Wednesday, 24 September 2008
I've talked and talked in the past about Baby J's production credentials on this site since day one, and highlighted the modern UK classics he's already created with countless british emcees.
He has three solid producer albums under his belt, all of which have been well-recieved. He's helped Blade craft arguably one of his best albums a couple of years back in 'Guerilla Tactics' and he is about to unleash new material very soon. One thing Baby J doesn't get credited for is his work with US emcees.
Even on his debut album 'Birth' he had songs with Shabaam Sahdeeq of the late 90s indie label Rawkus fame. In fact, one of his best ever songs was with revolutionary, at times quite racist but always entertaining 'dead prez' on his song 'Scattered People'.
One US group that have been a permanent fixture on Baby J albums is the A-Alikes. They are a duo who are loosely affiliated with dead prez and Tahir (Hedrush) and they make some hard-hitting tracks. Whilst not the MOST talented duo, they certainly know their way around a hook and a beat. Also, with Baby J producing every track on this album, they couldn't really fail.
'Kill The Middleman' is a solid if not spectacular that showcases J as notjust a one trick pony. Although he does rely on soul samples a lot of the time, he has proved that he has other weapons in his arsenal.
2. Pop Off
3. Young Buk to OG (feat. I.G.)
4. Love Is Love
5. Why? (feat. Laurissa)
8. Keep It Funky
9. What Niggaz Do
10. Throw Ya Gunz
11. I'll Probably Wind Up
12. If I Get On (feat. Teresa)
13. The Babies
14. Some Of Us
16. Eenie Meanie (feat. Teresa)
18. Grey Skies
Thursday, 18 September 2008
Sadly, in this album there are no excerpts from Matthew Broderick or Hank Azaria. There are no smaller agzilla's hatching in the bowels of Madison Square Garden. But there are a ridiculous amount of heavy beats interspersed with large doses of scratching & film quotes.
Deckwrecka (aka Agzilla) came out with his debut full-length album 'V...For Vengeance' in 2000, a rip-roaring hour of nothing but beats and breaks that would put a smile on any b-boy Brit's face.
Wrecka's LP was incidentally the first ever release from UK label Ronin Records, famous pretty much only for being the label that released the classic 'COuntryman' by Skitz. But more on him later. This album makes up with great scratching and quotables what it loses from a lack of vocalists, and its the type of CD you can just put on and listen to all the way through as a full piece of music. Sit back, light a blunt (or in my case put the kettle on and make a cup of tea cos I don't smoke that sh*t) and enjoy some proper turntablism.
2. The Big Up
3. Assassin's Road
4. Secret Warz
5. My Thesis
6. Furious Styles
7. 23 Forever
8. Sever The Wicked
10. Change The Style (interlude)
11. Scores On The Doors
13. Double Zero Zero
14. Ogami's way
15. Live @ Visage
16. Catch Wrecka
17. Deleted Files (Bonus Beats)
18. Mind Control
19. Tsik Wei Step
20. Bayou Boogie
21. Zilla's Theme
22. Rough Winds
23. The Return
24. Ghetto Princess
25. Rice Cakes
26. Hah Breakdown
27. 5 Door Finale
28. Outro - Deckwrecka Theme
I did say in the last post 'more on Skitz later', and this is what I meant. Daddy Skitz released a series of mixtapes in the past few years (I say a series, I mean err...two volumes) engineered to mix the best talent from UK, intersperse their music with a couple of choice tracks from overseas and bring the fans some exclusives along the way.
'Homegrown Vol. 1' kind of went under the radar when it came out and the second one didnt do much better, but don't let their lack of sales take away from the fact that they are brilliant compilations. To be honest though, hardly any UK hip-hop albums get good sales figures unless you're called Dizzee so no-one on our shores should really worry about that anyway.
The album is less mixtape more track selection, coming off just like Skitz himself was in his front room picking tracks he likes at the time on his iTunes just to listen to. Believe me, this is a good thing, because this man has been there and done it all and probably knows more about UK hip-hop than anyone else in the game.
He's released a classic album I still listen to religiously to this day, he's had a very succesful 1Xtra show with Rodney P, he's produced countless tracks for pretty much anyone who is anyone in our genre and he's still got a lot left in his tank.
The album is from 2004, and its like a small time capsule of hot tracks from the time, featuring Million Dan's SEMINAL monster hit 'Dogz & Sledgez', Pharoahe Monch's brilliant political attack 'Agent Orange', Canadian rapper-who-has-just-sold-out-and-is-just-about-to-blow-up-because-of-it Kardinal Offishall with arguably his best ever song 'Bakardi Slang' (if you don't know or haven't heard this song, the beat is pretty astounding).
Great artists like Seanie T, Rodney P, Taskforce, Braintax, Phi Life Cypher, Skinnyman, Roots Manuva, actually pretty much every big name in UK rap are on here, and the album itself shines because of it. Great selection, great DJ, great download.
