Thursday, 28 June 2007

A Mature B-Boy

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DJ Format first came into my conscienceness when I heard the song 'We Know Something You Don't Know' guest starring Jurassic 5's Chali 2na & Akil. I was big on Jurassic 5 at the time as they were releasing their best material, with their debut and Quality Control already out and Power In Numbers on the way. The song was ok, but it didn't really get a lot of play by me until a few months later, after I had heard a lovely song called 'Ill Culinary Behaviour' from DJ Yoda's How To Cut & Paste mix. The song was produced by Format and had a guy named Abdominal on the vocals.

I had never heard of Abdominal before, and was entertained instantly by his chatter of setting a table and eating. It seemed very stupid but somehow fresh to death, so I looked into both Abdominal & DJ Format's material. Turns out that Format had an album called 'Music For The Mature B-Boy' on the way, with Ab starring on quite a few songs, so I waited for the release and bought it within days of seeing it on the shelves.

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Music For The Mature B-Boy' is an incredible debut album (Format has had albums before that but they were more like mixes or instrumental tapes). The production of Format is second to none, and it rattles with nostalgic golden age- beats throughout. The music is the perfect summer soundtrack. What made this album so good for me though was rapper Abdominal.

In an earlier post I had the video up for 'Vicious Battle Raps', and the reason why was because I absolutely love that song. I know every word in and out. One loooong verse by Abdominal that keeps on gaining momentum all of the way over one of the best beats on the album.

'Music For The Mature B-Boy' is a 9 out of 10 album in my opinion, and it's easily one of the best 'producer' albums out there.

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DJ Format followed this one up with 'If You Can't Join 'Em, Beat 'Em'. It follows the same formula as the first, but this time Abdominal brings along his mate D-Sisive to handle some of the tracks. Their chemistry on tracks like '3 Feet Deep' & 'Separated At Birth' is impeccable. The album as a whole may not be as memorable as the first, but it follows on with the same sound and is consistent from the Intro to the last track.

Abdominal went on to do a brilliant album with DJ Fase called 'Flowtation Device', and now has a new single coming out as a solo artist. Southampton-born DJ Format has released a few mixes since then. Incidentally I can't stand Southampton's football club. So dull. I hope they stay in the Championship and away from the Premiership as long as possible. Sorry all you Saints fans.

Anyway, I'm not going to upload a compilation of my favourite DJ Format songs, as most of you will own the two albums already (If not, click on the links in this post and buy them because they truly are worth it), but I will upload his two best dj albums.

Format released 'A Right Earful Vol.1' on Antidote Records in 2005, and it features songs by the man himself, Abdominal, Ugly Duckling and Edan along with classics by The Alkaholiks, Black Sheep & Souls Of Mischief. Its what I would call a 'proper' mixtape, and benefits from a carefully picked selection of songs that go together to create the mood and sound that reflects the DJ.

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1. 'Oh My' - Down South
2. 'Fast Food Remix' - Abdominal and DJ Faze
3. 'Inner City Boundaries' - Freestyle Fellowship
4. 'Phuck What Ya Heard' - Madkap
5. 'A Name I Call Myself' - Souls Of Mischief
6. 'Record Making Manual' - Nautilus
7. 'Ya Mouth Stink' - Lord Sear
8. 'Humble Magnificent' - Edan
9. 'Almond Rocha' - Ugly Duckling
10. 'Bone Fide Funk' - Brand New Heavies And Main Source
11. 'For Betta Or For Worse' - Pharcycle
12. 'The Dips' - The Wascals
13. 'Turn The Party Out' - The Alkaholiks
14. 'We Got The Fat Joint' - King Tee
15. 'What's The Real' - Kurious
16. 'Still In The Ghetto' - Black Sheep
17. 'Operation Desert Storm' - Double J
18. 'Funky Rhymin' - Edan
19. 'Give Me A Microphone' - Little Barrie
20. 'Popcorn' - The Upsetters
21. 'Funky Frith Street' - Gonzalez

DJ Format also released his Fabriclive 27 Mix in mid-2006, and it features a blend of modern hip-hop be Lyrics Born and the like and some traditional funk and soul music. I find a lot of enjoyment in listening to funk and soul music (especially soul) but I don't know a lot about the fonkier side of things so I will let you judge for yourself from the tracklisting whether the songs are well-known or not. Either way, its another great mix that deserves to be shared, so enjoy Fabriclive 27 by our man Format.

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1. "33% B-Boy" - DJ Format
2. "U.D. in Brasil" - Ugly Duckling
3. "Do That There" - Lyrics Born
4. "3ft Deep" - DJ Format
5. "SNT (Live at the Peace Pipe '93) - Cut Chemist & This Kid Named Miles
6. "Beats and Pieces" - Coldcut
7. "Bristol Fingers" - Aspects
8. "Root Down" - Jimmy Smith
9. "Get Wise '91 - Mr. Lif & Edan
10."Changes" - Nostalgia 77
11."Sunshine of Your Love" - Ella Fitzgerald
12."Hot Rod Poppa" - Marsha Hunt
13."Slip" - Reverend Cleatus & The Soul Saviours
14."Save Me" - Nina Simone
15."Indian Rope Man" - Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger, Trinity (band)
16."Sweet Bacon" - Julian Covey & The Machine
17."Breakdown" - We The People
18."Toe Hold" - Ellen McIlwaine
19."Put Some Grit In It" - Karachi Prison Band
20."Give Me Mercy" - Ruff Francis & The Illusions
21."I Need Someone" - Linda Perry & The Soul Express
22."Slinky" - John Murtaugh
23."Dancin' Drums - Ananda Shankar
24."Night Owl" - Cleo Laine
25."Rock 'n' Roll" - Edan & Dagha

As usual we'll end the post with a few vids by the artists. The two I've chosen are one from each of his albums.
The Hit Song (with Abdominal on the words)
3 Feet Deep (with Abdominal & D-Sisive)

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

A Daily Reminder

As well as reading up on the artists I cover on this blog, and downloading the tasty treats I upload for anyone that wants them, don't forget to look at my other blog.

