Thursday, 13 December 2007

Who Is Kid Acne?

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No, it’s not a superhero child with a face like the inside of a malteser, it’s an off-the-wall throwback rapper/artist from Yorkshire, UK. Acne first came to my personal attention as a graf artist, cartoonist (whatever you want to call it) through his cover art and full page works in Hip-Hop Connection magazine. At around the same time, as I started to remember the name, his album ‘Council Pop’ hit the shelves and it was an under-the-radar gem that was rewarding, if maybe a little awkward in parts. He has gone from strength to strength over the past few years and is finally getting some well-deserved recognition with the release of his biggest album yet, ‘Romance Ain’t Dead’.

But you can find out for yourself whether you rate that album as one of the best of 2007, because here we’re focusing on his two earlier albums, ‘Rap Traffic’ and ‘Council Pop’.

The first of the two, ‘Rap Traffic’, was released in 2001, with Kid Acne handling all of the lyrics and his mate Req One holding down the beats and the turntables. Together they created a decent LP full of love for the old-school and an even bigger love for the old-school approach. This album is minimalism at its best. Forget The Whisper Song, which was so polished you could see your face in the sound waves, this album sounds like it was made underwater in a cave on a dusty old beat machine.

‘Rap Traffic’ is a little patchy and there aren’t many stand-out tracks that really move you, but the overall feel of the album is what kept me listening.

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Kid Acne - Rap Traffic (2001)

1. The Emphasis
2. Bus Stop Emcee
3. Def Prezident
4. Rubber Body poppers
5. Ill Mic Dragster
6. Squirrel Hunters
7. Wasteground Revival
8. Ghosts With Teeth

So, the creases were ironed out and Kid Acne came back again in ‘03 with ‘Council Pop’, a much more cohesive set with standout tracks such as ‘Reality Raps’ that convey Acne’s true character and his happy-go-lucky perception. Req One is still present on the beats, and the pair seem to keep getting better and better.

At this point I think I have to point out that Kid Acne is hardly a brilliant rapper. In fact, his flow and voice are very weak, but his music has such an endearing feel to it, and his lyrics are often very funny, so you quickly forget about that. He has definitely improved with each album, and not many artists can say that.

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Kid Acne - Council Pop (2003)

1. Chase Intro
2. Gyp-O-Hop
3. Radio Music
4. Rap Dracula
5. Reality Raps
6. Hot Up District
7. Junction 20
8. Strong Captains
9. Hooligan 78
10. 9T4 Rugged
11. Twocker's Hi-Fi
12. Chase Outro
Both albums come complete with Kid Acne’s trademark artwork, and its very easy to see that graf art is possibly his first love about the hip-hop scene. Either way, the two albums are worth the hard drive space and his new album is worth the tenner, so get it bought you tight miserly bastards.

Monday, 10 December 2007


To my readers, the millions of them (obviously) I feel ashamed to have let this charade go on for so long. Its been three weeks since the last post, and that is not the definition of hard work and elbow grease.

Truth be told, I have been irritated over the past few weeks. First, my typical arrogant approach to the England vs Croatia game left me looking like a pompous twat in the end as we lost to the Eastern Europeans 3-2 and will not be partaking in the European Championships next summer. Then, my local footy team Newcastle United went on a big streak without winning leaving me depressed. I don't know what its like in the US, or with other people throughout the UK, but if my team don't win (this applies to whichever sport be your choice) then it ruins my whole week. That one loss seems to set the ball rolling for a clamity of errors that continue up until our next match when it starts all over again. Well, Newcastle have got back on track (kind of) and I'm back to better days.

Another thing stopping from me from contributing to this illustrious site is that I travelled home to the North-East to see Queens Of The Stone Age live, and only hours before the gig Josh Homme (lead singer for those not in the know) pulled out with a chest infection. He could have told me before I bought a train ticket and travelled 200 miles to see him. Ginger twat.

Oh well, things are back on track, and you can expect a few posts coming in the next week. One being the long-awaited posting of some old school Kid Acne, who has came on leaps and bounds in '07 due to his critically acclaimed new album 'Romance Ain't Dead'. Another you can expect is the start of a series reviewing and highlighting UK hip-hop classics. It will be me putting forward a claim for a certain album and explaining why I think it is a classic. Feel free to agree/disagree with them when they come up and put forward your own shortlists.

Check back in the next few days for new shizzle. Or does that mean 'sure'? These days I'm not so shizzle about where to use certain hip-hop slangterms. Maybe thats because I'm of the school of thought that if you actually like Soulja Boy's music then you should be anally deflowered with a cleaver. But hey, that's just me...

Thursday, 22 November 2007


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Just give me a day or so of mourning, lads and lasses, eh?

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Israeli Pride

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As it stands, the average English male’s favourite country besides his own will be Israel, after they beat Russia in stunning fashion earlier on tonight to do us Brit’s a solid in the European Championship qualifying campaign (For you yanks, we’re talking about proper football, not this arrogant mockery of rugby where you wear 10 inches of padding and celebrate each tackle).

It was a bit strange supporting Israel and at the same time not knowing who the effing hell any of them were, but buggering hell, as long as they beat Russia, they could have been 11 rapist paedophiles out on the pitch and I’d still cheer them on like they were ‘my lads’.

So, all we have to do is draw with a team we’re better than in our own backyard midweek to qualify. Sounds easy, but you just know we’ll be a goal down to Slaven Bilic’s Croatian Army within minutes and we’ll be scrambling about like retards with rubber legs trying to stand up and secure a victory

On the England front, yes, we did beat Austria in a meaningless friendly, but more importantly, something brilliant happened for my club, Newcastle United. Our worst thief of a player, who still consistently gets picked, Michael Owen, is injured. Hallelujah!!!!! We don’t have to see his ugly mug for a few weeks, and maybe our manager will put on the better striker in Obafemi Martins instead. I mean, bloody hell, if we can’t beat our main rivals and purveyors of utter tosh football, Sunderland, then we may aswell just not bother.

What happened to Scotland was pretty harsh, but also a incy wincy bit funny. I mean come on, they have their own destiny in their hands, to win at home against their main rivals for a qualifying spot, and they go a fudge it up in the last minute of play by not bothering to mark the World Champions in the box because they were still sulking about having a decision given against them. Och yes, it was a poor decision, but och no, they can’t blame the ref for their loss.

I actually wanted them to qualify….but only if we did. If England were dumped out by a Russian win tonight and Scotland triumphed I would NOT be pleased. I’m not having some scruffy red-nosed berk telling me that their nation is better than mine at our own game. They couldn’t even get over Hadrian’s Wall for christ sake - and that’s only about 5 foot tall.

In celebration of our ‘triumph-without-doing-bot-all’, here’s some good old English boom-bap from back in the day, links courtesy of an actual right proper hard man called Adam Ross. He killed a guy with a spoon once you know. Ate his face like a strawberry sundae.

1. Ghetto Child
2. Katch Mission
3. Cynical World
4. Service With A Smile
5. Son Of Shem
6. Mind Field
7. Diary Of A Black Man Living In The Land Of The Lost
8. State Of Meditation
9. Who’s Business
10. Stalag 22
11. Rogues Gallery
12. Brown Clown
13. Get Together Now

1. Jump On The Jock
2. Get Buzy
3. Shango-Tac
4. Mellow Down
5. Pleasure Seekers
6. The Only Thing I Need
7. Kick Up (Something Fatter)
8. Dutch Cheese
9. Good Friends
10. Here To Win
11. Money Eater
12. Question Mark

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Caveman - Positive Reaction (1991) - (Writer’s Tip: This one is a classic!)

1. Troglodyte History
2. Victory (Remix)
3. Positive Reaction
4. Cool (Cos I Don’t Get Upset)
5. Pages & Pages
6. Fry You Like Fish (Jazz Remix)
7. I’m Ready
8. Caught Up
9. You Can’t Take It
10. Desmond
11. The Dope Department
12. Back To Cause Mayhem
13. Victory
14. Introduction To A Caveman

1. Demanding Cycle - Of A Word Bound Hammerhead
2. Having
3. Live The Life
4. Won’t Cahnge
5. Too Rough
6. Passtime
7. Braincell
8. Tell Me Why
9. Slow Down
10. Crack Business
11. To The Heart
12. Wisdom

Get downloading or I’ll go all Prodigy on you and ‘stab your brain with your nosebone’, which may I say is grammatically incorrect and very uncouth to say the least.

Friday, 9 November 2007

A Post Both Scattered & Long

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My five day weekend back in Durham (North-East England) was much needed, and much appreciated, as my life, or at least social life, was getting a little stale. A few nights round my old mates, a trip to the cinema and a Foo Fighters/Serj Tankian gig soon changed that.

Now, its back to the daily grind in terms of my job, and the same applies here on Northern Author, starting with today’s post. On my trip back home I came across a great mix CD from UK DJ/Producer Blufoot. The album came out in 2005 just after his debut solo LP ‘The Ablution’. The mixtape/compilation album is one of a kind, chronicling some great old school tracks from both Great Britain & USA.