1. Skitz & Solomon - Intro
2. Million Dan - Dogz & Sledgez
3. Keith Lawrence (feat. Seanie T) - Muzik Ed Special
4. Life & Nappa of Phi Life Cypher - Soldiers
5. Kardinal Offishall - Bakardi Slang
6. The Extremists - Revolution
7. Pursuit & Taskforce - Norse Code
8. Terra Firma - Sionara (Skitz Xclusive Mix)
9. Braintax - Just Me
10. Karl Hinds (feat Seanie T & Toyin) - You Done Know (Live-O)
11. Skibadee - The Greatest Show
12. Dynamite MC - Bubble
13. Pharoahe Monch - Agent Orange
14. Roots Manuva - Check It
15. Skitz, MC D & 2Ice - Champion Sound
16. Rascalz (feat. Notch) - Warrior (Dirty Version)
17. Ty (feat. Roots Manuva) - So U Want More? (Revox)
18. Beyond There (feat. Yungun & Jehst) - Slumber (Skitz Xclusive Mix)
19. Rodney P - Big Black Boots
20. Sterling Collat (feat. Skeme, Dirt T & Big P) - What Goin On
21. The Sea & Mr Ti2bs - Introducing Mr Tibbs
22. Skinnyman - What's My Life Like
Sunday, 7 September 2008
Hip-Hop Connection magazine are celebrating their 20th anniversary this Autumn. For the first time ever, the world's longest running hip-hop magazine Hip-Hop Connection will go on tour. With a line-up designed to attract all spectrum's of hip-hop fans, this tour is set to be one of the most historically important events in British Hip-Hop.
Leeds Hip Hop Scene have teamed up with the longest hip hop magazine in the world to bring a special one off gig at the Wardrobe in Leeds on 4th October 2008.The night will feature an all-star team of UK Hip-Hop artists,Million Dan, Jehst, Stig Of The Dump, Dr Syntax, Klashnekoff and hosted by Baby J.
The night is guaranteed to have crowd participation, featuring an open mic emcee battle hosted by Million Dan and product giveaways (free artist merchandise, free copies of Hip-Hop Connection, free CDs, free Puma goodies, free LHHS gear and much much more).
50 Special Advanced Tickets for £10 from http://www.leedshiphop.co.uk/ will be available from 9am Monday 8th September 2008.
Further Tickets will go on sale later in the month via Jumbo Records in Leeds, & if that wasn't enough for you we have Blak Twang performing at the Wardrobe in Leeds November 2008 look out for more info!!
To tide you over till the next post, here's some brand new videos you might enjoy:
ROOTS MANUVA - again & again
BLAK TWANG - champagne lifestyle
Friday, 5 September 2008
KMT is a brilliant soul singer that makes exemplary and modest soul music ideal for any night in. This album garnered HUGE critical acclaim from everyone from The Guardian to being pondered over for a Mercury Music Prize nomination. You may know him, or at least his voice, as he guested on two tracks on The Streets' debut 'Original Pirate Material', most notably he sung the chorus on the single 'Lets Push Things Forward'.
After touring with Mike Skinner he went out alone to push his solo career and this first release is a great introduction to his sound. Plus, he had UK legends Blak Twang (so glad he brought out new material...now if only I had money to buy...) and Rodney P on the remix to his song 'Last Night', so you can't argue with that. Hopefully the man will come out with some more material soon and not get lost in the already massive pile of r'n'b singer that failed to really blow up commercially despite their considerable talent. Sit back, make a hot beverage, wear a cardigan, and relax in front of the fire (or the radiator for the lesser posh) to the sounds of Kevin Mark Trail.
Kevin Mark Trail - Last Night REMIX feat Blak Twang & Rodney P (VIDEO)
In 2004 they released their long-awaited, long-anticipated long-player 'The Long Road' to some critical acclaim and not much else. Their videos got a bit of play on the now very poor Channel U when it first arrived on UK digital television and it seemed that they were a group ready to set alight the airwaves (or at least the pirate airwaves) of England. Four years down the line and save for one or two singles they have pretty much disappeared off the face of the earth (to my knowledge anyway), and that is a very sad thing.
In fact, Paragon had been going a HELL of a long time before they got their acclaim and dues for 'The Long Road' - it was actually a decade of hard work for them before they put the album out!
The album is true underground hip-hop in a universal sense as it has that gritty sound, but Jiff & Rap6 are true Brit rhymers through their slang and delivery, and the sound is much more warmer than some underground emcees from the US. By that I mean the production value is at a paramount and always solid throughout.
The big hit from the album was 'The Anthem', and if you were big on UK rap in the early 00s and youu havent heard it then shame on you. They followed that up with the, frankly, exquisite ode to the ladies 'Queen Like No Other' and eventually a year later a remix to 'The Anthem' was released to much fanfare (see video below).
The album features guest spots from such UK stalwarts as Tommy Evans, Cashino & Asaviour and is a very enjoyable listen.
2. 16 Bars Aren't Enough (feat. Finale)
3. The Anthem (feat. Esta)
4. You're Making Me Laugh
5. Queen Like No Other
6. Back Against The Wall (feat. Dil, Toby Thompson & Ms Davies)
7. Give It Up (feat.Dil)
8. You Just Don't Get It
9. Music (feat. DBlack, Cashino & Toby Thompson)
10. Hard To Believe
13. V.I.P. (feat. Toby Thompson)
14. The Heist (feat. Redmaster & C-Lone)
15. You (feat. Sam The Man)
16. UK Hot With It (feat. Asaviour & Tommy Evans)
Thursday, 28 August 2008
So, another weekend at Leeds Festival has been and gone and this time I was not disappointed. Of course, its a predominantly rock-based music festival, but there were quite a few urban, hip-hop acts nestled in among the madness.
