah himself, “My goal with the live shows is to showcase undiscovered talent as well as ease the pressures of artists having to pay for a video upload onto a major platform. I wanted to do something I could provide for them.” Given that the shows are self-promoted by the man of the hour, the turnouts are indeed commendable. What’s important to recognise here with the Block Report and alike mediums, is that they have utilised a platform built on their own identity and attracted a core audience – an authentic one – which resonates with the values their character portrays. The open mics so far, have served as a means for Sillah to actively unite those who create their art – rap, synths etc. – with those who consume art – the tastemakers. This alone highlights a significance, but let’s bring it back to the basics of how everything begun. A boy, a bench, a block, and his takes on music that blossomed into the show it is today. Respected by other creatives. Honoured by notable individuals who have stepped through to make an appearance, including characters in alignment with the Block Report’s purpose. Early episode footage pictures a legend in the making suited up with some ripped denims, cap, reflective tech jacket and a stack of paper sitting comfortably between his silver kicks. He’s then interrupted mid shoot to be questioned by a passing resident about what was taking place, to which he responds,
“This is my new music show… with my hot takes of the week, my hot topics,”
At this point filming had taken place for a length of three to four weeks, and only the boy on that bench, in front of that block – with the vision – could have anticipated that laying those foundations, would go on to create something meaningful for a wider collective of people a part of what many now refer to as, the game.Currently the Block Report is a perfect hub for curating discussions around everything there is to music: genres, upcoming artists, success stories, rivalries, and here’s what Mr. Block Report has to say regarding his creation.
The concept of the Block Report deviates away from conventional studio set-ups because it’s you, the bench, a communal residence, and the camera. What was the inspiration for such an authentic idea?
I came to form the concept of the Block Report accidentally when I started. It was covid, lockdown happened, and we couldn’t hire any studios, so I told my director “yo, let’s set up a tripod and we’ll do it on my block,” but more so the reason for doing things this way is because it’s what represents me; a young person who comes from a council estate. I realised that council estates do have a negative perception attached to them. I wanted to create something where you can do media, and come from a council estate, and represent the place you’re from without any shame. In a positive light.
Can you list the core values that you hold yourself and your platform to; how are they important to the culture?
The core values that I hold dearly to me, myself, my brand and my platform include respect. Definitely treating others the way I would want to be treated and how I do that is by involving the creatives I’m familiar with – who I have a good relationship with – by inviting them onto the platform to contribute. That could include A&R’s, bloggers, or content creators in the same space as myself. By giving these personalities the opportunity to come onto my platform, that goes onto my second core value, and that’s responsibility. Embracing the opportunities to contribute by inviting other creatives to contribute to what I’ve built myself, and helping them build it up to another level, because you can’t do everything alone. Being a servant leader is another one. That means to serve the common good. We all share common ground as creatives in music, and that is our love for U.K. rap, hip-hop, RNB, house music and what not. By doing that, you have to contribute as much as we can to take the scene to another level. Integrity is another cliche one – knowing and doing what is right. Finally, sportsmanship by bringing my best self to all competition, mainly directing that towards mainstream platforms because what I have is independent. I wanna bring my best foot forward when competing with the likes of shadeborough, the foot asylum’s and the JD’s.
When that boy who was in the early stages of filming took the bench for the first time, could he have imagined the outcome of his show today?
These are good questions you know! Could I have imagined the outcome of the show today? I dream big and don’t set limitations on anything creative that I go on to birth. When I did start the Block Report, it was more than fun because I did want to take it further, hence why I pitched it to Mixtape Madness. I had it in mind that it was always going to be proposed to a bigger platform from the first episode on the 90’s Babies Network. Could I have imagined two live shows in year though? No. That’s just my character though. I hate feeling too comfortable, and I like to push myself to a point of discomfort. To the limit. That sort of pressure takes me to another level.
If you can rewind time, what would you say to him?
What would I say to Flashy Sillah who started Block Report on 90’s Babies…I would tell him: do not fear anything that comes your way, and don’t fear your own ideas. That’s a key point I even wanna send out to content creators. Don’t fear your own ideas. If you come up with an idea that may feel a bit outlandish. Do it.There’s no limits to content. I would also tell myself from two years ago, don’t fear the possibility of taking this nationwide. Don’t fear the possibility of this being your life. It’s a thing that connects you to a lot of people, and I knew that from the first ten episodes I had, but I kind of fell back from developing a lot of the concepts I had with the block report, because I had a fear that it would fail. So, the message of “do not fear,” is definitely something I would tell myself.