‘The Old Testament: Book I & Book II’ is, as you can see, split into two halves, with Book I being a large collection of tracks from the USA mixed together by Blufoot. On this CD you have everyone from Brand Nubian, Lord Finesse & Masta Ace to lesser known US underground gems from the 90s such as The Raider men & Sista Souljah. The CD spans 57 tracks, and if you read the tracklist you will see that it has a hell of a lot of good material on it. Book II is the same drill, but with all of the old UK hip-hop classics that have helped shape the foundations of the scene. This CD will definitely be one to listen to for those who aren’t necessarily deep in the UK scene, as it displays our roots and what our own versions of say, Lord Finesse and the like are. This CD has all of the big names on it from the early 90’s, such as London Posse, Demon Boyz, Hardnoise, Caveman, Hijack, Derek B and many more.

Altogether, Blufoot has done an excellent job in crafting two collections of tracks that encapsulate the essence of both the UK & US scenes in the 90s. You can definitely see the differences between the two, and you can see the growth from song to song also, and as a mix CD its one of the best I’ve heard come out of England (DJ Yoda’s craziness aside!).

Blufoot - The Old Testament: Book I & Book II

DISK 1 - The Old Testament Book I (USA)

1. Intro
2. Prayer
3. Funky Enough - DOC
4. Boys In Da Hood - Eazy E
5. Bitch Is A Bitch - NWA
6. Efil 4 Zaggin - NWA
7. Grand Verbaliser - X-Clan
8. In The Way Of The Scales - X-Clan
9. Untitled - Brand Nubian
10. All For One - Brand Nubian
11. 360 (What Goes Around) - Grand Puba
12. Comin' Thru Ya Fuckin' Block - Artifacts
13. Just Wanna Chill - Large Professor
14. Get Funky (remix) - Beatnuts
15. Return Of The Funky Man (remix) - Lord Finesse
16. Most Beautifullest Thing - Murray, Keith
17. Tonite's Da Night (remix) - Redman
18. No Equal - Beatnuts
19. How The Fuck Would You Know - Positive K
20. Top Billin' - Audio II
21. That's How It Is (remix) - Casual
22. Me O Mi O (remix) - Casual
23. Swing - Camp Lo
24. Coolie High (Paradise mix) - Camp Lo
25. Crazy Noise - Stezo
26. Down The Line - Nice & Smooth
27. I'm Not Playin' - Ultimate Force
28. Wreknoize - Smif-n-Wessun
29. Jeep Ass Nigguh (bizcappella) - Masta Ace
30. Magnetic - Raidermen
31. I'm Kurious - Kurious
32. Straight Outta Compton - NWA
33. Step To Me - Tim Dog
34. Amerikkka's Most Wanted - Ice Cube
35. Gangsta's Fairytale - Ice Cube
36. Buck Whylin' - Terminator X & Sista Souljah
37. You're Gonna Get Yours - Public Enemy
38. On The Run - Jungle Brothers
39. Poison - Kool G Rap & Polo
40. Soul Clap - Showbiz & AG
41. Fuck What Ya Heard - Diamond D
42. Mission - Special Ed
43. Take A Rest - Gang Starr
44. Flow Joe - Fat Joe
45. Bucktown - Boot Camp Clik
46. Gotcha Open - Boot Camp Clik
47. You Can't Front - Diamond D
48. Gangsta Of Hip Hop - Just Ice
49. La Di Da Di - Doug E Fresh & Slick Rick
50. Ill Street Blues - Kool G Rap & Polo
51. Calm Down - CNN
52. Ultimate (showbiz mix) - Artifacts
53. Tonite's Da Night (original version) - Redman
54. Safe Sex (remix) - Sermon, Erick
55. Get Lifted - Murray, Keith
56. Outro

DISK 2 - The Old Testament Book II (UK)

1. Intro
2. Hip Hop Beat - Rapologist & MC Master C/DJ Whizz Kid
3. Human Time Bomb - Derek B
4. We Got Juice - Derek B
5. Stop The Negativity - Outlaw Posse
6. Our Time - MC Mello
7. North Side - Demon Boyz
8. Glimity Glamity - Demon Boyz
9. Gangster Chronicle - London Posse
10. Money Mad - London Posse
11. Phat Skillz - MC Duke
12. Demanding Cycle Of A Word Bound Hammerhead - Sindecut
13. Battel Creek Brawl - Gunshot
14. 25 Gun Salute - Gunshot
15. Untitled - Hardnoise
16. Bring Forth The Guillotine - Silver Bullet
17. I'm Ready - Caveman
18. On The Mic - Points Proven & Fly
19. Back For More - Cash Crew
20. Taxi - Cash Crew
21. Style Wars - Hijack
22. Don't Go With Strangers - Hijack
23. Class Dismissed - Dynametrix
24. Mind Of A Ordinary Citizen - Blade
25. Crazy Mad Flow - Sonz Of Da Noize
26. Step On Stage - Scientists Of Sound
27. Reverse World - Katch 22
28. X Versus The World - Overlord X
29. How I Make Papes - London Posse
30. How's Life In London - London Posse
31. Pass Me The Rizzla - London Posse
32. Subtraction - MC Mello
33. Mice In The Presence Of A Lion - Hardnoise
34. Onslaught - Standing Ovation
35. Weapon Is My Lyric - Overlord X

Speaking of the gig I went to, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by how good the Foo Fighters were live. I know this is a hip-hop site primarily, but whatever, I can do what I want, and Grohl and co and really play. They made a 14-15,000 capacity arena seem like an intimate town hall gig, were personable with the crowd and even did an acoustic set on a second stage halfway through.

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Serj Tankian (of System Of A Down fame) didn’t fare as well as the opening act. Not because he and his band, which Serj said were called ‘The Flying Cunts Of Chaos’ (incidentally drawing giggles from infantile men such as me, and looks of horror on the faces of parents who were with their children) weren’t good, because they were. It was just that people didn’t seem too interested. Plus, a man who essentially metal to the core, regardless of his often zany vocal ramblings, just seemed a bit bewildered to be on stage a 7 in the evening. Anyway, it was a great gig, and proved to me that out of all of the chart Rock outfits that there are today, the Foo Fighters are definitely one of the best.

We’re just riffing here at Northern Author with this post, recalling things to have happened in the past week. First off, I did promise to get some Kid Acne albums up last week but it never happened and I was away from the internet for 5 days. In those 5 days I bought more albums and one I have already shared, but rest assured those Kid Acne albums WILL be upped soon, so be patient.

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Also, I may be a little late in declaring my love on this one, but I finally bought ‘Of Gods & Girls’ by Mr J. Medeiros after downloading it and playing it to death. This album has to be one of my favourite albums of the year, and I can’t see that changing at all (maybe I’ll do a ‘top 10 albums of…’ post in December - you never know, if it holds the test of time it may be top). This album has so many songs that should be hit singles its unbelievable. Its just harsh the way the music business is that a great artist like Medeiros (and his group The Procussions) will never get the success they deserve because of politics. An artist such as Kanye West or Lupe Fiasco would have loved to have crafted songs such as ‘Constance’ and ‘Keep Pace’ and for me ‘King Of Rock Bottom’ is one of the best ‘club’ tracks of the year, regardless of the fact that you’re more likely to hear the Iranian national anthem coming out of the speakers of your favourite party establishment.

Another surprise, at least for me, came coupled with disgust at myself, as I downloaded some tracks from probably the biggest hip-hop ’blog’ on the net (if you can still call it a blog) ’The Smoking Section’. A Chris Brown song was in the mix, but I decided to resist the urge of skipping it out of sheer laziness, and found myself nodding my head! The track is called ’Fallen Angel’ and I actually don’t mind it, even though it makes me nearly projectile vomit onto my wall just typing that.

Back to some proper hip-hop to try and redeem myself and earn back my readers, here’s some old Mark B & Blade CD singles from 2001, complete with their B-Sides and bonus loveliness. I bought them when they came out and while looking at my old old old collection I thought a few of the extra tracks on them would be of interest to you lot.

On ‘Ya Don’t See The Signs’, not only do you get the original, and the famous rock version, but you also get the absolutely incredible Phi-Life Cypher remix, in which Life asserts himself as the man with maybe the best flow and rap cadence in hip-hop history. On the ’There’s No Stoppin’ It EP’ you get even more bonus tracks - the EP title track, another track with Life called ’Superior Mind State, the two classics in the form of ’Sealed With A Diss’ and ’Survival Of The Hardest Working’. Without trying to sound like a presenter from a bog-standard shopping channel, these are not to be missed.

1.Ya Don’t See The Signs (Grant Nicholas Rock Version) - Prod. by Grant Nicholas of Feeder
2. Ya Don’t See The Signs (LP Version) - Prod. by Mark B
3. Ya Don’t See The Signs (Phi Life Cypher Remix feat. Phi-Life Cypher) - Prod. by Nappa

1. There’s No Stoppin’ It - Prod. By Mark B
2. Superior Mind State (feat. Life) - Prod. By Mark B
3. Sealed With A Diss - Prod. By Mark B
4. Survival Of The Hardest Working - Prod. By Blade

Monday, 29 October 2007


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Easily the most underrated producers in the land, The P Brothers have released four instalments of their incredible vinyl series ‘The Heavy Bronx Experience’, each one being a testament to true hip-hop, and that the UK are keeping the genre alive as good as anyone else - maybe even more so.