On the Friday, Lethal Bizzle played the Dance Stage in the afternoon, and he completely shocked me with his live performance. The tent was absolutely packed and the former More Fire Crew member got the whole crowd jumping with a whistle-stop set through his biggest hits such as 'Pow!', 'Fire' and 'Its A Shame'. I would personally like to apologise to Bizzle for including him in the list of grime acts with no talent only a month ago, because this man completely surprised me with his onsatge presence.
It is no wonder that Lethal Bizzle has been embraced by the indie scene as much as his bread-and-butter urban scene (he is fawned over in NME each week), as he has an onstage persona that completely belies his music's made-in-the-garage sound (the sound most grime music has to my ear). Halfway through his set he jumped atop a massive speaker on the side of the stage and started performing his new single 'Bizzle, Bizzle' from up there before getting the crowd to chant his name followed by 'Fuck Download' (*he played Download festival earlier in the summer, which is a staunchly positioned metal festival...needless to say the metal fans did not take kindly to his being there and they bottled him off - completely the organisers fault because an urban artists shouldn't be playing Download in the first place). It was one of the most refreshing and surprising performances of the whole weekend, which is an achievement considering he was only on one of the side stages and he was playing to mostly indie hipsters and metal fans (Metallica were headlining later that day).
A new man when it comes to infiltrating the mainstream consciousness, Natty played a very impressive laidback reggae set on one of the smaller stages to an appreciative crowd. Natty's new album 'Man Like I' has just come out and is an absolute belter so run out and buy it now or I'll cut your balls off.
Dizzee Rascal continued to excel live when he played the main stage on Saturday afternoon. The crowd he gathered at about 2pm was phenomenal, with everyone singing hits such as 'Fix Up, Look Sharp', 'I Luv U', 'Stand Up Tall' and the questionable newer song 'Dance Wiv Me' in unison. He was joined onstage by 1Xtra man DJ Semtex (who was much fatter than I remember!) and some hype men.
Space Age funksters Chromeo delivered a great set to a small crowd on the Dance stage late on Friday evening, further cementing themselves as one of the best funk acts around in the world of modern music. The great thing about their set is that despite the crowd being small, everyone their knew the songs inside out, and the use of hip-hop tinged vocoders and keyboard trickery gave them a much more urban feel, allowing the crowd to really get involved with the songs (hip-hop tracks are MADE for live performances).
Wiley played much later on the Alternative stage on Friday and apparently delivered quite a good performace (I was on the main stage awaiting Metallica, yeah, I'm a metalhead too) but obviously most fans were indie kids and came to see the dance (see: not hip-hop) track 'Wearing My Rolex'. Wiley is a very creative and interesting rapper but its disappinting that the only way a man like him can breakthrough to the mainstream is if he changes his sound so much that its almost unrecognisable.
Even with all of this, the best 'urban' (I'll explain) act there was by far Rage Against The Machine. 'RATM, hip hop?', I hear you ask. Well, maybe not in sound alone, as they are widely regarded as one of the best metal acts of our generation, but frontman Zack de la Rocha is arguably one of the best lyricists and emcees of all time. The man oozes charisma, and people were passing out as he took the stage to perform 'Testify'. de la Rocha raps like he was a hip-hop legend, and one of his verses has more substance than most emcees have spit in their entire careers. Anyone who is a hip-hop fan but has never listened to RATM because they are seen as metal, I URGE you to pick up one of their albums and listen to them. You will not be disappointed.
Sorry about letting this website slide, there are a few reasons why which will bore you to death so I won't mention them. I'm not going to lie, posts will be a bit further apart for the next few months than they used to be, but I'll make sure updates DO come.
Tuesday, 8 July 2008
Now... I wouldn't have an issue with Grime at all usually, as there are one or two other genres I don't fancy much that I don't feel the need to 'hate' on as whole (yes, this is a 'hater' article, I'm a blogger, ranting is what I do). The reason the genre is such a thorn in my earhole is because it claims to be hip-hop. Cross-over artists such as Dizzee Rascal & Sway came from the early grime scene to make a name for themselves, and their music is palatable to my ears because they are talented emcees that embraced the hip-hop culture within their sound. Dizzee Rascal, more notably, featured UGK on his last album, and has even managed to break America (apparently, I'm sure one or two US readers can shed light on that).
The reason Sway & Dizzee have made a name for themsleves from the Grime scene is because they have lyrical skills in abundance. Grime really gets on my wick because it is chock-full of untalented artists who have no right to call themselves such because all they do is talk slang and make gunshot sounds over sloppy frantic beats. Artists such as Bashy or Tinchy Strider are now getting ridiculous exposure, yet their music is nothing more than our very own version of the Souljah Boy type rap that is coming to the forefront in the US.