In the future the Block Report will continue to solidify its place in UK popular culture, sealing a permanent stamp from this present moment in time, onwards. There’s an extreme beauty to public figures who are a part of the culture – pushing the culture – giving back to it. The numbers game should never be the main consideration when tailoring such shows or content to a specific demographic, but more about the organic chemistry generated by the recognition. As indicated by the critical acclaim of the open mics and reception of each episodic upload to date, there is clarity to the kind of potential residing in the realm of this platform, and that potential proves to be limitless.
You Can’t Kill Me. That’s the message Danielle Balbuena unleashed to the world when she revealed her sophomore album, successor to 2020’s Modus Vivendi. Encountering Shake at this point of her rise has been intriguing. Away from the 070 collective, her affiliation with Ye’s Wyoming albums, and the viral traction gained from her version of Madonna’s Frozen, 070 Shake is in fact, an enigma. The major difference in cover art used for her debut, illustrated by Sam Spratt, where she’s pictured as a futuristic android-like astronaut – the 070 face tatt in clear site – compared to the smudged out, earthy oil painting repping You Can’t Kill Me – where her identity is beyond recognition – adds to the mystery. It gives newer listeners a reason to backtrack. To get to know each part of Dani Moon: from the voice, to the distinct sound that doesn’t seem possible to describe.
This second body of work proves otherwise as with each listen, new tiers unveil the spectacle that comes with indescribable music; the expansive production courtesy of Dave Hamelin. In their first written collaboration, Mic Cheque and iamkingawritings provide a track-by-track breakdown of 070 Shake’s critically-acclaimed, You Can’t Kill Me.
Web is a well-engineered, expansive opener. It sets up the progressive nature of the album, gradually rising over the two minutes to grant blissful harmonies by the end. Lyrically, it sets the tone of You Can’t Kill Me, a microscopic focus on romantic relationships. Here, Shake warns her love interest to not “go get caught up in that spiderweb”, setting up the journey of emotions that follow. Despite just being a two-minute intro, Web is an easy standout that represents the best aspects of the record. – Hamza | Mic Cheque
Picture a moment that’s tempting you to experience presence in all its eternity. No fears of the past, or worries about the future. The introduction to You Can’t Kill Me captures this, as Dani Moon succeeds in creating a positive cascade effect with Web. From the way her androgynous voice floats between husk spoken words down to the harmonisation, this combination results in a blend of vibrant voltaic tones that blissfully fade into Invited.– amandaadagreat | iamkingawritings
Invited takes the slow, emotive pace introduced by Web, up a notch harnessing a steady-climbing, light harp-strung tempo; building alongside a layered hook delivered by Shake, before plateauing into her auto-tuned vocals that maintain the integrity of her natural voice. Invited’s narrative unstably shifts between details of a failed connection and the attempts to mend it, but despite this, the song is paradise personified. Even down to the spiritual references made in the hook – “I’m hoping you got, the blessings I sent, under Allah” – tells listeners that Shake is in fact attempting to mend whatever’s been destroyed. She makes this her mission with Invited. – amandaadagreat | iamkingawritings
The most minimal track on the album, Invited tiptoes around the senses, harnessed by electronic vocals that contrast with the harp which feathers through the production. Listening to Invited is like walking through a field of mechanical flowers. It isolates Shake’s vocals in ways you’ll rarely hear in the mainstream. That gives the track a unique sense of the natural and unnatural. Unlike the rest of You Can’t Kill Me, Invited holds off on building intensity, but that works to its advantage. That may make it feel flat initially, but the minimalism works with more exposure. There’s enough in place to conjure the dreamy atmosphere Shake’s aiming for, while nailing the romantic angle as well. – Hamza | Mic Cheque
A three-part spectacle: from church hymn to Great Gatsby score, followed by a gripping breakdown that brings finality to the lovesick tale. History embodies the remarkable production of the record; luscious strings, banging drums and mechanical synths all mesh to drive the intensity of the track. The fact there’s plenty cogs in motion makes History a treat of an experience. It is ever-changing, evolving minute by minute in ways that throws all conventional structuring out the window. It is the most ambitious track of the album, reaching multiple peaks along with one of the best hooks. This is all done while maintaining an addictive aura at every moment. As a whole piece, this is Shake at her most vulnerable and poetic. – Hamza | Mic Cheque– Hamza | Mic Cheque