The old school sensibilities are rife within the tunes - booming bass, beats that can easily blow speakers given the chance, and guest rappers that have only one focus - bludgeoning the track lyrically. P Brothers have aligned themelves with some of the best Nottingham talent - Scor-Zay-Zee, Cappo, Mr 45, Lee Ramsay, aswell as some legendary US rappers that have stood up and took notice to their sound, namely Sadat X, and a handful of other New York-based rappers such as Milano & Gang Starr-affiliate Smiley Da Ghetto Child.

Their sound is their ace in the hole - it can’t be ignored or shrugged off as poorly made or set in its ways, because to do so you would be insulting the very essence of hip-hop. Paul S & Ivory have recreated the sound of ‘88, and backed it up with a British sensibility to prove it to be more than just a US knock-off.

Here is their ‘Best Of’ compilation, an album taking the best tracks from the Heavy Bronx Experience series and putting them all on one CD for new ears. I hope you all enjoy this album as much as I do, and support their live show, along with buying their vinyl series up quick sharp.

This is the Heavy Bronx Experience!!!!

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P Brothers - Live Hardcore Worldwide Part. II (The Best of The Heavy Bronx Experience)

1. Live Intro
2. The Illest (feat. Cappo)
3. 45 & Cappo Live From The Boat Club
4. 3 Kings (feat. Scor-Zay-Zee, Cappo & Mr 45)
5. Nottingham BX (feat. Cappo)
6. Come On Down (feat. Sadat X, Eddie Cheeba & GS)
7. Showstopper (feat. Mr 45)
8. Scor-Zay-Zee & Lee Ramsay Live From The Boat Club
9. Make It Better (feat. Cappo)
10. Incomparable (feat. Cappo)
11. Rock The House (feat. Lee Ramsay & Donald D)
12. Showstopper Part II - 45 Rocks The House (feat. Mr 45)
13. 4 Kings Live (feat. Scor-Zay-Zee, Lee Ramsay, Cappo & Mr 45)
14. Great Britain (feat. Scor-Zay-Zee)
15. Kill - Make My Songs... (feat. Cappo)
16. Outro

For more info on The P Brothers and their music visit or !!!

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Saturday, 20 October 2007

"All up in your Knickers, Y-Fronts & Jockstraps..."

A half-arsed post is what you’re getting here to tide you over till the end of the week. it’s a re-up of the Ty Collection from a couple of months back for some nutter naming himself ‘Blokey’ and for anyone else who wants to learn how to make great music. Ty truly is one of Britain’s most consistent artists, and if you don’t know much of his material, these 10 songs are a mix of tracks from his three albums and ‘We Don’t Care’, his contribution towards Big Dada’s ‘Extra Yard’ compilation. I’m a huge fan of Ty’s work and I hope you enjoy these songs as much as I do, enough for you to go out and support it yourself.

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The Tale (from ‘Awkward’)
Ghetto Perspective (from ‘Awkward’)
Break The Lock (from ‘Awkward’)
We Don’t Care (from ‘ Extra Yard’)
Ha Ha (from ‘Upwards’)
Groovement (Part I) (from ‘Upwards’)
Dreams (from ‘Upwards’)
This Here Music feat. Speech from Arrested Development (from ‘Closer’)
Closer feat. Maceo from De La Soul (from ‘Closer’)
Hustle (That’s Why We) (from ‘Closer’)

Our other treat for you today is an album from one of my favourite punchline rappers in the world. Seriously, pound for pound, when it comes to impact of words, turn of phrase and jokes in lyrics, not many people can compete with Mystro, on any shores. He truly is a great rapper to listen to and even though I’ve listened to this album on dozens of occasions, his words still have the power to make me chuckle like Skinnyman busting your lip with his knuckle (do your homework, bitches). In fact, just to highlight his talent, here’s one of his verses from the classic ‘Awkward Thief’.

“The Awkward Thief! Just give me 20 minutes
And I’ll let you witness how to clean out each house on 40 streets!
The smartest robber pulling scams like the Artful Dodger
Even stole out my own house you can ask my lodger!
So be real prepared when I’m on the road
Cos I’m quick enough to steal the hair from under your nose
The type to break into the bank when its closed, take a sack full of dough
And take the videotapes and the cameras home,
And I ain’t chatting garbage
I had to grab the Tardis off Doctor Who once I bagged Aladdins Carpet
And car jackers feel I’m the smartest
Cos in a week I’ll jack enough motor parts to build a brand new car with
And Ali Babar’s 40 thieves, did a lot of dirty work
But still not more than me, I hold all the keys
So getting through your dorr’s a breeze,
Far from a rat but tryna trap all this cheese
And from day through to evening, I make moves like reaching
For the book in your hand to leave you with just the page you were reading
Knew Mr T but never saw the guy since,
I walked off with like 4 or 5 rings before his eyes blinked!”

I can’t think of another rapper who is like Mystro, and this is one of the reasons why ‘Music Mystro’ is so good. I don’t usually put up full albums that are studio releases unless they’re quite old, but I figured that hopefully once people hear how good this guy is, they will support his more recent projects and see his shows. Without further ado, Music Mystro!

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1. Instro
2. Music Mystro
3. Nutrition
4. Skit
5. Awkward Thief
6. Yeah!
7. Tellin’ You
8. Strong Rhymin’
9. Free The Walls
10. Don’t Drag Me In!
11. Skit
12. My Type Of Party (Remix)
13. Outstro

There you go, people. The next post will either be full of delight or despair, depending on how good ol' Blighty does in the Rugby tomorrow.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

New Britain

We’re on a little bit more of a commercial tip today, with some promo releases by two artists that have recently captured mainstream audiences with their two very different styles of UK Hip-Hop.

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First up, we have Plan B, a rapper/acoustic guitarist who instantly gained success with his hard-hitting lyrics and delivery and his nod to the British Indie/Rock scene (who incidentally seem to welcome him with open arms, word to NME). His songs are said to use ‘shock lyrics’ in a similar way Eminem did back at the turn of the century, but I disagree. Plan B just raps in a way that makes you listen, which in my opinion, is exactly the point of rapping in the first place.

Before he released his critically acclaimed debut album ‘Who Needs Action When You Got Words?’, he released two different Promo CDs. The first, was an introductory CD that was making the rounds, featuring his breakthrough songs ‘Kidz’ and ‘Sick 2 Def’. ‘Its Time 4 Plan B’ really got people listening, and it features some exclusives tracks such as his remix to Blade & Baby J’s ‘Its Your Time’ and the extremely err…interesting ‘Hows It Feel’ featuring Skrein.

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Plan B - Its Time 4 Plan B

1. Intro
2. Sick 2 Def
3. Hows It Feel (featuring Skrein)
4. Its Your Time
5. No Good Cuts
6. Kidz
7. My Life
8. Rakin’ The Dead
9. Some1’s Switched In Harvey Nicks

While touring to help promote his music, Plan B sold a homemade album called ‘Paint It Blacker’, which featured his songs along with some freestyles and exclusives tracks over beats created using samples from various classic tracks. The album features samples from The Rolling Stones, Thom Yorke of Radiohead, Nirvana, Coldplay & more. it’s a great album, and really works well as a demo to show off his sound. This album is worth it even just to hear how he’s flipped the samples to use them in hip-hop tracks.

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Plan B - Paint It Blacker

1. Paint It Blacker featuring The Rolling Stones
2. Luscious (skit)
3. Who Needs Actions featuring Nirvana
4. Happy As Larry featuring Larrikin Love
5. Missing Links featuring Radiohead
6. Not This Time Gal (Skit)
7. Kidz featuring Willie Mason
8. Dave From Leicester (skit)
9. Knoxville Girl featuring The Lovvin Brothers
10. Hustling featuring Coldplay & Rick Ross
11. Mama Loves A Crackhead featuring Hall & Oates
12. Wild Horses featuring The Rolling Stones
13. Couldn’t Get Along featuring Thom Yorke
14. James Brown Is Dead (skit)
15. Suzanne featuring Leonard Cohen
16. Cast A Light featuring Jose Gonzales

Plan B - No Good (Video)

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Our second artist that has broken into the mainstream in recent times, and maybe even more prominent than Plan B, is Sway Dasafo. He dropped the second name, and released a series of mixtapes that garnered a lot of attention on the British Underground, and soon enough a very sizeable bidding war between record companies ensued. Sway deserved all the success he has got, and I bought the vinyl singles of both ‘Up Your Speed’ & ‘Little Derek’.

However, that said, I must admit I was a little disappointed with ‘This Is My Demo’ and thought that it could have been much better. Not to let that spoil anything though, I’ve always been a fan of him as a rapper. Over time he’s released the ‘This Is My Promo’ series, and a LoveDough mixtape entitled ‘This Is My Rave’, which should get an honourable mention because it features a lot of skits set in my home region, the North-East, and specifically Newcastle.