This is my first post in about a month now, due to me moving house and being without the internet. In this month the biggest UK urban release has been the soundtrack to 'Adulthood', a film basically about a bunch of illiterate ASBO kids in London that I really would not want to meet because their version of English is a mixture of txt spk and weed talk. There you go, who needs Jonathan Ross when I can be both informative and stereotypical about inner-city youts in one sentence.
This first post is here for a reason. I need to make a distinction between UK hip-hop and Grime. The line seems to have blurred in the last year and it worries me. New scenes bubble up to the surface all of the time and its healthy for music as a whole, but this site is 100% UK hip-hop. Grime is nothing more than a educationally-sparse teenager's hobby. Job done.
Proper posts coming soon. Transitions are occurring at the moment but hopefully we can get this site up and running ASAP. For now, support hip-hop. Throw away anything that has the words 'Oh My Days', 'Seeeeeeen' or 'Brrrrrrat!' on it.
Please voice your opinions on whether you think Grime has had a good or bad effect on UK hip-hop since its arrival on the scene in the comments section. I'd be very interested to see if I'm by myself in my thoughts on the music as it seems a lot of people have embraced it with open arms.
Thursday, 29 May 2008
Firts off, I HAVE to give a very special mention to 'When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold' by Atmosphere. I'm always been a little bit of a fan of Atmosphere and Slug especially, but their albums have rarely impressed me too much as a whole piece of work. However, I am going out on a limb and saying that their new album is not only their best album to date but it's also my favourite album of 2008 so far.
A few factors contribute towards this album rating so highly. The first is that this albm is the definition of slow-burner. The first listen brought up one or two favourites and a few duff songs, but on second and third listen I started to love every single song and now the album rarely gets listened to if not in one entire go.
Songs such as 'Dreamer', 'Glasshouse' and 'In Her Music Box' are true lyrical achievements, with Slug painting a picture of realism and the way people think and live perfectly. In fact, one of the brilliant things about the entire album is that every song and line is beautifully observed and will strike a chord with someone.
Ant's beats never outshine Slug, but that is a very good thing in this case, as each song is solid and leans towards the content rather than rhythm, which is something hip-hop has lost in recent years in my opinion due to increasing impatience in listeners and an eye towards the 'fast buck' from the artist. Its a truly great album, but one that needs to be fully absorbed.
Another great spect is the fact that album's design is brilliant. My copy came in a CD 'book form with the CD slipped inside a 'page', along with a 36 page lyric book and 'children's stroy which ran alongside the themes of the album. It also had a bonus DVD with live performances and such on it. If more artists and groups took so much time and put as much effort into their album's aesthetic qualities as Atmosphere have, I'm sure retail sales of albums would increase ten fold.
Another album to look out for is 'Spektrum' by Million Dan, formerly of the classic group Demon Boyz. Its been a long time since a full release from him, but it has came along at just the right time, as the shift from UK's urban out put has shifted to grime and the market has been saturated with it. My hatred of 99% of grime can be covered on another day, however.
Million Dan has collected a lot of his singles such as 'Dogs N Sledges' & 'Spektrum Ride' and added them to some new tracks to create one of the most versatile and interesting sets to come from the UK this year. The guy deserves all of the plaudits and I fully recommend you at least check this guy out. In fact, I must remember to upload his Infra-Red mixtape from last year as a taster later on in the week.
Two years since the release of 'The Borrowed Ladder', Huddersfield's Asaviour is back with his second full length album entitled ''The A-Loop Theory', this time alongside DJ IQ, who he has released some mixtapes with. Here's hoping he builds on the momentum gained from Savior Faire and The Borrowed Ladder and become the leading light in British Rap that we all know he can be.
Another album I'm really looking forward to is 'It'll Never Catch On' by DPF, which to my surprise and delight seems to be getting quite a bit of shine in the UK blogosphere and media. DPF is one of the best (and underrated) emcees in England and I've been salivating over a full release ever since I heard 'Jelly Bellied Eels' and 'Dis Cuss Peace'.
Sunday, 18 May 2008
I get a couple of e-mails a week from various artists and such asking for their material to be posted on my blog and I have a tried and tested method of actually listening to them and giving them a personal thumbs up before I go ahead and post them up. Mostly, I'm never impressed, but this last one really caught me.
One of the main reasons it caught me is because I have actually heard some material by them even before they sent me this, and what I heard I really liked. So when they sent me their new 'Wasted Talent EP' I jumped at the chance to post it up.
Prose are a UK duo from London & Leeds respectively, made up of beatmaker Steady Rock and emcee Efeks. They've been on the circuit for a while now putting in work and both of their original EPs 'Wasted Talent' and 'Running Man' sold out a long while ago. Luckily, to coincide with the release of their new mixtape of sorts 'The Boom Bap Project Vol. I', they've made their 'Wasted Talent' EP readily available for free download on their myspace pages.
The Boom Bap Project Vol. I is a culmination of their previous efforts, taking cuts from both EPs and running them alongside some new tracks to keep their audience happy, and all of it is mixed and blended by DMC Champ DJ Matman.
We have their first EP here for you now.
2. No Concern
4. Wasted Talent
5. Wasted Talent (Instrumental)
Go to http://www.myspace.com/prosebbp or http://www.myspace.com/steadybbp to download this EP directly from them (same link anyway), and check out the other downloads they have on there. They have the instrumental version of it up for free D/L along with the 'Originate' single.
