Three years ago, Hooligan launched himself locally with his much talked-about Originali Bhali debut. Though considered a milestone in Maltese music because of its integration of the Maltese language with the hip-hop genre, there was room for improvement, and Hooligan seems to have taken note of all the criticism while working on this sophomore offering. From the get-go, it is obvious that this time around, more detail has been given to presentation and more importantly, content, with Hooligan applying himself to rapping in English as well as in Maltese.
In the process, Hooligan has absorbed several factors into his music, as much from his live performances as from his (old and) new influences and his musical collaborations. The result is evident in practically every one of this record’s 50 minutes. His opening salvo on the title track - bubbling with traditional hip-hop machismo – is highly entertaining, but the album’s Maltese language highlights have to be the lyrically potent 8 Darbiet (Remix) and the evocative Meta l-Qanpiena Ddoqq. Both songs carry strong messages and musically, they also portray the depth of Hooligan’s musical vision and resilience. Another outstanding number is the duet with Julie Zahra, Hoolistyle, which replaces the raw with the refined; a rare venture into R’nB territory. A special mention has to go to Music, which features Pen-Demonium, Dizzy D and Sick, easily among Malta’s rap royalty. A highly volatile number, Music’s vibrant ring may well be the way forward for this talented artist if he decides to explore opportunities beyond our island’s confines!
This article was first published in The Malta Independent (December 2006) and The Lib66 Homepage.