'Gangsta Jackanory' (pointless name that doesn't reflect anything about its content) is the more personal side of my writing. I have been updating it for two and a half years now, and it is just my opinion on day to day events, and just full of anything that I find interesting enough to post/write about.

I first started writing about music on that site (albeit briefly and only on the rare occasion) and that combined with reading the good work I see other bloggers doing is what influenced me to start 'Northern Author'. I still maintain both blogs and try my best to post something on either of them every two days. If I don't, get me told!

The next post will see me back to the daily grind, as I've got at least half-a-dozen ideas for posts and a lot of artists to cover, so stay tuned for more music, news and views brewed in Britain!

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

A Blog Called It

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When I first heard this guy shoutout "To all my Kirklees and Huddersfield people, stand up" on his songs I got a little crazy. Hearing someone shout out the exact place you are based, and knowing that they're from within the same mile radius that you currently live in always gives the listener an extremely strong connection with the rapper. He even has the Galpharm Stadium (Huddersfield Town FC's ground) on his album's front cover!

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Anyway, onto the music and the man behind. Asaviour was first fully introduced (give or take a few minor appearances on songs) through his aid on the classic Jehst track 'People Under The Weather', and off the back of his verse he gained enough hype to get a deal with UK hip-hop giants Lowlife Records.

His first EP 'Savior Faire' was the perfect introduction for him into the rap game. With only four or five tracks on it, it had to be superb to make an impact - it did. Asaviour's debut EP sizzled with beats that mirror his surroundings (If you've ever been to Huddersfield you'll know what I mean) and introspective lyrics. He produced some of it himself, showing some talent behind the boards, and got his mate and fellow Yorkshireman Jehst to produce the monster that has become 'Money In The Bank'.

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The EP did well and the stage was set for his full debut 'The Borrowed Ladder'. Although the album wasn't the most hyped of releases, it was more solid than Hadrian's Wall, with track after track filled with great lyrics.

Asaviour's flow can be described as quite lazy, slurring the words around in his mouth, giving it just the right amount of distain and vigour to make his verses memorable. His music can be compared to that of the aforementioned Jehst, but a little darker. His single 'So Northern' with Braintax did brilliantly and showed that Asaviour, although a long way off being one of the best in the game, is a future star and will only get better with time.

Northern Author's Asaviour Collection

1. Jehst (featuring Asaviour) - People Under The Weather (from 'Return Of The Drifter')
2. Asaviour - A Track Called It (from 'Savior Faire EP')
3. Asaviour (featuring Jehst) - Money In The Bank (Original Version) (from 'Savior Faire EP')
4. Asaviour - Playin' The Game (from Evil Ed's 'The Enthusiast')
5. Asaviour (featuring Braintax) - So Northern (from 'The Borrowed Ladder')
6. Asaviour - Field Of Dreams (from 'The Borrowed Ladder')
7. Asaviour - Borrowed Ladder (from 'The Borrowed Ladder')

As a bonus, I purchased a mixtape made by Asaviour and DJ IQ just before the release of his debut album, and it features some other tracks of the album, some freestyles from him and also many other songs from other UK artists. It even has one or two tracks by US artists such as Jay-Z, Slum Village and MED of Stones Throw fame. It is a top quality mixtape that isn't spoiled by the shouting deejays that ruin every single US mixtape ever made (can someone make DJ Kay Slay shut the fuck up!! Please, he is THE most annoying man in the world). Anyway enjoy the Asaviour collection (it is worth the download) and enjoy this mixtape too.

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01. Play 2 Win Intro
02. Asaviour - Drama Thing Exclusive
03. Peter Brown - Lead Me On
04. Cappo - I Know
05. Usmann / Asaviour - Freestyle Live On 1Xtra
06. Verb T - Keep Moving Exclusive
07. Asaviour - Themes Remix Exclusive
08. Rodney P - Smugglin
09. Evil Ed Feat. Jehst / Asaviour - Weed
10. Braintax - Lets Go Away Exclusive
11. Nas - One Love
12. Evil Ed Feat. Asaviour - Playin The Game
13. Milano - Done In Vain
14. Asaviour - It's Like That Freestyle Exclusive
15. Asaviour - Bangas And Mash Exclusive
16. Med - Push
17. Asaviour - Vip Freestyle Exclusive
18. Kashmere - Permission To Board
19. Jehst / Asaviour / Detones - Transform
20. Bill Zoot - Are You Ready? Exclusive
21. Asaviour - A Track Called It
22. Jehst Feat. Asaviour - Wake Up
23. Volton Craggie AKA Vc - By His Deeds
24. Ghost Feat. Asaviour - On The Right Track Exclusive
25. Asaviour - Invisible Inc Freestyle Exclusive
26. Willy Hutch - Brothers Guna Work It Out
27. Asaviour - Borrowed Ladder Exclusive
28. Asaviour / DJ IQ - Live On Mkd Show
29. Groundwurk - This Is For The Heads Exclusive
30. Kaspa - No Nonsense Exclusive
31. Konny Kon / Bill Zoot - Trenches Exclusive
32. Twinky Blu Tac - Move Freestyle Exclusive
33. Slum Village - The Hours
34. Jay Z - Some People Hate
35. Asaviour - So Northern Exclusive
36. Play 2 Win - Outro

And finally, a video with Asaviour in it. I thought I'd give DJ IQ a bit more shine also, with his upcoming 'Brainfood' project not long off completion, he's released this great song and video featuring a cavalry of UK emcees. Some emcees obviously outshine others, but it is a good showcase for a lot of rappers so give it a viewing.

