Don Leisure releases long-awaited, ‘Shaboo’ on First Word Records


Don Leisure, one half of Cardiff-based duo Darkhouse Family, returns to First Word Records with his debut solo LP ‘Shaboo’.

In his own words, Shaboo is “much more than a beat tape… this is a journey into sound. For Real.” A sweet dedication to the sound of his travels between Wales and London during the 80’s and 90’s with his Uncle whom he once nervously asked “Do you think, one day, I’d be able to make music too?” to which he received the furious reply, “Of Course you will!! It is in your blood!!”.  The conversation spawned a creative energy in a young Jamal, which has culminated in the creation of this release. The album draws influence from the pirate radio stations and hip-hop he was brought up on, combined with the sound of Sunrise Radio, at the time the only Asian Radio station in the UK.

His incredible scope as a producer can be heard from the very beginning of the mixtape, as the intro ends abruptly and switches into the charming repetition of ‘Souffle’, bound together with key and drum chord arrangements that could go on until next week and you really wouldn’t mind.

Jazz influences can be heard throughout ‘Cobra Water’, and his unfettered communication with a huge variety of genres becomes even more distinct as you delve further into the release. As ‘The Rubaiyat Of Leisure’ burns into ‘The Obsidian Eyes’ and ‘Cha Cha Dum’, a gentle nod back to the golden era of Hip Hop becomes clear as you can’t help but compare the drumline to early Stones Throw releases.

Abrasive radio and interference samples bring unpretentious simplicity to the album as well as familiar funk reworks to close the selection, remind you of the foundation idea to his expression with ‘Shaboo’. A collection of instrumentals so captivating; it would almost seem an injustice to put a vocal line over the top.

Instrumental hip-hop akin to the sounds of J Dilla and Madlib, Shaboo takes the listener on a sonic journey that hails memories of Don’s childhood and key influences – whether it be 90’s hip hop or boisterous Indian radio ads.

The 25-strong track album is the perfect fusion of Hip Hop/Bollywood bliss. Effortlessly dipping in and out of dusty samples and beats, ‘Shaboo’ will easily soundtrack the rest of your summer and is the most humble dedication to Jamal’s late Uncle; and almost wholly inspiration behind the project, Nasser ‘Shaboo’ Bharwani.

Words by @Fred_Laker // @rhimarilou

‘Shaboo’ is released today via First Word Records, Listen/support below.