The CD has Sway rapping over a lot of the well-known British songs at the time (2005-2006), along with er…the Magic Roundabout theme tune, and many others. Well, if Sway could only be a bit more selective in his beat choices I think he really could be a great artist - he just has to break free from all of this grime rubbish that seems to hold him back in among some lesser intelligent emcees.

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Sway - This Is My Rave

1. "Mackems In The Toon"
2. "Intro"
3. Sway - "Ain't No Stoppin Us" (Freestyle)
4. Sway - "Up Your Speed" (feat Skinnyman, Bruza, Bigz, Triple Threat & Pyrelli - remix)
5. Bigz - "Cor Blimey" (feat Sway & Mayhem - remix)
6. "Taxi Driver Skit"
7. Sway, Tor & Bigz - "Coming Soon" (remix)
8. Sway - "Interlude"
9. Sway - "No Dough No Show"
10. Sway - "Set The Record Straight"
11. Tedi - "Around The World Like LoveDough"
12. Bigz - "Bump Bump Bump Bump"
13. Sway & Baby Blue - "Love Story 05" (feat Suwese)
14. Sway & Pyrelli - "You Need To Know" (feat Ny)
15. "Bouncer Skit"
16. Sway & Pyrelli - "Bouncers Theme Tune"
17. Sway - "Interlude Part 2"
18. Sway - "5,4,3,2" (feat D-No)
19. Sway - "Magic Roundabout" (remix)
20. DJ Shux & Bridget - "Musicflows"
21. Low Key & Styla - "Broken Language"
22. Stacy & Emma - "Toliet Skit"
23. Fallacy - "Freestyle"
24. Sway - "Locked Up Freestyle"
25. Sway - "Carry On"
26. Sway - "My Manor"
27. Sway - "Stalker" (feat Tedi)
28. "When Sway Met Matt"
29. Pyrelli - "Caribbean Love" (remix)
30. Sway - "Interlude part 3"
31. Sway - "Rolling Stone"
32. "Outro"
33. "Shouts For Mayhem, Terra Danjah, Haunted House, taz, Fama G & G Money"
34. KC - "Attacks Of The Evils"
35. KC - "Hungry For" (taken from the unreleased Deadly Sins Mixtape)

Sway - Little Derek (Video)

Monday, 8 October 2007

The Riddim Killa!!

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He is unquestionably a legend in England for his contribution to hip-hop. He’s a former member of one of the true classic groups ever to come from our nation’s loins, and he has done nothing but help the profile of British hip-hop on a national and international scale with his deejaying and radio shows, such as his show with Skitz on 1Xtra. Aye, its Rodney P.

Rodney P is an artist all fans of British hip-hop know about, and he’s fairly well-known in the grand scheme of things, comparatively to most British artists. However, Rodders hasn’t really released much in the way of albums. His album with Bionic as London Posse called ‘Gangster Chronicle’ is an undeniable highpoint in 90s Blighty rap, and he managed to get a good promotional push for his only true solo album ‘The Future’ a couple of years back, but Rodney has stacks of material that got released as singles, on compilations and such, but never made it onto a full-length. I’m fairly certain he has had at least one or two albums shelved completely by past record labels too (but don’t quote me on that one!).

So, to help fill the gap that I’m sure everyone in the entire world has under ‘Rodney P’ in their immaculately alphabetised music collections, here’s some Rodney P goodness for you. These songs range from unreleased material and singles to guest spots and such that I have compiled into a neat little album to be digested worldwide by all people who can afford broadband internet. How nice of me…

Rodney P - The Riddim Killa (Northern Author Collection)

1. Ganja Smuggling
2. I Like London In The Rain
3. Love & Hate
4. Murderer Style
5. The Nice Up
6. Tings In Time
7. Tour Stories
8. You Know Who You Are (with Farma G, Mystro & Braintax)
9. UK Bubblers (with Skinnyman & Skitz)
10. Shelter (with The Brand New Heavies)
11. Can You See Me?
12. Big Tings We Inna

As a Brucey Bonus, here's two Rodney P videos for you. First, you have the cameo-heavy video of the brilliant 'Riddim Killa', and then, you have the more bouncified collaboration with two other veterans of British rap: Million Dan (as discussed in the last post, formerly of the Demon Boyz) and MCD (I need to do a post on this guy!). Its DJ First Aid's cut 'Devon Cream', produced by Baby J.

Rodney P - Riddim Killa

DJ First Aid featuring Million Dan, MCD & Rodney P - Devon Cream

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Slipperz Re-Ups

Re-Ups for dat azz. Or if you're from England like me, a reupload for your rectal cavity...because apparently we all speak like that over here. Anyway, enjoy the uncut Slipperz, they're cosy on your feet and music to your ears.

DJ Louis Slipperz £10 Bag Vol. 1

01. Intro
02. Jehst/Mystro/Braintax *
03. Big Tings - Rodney P
04. Rodney P *
05. Bashment Boogie - Roots Manuva
06. Witness The Fitness - Roots Manuva
07. Phi Life Cypher *
08. Who Is This? - Task Force/Phi Life Cypher
09. Simple Scratch
10. Dago Mentality - Ricochet Kalashnikov
11. Concrete Domes - Iasta B
12. Chester P/Mongo *
13. Skinnyman *
14. Dub Plate Pressures
15. Godnose - Braintax Ft. Task Force
16. Ramson Badbones/Chester P *
17. It's All Live - Super T/Jehst
18. Staircase 2 Stage - Harry Love W/ Bonus Farma G
19. Vadim Ft. Task Force
20. Scratch This Suckers
21. Little Man - Mud Fam
22. Day To Day - Skinnyman
23. One Last Scratch
24. Chester P *
25. Killa Kela Outro *

DJ Louis Slipperz £10 Bag Vol. 2

1. Intro (feat. The Kentish Town Kestral Klan)
2. Spies In The Coffin feat. Taskforce
3. UK Warriors feat. Roots Manuva
4. What You Need feat. Reveal & Doc Brown
5. Voodoo Style (skit)
6. Incognito feat. Lewis Parker
7. Yungun
8. Adventures In New Bohemia feat. Jehst
9. Spend It on feat. Yungun & Jehst
10.Tunnel Vision feat. Braintax
11.Nasty Boy feat. Admiral Dirtbag & Elmore Judd
12. Dirty Stopout Uncovered feat. Blak Twang & Rodney P
13. Farmasutra feat. Farma G
14. The Wickerman Theory feat. Chester P
15. Colonalize Man - DJ Vadim & Skinnyman
16. Arrest The President - Taskforce
17. P.O.W. - Panorama On Wax feat. Universal Soldiers
18. Rodney P & Mystro
19. Filthy - M.O.N.G.O.
20. Farma G & Ricochet Klashnekoff
21. Braintax
22. The Snake Charmer feat. Chester P
23. Rockstarz - Taskforce & Braintax
24. Beat Box Special - Killa Kela
25. Outro

Dj Louis Slipperz £10 Bag Vol. 3

1. Intro ft Kentish Town Kestral Klan
2. Chester P. – Glass House
3. Reveal & Doc Brown – Knock em Out
4. Jehst – Brimstone Rock
5. PhiLifeCyper
6. Yungun – Push
7. Farma G – Three minute movie
8. Chester P & Ramson Badbones
9. Klashnekov – Murda
10. Jehst & Yungun – Outrageous
11. Skinnyman – I’ll be surprised
12. Ramson Badbones – SSDD
13. Banjo Bounce
14. Menace
15. Mystro – Move Yourself
16. Taskforce & Rawdog – JD on ice
17. Asaviour – A track called It
18. Kashmere – Chopin’ Limbs
19. Chester P – Trouble &Strife
20. Real Deal Cypher – A tenna a pop
21. Pianostrumental
22. Joe Spitz
23. Mystro – Keep in check
24. Verb T - Instrumental
25. Last cut

Monday, 24 September 2007

The Greatest UK Rapper?

There has been a new addition of sorts to the Northern Author ranks. We have a new contributor (ish) who has been very kind to provide me with many links for you lot to download to your heart’s content, and I have looked at the albums on offer and there are some real pieces of British hip-hop history coming up in the next few weeks.

So, thank you to Adam Ross for his help and hopefully you can help out more in giving the people what they need on behalf of the Northern Author in the future.

First up, one of his link’s reunited an idea in my mind of a post I was going to do a few months back. I was looking through the albums on offer and came across the full length solo debut of UK rapper and absolute legend Blade.

Blade has been in the rap game as long as Kool G Rap, Big Daddy Kane or Large Professor, and arguably has created as vital a body of work as them. Maybe not on the same worldwide scale, but I know for a fact that thousands upon thousands of hip-hop fans (a lot not necessarily based in Britain) consider Blade to be more than just Mr. Consistency in the rap game. He was one half of the duo that created probably one of the most important UK rap albums there is, as ‘The Unknown’ with producer Mark B kicked in the door for all of the UK artists today that are getting success with their work.