History sucks us into a journey through its orchestral opening; symbolic to the artist professing her love to whoever is being addressed. Shake uses this track as a timestamp to proclaim that whatever has been with the significant other in question, will always be memorable. “For the books,” as many would say. The sudden turn of events one minute in, brings out a darker, highly theatrical side, paving way for a high-energy, electronic essence to power through. The rockstar guitar grooves, and sophisticated beat alternations, alongside the continued play on the symphonious aspect, elevates 070’s romantic, escapist-like lyrical delivery. Powerful enough to trigger goosebumps. An ambitious work which will indeed make History, as one of the best-composed track’s in Dani’s discography when we listen back a few years from now. – amandaadagreat | iamkingawritings
A slow reverb work fuelled with passion in the way the lyrics are slurred. A dark essence is buried at the core of this song, that’s accentuated by hard electrified vocals laced through the production. Despite the total running time being three minutes fifteen, There’s an interlude-like feeling brought to us by Medicine. It fulfils its purpose of being the calm before the storm. – amandaadagreat | iamkingawritings
Medicine is a moment that feels more like an interlude – though an enjoyable one. It continues to apply the muddy synths that are found across the album. Shake’s lovesick writing is direct, though not her most creative or insightful. That means it relies on the production to be the track’s highlight, bringing the progressive synth-pop template that funnels throughout the record. Luckily, it is Shake’s raw, lifeless emotion that makes Medicine another moment that grips your attention. –Hamza | Mic Cheque
Skin and Bones
The album’s lead single is the most conventional track you’ll find here, but also the most addictive. Skin and Bones showcases Shake as a natural romantic, marrying synth pop with alternative R&B, while lyrically exploring the substance her lover brings to their relationship. Shake’s writing abilities are on full show, carrying a poetic touch that’s equally melodic. The final third takes the song to galactic territory, bringing forth the VN album’s signature synths. It’s another well-constructed, expansive cut that both separates itself from the mix and simultaneously meshes with its peers. – Hamza | Mic Cheque
Skin and Bones debuted as the pioneering cut for the album’s roll out. It’s presence on You Can’t Kill Me is a gift that evokes nostalgia, something which many early listeners of an artist they love, can get a thrill from. The theme here is an epic love that would make anyone listening crave for that person they can slow down time with. Here, Dani gives off the impression that reminiscing about what is expressed as an explosive but elusive romance, is in fact her favourite pastime – amandaadagreat | iamkingawritings
Blue Velvet catches fire with fast thrumming at the beginning, serving as a thunderous warning. However, the sudden switch to a very slow, sombre pace – joined by subtle taps on what could be a handheld Ashiko drum – tells us otherwise as Dani pours her heart out at the fear of losing someone in the split moment. Shake creates variation in her vocal presentation by lying between a mid-tone that’s true to her authentic annunciation, a vocal that’s doubled up with auto-tune, and a higher more erratic frequency. Through hearing this style of delivery, we’re taken on a rollercoaster of the highs and lows that come with her fear. – amandaadagreat | iamkingawritings
A downtempo track that initially strips back the layers to leave Shake’s vocals isolated in their most vulnerable state. Vocally, Blue Velvet is one of the album’s best moments, reigning in the raw emotion that grips the heartstrings of the listener. But it ensures its repetitive percussion doesn’t remain stagnant, switching to portions of airy production during the post-hook. It’s a fine example of You Can’t Kill Meusing simplicity to its benefit, which helps provide a break from the complex makeup of the album. – Hamza | Mic Cheque
Cocoon is a dance number that’s the biggest surprise of the record, carrying lyrical themes of growth. It’s a motivational song, showcasing Shake’s versatility in songwriting as well as her ability to fit any style of production thrown at her. Even with its dance elements, the track is hard to pin to a particular era, carrying a unique flair synonymous with 070 Shake’s experimentation. Although it never explodes into life, Cocoon is finely placed in the tracklist and gives another necessary break from typical expectations. – Hamza | Mic Cheque
