Brighton, England producer/emcee Leaf Dog of amongst the best UK hip hop groups in recent memory The Four Owls as well as the 3 Amigos & Brothers of the Stone continuing his crazy 2024 run by releasing his 8th full-length solo LP. Branching out on his own in 2011 with From a Scarecrow’s Perspective, the sophomore effort 6 years later Dyslexic Disciple quickly became his most well-regarded body of work yet & I enjoyed Live from the Balrog Chamber at the beginning of 2020 just as much. However in 2024 alone he’s released a total of 4 albums so far: Photosynthesis, Don’t Scare the Crows Now, Outstanding in My Field & more recently Anything is Possible from a couple weeks ago. Much like January though, Leaf’s giving us 2 albums in 1 month by quickly following it up with When Sleeping Giants Wake.

After the intro, the first song “Victory” begins in the form of a crooning sample mixed with kicks & snares explaining that this is everything that his crew dreamed about whereas “The Storm” featuring Busta Rhymes & BVA finds the trio coming together over some Phantom of the Opera/boom bap shit bringing it hardcore. “It’s Never Easy” talks about trying to find a quick fix on top of a soulful instrumental with kicks & snares leading into “Daily News” continuing the sampling of soul music coming from a more personal place lyrically.

“Long Road Traveling” has a bit of an orchestral boom bap flare to the beat flexing that it ain’t no comparison when it comes to shit like this, but then “Check Mate” continues to clash strings with kicks & snares talking about calculating his next move similarly to chess. “Days of the Future Past” has a bluesier boom bap instrumental likening it to another scary movie tryna make you laugh that is until BVA returns alongside the late Sean Price for “Fade to Black” mixing that traditional hardcore shit with elements of classical.

Starting the 2nd half of the album, “War Report” soulfully paints the image of a horror story while “Conquer Your Fear” is a piano/boom bap crossover profoundly talking about his instincts. “The Ruler’s Back” has a bit of a triumphant atmosphere to it boasting that he can still make a classic even when he’s damn trending while “But For Now” takes the jazzier route a bit touching on some real life shit.

“Over Time” has a more colorful beat talking about having to pay his dues to get where he is at this point in his career while “Card to My Chest” incorporates a boom bap instrumental with a plucky guitar sample reflecting on when they was always waiting for him to slip. The final song “Soil Getting Sold” prior to the outro concludes When Sleeping Giants Wake with 1 last jazz rap cut telling y’all exactly where one can find him.

I can only imagine that Leaf will be dropping more albums throughout 2024 much like Flee Lord’s prolific 2020 run & although that’s certainly looking to be the case, When Sleeping Giants Wake could possibly be my favorite of the 5 LPs that we’ve gotten from him this year so far. His production is heavily boom bap centered although he fuses additional elements of soul & jazz music respectively, you get to see both sides of him as an artist & as a person joined by brief guest list.

Score: 8/10