‘The Unknown’ spawned some MASSIVE singles, the main one being ‘Ya Don’t See The Signs’, which got a remix from multi-award winning Feeder guitarist Grant Nicholas, which was the first UK hip-hop song to get into the Top 40 pop charts for a long time (for the oblivious, you may have heard this for the past five or six years as the theme tune to Soccer AM on Sky Sports)

However, Blade is and always was a solo artist first and foremost, and he has released some great solo work before and after that important album. Here, courtesy of my new internet mate Adam Ross, we have Blade’s ‘The Lion Goes From Strength To Strength’ from 1993. It was his first full length , and didn’t disappoint. When I was scouring the net to find some decent background info on the man himself I found his own website which tells us a lot more about the album than I have. It also gives an insight into just how determined Blade was to succeed in a British Rap market that was practically non-existant (or at least not known) at the time. Go here.

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Blade - The Lion Goes From Strength To Strength (1993)

1. Keep It Goin On
2. Fade Em Out
3. Music For Universal Pleasure
5. How To Raise A Blade
6. No Compromise
7. Hold Your Own
8. Bedroom Demo
9. Pisstake
10. Take It To The Edge
11. ... Or Get Crushed Like A Pumpkin
12. Heads Are Forever Boppin’
13. Shut The Fuck Up
14. Silence Is Better Than Bullshit
15. No Mercy, No Future
16. The Lion Goes From Strength To Strength
17. The Power Of Positive Thinking
18. Survival Prelude
19. God Give Me Strength
20. Fuck The System
21. Dark & Sinister (feat. Mell‘O)
22. Suck On My Electric Guitar
23. Exit

To show how much the man’s music has changed through time, rather than put up his whole back catalogue (which I’m sure would not only be detriment to you all buying his records like you should be, and would of course be much more time consuming for me) I’m giving you his first and most recent efforts. Thirteen years after he released his first album, Blade brought out ‘Guerilla Tactics‘, which has a much more modern British sound, mostly due to producer extraordinaire Baby J handling all of the beats. Baby J, as already covered on this very site, has such a distinctive sound, and this album could have almost been Blade & Baby J, but in terms of the concepts within and the topics covered by Blade, its very much a personal effort.

The guest spots that are present are on the two ‘posse’ cuts on the album, ‘Army of Barmy Rappers’ and ‘The Massacre Begins’. The other guest spots are only chorus vocals sung by Baby J affiliates Larissa & Dwaine Hayden.

As a personal recommendation, ‘Four Walls’ is f**king immense, but the whole album is superb and one of the most refreshing UK hip-hop albums of the past two or three years. Funny how it takes an old hand to inject passion and focus into a genre while the young guns flap about, eh?

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Blade - Guerilla Tactics (2006)

1. Mumps
2. Four Walls
3. MCs Just Wanna Rhyme
4. System Of A Damned
5. Beatbox (5th Element)
6. I Found A Reason
7. Army Of Barmy Rappers (feat. S. Kalibre, Cipher, Manage, Respek-Ba & Rukus)
8. MC (2nd Element)
9. Its Your Time (feat. Laurissa)
10. Don’t Push Them
11. B-Boy (3rd Element)
12. She’s Gone
13. The Massacre Begins (feat. Yogi, Humurak D Gritty & Mystro)
14. Graffitti (4th Element)
15. B.L.A.D.E.
16. Round & Round
17. DJ (1st Element)
18. UK Hip Hop

Both are examples of how rap should sound in my opinion, which leads me to the question in the title. Is Blade UK's Greatest Rapper? He could very well be.

PS. As a sidenote, Certified Banger did a canny good post on some collaborations Blade has done in their 'Collabo Connections' series, so check that out too. Its seems that great minds really do think alike.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Destinies I Manifest...

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Before Zion-I became a semi-famous rap crew with ties to the bay area, and before they changed their sound to widen their fan base by adding more traditional bay area (even may I suggest, hyphy) sounds capes, they were a deeply underground set that dibble-dabbled in some drum ‘n’ bass beat patterns and had that true indie sound that was so popular around the late Nineties.

I’ve always been a massive Zion-I fan, even to this day. Their producer Amp Live is criminally underrated behind the boards, and has created some truly special music, while the emcee Zion is always on his game. I do have an album by them called ‘The Collection’ which I purchased of eBay, which came out around the same time as ‘Curb Servin’ & ‘Deep Water Slang 2.0’ early 2003. Needless to say that CD is pretty much f*cked, because I took it everywhere I went for about two years and played it to death.

But before even that, I first discovered Zion-I kind of by mistake. I hadn’t heard of them before (this was around early 2001, which makes me about 15/16 years old) and just saw the front cover of their cd in an independent record shop in the backstreets of Newcastle. It caught my eye and I looked at the back. One of the songs featured Planet Asia, and another Rasco, both of which I was a big fan of at the time due to Rasco’s ‘Time Waits For No Man’ and Cali Agents’ ‘How The West Was Won’. It only cost about 5 quid so I thought what the hell, and bought it anyway. I didn’t have much expectations for it, but what I heard really struck me as something special.

The album has a very unique sound that is rooted in underground hip-hop but contains spacey-synths and, as aforementioned, drum ‘n’ bass influences. Zion-I have gone under the radar for most of their career, because in my opinion they have never released a poor album. Yet, somehow they never get the recognition they deserve.

They aren’t the only consistently good group in hip-hop, but they have always been one that I thought deserved to get their break in the big time. Well, whether they stay underground or hit the big time, I will always be counted among their fans, and their 2000 debut full-length ‘Mind Over Matter’ is the reason why.

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Zion I - Mind Over Matter (2000)

1. Creation
2. Revolution (B Boy Anthem) (feat. Vin Roc)
3. Critical (feat. Planet Asia)
4. Mysterious Wayz
5. Tha Choice
6. Concrete Jungle
7. Metropolis
8. Oh Lawd
9. Trippin'
10. How Many
11. Elevation
12. Little Change
13. Fools Gold
14. Venus
15. Rap Degreez
16. Silly Puddy (feat. The Grouch)
17. Innerlight
18. Big Ups
19. All Tha Way (feat. Knowmatic, Eclipse 427 & Rasco)
20. One
21. Innerlight (Icy Remix)

Friday, 14 September 2007

*Review* - Kanye West - Graduation

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Yup, everyone on the internet has already put in their two pence about this album, but I thought I’d add my own too, just because it’s the done thing really. I’ll set the scene in my mind about this whole thing first though.

This 50 Cent/Kanye opening week war was a load of rubbish. It was a commercial ploy and probably worked in terms of generating both artists more publicity and more money. But there’s another reason why its pointless. I’m very much against 50 Cent. I think he’s one of the worst things to happen to hip-hop in a long time. Unlike others, I even thought his early underground material was absolute crap and he has one of the worst flows and voices in rap. His lyrics are playschool at best and he seems to be a very unintelligent man for the most part. I’m all for everyone having their opinion and I think everyone is entitled to theirs, but on this specific subject I have to say, if you are a fan of 50 Cent then not only are you an idiot, but you are an ignorant twat who needs to be burnt at the stake for supporting someone so ridiculously untalented.

Right… now back to Kanye. I was hyping up Kanye West as a producer way before Through The Wire came out, and I think it was his credits on ‘Roc La Familia’ that really made me a fan at first (‘This Can’t Be Life’ springs to mind). He went on to be a great in-house producer for Roc-A-Fella and seemed to just get bigger and bigger with every song. I had all of his mixtapes and then wasn’t disappointed with ‘The College Dropout’, which is still one of the best commercial/chart hip-hop albums of the past 5 or 6 years.

I liked ‘Late Registration’, but was a little disappointed with the lack of proper boom-bap on the album. The songs were decent enough, they were just all watered down a bit more, and it was a bit too polished to be relevant in a hip-hop sense for me. Let’s say it was a good pop album rather than a good hip-hop album.

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Now Kanye’s back with ‘Graduation’ and he’s a bigger artist in a commercial sense than ever before. Let’s discuss the singles first.

I thought ‘Can’t Tell Me Nothin’ was brilliant. Its an example of West at his best. The lyrics are funny, well thought out and a little erratic (in a good way), and the beat is vintage Kanye. I loved this song from the get-go. Then came ‘Stronger’. One word to describe this song? LAZY. He hasn’t even ‘sampled’ Daft Punk. He’s basically just taken the song, put a different beat behind it and rapped some nonsensical words over the top. I really wasn’t impressed with this single. For an artist who is supposed to be as creative as he is this just smacks of him running out of ideas.

I listened to the album for the first time last night after putting it off for a while, and it got my attention straight away, as I liked the intro and ‘Champion’. ‘Champion’ and later on ‘The Glory’ both reminded me of the Kanye of old in a beat sense, and this what I was wanting to hear. Sadly, the rest of the album, with a few exceptions, is just boring pop drivel.

‘Good Life’ featuring T-Pain just, well, sounds like a song that features T-Pain, which translates as sounding like something that makes me recoil in disgust. ‘Barry Bonds’ featuring Lil’ Wayne was very weak. The beat is easily one of the most dull Kanye has created, and Lil’ Wayne continues his reign as being the most overrated man in rap today. ‘Drunk & Hot Girls’ could possibly be one of the worst songs Mos Def has ever been involved with (mind you, his career has took a nosedive after the disgrace that was ‘True Magic’). Ditto for ‘Flashing Lights’ featuring Dwele. Kanye seems to have attempted to get Dwele in for the respectability factor,. But then proceeds to give him a synthy pop beat and a chorus that sounds like its straight out of a Britney Spears or B2K song. Complete misuse of a guest star if you ask me.

