Despite being the second album from the hip hop duo in two years, Orbit serves as a re-birth of the Sydney outfit Spit Syndicate. Where 2017’s One Good Shirt Had Us All Fly was a slick offering (4.5 stars), Orbit brings Jimmy Nice and Nick Lupi back to the independent space, releasing the album under their own One Day Entertainment label.

Five albums in and the combination of smooth beats and whip-sharp lyrics are as prominent as ever. Never backwards with being forward, there’s an honesty and free-flowing attitude to this album. “We didn’t give a fuck back then / Imagine how we feel now,” sings Lupi on Fuck It. An honest ode that attempts to explain the direction they’ve moved in.

The guys have stepped back from their art and created a more mixtape flow for this release. Starting with an absolute banger of a tune in Wonderland, teaming up Turquoise Prince on the chorus complete with bars about The Wiggles and Abe Saffron. Fast Friends starts sounding like an acoustic indie track before venturing into a song about people surrounded by those hanger-on buddies.

The combination of collaborators on Contraband & Conversation is inspired. Kicking off with the cheeky staccato rap of Kai (Jackie Onassis) before imbi the girl takes over the chorus makes for a memorable track. This flows into the more casual-beated Same Difference which offers up a surprise flip in the last third of the track.

A cameo from Tuka (Thundamentals) over the dank beat of Get Down highlights the differences between the three MCs and also why Spit Syndicate have been so popular for their rhymes. They are clear and easy to understand, which for many can be the difference between enjoying a hip hop track or not.

It’s the masterful use of lyrics that set Spit Syndicate above their peers. Clever wordplay, be it political or party-inspired, delivered in such a clear, exquisite rhythmic cadence that it propels the meaning behind the songs to a level that’s not always seen in the rap game.

Orbit is a solid album, reinforcing that prolificacy doesn’t always dilute quality. Will their independent status see the duo releasing music more regularly? Only time will tell, but if the tracks remain this good, we’ll welcome it with open arms.

4/5

Released: 11 May, 2018 via One Day Entertainment