A high-tempo, bounce in the bass gives Cocoon the kick it needs to set anticipation for the type of song it will be. Built up by Shake’s eerie vocalising, this proceeds to go hand in hand with her imperative lyrics that almost serve as instructions to rise up, amplifying the need to break out into dance. Cocoon peaks at the point where the audio takes an insane turn with its extraordinary beat alternation, creating shock waves that are further driven by Shake’s artistic magnetism. – amandaadagreat | iamkingawritings
Body (feat. Christine & the Queens)
Shake serves us a magnificent work of art that’s sensually explosive, with emotion holding up the skeleton on Body. The production sends vibrations throughout its duration, heightening everything that comes on this expressive trip. With Christine and The Queens applying a softer touch, this establishes the dynamic nature harnessed throughout. Alongside History and Come Back Home, Body joins these two picks to complete You Can’t Kill Me’s holy trinity. – amandaadagreat | iamkingawritings
Body brings a collaboration with the album’s sole feature, Christine and the Queens, who owns the song’s minimal portions. This is a subdued, subtle cut that demands patience from the listener. The appeal lies in the nimble nature and sensual performances from the duo “Talk to me with your body when your words can’t anymore,”. Christine’s vocals contrast with Shake’s robotic performance while asserting dominance in her writing. The listener’s rewarded whenever the synths jump in, disappear then reappear at various points of the track. Body is a tune that keeps surprising despite its simple nature. – Hamza | Mic Cheque
Wine & Spirits
Wine and Spirits ditches the synths for a melancholic guitar ballad, reminiscent of material found on Post Malone’s Stoney. It’s perhaps the roughest cut of the album, opting for a barren hook and underwritten verses. However, it continues to uphold the album’s intent for progressive production, eventually moving from its acoustic guitar to an electric guitar solo. Even if it’s not among the album’s best, Wine and Spirits isn’t a track that comes and goes. – Hamza | Mic Cheque
Wine and Spiritsbeing the only track with Acoustics makes it an instant stand out. This sudden shift away from the heavy metal guitars encapsulates the vulnerability of Shake’s soul, as she proceeds to warn listeners about the danger of self-destruction in something that’s real, being blurred with an answer that can in fact further enflame a volatile situation: the feeling of needing someone. A merge of the all-familiar rock sounds weaps through at the end, demonstrating a difficulty to let go of old patterns or parts of a persona, for Shake is set in her ways. Here, romanticism meets escapism as the cure for the condition that’s causing hurt, appears to be in the need for “each other,”.–amandaadagreat | iamkingawritings
Come Back Home
Confession at what the narrator hints to be are sins, confusion in the varying lyrical structure which diverges into numerous narratives, and a multi-dimensional production brings out a compelling energy that becomes Come Back Home. The tempting build-up with the piano and continuous repetition of the question, “is it okay, if I come back home?” really sets us up to embark on a lyrically ignited, operatic voyage hit by fierce digitalised fusions. The heavy rock n roll tones combined with every other musical element that’s utilised to a maximum potential, is the way Shake truly solidifies the rebellious, self-aware rockstar image that she’s illustrated for us. – amandaadagreat | iamkingawritings
Abstract and experimental, Come Back Home is the best example of You Can’t Kill Mepushing the needle in sound and structure. Come Back Home takes pride in its structural shapeshifting, impossible to predict the next turn over the five minutes. The production is electricity, powering the track to send its shockwaves to the listener. Lavish strings, patient piano keys, punchy electric guitar and warbling synths all stamp their authority on the song, daring to reach monumental peaks of sonic complexity. The second part is the most addictive, sounding like a robotic symphony from the production to the vocals. The latter’s fabric are soulless mantras, acting as hysterical voices in Shake’s head that have taken over her psyche (“This one talks ‘bout that one, that one talks ‘bout blah”). Lyrically it relates back to album opener Web through the line “I found out I was your last ride home”, a bleaker flip on the intro’s line “What kind of person would I be? / If I let you drive hours here for me”. We can see how the perspective has changed during the course of the album, which makes Come Back Home a worthy centrepiece of You Can’t Kill Me. – Hamza | Mic Cheque