There’s nothing wrong with ‘Everything I Am’ and ‘I Wonder’, but because they’re slow and don’t keep your attention very well, they don’t hold up to repeated listens.. After ‘The Glory’, there isn’t another good song on the album. There’s nothing wrong with the last few songs either, but its just so pedestrian.

The creativity isn’t there anymore, but even more glaringly obvious is the lack of enthusiasm in Kanye himself to deliver a good album. Other than on ‘Can’t Tell Me Nothing’ & ‘Champion’, Kanye just trundles through the songs at a snail’s pace and just seems to be spitting out whatever lame lyrics come into his head. There’s no focus in the whole project. The reason ‘College Dropout’ was such a joy to hear was because of the thirst and passion contained in the music and lyrics. Even ‘Late Registration’ showed the same passion in songs such as ‘Crack Music’, ‘We Major’, ‘Touch The Sky’ and many others.

To sum up, this is the worst album of Kanye’s career, and I think West should have maybe kept some of those Common beats from ‘Be’ for his own project. A big disappointment.

Rating: 5/10

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Talking Points (Part I)

I apologise again (I'm making a habit of this!) for the lack of updates recently. There's two simple reasons for this: a) I've recently got a new job and have been training on it full-time and have found my spare time few and far between in the last few weeks, and b) my internet connection is awful and cut off for the last five days. To show my commitment to the cause, the first thing I've done getting back online is come here and start a belated blog entry. Let's get reacquainted.

This is the start of a new series of posts that will not appear in any regular slot or at a regular time every week as such. I will simply be discussing some things within the realms of hip-hop that have made me think outside of the box in recent times.

One thing I’ve always liked about hip-hop (and to a certain extent metal) is that the lyricism within sparks not only controversy, but serious discussion. Hip-hop is always at its best when the song has finished and you’re still thinking about the lyrics that you’ve just heard. Even though I didn’t agree with Chuck D on, well, everything (at times I actually found the man to be racist against white people in fact, as some of his songs follow the overused and never fully explained 'white devil' concept - I always feel like that sort of thing is a weak attempt of excusing your own failures through playing the race card, but thats a whole 'nother issue), I always found him interesting. This is why despite the fact I don’t agree with his viewpoints I own at least 6 or 7 Public Enemy albums and listen to them all on a regular basis, and also own and wear a black and green Public Enemy t-shirt with pride.

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Chuck D started conversations, he elicited a response, and I honestly think that was his main intention. He knew how to sell records. You don’t need a record company plan. You don’t need scantily-clad lasses in your music videos. You don’t need to have a chiselled jaw and take your shirt off. You don’t even need to be associated with other big artists (although that does seem to help). All you need is something powerful that people will not only recognise you for, but never forget you for. The combination of great music and important and thought-provoking lyricism is the SOLE reason why artists are successful on a long-term basis.

The reason why 2Pac, although an overrated artist he was and still is, always gets thrown up as one of the best rappers in those discussions is not because of his ‘Ambitionz Az A Ridah’. Even though those songs are equally as good to listen to and take enjoyment from, it’s the ‘Changes’ and ‘Brenda’s Got A Baby’ type songs that people will constantly cite to back up their argument. it’s the same with any artist who is often thought of as being a classic rapper. Rakim has ‘Paid In Full’ one of the most relevant and most quoted rap verses about the struggles of being poor and trying just to get some money to allow you some enjoyment in life. Kool G Rap had ‘Streets of New York’. Even Eminem had ‘Stan’. it’s not what your body of work is that gets you put on a pedestal, its what your body of work arises within the listener.

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On that note, I’ll start this very first ‘Talking Point’ article with a touchy subject in recent times. The ‘War on Terror’. How does this link with hip-hop, you ask? Well, towards the end of 2006 and the start of 2007, Wu-Tang affiliate, and emcee and producer Cilvaringz released his rather tasty ‘I’ LP. It had that dusty Wu-Tang feel. The one from their very first album and the feel you got when you listen to ‘Tical’. The album, although light-years away from those Wu releases in terms of quality, was solid as a rock, but had a strange song in the shuffle. It had no beat, no music, just Cilvaringz rapping, more like speaking a 3 minute verse. The song was called ‘Death To America’.

I suggest you listen to the song before we go on, so here is the download:

Cilvaringz - Death To America (from 'I')

A bit heavy eh? I, being an Englishmen who watched 9/11 and the London bombings and saw the pain and terror they caused, find it hard to agree with the sentiments in the song. But its almost impossible to shrug off what is being said. The song is not a piss-take or satirisation of the way the war is perceived (I don’t believe that it is anyway), it is, or seems to be, the genuine perception of what is thought by the average Muslim in regards to the war in Iraq and in regards to the occupation of Iraq by British and American troops.

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In a way I hope Michael Moore had heard this song around the time of the making of Fahrenheit 9/11, as it may have took him to the other side of the war and given the film even more realism. The most harrowing moment of that film for me wasn’t the whole idea of Bush being supposedly in cahoots with the Bin Laden family, or even the awful scenes capturing the victims of bombings in Afghanistan, it was the scene with a young American soldier in an interview with Michael Moore. When Moore asked him whether he’d go back to Iraq, the Soldier simply said he would rather take the risk of jail time, sacrificing his own freedom, than going back to Iraq, and not for the reasons of the conditions of war, but because he couldn’t stand the fact that he knew he was killing innocent people.

This is the same line that this song takes, from the other side, but with the anger of a young man done wrong. As I mentioned before, I don’t agree with him, but it certainly got me thinking when I listened to it.

This is really a test run for this particular thing, as I'm not sure whether I get lots and lots of people coming to this site, or just a few Northern Author Junkies that log on here 10 times a day each! So, for those who have been receptive to this, download the song and give your opinion, whether politically-incorrect or not (I love political incorrectness personally) on the song itself and on the sentiments within it (not to mention what it made you feel and why). I'll reply to every comment and hopefully we can get some dialogue going between at least one or two of us. As I said earlier, this could die on its arse if no-one joins in, so its just a test run.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Corrie, Eastenders, Neighbours...

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Soaps is what I'm getting at. I first heard that song by Dooley-O a couple of years ago and I really did think I'd found an unearthed gem from back in the day. This was not the case, as Dooley-O, the legendary DJ and producer had turned rapper for a new album. I'm well aware of the high intelligence and knowledge of my fellow hip-hop bloggers, so I will not bore you with the story of how he and Steezo (his brother as I recall) sampled Skull Snaps, fell out over it and such. Anyway, the beat Dooley-O made from it paved the way for many other classic songs to be created using the same break, but the man went into hiding over recent years.

Luckily for us, he re-emerged on Lewis Recordings, home to everyone's favourite old school cat Edan, and a few more random acts such as Andrew Thompson (his song 'Misunderstanding' is fairly wierd, funny though). He dropped his album 'I Gotcha' in '05 and got critical acclaim.

It harks back to the dyas of what I like to call 'proper' beats. Made with old breaks and using the drums as the main weapon of choice. The album is consistent throughout, even with old school rhyme schemes and themes present. It really is a nostalgic experience for the older heads, but for people like me, who were itty bitty babies during the '88 hip-hop boom, its a lesson on how things used to be and should be done.

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1. Intro
2. Soaps
3. I Don't Wanna Lose You
4. Monday Night
5. What You Know About Hip-Hop?
6. I Gotcha
7. I'm Comin'
8. Which Way Is Up
9. KGB Warning
10. He's Gangsta
11. Cashed Out
12. I Wish
13. Piano Blues
14. Over You
15. Aahhaa
16. We Ain't Singin' It
17. Rythum's Revenge
18. Drumz

Dooley-O - Soaps (Video)

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Leeds Festivities

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I have just returned from a superb weekend at the Leeds Carling Weekend 2007. In the past three to four days I've seen about 20 great bands and I've enjoyed every minute of it, with absolutely no hint of hip-hop in sight. I know this blog and its friends are strictly hip-hop, and it will stay that way, but I will set out my musical taste here.

I am, of course, primarily a hip-hip head, but I spend only say 50% of my music-listening time with hip-hop on. I listen to metal, indie, soul, rock, funk, dance, all of it. But rock/metal is my second love. And I must say, it was nice to get away from hip-hop for a few days and just be a rock fan for once instead of just towing the line.

I hope that everyone that visits this site loves rock and many other genres as well as hip-hop, because if you just seclude yourself and commit to one genre you're missing out on thousands upon thousands of superb other artists that could change your life. Right about now, I have to bring up a more serious point.