Saturday, 17 May 2008
Blak Twang was riding a serious high in the early ‘00s after the huge commercial success of songs ‘Kik Off’ and more importantly ‘So Rotten’. The subsequent album ‘Kik Off’ did VERY well and signalled that Tony Rotten was destined to be THE star of UK hip-hop. While Roots Manuva’s commercial flirting was coming to an end, Blak Twang looked like he was going to take over the mantle as media darling for our country’s rap genre.
Fast forward a year or so to 2005, and Blak Twang released his follow-up to ‘Kik Off’, with critical acclaim. Singles such as ‘GCSE’ did fairly well, getting rotation on radio stations and its video was playing everyday on channels such as MTV Base. However, the album’s full success never really materialised, and despite the fact that almost every review I read about it gave it a huge thumbs up, it seemed like the album went over a lot of people’s heads.
‘The Rotten Club’ differed slightly to Twang’s older material, as it went back to the Dettwork SouthEast days in part with some gritty production and minimal guest spots from fellow UK rappers. Where ‘Kik Off’ had huge radio friendly singles like ‘Trixstar’ with Estelle (yes, the same Estelle that is now singing about American Boys with a certain arrogant homosexually-dressed man called Kanye), ‘The Rotten Club’ had more gritty dub-influenced tracks like ‘Beef Stop’. Of course, Blak Twang still had the odd girly song, ‘Lady’ being the slow-grinder on the record.
On the whole, I think this album didn’t get the recognition it deserved. Blak Twang always comes correc lyrically, but he stepped his game up from punch line rapper to serious lyricist here in my opinion, with tracks like the aforementioned ‘GCSE’ and ‘Travellin’ being particular highlights.
This, coupled with the fact that the last two tracks are produced by Harry Love (a legend in my book) means that I not only recommend this album for repeated listening, but I present it to you now. And Tony, release some goddamn new material, mate!
1. Rotten Club
3. Beef Stop
4. GCSE (featuring K9)
6. Travellin’ (featuring Barrington Levy)
7. Stop & Search (featuring Alborosie)
10. Prayer For The Dying
11. My World
12. Look Good (featuring Microw)
13. Where Lions Roam (featuring K9)
14. Carry On
15. Done It Again (featuring Hilz St. Soul)
Sunday, 27 April 2008
Our artist in focus today is possibly the most recognisable and well-known British deejays in the hip-hop game. He has been on the scene for many many years and his penchant for silliness and comic effect coupled with an undeniable cutting and scratching ability has created him a small niche in the system.
He could be green, he could be a midget, hecould be a teacher, nay, master of what Darth Vader quite breathily called 'The Force', but one thing he most certainly is, is a great artist. Its DJ Yoda.
For the uninitiated, his music is a mixture of silly hip-hop/pop cultures mash ups, manic scratching and straight up hip-hop guest songs. Each of these three CDs carries on the tradition of him cutting up TV and Film themes, and the first two have many superb songs from classic artists such as Quasimoto and The Pharcyde. The third, 'How To Cut & Paste The 80s', is simply the silly side of him, and finds him putting breakbeats behind some famous 80s pop songs and such. If you aren't entirely into the stupidity of it all its irrelevant anyway because exclusive cuts from artists such as Yaggfu Front and The Beatnuts will always keep your attention, but if not, you'll be very pleased with the amount of slapstick scratching we have here.
DJs such as Paul Nice or neil Armstrong have tried to do similar things in the States but I really think Yoda has this type of mix down pat. So enjoy.
Also, If anyone has any of his 'Unthugged' series with radio deejay Dan Greenpeace I would be very grateful.