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Onwards & Upwards

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Ty is one of the most prominent UK hip-hop artists there is, and his music is different to all other British artists. His brand of music is a twist on the ‘Native Tongue’ jazzy sound that originated with US groups such as the Jungle Brothers & A Tribe Called Quest, and along with his long-time producer Drew, Ty has paved the way for many like-minded artists, gaining respect from US legends along the way.

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His debut album, Awkward, was released back in 2001 on Big Dada Recordings, and it boasted some big singles at the time in ‘The Nonsense’ & ‘Break The Lock’. It was one of the most ‘musical’ British rap albums that had been released at that stage in the genre, and got critical acclaim from most UK publications.

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His follow-up only built on the success of his first album and of the single ‘We Don’t Care’ from the Big Dada compilation ‘Extra Yard’. ‘Upwards’ was a complete triumph and again raised the bar for his fellow countrymen. Nearly every song on the album could have been released as a single, and many of them were, such as ‘Wait A Minute’, ‘Oh You Want More?’ and ‘Groovement (Part 1)’ (Groovement, incidentally, was probably one of my favourite songs of 2003).

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After a rather long hiatus from releasing material, Ty shot back to fame last year with his memorable album ‘Closer’, and fully asserted himself as being one of the finest British hip-hop artists around. The album was much bigger in everything: the music was grandiose in sound and extremely soulful, the lyrics were tighter, and the guests artists were much more famous. Ty had finally got himself in a situation where he could ask any artist to star on his work, and on ‘Closer’, there are some big names. De La Soul even make an appearance on the song ‘The Idea’, with Maceo coming back again on the title track ‘Closer’. The album also boasted appearances by Speech of Arrested Development, Bahamadia & Zion I - All extremely established US artists that only added to Ty’s reputation.

Ty is arguably the brightest star to come out of the UK, and leads the way in terms of musical creativity on our coast.

Northern Author’s Ty Collection

1. Ty - The Tale (from ‘Awkward’)
2. Ty - Ghetto Perspective (from ‘Awkward’)
3. Ty - Break The Lock (from ‘Awkward’)
4. Ty - We Don’t Care (from Big Dada Compilation ‘Extra Yard’)
5. Ty - Ha Ha (from ‘Upwards’)
6. Ty - Groovement (Part 1) (from ‘Upwards’)
7. Ty feat. Eska Mtungwazi - Dreams (from ‘Upwards’)
8. Ty feat. Speech of Arrested Development - This Here Music (from ‘Closer’)
9. Ty feat. Maceo - Closer (from ‘Closer’)
10. Ty feat. Rich Medina - Hustle (That’s Why We) (from ‘Closer’)

Each artist's compilation I do that is made up of odd songs from throughout their careers will now be at least 9 or 10 songs long, so every download there is you get an album's worth of material.

You Don't Know What Underground Is!!!!

Okay, so this isn't UK hip-hop, but I haven't seen this album posted on any other blog and I thought it needed to be shared. I won't be putting up many albums on this site in their entirety, so consider this a bit of a treat.

The artist, Esau, was a complete unknown when I bought this album. I bought it from an independant shop in Durham (North-East England) for a couple of quid basically because it was cheap, it was hip-hop, and it was something that I hadn't heard of. I'm so glad I did get it because the lyrics on this album are second to none. Esau (along with his crew The Nobodies) are superb lyricists, and even on the occasions when the music isn't really up to par, the listener is drawn in by the words. In essance, this is one of those albums where the background music really is background music, and the rapping is used in the way it should be used. TO GET A POINT ACROSS, not just to spout pointless drivel (see G-Unit). The album is only added to by some key guest spots from absolutely legendary rap group Yaggfu Front, Demigod rapper Apathy and classic freestyle/battle rapper Supastition.

So... Enjoy the album

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1. First
2. Underground
3. Original Duplicator
4. I Hate
5. Ahh
6. What More Can I Say
7. Stop Being Blinded (feat. Da Wizard of Aahs)
8. That's Real
9. I'm Going To Hell (feat. Equinox of The Nobodies)
10. You Ain't Fly
11. Esau Vs Blackmel (feat. Blackmel AKA Supastition)
12. Me & My Baby (feat. Equinox of The Nobodies)
13. Independents (feat. Apocalypse of The Nobodies)
14. Boo
15. U.R. Destine (feat. Mahogany)
16. 2 Many Emcees (feat. The Nobodies, Yaggfu Front, Danja Mowf, Apathy & Blackmel AKA Supastition)
17. One In A Thousand
18. Merry Go Round (feat. Mahogany)
19. I Got All That

And as a bonus...