Hip-hop, RIGHT NOW, is not as creative as it used to be (what an understatement that is...). OK, thats no problem, as the creative output from times gone by was at such a high level it would have been impossible for fans to expect our beloved genre to keep on developing and bettering itself at such a high pace. But the problem does not lie within itself. Hip-hop, RIGHT NOW, is nowhere near as creative as many other genres. Rock, indie and metal are flourishing right about now, and even older bands in those genres such as Nine Inch Nails and the like are experiencing a rebirth of sorts, by tapping into new sounds and changing their own perception on what music should sound like. I just feel like hip-hop is stuck in a rut at this moment.

When the Red Hot Chili Peppers were playing the festival out as the headliners on Sunday night, and had well over 100,000 people all singing along and appreciating their artistry I wondered to myself, could this ever happen in hip-hop?

I just don't think hip-hop at the moment is as good a live spectacle as a) it once was, and b) other genres are. I seriously cannot imagine even the best hip-hop artist in the world (whoever that may be depending on your opinion) being able to both draw a crowd that big into a muddy field and support them and have them hypnotised for the whole time they're on stage.

I've been to some great hip-hop gigs. I saw The Roots at Rock City in Nottingham and was almost drooling when Black Thought was rapping constantly for what seemed like 20 minutes. I saw Nas in the Manchester Apollo and sang along with every song he did and felt like I was part of something special when the first few bars of 'It Ain't Hard To Tell' came out of Nasir's mouth. But these are exceptions. Most hip-hop gigs I go to comprise of just the group members or rappers all walking about the stage going through the motions, shouting at the crowd and generally just looking like they cobbled together the set minutes before. I saw Enter Shikari, a trance/metal british group at Leeds Festival and they had an entire light show going on while managing to persuade the crowd to start pit circles and chant choruses and the lead singer got his whole band to stage dive into the crowd and dance like ravers when the trance came in. It was a sight to behold. Most rappers these days just stand and, well, rap.

I would be interested to see a hip-hop festival, because none have ever been staged as far as I know in my region, and none in our country have been staged on a truly huge scale. But one factor remians, both on creative and performance levels, hip-hop as a genre in this day and age is slipping, and needs to step up. It's falling behind other genres so much at the moment due to its insistence to be monotonous to irritating levels in its commercial circles.

A weekend listening to some great guitar music amongst other things has made me truly see hip-hop as a genre that is in a state of crisis at the moment. Granted, this year has been much better than previous years for material so far, but I'm talking interms of commercial artists. Someone spectacular needs to breakthrough. If Kanye West, 50 Cent and Cam'Ron is the best we can do to represent our culture on a major scale then we aren't doing ourselves justice.

Music update coming tomorrow. Hip-hop needs to wake up.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

‘Sicker Than A Triple Heart Bypass’

As promised, the Barnsley thug, Doyen-D’s album ‘En-D.Game’. This will be a major culture shock for American down loaders, or even anyone from outside of the British Isles, really. Its one of the most pure, uncut examples of what can only be described as ‘regional’ Yorkshire Rap. Most emcees from Leeds do have a hint of their accent, but its mostly reined in and a generic british tone is created. But this guy, Doyen ‘Mak’ Deezal, who incidentally writes (or has written) for Hip-Hop Connection on the merits of Southern Rap and Bay Area Rap in the US, has just vocalised the northern accent fully for more comedic value.

Its obvious that the whole thing is tongue-in-cheek (well, I hope it is) and there are lots of laughs to be had here. Not only that, but there are some really good songs on here, not least the massive posse cut ‘Thug Energy’, which features everyone from Junior Disprol of Fleapit fame, to Tommy Evans and Cappo.

This is an album that I certainly haven’t seen anywhere in the shops other than the one I bought it at, never mind on the blogosphere or internet, so I’m sure a lot of you will be venturing into the unknown with this one. It will be a little strange at first, but dip your toes in the water and you might find it canny refreshing.

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Doyen-D - En-D.Game.

1.Sole Burnz
2. Underestimated
3. Am Doyen-D
4. Impossible
5. Northern Conquest
6. Meglomania
8. Watchmen
9. Thik Az Theevz (feat. Pri-Cee)
10. Dead Again
11. Thug Energy (feat. Lee Ramsay, Scor-Say-Zee, Bungle, Junior Disprol, Cappo, Tomy Evans, Late, Jibber & Usmaan)
12. Love Iz
13. BreakN Tha M.I.C.

Actually, It’ll be interesting to hear your thoughts on this one, especially overseas readers, so feel free to mention it in the C-Box or drop a comment.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Return From A Brief Hiatus

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I apologise for going a week without a post, I have just got a little too caught up in the start of the football season and the start of a new era at Newcastle United. Also, I have been busy chuckling seeing Manchester Utd (or Manure) fail to win either of their first two fixtures. But anyway, if football and random talk is what you want, head over to Gangsta Jackanory, thats where I spout most of my comic-wannabe-but-never-gonnabe drivel.

An interesting thing happened today. I went into a computer game shop today (no, thats not the interesting thing) for the first time in a while just for a look about while my lass was furiously buying up all of the stock in Primark, and started listening to the music they were playing. Bearing in mind this is Gamestation, a major computer shop, in Huddersfield, I was very surprised to hear the sounds of Jehst booming from their admittedly weak shop speakers. After just lurking about the shop for the sole reason to listen to what was being played (I probably looked like I was going to rob something) I managed to distinguish the album as Jehst's new Menghi Bus Mixtape.

Now, this may not be that wierd in America, but you're lucky if you hear Common in a shop in England, so I must admit I was very impressed with the shop owners for being supporters of UK hip-hop. The only way UK hip-hop is ever going to be established in the same way American hip-hop is in England is if it is heard in shops, played in cars and generally wanders into the ears of anyone who will listen. When you hear an underground british rap mixtape being played in a major store, you know there is still a chance of local hip-hop music taking off bigtime (which is something we all thought it would have done back in about 2002).

In other boring but notable shops-playing-rap news, I was in HMV today and they were playing DM & Jemini's Ghetto Pop Life album, swearwords and all. Some granny complained that she'd heard racist slurs in the record while I was in the queue, when it was actually Jemini during a live freestyle tagged on the end of a song saying 'I'ma bad n*gga, I'm a bad bad n*gga...'. I wonder how the lass on the till explain the use of the word to the elderly lady...

Anyway, this was a short but always sweet post to say I'm back, and the Northern Author, alongside its brother/sister blog GJ are here to stay.

Oh, and if you're lucky I might upload some classic Doyen D for you tonight. Barnsley thugs, eh? Music doesn't get better than a chav from Yorkshire rapping that he'll give you a black eye like a Panda.

Blaxtrix & Junior Disprol - Night & Day

Dirty Diggers - For The Haters (as we all know, a future UK classic)

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Fulfilling A Request

Someone asked for the second CD from the Son Records compilation, and here it is. This time it just covers the songs brought out in the year 2004, and it includes the song I started this blog off with, 'Jelly Bellied Eels'.

Another great CD from an underrated UK rap label.

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1. C-Mone - Stan Bac
2. Def Tex - What The?
3. Wordsmith - Nomad
4. DPF - Jelly Bellied Eels
5. Midnyte - No Pills, No Frills
6. Def Tex - Freaks
7. C-Mone - Disfunktional
8. Wordsmith - Sun God
9. Styly Cee & DPF - Once & For All
10. Styly Cee & Scor-Zay-Zee - Want Whats Yours
Apologies for the lack of an update for nearly a week there. My excuse? Extrenuating circumstances. Anyway, I did an absolutely massive post over at Gangsta Jackanory so hopefully that should keep your thirst for my writings at bay until the next go-round.

Friday, 27 July 2007

Zero Pence Mix-Up (Part I)

The first in a series - This one is a mixed bag with something for everyone. With the football (or soccer, as you strange people in USA call it) season still not started yet, I’m suffering from withdrawal symptoms from watching my beloved Newcastle United (Toon, Toon, Black N White Army!), so I find myself listening to a lot more music at the moment. It fills the void nicely, and aswell as getting new material, I’ve recently been scouring through my older Cds and listening to them again.

I’ve mentioned ‘Son Records’ before, when talking about both HKB Finn and DPF, but this time I’m going to throw up the compilation they brought out covering most of their major releases from 1998 to 2003. It has some true classic UK material on there, including tracks by Def Tex, a young and not yet P-Brothers-affiliated Cappo, Styly Cee and the once Out-Da-Ville member C-Mone.

Its solid throughout, and really does represent a good cross section of the lesser known hip-hop music from our country in that time period.