2. Willus Drummond - It's A Stickup
3. Irritating Dove f/Cymande & Bob James
4. Ugly Duckling - Eye On The Gold Chain (92 Remix)
5. Stupid Poo f/Treacherous Three & Kool Moe Dee
6. DJ Plus One-Scratch Skit I
7. Mexican Policemen At The Alien Mardi Gras f/Bob James
8. Yoda Meets The Thunderbirds
9. Yaggfu Front - Roll With The Yaggfu
10. Dune Storms f/Bob James
11. DJ Benny G (Mixologists)-Scratch Skit II
12. Delta Ebonics
13. Pete Rock f/Rock Marciano & Trife - Give It To Y'all
14. Perverted Disturbances f/Cymande, Rimshots & Bob James
15. MC Paul Barman Salvation Barmy
16. DJ A-Trak-Scratch Skit III
17. Sesame Sex f/The Street Kids
18. The Nextmen f/Kerosene - Global Warming
19. The Jiving Question Remains f/Bob James
20. Nigo f/Biz Markie - Something For The People
21. Sugarhill Gang - Radio Commercial
22. DJ Spinbad-Scratch Skit IV
23. Dizzy Plays The Sax f/Dizzy Gillespie, Parliament & Cymande
24. Balti Taxi f/Bob James
25. Quasimoto - Astronaut
26. Yoda Meets Dr Who
27. On The Reggae-lar f/Dennis Alcapone, Desmond Decker, Harry J Allstars, Sly & The Revolutionaries, Roots Radics Band
28. King Tee And Phil The Agony - Back Up
29. Golf, Food & Scratching f/Fat Back Band, Mother Freedom Band & Cymande
30. Edan - Mic Manipulator
31. French Collection f/Bob James
32. Car Trouble f/William De Vaughan & Fat Back Band
33. Parliament - Automobile
34. DJ Yoda-Scratch Skit V
2. DJ Format - I'll Culinary Behaviour
3. Creatures, Breakin', and Names
4. Mr Complex featuring Biz Markie - Glue
5. Cucumbers, Needles, Sandwiches & Jazz
6. Quasimoto - Lonely Piano
7. Yoda Meets The A-Team
8. Scratching & Keyboard Techniques
9. People Under The Stairs - Quid Control
10. Mysterious Plot
11. Billie Holiday Turntablised
12. The Beatnuts - We Got the Funk
13. On the Reggae-Lar Part 2
14. Black Moon - I Gotcha Opin
15. The Pharcyde - Drop
16. A Tribe Called Quest & Busta Rhymes - One Two S**t
17. The Alkaholiks - Only When I'm Drunk
19. Wu Tang Clan - C.R.E.A.M.
20. Tony Mozzarelli Wants 80s Pop
21. Rhubarb Tart
22. George Formby Turntablised
1. Intro / Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five feat. Melle Mel & Duke Bootee - The Message
2. Johnny Hates Jazz - Turn Back the Clock
3. Nice & Smooth - Hip Hop Junkies
4. Climie Fisher - Rise To The Occasion
5. Yoda with Hill Street Blues
6. Paul Hardcastle - 19
7. Grandmaster Flash & Melle Mel - White Lines (Don't Do It)
8. Thompson Twins - Doctor! Doctor!
9. Melle Mel & Duke Bottee - Message II (Survival)
10. Yoda in Dallas
11. Yoda in Dynasty
12. S Express - Theme
13. Betty Boo - Doin' the Do
14. Europe - Final Countdown
15. Herbie Hancock - Rockit
16. Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam - I Wonder If I Take You Home
17. Midnight Star - Operator
18. Rick Astley - Together Forever
19. Yoda Plays Computer Games
20. Terence Trent D'Arby - Sign Your Name
21. Tom Browne - Funkin' For Jamaica
22. Kurtis Blow - The Breaks
23. Blondie - Rapture
24. Grandmaster Flash - Adventures on the Wheels of Steel
25. Yoda In Airwolf
26. ABC - When Smokey Sings
27. Aztec Camera - Somewhere In My Heart
28. Prefab Sprout - The King Of Rock N Roll
29. Toni Basil - Mickey
30. Nena - 99 Luftballons
31. Salt N Pepa - My Mic Sounds Nice
32. UB40 - Rat In Mi Kitchen
33. Slick Rick - Hey Young World / Miami Vice (Crockett's Theme)
34. Culture Club - Karma Chameleon
35. Hall & Oates - Maneater
36. The Primitives - Crash
37. A-Ha - Take on Me
38. Aspects present... Cameo - Word Up (It's My Genre II)
39. Yoda in Knight Rider
Friday, 11 April 2008
One day, it took over them with immense force. Dolph stood up, chest puffed out and greased up like a channel swimmer. The Ivan Drago look-a-like took in a deep breath and let out some tasty beat-boxing that Rahzel or Biz Markie would be proud of, and the likes of which Van Damme had never heard before. It was so inspiring to him in fact, that the Muscles from Brussels could not help but lay down some funky lyrics to Lundgren's beats.
The incredible sounds they made that day in the 90s, however, were nothing compared to those made by the Uk's Universal Soldiers.
Rappers Ricochet & Ultra along with Producer A.H.Fly haven't been big on the scene for a while, but in the early 00s they made quite a buzz with their 'Street Veterans' mix CDs. Off the back of those a full-length album followed called 'Slanguage', and today my firends, this is my prezzie to you.
The album is a well-rounded piece with one producer manning the boards throughout and guestspots kept to a minimum (only Sundragon & Dia-Blo appear). This enhances the desired effect and sound rather than takes away from it.
Its tough to pick what aspect of the group is better, as the frighteningly rough and imposing rhyme styles compliment Fly's dusty beats, which can only be described as a much grittier and dirtier version of the type of sound messrs Lewis Parker or Jehst usually plum for. This, incidentally, is a type of sound I have always loved and in a way, if someone asked me to describe the most representative sound of UK underground rap, I think this Universal Soldiers LP demonstrates my personal idea of it quite nicely.
2. Crime Stories
4. P.O.W. (Prisoners On Wax)
5. Soldier Skit
6. My World
7. Metaphysics (featuring Sundragon AKA 'Tom Hagen')
9. Life's Like A Movie
10. Soldier 4 Life
11. Heavyweight Product
12. 6 Feet Deep
15. Snakes And Ladders
16. Outro (Life's Like A Movie Reprise)
17. The Great Escape (featuring Dia-Blo) (New Age Rework)
Another update coming before the weekend. I'm trying to get the ball rolling quickly so the site doesn't slow down to a stop again.