The banger of the album that will rock any show of any stage. Its repetitive lyrics are hypnotic, as are the drops on the hooks. Blissful in sound and attitude, Vibrations feels like a worthy closer to You Can’t Kill Meif it was one. There is an impression of conclusion where Shake finally begins to focus on her own feelings without anyone else in the picture. However, its eerie intro is unnecessarily long. The track would benefit if it jumped straight into the actual song. That aside, Vibrations is a head-banging anthem that asserts a triumphant energy. – Hamza | Mic Cheque
Envision being in a dream, running into hollow territory. Unable to find an exit, until hope powers through to provide proof of existing. Then it’s right there, in front of you. A passage, an opening, an ingress, bringing you to a place of harmony. Despite how strung-out the beginning is, that’s what Vibrations is. Embodying every quality of an enigmatic aura, this seismic sonic flows through with a euphoric sound that meets with Shake’s higher-pitched vocals; a fierce contrast from the deep, soothing metamorphic delivery that we’re typically accustomed to. When performed live, the intensity leading to the stage where Shake cries out that first distinguishable verse will cause any concert hall to erupt. – amandaadagreat | iamkingawritings
The piano-strung Purple Walls reveals a weary, restless version of Dani. A heartthrob element is implemented into the DNA of this track; allowing for Shake to express her loss of words or avoidance of a past love. The interlude-like nature initially introduced by Medicine is mirrored here, except that a lighter aura carries the song through, hinting at closure from what was, and acceptance of what will be. – amandaadagreat | iamkingawritings
Shake enters her most vulnerable state on Purple Walls, a tender ballad that touches on the safety found in romantic intimacy. This is one of the few tracks that escape the album’s synthfluence, aiding it to stand on its own accord and offer something different. It helps break up the album’s complex sonics which can be overwhelming to hear back to back. Once again, Shake’s emotion is utterly convincing. She is able to transmit her intentions with genuine warmth – which is why even the album’s weakest tracks avoid the skip. – Hamza | Mic Cheque
Kid Cudi’s influence is on full show here. Stay pleads for a lost lover’s commitment; the album’s last attempt at saving the relationship. The imperfect, strained vocals are what add to the emotion found on the second verse and hook, “I feel so alone, I can’t let that go,”. It’s unclear whether the plea is successful, but the driving production hints there’s light at the tunnel. Even at the closing stages of the album, Shake is able to deliver the same emotion heard at the start on top of killer melodies.– Hamza | Mic Cheque
An anecdotal love letter detailing a disconnect in love. Shake sets the scene, opening her mind to let us into the Polaric moments detailed by Stay’s lyrics; giving us the highs and lows of that love. Prompted by an iconic rhythm and transcendent adlibs, Stay takes us on an adventure to be persuaded hold on. To remain by Shake’s side, even if the person who she wishes will, doesn’t. In particular when those call-outs of “hold on, don’t let me go,” are repeated sequentially. The energetic accumulation leading up to the moment of the chorus is thrilling; emotively fuelled. It’s an embodiment of how the artist’s alternative sound, can not be limited to one sonic category alone. – amandaadagreat | iamkingawritings
Se Fue La Luz
Se Fue La Luz translates to The Power Went Out, and with such a title to the outro of what is the definition of a powerful creation, this is Shake singing off. The perfect victory lap track, for a track-star, as she waves goodbye to this era of her discography. There’s something Gatsby about the way the song fades out through its Jazz-like ambience; prompted by triumphal trumpets. Instead of seeing Leonardo Dicaprio raising his glass for that sweet toast in his big reveal as Jay Gatsby, it’s Dani Moon replacing the image of him, taking that shine and letting the fireworks go out with her. –amandaadagreat | iamkingawritings
You Can’t Kill Me seemingly ends with Shake in solitary. Se Fue La Luz is a heart-wrenching closer that closes the chapter of hope. The chorus is sung in Shake’s native Spanish, the cherry on top of the album’s poetic writing (”Light of my life / When you went, the power went out”). Structurally, the track is thin, but the album’s emotional weight all bursts on“Se Fue La Luz, highly reminiscent of the gut-punch Terminal B off Shake’s previous album, Modus Vivendi. If there’s one thing 070 Shake knows how to do, it’s how to end an album in tear-jerking style.. – Hamza | Mic Cheque