Hans Grubler requested some Dr Syntax, and the only album I have by the Foreign Beggars affiliate is 'Off The Radar'. You lot are lucky that you've caught me in a lazy mood so here is that LP. It is a rather impressive effort, with the beats handled by Dag Nabbit (or at least it sounds like it!), making the output in the same vein as that found on a Foreign Baggars album (specifically Asylum Speakers - the album even contains a live clip of Syntax's verse from the song 'Glacial' that can be found on that album).

Syntax himself is a decent enough rapper with some punchlines, but the guests definitely help here. Obviously Orifice Vulgatron and the Beggars come in to aid him, as does Newcastle-based rapper Stig of the Dump (which means he's close to my heart!) and strangely, Wildchild of Stones Throw LA-based group Lootpack. The album is very cohesive and follows its own sound, and even though none of the tracks are classic material, the LP as a whole is very impressive.

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Dr. Syntax - Off The Radar Volume 1

1. Bring It To The Boil Feat. Enlish & Koaste

2. As Sure As The Globe Spins

3. Million Skill March Feat. Foreign Beggars & Wildchild

4. Head Home Feat. Hinesy Hines

5. Resolutions

6. Glacial (Live In Stavenga Norway)

7. H Props & Doc Synners

8. Lets Have Some Feat. Wordsmith

9. Down To A Science Feat. Koaste

10. Clowns Mask

11. Carnival Stomp Feat. Hinesy Hines & Enlish

12. Fatty & Speccy Feat. Stig of The Dump

13. Never Over Feat. Inja & Orifice Vulgatron

I will be doing more artist profiles like the ones earlier in the week in the future, so look out for many more Northern Author collections from UK hip-hop artists. Hey, you never know, I might even throw in some music from a Johnny Foreigner! Stay tuned.

Friday, 22 June 2007

The Re-Up

No, not that god awful compilation Eminem did. I've decided to re-upload all of the single songs that have been uploaded so far into full sets, just like the Aspects one from the last post. For your convenience!!!! Aren't I a champ, eh?

Northern Author Collections

Baby J Download

Baby J (feat. Freestyle of The Arsonists) - Focus (from 'The Birth')
Baby J (feat. A-Alikes) - Walk With A Bop (from 'The Birth')
Baby J (feat. Rukus with Ty, Klashnekoff & Yogi) - Let It Go (from 'F.T.P.')
Baby J (feat. Bang) - Get 'Em Bang (from 'F.T.P.')
Baby J (feat. dead prez & Shabazz The Disciple) - Scattered People (from 'F.T.P.')
Baby J (feat. Dynamite MC) - Young, Gifted & Black (from 'FTP2: Fight The Power')
Baby J (feat. TB) - Forever (from 'FTP2: Fight The Power')
Baby J (feat. Poisonous Poets) - Must Get Free (from 'FTP2: Fight The Power')
Moorish Delta 7 - Don't Leave Me Lonely (prod. by Baby J) ( from MD7's 'The Power & The Glory' LP)

Jehst Download

Jehst - Liquid Diction (from 'Premonitions EP')
Jehst - High Plains Anthem (from 'Return Of The Drifter')
Jehst - Falling Down (from 'Falling Down')
Jehst - Hydroblowback (from 'Nuke Proof Suit')
DJ MK presents Supa T, Jehst, Kyza & Harry Love - It's All Live
Secondson & His Orchestra with Jehst - Turn It Up To The Red (from 'Secondson & His Orchestra')

Harry Love Download

Klashnekoff - 'Murda' (from 'The Sagas Of Klashnekoff')
Kyza - 'Lights Out' (from the 12" vinyl single 'Lights Out/Harsh Reality')
Yungun - 'What Eye See Part II' (from Yungun's LP 'The Essance')
Jehst, J-Zone & Harry Love - 'Staircase To Stage' (from the 12" vinyl single of the same name)

Verb T Download

Verb T & Harry Love - Showbitchness
Verb T & Harry Love (feat. Kasmere The Iguana Man) - Not Enuf Hours (from 'Bring It Back To Basics)
Verb T & Harry Love (feat. Red, Ransom Badbones & Jehst) - Equal Portions(from 'Bring It Back To Basics')
Ghost (feat. Verb T & Asaviour) - Better Tomorrow (from 'Seldom Seen Often Heard')

Cappo & P Brothers Download

Cappo - Grand Final (from 'Spaz The World')
P Brothers (feat. Cappo) - Nottingham BX
P Brothers (feat. Scor-Zay-Zee, Cappo & Mr. 45) - 3 Kings
Cappo & Konny Kon - CapKon Entertainment

Thursday, 21 June 2007

The Best Music

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Aspects are a little different to your average hip-hop group. They make music in a distinctly British way (its hard to describe what this actually means, but there is something about their sound that instantly hits you as being 'English Hip-Hop') and this definitely endears them to me. The emcees Probe Mantis and El Eye are two different emcees to your usual, spitting similes ahoy with obscure pop culture references abundant in their verses. The topics of the tracks they rap over have incredible range, from the marvels of a chicken to the good feeling you get from surfing (something I found quite strange considering the fact surfing is almost pointless at UK's placid beaches).

Their producer Specify is an accomplished beatmaker, and along with DJ Mixmaster Nu-Balance the sound of their debut 'Correct English' was very er...hip-hop. Their sound changed completely on their follow-up album 'Mystery Theatre' which incorporated live instruments (even indie-rock band The Bees featured on a song) and had a more organic sound. The line-up had changed, with Beezlebubber Lucifer (the third emcee) and their old DJ Nu-Balance nowhere to be seen, replaced by beatboxer Monkey-Moo and some session musicians.

