The Mouse Outfit break America, kinda



Escape Music is available now on digitalCD (also try Eastern Bloc in Manchester) and vinyl.  

If you’re in Manchester on Saturday, they’re hitting up Hit and Run with Mr Thing over at Antwerp Mansion – grab tickets here.


Well, kind of. Topping off a year that has seen the release of their debut album finally catapult them towards wider recognition with  support from the likes of Wordplay magazine and Mary Anne Hobbs, Manchester’s Mouse Outfit saw themselves land in ABC’s top 50 albums of the year this week. Their patience has paid off – they waited a fair few years before releasing any tracks, honing production being of utmost importance.

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I’ve dipped in and out of involvement with the Manchester hip hop scene over the last few years, with our club night In The Loop enabling me to touch base with the cream of rap and production talent that the city’s got to offer (which I certainly won’t attempt to list here, but any regular Groovement reader would already be familiar with – click the Manchester tab). In my humble opinion, Manchester is ready to step up once again  – I realise and will continue to love the wealth of electronic/beats/non-genre aligned music which already killed it in 2012 and 2013, but rap is ready to make its (don’t call it a) comeback and it’s great to see this lot’s hard work paying off.

The fallout of the above will hopefully be that rappers and their crews associated with the Mouse Outfit project (I’m looking at you Ape CultMothership, Voodoo Black and the like – on a wider scale LEVLZ rep this fully) will be inspired to drop some bangin’ new music to rival, if not better, content from other cities.

(Scroll down for more from Manchester)

The cypher we run at Loop is nothing new but always will be a core element of the culture, and the Mouse Outfit were there from the start (indeed bass player/MO mastermind Defty was one of the initiators, making sure the band were there to back the cypher whenever possible). In the last four years the Loop nights have provided one of (definitely not the only – shouts to community oriented nights Golden Egg, Taste the Diff’rence, Freestyle Fictionary, Contact and my short lived Hip Hop Sunday Social to name a few, as well as all those promoters doing their thing) hubs for hip hop lovers to hook up, and it’s this spreading the love element that pervades the Escape Music album, with a variety of elements on the vocal front complementing the band’s musical range.


The Mouse Outfit back the cypher at In The Loop, 2011:

Escape Music was released in May 2013, with an vinyl edition following soon after.
Escape Music was released in May 2013, with an vinyl edition following soon after.


If the ‘produced’ music itself wasn’t fresh enough, their unmatched multi-member live shows continue to cement their reputation for talent. They’ve wowed audiences at festivals and local gigs for a fair few years (I’ve even played triangle in Wales with them, which was obviously one of their best gigs), having settled into a third (or maybe fourth) generation of the crew centred around a tight production unit of Chini (keys and producer), Defty (bass) and Pitch (MPC) with a proliferation of non-permanent MCs that keeps things fresh. Whether or not this is a sustainable model remains to be seen, but Dr Syntax and Sparkz seem to be a constant in terms of touring. Seeing the Mouse Outfit live is an experience, rekindling many an interest in hip hop, and I seriously recommend you get round to it in 2014.

This year will see the Mice continue to grow in various ways I’m sure, and the ABC article is hopefully an indicator as to how this may play out. I may be wrong in thinking that ‘breaking America’ isn’t a thing that bands aspire to these days – surely global domination via internet infiltration is the way forward? The ABC article, placing the album above the likes of Bowie’s The Next Day and Ghostface/Adrian Younge’s Twelve Reasons… (in essence a very similar concept of instrumentation and rap – with its own comic! – catch Ghostface talking about working with a live band a few years back on Groovement here), will hopefully be a game changer in furthering not only the Mouse Outfit message, but that of Manchester hip hop in general. This lot are prolific and some are very nearly at the top of their game – keep an eye on Groovement in 2014 to find out more. Manchester, show us what you got.

In The Loop host Bedos with the Mouse Outfit, pre-Escape Music

The Mouse Outfit with former members D Dot X and Rags on vocals at Raw Festival, Wrexham in 2009

Christmas shenanigans on Groovement’s Unity Radio show, 2009



Agent J aka Jamie Groovement: writer, host, DJ and teacher. @jamiegroovement

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