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Son Records 1998 - 2003 (2004)

1. Styly Cee - Here Comes Son
2. Mad Doctor X feat Quakes, The Brotherhood, Tenor Fly, Voyager & Blak Twang - Deejays & Emcees
3. Styly Cee feat Cappo & Scor-Zay-Zee - No Pain, No Gain
4. DPF - Yadda Yadda
5. Quakes - Neptune
6. Def Tex - Dancehaul
7. HKB Finn- In The Stillness (Dans Le Calm De La Nuit Mix)
8. C-Mone - UK Chant
9. Lost Island - Mic Life
10. Cappo - Gilgamesh
11. HKB Finn - Vitalistics
12. Def Tex feat DJ Plus One - Turntable For Two
13. DPF - Dis Cuss Peace
14. Styly Cee feat Midnyte - Kofi’s Night
15. Lost Island - Lunch In The Limelight
16. C-Mone - Its Bad
17. Midnyte - Them Or Us
18. UK Kartel - UK Yakuza
19. Mad Doctor X feat Frisco, Cappo, Navigator, Don , Voyager, Terra, D-Luv - 7even (Azzurro Remix)

After that I’m going back to the year 2000, and one of the first ever releases on the now cult label and music collective that spawns obsessive fans, Definitive Jux. This was back before Def Jam tried to sue El-P for having a ‘similar’ name, and it was still Def Jux. The album, a bit like Son Records, is a small compilation showcasing artist from the album. Strange thing is, pretty much EVERYONE on this album has gone on to be huge rap stars in their own right. First you have Company Flow & El-Producto, who were already established before the creation of the label, releasing the brilliant ‘Funcrusher Plus’, instrumental album ‘Little Johnny Went To Hospital’ and a handful of great 12” singles. The CD may even act as one of the last recording done by Co Flow as a group because as far as I know they didn’t release any other material on Def Jux and Mr Len went on to do his own thing.

Aesop Rock makes what I assume is his first song for the label called ‘Kill Em All’ pre-empting my favourite album he has ever released ‘Labor Days’. Cannibal Ox, creators of one of the most ‘cult’ hip hop offerings there is ‘The Cold Vein’, contribute ‘Iron Galaxy’ & ‘Straight Off The D.I.C.’, which if I’m not mistaken feature on their album anyway. Finally we have RjD2, who has went mega in recent years with his production and solo albums. He contributes ‘Silver Fox’ to this tape.

The guest spots are kept to a minimum, with only Ill Bill of Non-Phixion fame dropping a verse on a Co. Flow track. This one mini-album paved the way for ALL Def Jux releases that followed, and showed that from day one El-P and his label had already planned out a particular sound for his record company, a sound that it still holds to this day.

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Def Jux Presents… (2000)

1. Company Flow - DPA (As Seen On TV)
2. Company Flow (feat. Ill Bill) - Simian D AKA Feeling Ignorant
3. Cannibal Ox - Iron Galaxy
4. RjD2 - Silver Fox
5. Cannibal Ox - Straight Off The D.I.C.
6. Aesop Rock - Kill Em All
7. Company Flow - Simple

Finally we have an album that I picked up over a year after it was initially released from a small Independent record shop in Nottingham for only a couple of quid. This one does have a smidgin of a connection to the last album, as its writer, rapper, producer Blueprint has ties with RjD2, being the co-star of group Soul Position with him. This album also features a guest spot for Aesop Rock on the song ‘Lo-Fi Funk’.

When I first heard ‘1988’ I loved the whole album’s integrity. Its produced entirely by Blueprint himself, and there are only two guest verses on the whole album, making it a very personal affair. In the liner notes Blueprint says ‘The year 1988 gave birth to lot of classic hip-hop records, so I named this album 1988 to pay tribute to those artist and records’. it’s the man’s own tribute to the golden era, complete with old school beats and a grass roots approach to production. On a side note, the song ‘Big Girls Need Love Too’ is hilarious.

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Blueprint - 1988 (2005)

1. Introduction
2. Anything Is Possible
3. 1988
4. Inner-City-Native-Son
5. Tramp
6. Boombox
7. Trouble On My Mind
8. Lo-Fi Funk (feat. Aesop Rock)
9. Big Girls Need Love Too
10. Fresh
11. Where’s Your Girlfriend At?
12. Kill Me First
13. Liberated

Don’t forget that I have two blogs. This one is simply for the music, but ‘Gangsta Jackanory’ is my day-to-day blog that I update all the time. It covers my thoughts on everyday life, my opinions on sports, film reviews and general rants. Basically a place for me to vent or show my opinions on most things. I may even put some music related posts on there pertaining to other genres, in order to keep this blog strictly hip-hop. Anyway, there is a link above the C-Box and that site gets updated as much as this one, so if you’re here for the writing as much as the music, feel free to take a look at that aswell.

Until the next post, enjoy the music you mickey mouse motherf*ckers!

Sunday, 22 July 2007

An Inexplicable Journey

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Sometimes I feel like I'm a little out of touch with the general public when it comes to what is quality music and what isn't. While everyone else is busy listening to the new Lil' Wayne album I'm sitting in my room with People Under The Stairs' debut on blast and I'm happy as larry.

I grew up in the North-East of England and have lived there my whole life until the recent past, and the music of choice primarily seems to be either trance music or the obligatory R 'n' B. I don't really have a big problem listening to any musical genre, but I've always been the only one listening to my brand of hip-hop (I say mine...) and it has always puzzled me. People DO listen to hip-hop where I'm from, obviously. But it's not the same. Usually the farthest reaches delved seem to be maybe a Wu-Tang album or at best something by Mos Def and his like. Why is it only me from my region (that I know of, and I've lived there over twenty years) that digged deeper?

My parents are probably as far away from being fans of rap music as any parents could be. My mother loves music by Eva Cassidy and more accessible classical music, along with singer/songwriters such as James Blunt and James Morrison. My father has, for most of his life, been into what I'd call typical 'dad' music. He's a fan of prog-rock such as Jethro Tull and Pink Floyd, and dibble-dabbles with a little bit of straight rock music. The closest you get to a rap star in my house when I was growing up was a Marvin Gaye song here and there.

None of my friends listen to rap music. Not when I was growing up anyway. With a few exceptions, the only reason why a percentage of my mates listened to rap music was because I constantly played it around them and they grew fond of it through time. I would like to say that I put at least a dozen people onto rap, and I'd probably be right. But even at the best of times those people struggle to listen to anything more underground than a Redman CD. Not that there's anything wrong with that. This is not about me 'bashing' any non-hip-hop listeners, because it's all down to taste.

The point is, why do I listen to hip-hop??? Unlike many people reading this, I'm from a place in England where there is little in the way of cultural diversity, and you didn't hear rap music everyday. Yet from the age of about 11 I have been obsessed with this genre and I probably will be till I die. I honestly don't have the answer.

It just happened.

Ever since I heard Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince when I was as tall as a chair leg I've loved it, and my first ever album bought with my own money happened to be Busta Rhymes' debut 'The Coming' at the ripe old age of 10. My parents had never heard of him and I ran to them asking to get it with my saved up pocket money. They thought I'd picked up the wrong CD, or picked a CD at random. The truth was I'd heard 'Woo Hah! Got You All In Check' on MTV earlier that day and adored it.

I followed that up soon after with Cypress Hill's 'Temples of Boom', and listened to it all the time. At 11 years old I had no idea what B-Real meant by 'Everybody Must Get Stoned' or 'Spark Another Owl' but I recited the words from start to end anyway (no wonder I was grounded so much!). As a sidenote despite hearing this language I've never done drugs in my life and never will - and I lose respect for anyone that does (but back to the point).

By the time I was 14 when everyone was dancing about to the Backstreet Boys and Sonique (Don't know why I chose her, like!) I was listening to Company Flow in my room and developing a thirst for knowledge about the genre's history and origins. Swotty I know, but I was a bit of a strange kid.

This brings us to today, and I'm here writing a blog on the music I love, hopefully spreading knowledge to help other people, even ones that are 14 listening to Company Flow or something and wanting to know more, and I still don't know the answer.

Why do I love hip-hop?

I don't know, I just do.

Onto the D/Ls/ First up we have the EP Mummy's Little Soldier, released in 1999 by HuntKillBury Finn (quality name). Its a great piece up british 90s rap and has some great lyrics in it. Well worth a listen.

HkB FiNN - Mummy's Little Soldier (1999)

1. Audio Lotion (feat. Girl 7)
2. Liar Liar (feat. Gunshot & Taskforce)
3. Bad Enough
4. Repair Kit (feat. J.B. Rose)
5. Retrospective UXB
6. Mummy's Little Soldier

2nd up is the 2005 producer album from once-Fleapit member Second Son. This album has some astounding music in it, and is helped by the cream of british rappers in Jehst, Lewis Parker, Taskforce & a then not-yet-established Sway. Its a really solid album and shows that Second Son can REALLY make beats. His songs always benefit from having top quality drums in them, whether sampled breaks or produced. Its a great album from start to finish - the only drawback with it is that its not another Fleapit album!

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1. Rags - Featuring Humurak D Gritty
2. High Stakes - Featuring Lewis Parker
3. Discovery Channel - Featuring Clarity
4. Defenders Of The Art - Featuring Xeno
5. If I Look Familiar - Featuring Defisis
6. Turn It Up To The Red - Featuring Jehst
7. Valley Of The Crows - Featuring Taskforce
8. Weight Upon My Shoulder - Featuring Rola
9. Stalker - Featuring Swaydasafo
10. Tell Me - Featuring Conrad Watts
11. How Do You Do Yours - Featuring Blaxtrix
12. Famous As Fuck - Featuring GLC

As usual lets wrap this thing up with a vid. In anticipation (or salivation as it is in my case) of Camp Lo's new album, here's the vid to the classic song 'Coolie High' off their absolutely superb debut album 'Uptown Saturday Night'.