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The pick of the first album's tracks were unsurprisingly the lead-off singles 'My Genre' and 'Best Music', the former containing a musical sample from Oliver Cheatam's disco classic 'Get Down Saturday Night', and the latter just being fresher than milk still inside of a cow's udder. Also, the song 'Ects Factor' sounds like it could have been on a Fleapit album (which is a very good thing).

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The second album, although a bit of a change, was much improved. The songs were well-thought out and tight in their ideas, and the precision of the music itself was much more apparent. In fact, 'Mystery Theatre' was probably one of the best UK hip-hop albums to come out in 2004. The opening track 'Impact' is a great example of this new tightened sound, with much smoother (dare I say commercial?) production. The next two tracks from this album I have selected show thier use of real instruments and session musicians, with 'Man Under The Sea' and Soul Sister' both using a distinctly non-hip-hop sounding backdrop with rap verses over the top. Don't be put off by this, however, as it works a treat and I personally can't wait until their next proper full length. Incidentally, I have heard that in the past few years they have released a few mixtapes and mash-up records, so if anyone could point me in the direction of these I would greatly appreciate it!

Due to the fact that the compilation I put up in the last post got more downloads than any of the single downloads I have uploaded have, I will now be putting all of the single downloads in one file. This makes it easier for you lot to get the songs (less mucking about), and makes sure you hear ALL of the songs uploaded and not just one. But seriously, you are a bunch of lazy bastards aren't you?

- My Genre (from 'Correct English')
- Best Music (from 'Correct English')
- Ects Factor (from 'Correct English')
- Impact (from 'Mystery Theatre')
- Man Under The Sea (from 'Mystery Theatre')
- Soul Sister (featuring Little Barrie) (from 'Mystery Theatre')

Download Northern Author's 'Aspects' Compilation

Aspects - Off The Lip (video)

Monday, 18 June 2007

Old School (but not really)

I was looking through my old CD collection for old tracks maybe to upload onto the site and came across this UK Hip-Hop compilation I made back in early 2003. It has just completely random tracks on it because at the time I only had dial-up internet and used Kazaa to dl tracks. It always took about 45 minutes to download one track!!! The wierd thing is, at the time that seemed really reasonable! So, forgive me if some of the tracks are better than others, but it does have a few gems on it. I skimmed over it on iTunes earlier today and some of the tracks aren't special, but I probably just put them on the compilation anyway because it took 45 mins to get it. I wasn't exactly just going to delete it after that much of a wait!

Northern Author Hip-Hop
Ad's UK Hip-Hop Mix-Up (2003)

1. Rodney P - Murderer Style
- I haven't changed the tracklist order that it originally was, and its no surprise I put this first. A true classic from a true hip-hop legend.
2. Iceberg Slimm - Bad Boy
- A bit of an in-joke this one. It used to ALWAYS be on the telly back when Channel U first started out, and me and my mates have always just laughed and joked about how Channel U is the dumbest shit ever to be put on television. This song had an even ridiculous chorus and was fairly listenable.
3. MUD Family - Rich & Switch
- A track from Skinnyman's group about how rappers lose their grounding once they get successful. Not a bad song at all.
4. Funky DL - The Music
- The first of three Funky DL tracks on the mix. I have always been a fan of his brand of hip-hop, but a little sceptical of his rap accent. Why does he feel the need to put on an american one when he isn't from the USA? Still, he is a good rapper and a great producer.
5. Braintax - Deal With It
- Some old Braintax here. I have no idea when this song was made or what LP/12" it was from, but it sounds very 90s to me. I suspect this may be quite old. Whatever it is, this is classic Braintax at his best.
6. Ricochet Klashnekoff - Daggo Mentality
-I believe that this may have been one of Klashnekoff's first ever releases. He still hadn't dropped 'Ricochet' from his name, and (without actually checking) I think this might have been on a WordLab compilation. A very good intro song fro the man, stating his claim before the music even starts ('Come like Britney Spears ya get speared in the heart')
7. Funky DL - Soul Silhouette
- More DL, this time sounding verry jazzy. This is almost Native Tongue jazzy in the way it is crafted. Great song.
8. Rodney P & Skinnyman - Worldwide
- Two superstars on a Joe Budha beat that is seeped in reggae dub bassline and sound. Suits Rodney more than Skinny, but nice nonetheless.
9. Ricochet Klashnekoff - Jangkroville (Jehst Remix)
- Another Klashnekoff early release, this time with Jehst providing a remix and a verse.
10. Taskforce & Braintax - Three Amigos
- Thoughts of 'El Mariachi' come to mind as the song starts, but once the beat comes in and Braintax opens up, it gets much more darker, with the typical UK basslines coming into play. Taskforce & Braintax work very well together here.
11. Skinnyman - Chat 'Bout
- Skinnyman on the solo tip with a dark backdrop for him to paint a picture of his neighborhood and lifestyle.
12. Funky DL - Everybody Rock On
-The last of the DL songs, and this one is jazzy hip-hop done up proper. It uses the same horn sample that was used on a Tweet song produced by Missy Elliott not long ago. This came first though, as I think this song is about 7 or 8 years old.
13. Micro, Rodney P, Taskforce & Braintax - Controlo
- I have no idea where this is from, but it seems to be a song by French rapper Micro featuring british artists. Not a bad effort by all.
14. Phi-Life Cypher & Taskforce - Want It So Bad
- One of my personal favourite rappers of all time has to be Life from Phi-Life Cypher. NO-ONE, I repeat NO-ONE has a better flow than him. Not the best thing either group has been involved in but some good verses on display here over an anarchist's backdrop.
15. Tommy Evans - Natured Out
- From the intro I can tell its an exclusive from Undercover magazine (a good read by the way). A nice if rather dull track. Tommy can do much better.
16. Blak Twang (feat. Lynden David Hall) - Perfect Love
- One of Twang's more sensitive songs, featuring the sadly departed Lynden David Hall. Hall was a classy vocalist with some great tracks and it was a shame he died so early in his life. A good song here with Twang on top form interpolating Hall's classic 'Sexy Cinderella'.
17. Lewis Parker - Sunflight
-What can you say about Lewis Parker. He is quite simply an incredible producer. Up with the greats on any shore in my opinion. This song is off 'Its All Happening Now' and has a typical Parker beat and some smooth lyrics. A good outro song.


