I was one of the many loyal DJ Shadow fans who couldn’t help but feel disappointed with his radical change in musical direction when he finally released his third album, The Outsider. Yes there were the moments of genius I had come to expect from him but it was too much of a departure from his unique style of dense instrumental hip-hop that he’d created on his masterpiece debut, Endtroducing, back in ‘96. In the ten years that have passed since then many sampled-based musicians have appeared on the scene and whilst none have claimed his throne, some have come close; none closer than 2econd Class Citizen.

2econd Class Citizen (Aaron Thomason) hails from Huddersfield, England and makes music that he simply calls Wyred Folk: a hybrid of electronically produced folk combined with instrumental Hip-Hop. So far his only release has been a 12” EP called Divided Reality a private press record that didn’t reveal much about him, except a simple list of songs and an email address on the label. With this lack of information, all I have is his music, but thankfully, this music has stories to tell.

This new EP, entitled Wyred Folk is a densely layered, melancholy tinged mini masterpiece. Each obscure sample plucked from the depths of folk and psychedelia is lovingly chopped, flipped and screwed and carefully placed within the mix. Vocal harmonies filter into echoes, drifting away, whilst incredible drum programming keep your head nodding throughout the entire duration. To talk about the technical aspects of the songs would detract from the emotional impact that’s derived from just putting on some headphones and pressing play.

I eagerly await the release of his long player, expected later this year. Until then I can enjoy this sublime dose of progressive hip-hop (or Wyred Folk if you will). Shadow fan boys brace yourself there’s a new king in town and his name is 2econd Class Citizen.

The EP is released on February 26.