Thursday, 20 March 2008
This post is basically an update of what makes a rubbish blogger tick, and another excuse as to why I haven't quenched your undeniable thirst for music.
News on the UK music front: Braintax has graced us with what has been billed (may I say, in a very subtle way) as his last album. 'My Last & Best Album' is out in stores right now, and this is a message simply to endorse an artist that has constantly been one of the leading lights in the UK hip-hop scene since he came onto the scene in the early 90s.
Unfortunately, by route of the great Leeds Hip Hop Scene website (scan the side links and you'll find it) I've found it that the album may not live up to its billing. To be fair, I'm not THAT surprised because his last album 'Panorama' was a bit overhyped and overrated for my liking, and he's not done much since that to change things in terms of recent form. However, he's produced countless classics for many other artists and himself, and 'Biro Funk' is a personal favourite of mine. So, I hope when I do inevitably shell out more cash on the legend that is Braintax, that the album is a good one.
To celebrate the release of this new album, here is one of his first ever releases, 'FatHead', which came out in 1992 on EP and features a canny few nice cuts on it.
Braintax -Fathead EP
1. Chips On My Shoulder
2. Wonder If I Know Ya
4. Firm Feet
5. Talk About The Future
6. Rhymin' Skills
7. To My Peers
Here's a request from a man, can't remember which one, but it was, indeed, a man. And he has in turn requested a man, namely, PITMAN. You've got many classics like the 'Twat Farm', the Pete Waterman influenced 'Pitman & Her', and I've chucked in 'It Takes Tea' and 'Pitman Sez' as Brucey Bonuses. Don't call him a hunchback...he's been digging for years...
Pitman - It Takes A Nation Full Of Tossers
1. Countdown To Pitworld
2. What I Am
4. When Miners Attack
5. Witness The Pitness
7. Sugar In Your Peas
8. Pitman & Her
9. Twat Farm Revisited
10. Mr Piterful
11. Soot FM
12. Mam Sed
13. Food Interlood
14. Whats The Point
15. Two Twats
16. It Takes Tea (Bonus Track)
17. Pitman Sez (Bonus Track)
Sunday, 24 February 2008
Many people count ‘Falling Down’ as Jehst’s masterwork, with its claustrophobic bass-heavy beats and trademark mildly schizophrenic lyrics, but for me, Jehst gave us his best work on his first album release.
OK, I admit, ‘The Return Of The Drifter’ comprises mostly just Jehst’s first few EPs and singles along with some other gems, but still, it has been moulded into a complete album that contains almost 100% genuine classic hip-hop.
From start to finish this album is pound for pound one of my favourite hip-hop albums EVER to be released by a british artist. Jehst's lyrical ability is arguably better than anyone else's in the game and he can undoubtedly be seen as one of the most consistent artists the UK have ever produced.
The album starts off with the beautiful 'High Plains Anthem', which is about a trillion times better than the 'High Plains Drifter' track the Beastie Boys did on their classic LP 'Paul's Boutique' (Yes, I really do hold this album that high in regard). It sets the tone for the whole album as its classic Jehst production - dreamy basslines, rolling keys and dusty beats. Jehst has a knack of making very understated music that doesn't hit you straight away, but over time suck you in to his world.
A testament to this album is that the two interludes are great tracks within themselves. The first comes up straight after the opener, and sounds a little bit like Jehst's remix beat for Universal Soldiers track 'Soldier 4 Life' (an absolute banger from his Underworld Epics producer album by the way), and then the exquisite 'Bluebells' follows on from the classic early Jehst track 'City of Industry'. There's something about 'Bluebells' that just makes me want it to be a 7 or 8-minute long epic instrumental interlude. It just trundles along over a typically messy beat, with its hypnotic bassline and repeated vocal samples. Even writing this as I listen to the album I honestly can't pick a fault on it in any way.
After this we get into the real meat of the album, and its '1979' that I am impressed with most. I truly think its one of the best 50 hip-hop tracks ever made. The music and lyrics match beautiful. Jehst's words are at their best, with deep observations such as 'Between two worlds like the thief at the window' just flowing out one by one. Its a small little line, but in that one sentence there is so much to make you think. Trust me...nearly everything said in this song is like that. Absolutely brilliant.
You follow that on with classics such as The Trilogy (and its remix), Alcoholic Author and Return of the Drifter and you've got a great album. To top it off, you have the astonishing (I'm running out of superlatives) 'Staircase II Stage' featuring J-Zone, and 'People Under The Weather' featuring a then unknown Asaviour and, well, I'm basically nearly having a wank right now.
I'm off to clean up...now you download this, or you are truly missing out on a UK Classic.
1. High Plains Anthem
3. City Of Industry
6. The Trilogy (featuring Ricochet & Tommy Evans)
7. Alcoholic Author
8. Staircase II Stage (featuring J-Zone)
9. The Return Of The Drifter
10. People Under The Weather (featuring Asaviour)
11. The Trilogy (Remix) (featuring Chester P & Kyza)
Wednesday, 6 February 2008
Two treats for you today, one a request, one I just wanted to share with the lesser informed world because its top class.