Just as a Brucey Bonus: Watch this vid from British maestro DJ Format with Canadian emcee extraordinaire Abdominal on the vocals. If you don't already know this song you really should be ashamed of yourself (punish yourself accordingly), and it is canny well known, but...enjoy it for what it is. A straight up and down babyliss-hair-straighteners rap track with a great beat, a great video and some stellar rapping from Abs (no, not the one from 5ive).


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Baby J has been around for what seems like yonks, but his style of soul sampled beats have only came to the forefront in recent years. This is possibly due to the success of The Heatmakerz in the US, who are responsible for producing most of the 'chipmunk soul' that The Diplomats used to favour.

Over in Britain, Baby J has been creating these sorts of beats long before the Heatmakerz were even established, and long before The Diplomats released their debut 'Diplomatic Immunity'. One thing that Baby J has borrowed from the US, however, is vocalists. Over the course of his three-album career, Baby J has linked up with US rappers such as Shabazz The Disciple, Poetic, The Arsonists, dead prez, and many more. His beats are always in demand by established UK artists such as Skinnyman, whose last LP 'Council Estate Of Mind' was partly produced by Baby J.

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His first album 'Birth', came out with little to no fanfare, as he had no buzz around him as a beatmaker at the time. When I first came across this album a couple of years back in a Nottingham record store I was really surprised at the amount of known emcees were guest featured on it, maybe hinting at good things to come from the man. The hints became concrete, and when Baby J released his second effort 'F.T.P', he was instantly catapulted to the top of the pile of British producers. This album was crammed full of single-material, such as Skinnyman's 'None Of The', Rukus' 'Let It Go', Blade's (I really need to do a post on this guy) 'Mumps', and dead prez's 'Scattered People'. The beat on 'scattered people' blew me away the first time I heard it. I think it's probably the most 'dead prez' beat ever made that wasn't crafted by M-1, or Tahir. So atmospheric and brooding.

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Before and since that record Baby J has produced the odd song for artists outside of his camp, notably the quality track 'Don't You Leave Me Lonely' by Moorish Delta 7. Now, I'm not usually one to listen to all of that Dipset stuff, and this song has the whole sped-up soul sample thing going on, but I must admit, that song is top notch.

The success of that album and his other productions made me anticipate his next album, which is why I was VERY surprised when it came. Not because it wasn't a good album, but because it had absolutely no hype and seemed to just get released without a single or anything. I have enjoyed 'FTP2: Fight The Power' very much, but it still doesn't reach the same level as 'F.T.P' did.

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It does have its fair share of big songs on it though, such as 'Young, Gifted & Black' by Dynamite MC. This song doesn't really do much with the Bob Marley sample other than just lay a beat over it, but its simplicity works quite well, and the usually Drum'N Bass rapper, Dynamite MC flows over it nicely. It also has the superb 'Forever' by TB (I don't know much about this guy, but I hope his initials aren't a medical term), and 'Must Get Free' by Poisonous Poets. These guys can rap, and the beat utilises the same sample that Timbaland & Magoo used back in 1997 on the song Luv 2 Luv U, albeit in a very different way.

Either way, Baby J has something that, although not that different if in the US market, it is very singular in Britain, as there are not many people making beats in the same way he is over here.

Baby J (feat. Freestyle of The Arsonists) - Focus (from 'The Birth')
Baby J (feat. A-Alikes) - Walk With A Bop (from 'The Birth')
Baby J (feat. Rukus with Ty, Klashnekoff & Yogi) - Let It Go (from 'F.T.P.')
Baby J (feat. Bang) - Get 'Em Bang (from 'F.T.P.')
Baby J (feat. dead prez & Shabazz The Disciple) - Scattered People (from 'F.T.P.')
Baby J (feat. Dynamite MC) - Young, Gifted & Black (from 'FTP2: Fight The Power')
Baby J (feat. TB) - Forever (from 'FTP2: Fight The Power')
Baby J (feat. Poisonous Poets) - Must Get Free (from 'FTP2: Fight The Power')
Moorish Delta 7 - Don't Leave Me Lonely (prod. by Baby J) ( from MD7's 'The Power & The Glory' LP)

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Headnod Hip-Hop Straight From The Sweatshop

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You can't have a music blog focusing on British rap without mentioning Jehst. Simply put, Jehst is in my opinion THE greatest thing ever to come out of the UK on the hip-hop front (Slick Rick doesn't exactly count (we could only claim him as our own for so long!)). As well as being one of the best artists in our great country of England, he is also definitely one of the most consistent, with hardly any throwaway material in his entire career from his Premonitions E.P. all the way up to his more recent output such as 'Nuke Proof Suit' and 'Underworld Epics'.

Every song he guest-features on is improved because of him, and the main reason for this isn't his brilliant presence. It isn't his commanding and still-slightly-Yorkshire drawl. It isn't even his superb production talent. Its his lyrics. The man paints pictures with words, people. He puts images in your head and makes you LIVE out his verse in your mind. This is Jehst's talent.

Alongside, and partly responsible for his consistency, Jehst has never changed his sound. Even now that its fair to say Dizzee Rascal aside, he is possibly one of the most famous british emcees, his music still can't be described as anything but 'dusty'. You won't find any Jazze Pha/Scott Storch shitty casio keyboards used in this man's sound. Oh no, this boyo is organic. Its like he grows his tunes through arable farming.

Here we have a song off his early Premonitions EP entitled 'Liquid Diction', which is an early example of Jehst's dirty sound being honed. Its no surprise this sort of song led on to being the groundwork for classic tracks such as '1979' and 'Alcoholic Author'.

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Following this, there is the 'High Plains Anthem', which is from 'The Return Of The Drifter' (Jehst's first full-length, which is basically like Klashnekoff's first full-length in that it is just a collection of all of his singles together with a few new tracks). This track has a beat that I can listen to all-night long, and it sounds like the sort of beat that could only be made at 4.15am with weed-smoke in the air (not that I'd know much about first hand smoking - I'm a health freak).

Jehst's next album is widely considered to be his best work. 'Falling Down' is the sort of LP that was made with the artist's blood and sweat. The sort of album a musician would call his 'baby'. To stay away from the singles 'Run Hard' and 'Monotony', I've chosen one of my favourite album tracks off it, the title track.

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Also present is the bass-heavy 'Hydroblowback' ("I'm old school like an '89 throwback, yeah yeah you know that!") from his 'Nuke Proof Suit' mini-album, and I've been a gracious son of a gun by adding some guest spots from him like the brilliant 'It's All Live' by DJ MK & Harry Love (again...) and 'Turn It Up To The Red' from Secondson & His Orchestra (Fleapit's one-time producer).

Jehst - Liquid Diction (from 'Premonitions EP')
Jehst - High Plains Anthem (from 'Return Of The Drifter')
Jehst - Falling Down (from 'Falling Down')
Jehst - Hydroblowback (from 'Nuke Proof Suit')
DJ MK presents Supa T, Jehst, Kyza & Harry Love - It's All Live
Secondson & His Orchestra with Jehst - Turn It Up To The Red (from 'Secondson & His Orchestra')

Friday, 15 June 2007

Harry Love On The Beats

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You've already heard some of his beats off the last post, but Harry Love deserves to have some more focus. He's been making quality british hip-hop for years now, and has been involved in some way in over 50% of all of the important releases coming out of the UK. He has worked with nearly everyone and seems to only be getting better.

Harry Love's sound is extremely distinctive. He makes dark but soulful music, and is somewhat of a British Dj Premier with his scratches. On his myspace page, he has posted up some instrumentals from a forthcoming album, 'Speechless', and most people who even have a passing knowledge of british rap will know his beat on Klashnekoff's 'Murda'.

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He has made some quality music with Terra Firma, Tommy Evans & YNR Productions, Yungun, Verb T & most other artists you can name, including even US psuedo-pimp-rapper Captain Back$lap a.k.a. J-Zone and Jehst on my personal favourite Harry Love song 'Staircase To Stage'.

Harry Love will more than likely continue to make brilliant beats, and push his own sound to the fullest. And just a final tip from me, if you're looking to be big on the british hip-hop scene and need to be respected quickly, look no further than hooking up with this lad @ the Beats Pharmacy.

Klashnekoff - 'Murda' (from 'The Sagas Of Klashnekoff')
Kyza - 'Lights Out' (from the 12" vinyl single 'Lights Out/Harsh Reality')
Yungun - 'What Eye See Part II' (from Yungun's LP 'The Essance')
Jehst, J-Zone & Harry Love - 'Staircase To Stage' (from the 12" vinyl single of the same name)

Thursday, 14 June 2007

"What's Mine Is Mine...What's Yours Is Up For Grabs"

Verb T has quickly become one of the biggest UK emcees there is. Its his voice that helps him stand out over many of his counterparts. Its deep, compelling and constantly pissed off, and it makes the listener listen to what he is saying. Guru from Gang Starr's voice has the same effect on a listener - the rapper doesn't become background noise over the beat.

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He featured on a few singles, including ones released by Harry Love, another brilliant beatsmith from the UK (and also the focus of the next post), before getting a deal at Lowlife Records. His first release was a 'half-and-half' EP with the charismatic Kashmere The Iguana Man. His half was called 'Backhand Slap Talk', and it introduced both artists to a wider audience (with Braintax guiding them in the background). The Ep wasn't brilliant, but both artists showed promise and there were a few gems on it.

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However, it was last year's collaboration with Harry Love entitled 'Bring It Back To Basics' that really showed what a good artists Verb T was. The album was very well recieved by the british hip-hop press, and Verb T sounded perfect over the backdrops created by his teammate.

He's somewhat of a 'guestspot' rapper as well, and delivers many of his better performances on other artists' songs, such as his verses on Ghost's solid album 'Seldom Seen Often Heard', and his appearance on Jehst's recent producer album 'Underworld Epics'.

At the moment, Verb is working on a new full-length effort with The Last Skeptik called 'Broken Window'.

Verb T & Harry Love - Showbitchness
Verb T & Harry Love (feat. Kasmere The Iguana Man) - Not Enuf Hours (from 'Bring It Back To Basics)
Verb T & Harry Love (feat. Red, Ransom Badbones & Jehst) - Equal Portions (from 'Bring It Back To Basics')
Ghost (feat. Verb T & Asaviour) - Better Tomorrow (from 'Seldom Seen Often Heard')

The Heavy Bronx Experience

The P Brothers & Cappo are easily among the best examples of modern hip-hop today. They have built their music on the 'boom-bap' sound of traditional rap and have formed some of the best made songs ever to come out of the UK. I'd have to say that alongside Lewis Parker and Jehst, the P Brothers are definitely some of the best producers ever to come out of the UK.

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Cappo was a member of the same record company as DPF was, Son Records, which gives us a lovely link from the last post onto this new one. However, he was never a huge cast member for them and came to prominence only once he had forged a superb partnership with Paul S & Ivory (The P Brothers). Cappo's first solo album, Spaz The World (superbly un-pc album name!), was a revelation. It grumbled with deep basslines and hit hard with its beats, and Cappo's cadence and voice complemented the brooding music brilliantly.

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However, the first examples of Cappo rhyming over P Brothers beats comes on the Heavy Bronx Experience vinyl series. THE track that blew me away by the Akai Professional was 'Nottingham BX', which had possibly the hardest and loudest drums ever to be put on a track. They made the drums sampled on Rick Rubin tracks sound like a fieldmouse sneezing. Again, I love Cappo on the song, as his flow was MEAN. In the best possible sense of the word.

Then came '3 Kings', a P Brothers posse cut with fellow Nottingham dwellers Scor-Zay-Zee (formerly of OutDaVille), Mr. 45, and of course, Cappo. This song's brilliance comes from its simple but hypnotic bass, and all three emcees spitting lyrics like they were in competition. Scor-Zay-Zee steals the show with the 1st verse, though.

"When I'm writing a rap I'm like a dog fighting a cat,
Arse-kissers get in the game, their tongue right in the crack,
I step in the front, never one to hide in the back,
Ask yourself on stage is the crowd likely to clap,
When I bust verse, they said I wouldn't make it cos I'm white and I'm fat,
The P Brothers put me right on the track,
With the great Lee Ramsay, 4-5 and the Cap,
I was, lost in the Bronx trying to find me a map"

"I put my fists out and say 'Bronx' cos that's the word"

Cappo has more recently been working with Zero Theory, and released an EP just over a year ago that I own on vinyl. I would upload it but have no idea what cable I would need to connect the turntable to the PC (Any help?). Either way, except for the odd song from both Cappo and The P Brothers, its been a while since we've heard a lot of material from both camps, so listen to this to keep you ticking over till then.

Cappo - Grand Final (from 'Spaz The World')

P Brothers (feat. Cappo) - Nottingham BX

P Brothers (feat. Scor-Zay-Zee, Cappo & Mr. 45) - 3 Kings

Cappo & Konny Kon - CapKon Entertainment

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

"Killing anything that moves, kid, sometimes nuns..."

A bit like a welcome song to the site, its 'Jelly-Bellied Eels' by DPF.

DPF is a Norwich-based (yes, Norwich, as in Norfolk, farmers, Robbie Earnshaw, Delia Smith...) emcee signed to Son Records. This is my personal favourite offering from him so far, and I think that he could still blow up on the british hip-hop scene if he comes back with a good album after releasing a string of good singles and EPs.

I first heard this song on the Son Records 'Last Word' compilation, which is a solid offering covering all of the best releases from the underground british label so far. Amongst its ranks, the label boasts former OutDaVille rapper C-Mone, and rap legend (in my opinion) HuntKillBury Finn.

On a side note, in future I expect a lot of my posts to be much longer than this, but I just wanted to add a song to get the ball rolling. Expect more in-depth analysis and linguistic brilliance in the coming posts...

Anyway, enjoy this, the first track from the Northern Author.

DPF - "Jelly-Bellied Eels"

Welcome to the North

So here we are, a new frontier.

I am the Northern Author. Some may know me as Adam, others just may now me as that idiot with a beard and long hair that walks about Huddersfield with a bemused stare. Either way, this is my new blog.

I already have a live space called Gangsta Jackanory which I update regularly, and will continue to do so, and that is just random b****cks that I come up with on the spot. This one, however, will be more focused.

'Northern Author' is essentially a music blog that will cover hip-hop music. I have created it so I can share some of my more obscure music with other people, and give my opinions on everything from a certain album to the state of music as a whole. Hopefully I can educate some people on hip-hop, and hopefully others can visit here and return the favour.

I stress that I will NOT be uploading hundreds of music albums for no reason other than to share them, as I believe that this practice that has plagued blogs is only damaging the music industry, and all of the artists within it. What I will be doing, however, is uploading the odd album or two, and many single songs, and sharing my opinions and review of said music. I will also write some articles on music and focus on certain artists to maybe try and promote their music a bit more, as I think they deserve it.

This is not a site to find your most current pop album. I will not be posting up any 50 Cent rubbish on this site. Oh no. This is for real hip-hop music. The stuff created in dingy studios in Doncaster at 4am in the morning. OK, maybe not that underground, but you get the point.

I welcome any comments, whether they agree or disagree with me, as I will definitely be stating my opinion on the music I upload, as well as some artists that don't sit well with me. For all intensive purposes, this is my own page to express myself about the music that I love. HIP-HOP.

Now let's get on with the show...