First off, we have the request, ‘Get A Life’ by Welsh-based rap crew The Headcase Ladz. Even the front cover of this album screams Britain at you. Its just two mates sitting in a dirt-drenched flat drinking cans of Guiness with some turntables set up and some weed paraphernalia in the background. Well, actually, that doesn’t scream Britain at all…that’s basically the average student flat worldwide (not mine of course, I wouldn‘t advocate drugs at all, I just laze about drinking tea and playing on Football Manager most days).
The Headcase Ladz comprise of producer/DJ Slicer Man and emcee Nobsta Nutts, and they are part of the ‘Wonky Wax Collective’, a band of hip-hop lads from the same place where Charlotte Church was brought into the world. This album is a really enjoyable listen because of the difference it offers you to your average rap release, even from the UK. Its full of top notch humour, top notch beats, and top notch scratches.
The fact that the group are championed by many a famous face in our scene such as Aspects, Blade and Junior Disprol of Fleapit (damn, I really need to up their album because its immense) just aids in showing you your dealing with proper artists here.
Nobsta Nutts is quite hard to get used to as a rapper at first simply because he sounds SO welsh, and SO regional. Imagine Goldie Lookin’ Chain all rolled into one guy who sounds like he’s high as a kite. Slicer Man, on the other hand, makes beats that truly special. They rumble and crackle like the old school breaks they’re built on, and are filled with horn and sax samples that are clearly reminiscent from early 90’s US boom-bap.
There’s something the most discerning of US hip-hop heads who can’t stand hearing any other accent on wax than the New York one would find enjoyable (just listen to the beats instead).
In fact, I think the best way to sum up this album is to use the chorus from 2wats:
“All for one and one for all, cos we’re t-wats and I scratch my left ball”
1. Back To Wonky borough (Fashionably Late Intro)
2. Modern Romance
3. Why Don’t You Pay Us A Visit
4. 2wats (featuring Lews Tewns, co-produced by Mr. Stophe)
5. While You Ponder (Tea Break 1)
6. 2-3 Stretch
7. Bittersweet Bermuda
8. Helpless (featuring Lews Tewns)
9. She Told Me She Was A Boxer (Co-produced by Mr Stophe)
10. Up The Garden Path (Piss Break)
11. Ruffle Your Feathaz
13. How Many Times (Tea Break 2 With A Hint Of Rum)
14. Mr Bubbles (featuring Nicola Williams)
15. Self Preservation (featuring Mykes, Wez Cooze & Lews Tewns)
16. Don’t Exit This Way, Go Back To Wonkysborough
Our second offering today comes not from Wales, the home of Catherine Zeta-Jones-Douglas or Anthony Hopkins, but France; the home of Gerard Depardieu, Jean Paul Gaultier and David Ginola, the second best footballer of all time (the first obviously being Alan Shearer).
Oh yes, those frenchies know how to hip-hop too, with such incredible artists as Saian Supa Crew, IAM, Fabe and Le 3eme Oeil being superb artists well worth looking out for.
But here, we have something completely different. This bunch of mentalists may be the best hip-hop outfit of the lot. They are the French equivalent of the Bomb Squad high on crack and glucose hooked up to ten thousand synthesizers. Indeed, it’s TTC.
Everything about their second Big Dada album release ‘Batards Sensibles’ is brilliant. The album cover looks superb, with the four members in a ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’-type arrangement, and with the eyes of each member cut out in the shape of shades - the shininess of the CD behind it making it look like they’re wearing futuristic aviators.
The songs are huge booming soundscapes with every noise under the sun finding its way onto the record. Songs such as ‘Dans Le Club’ and ‘Girlfriend’ should have health warnings, the grandiose production really takes you back that much. Add in some frantic scratching here and there (I don’t care what anyone says, a hip-hop album isn’t a classic unless it has scratches on it), and some very enthusiastic French emcees (and a few US ones) and you have some sort of a twisted masterpiece.
Its light years away from any of the music TTC produced before it, and its truly a one-off. There isn’t another album in the world like it, and so-called avant-garde producers such as Diplo, RjD2, Blockhead and the like should bow in the presence of these stupendous Frenchmen. I give you…’Batards Sensibles‘…
1. Ebisu Rendez-Vous
2. Dans Le Club
3. Le Chant Des Hommes
4. Du Sang Sur Le Dancefloor
6. J’ai Pas Sommeil
7. Rap Jeu
8. Latest Dance Craze
10. Batards Sensibles
12. Meet The New Boss
Apologies for the files being on MegaUpload and not Rapidshare as usual. My Rapidshare Account is being funny with me at the moment.
Monday, 28 January 2008
This album is probably their most well known and well-received, and features some great singles they released such as ‘Extreme Speeds’, ‘Hot’, and the Baby J-produced songs ‘Don’t You Leave Me Lonely’ and ‘Silent Screams’.
The album was a pleasant surprise for me when I bought it because I wasn’t expecting much from a bunch of Brummie emcees, but rappers Jamar & Malik hold down the lyrics well, with Cipher JEWELS doing some great work behind the boards.
This album had more than a few songs I was very impressed with, not to mention ‘Rowdy’, which I thought would be absolute garbage due to the fact that it features JD aka Dready aka That-Annoying-Reggae-Guy-From-The-So-Solid-Crew, but it’s a very good song and its not the only one of its kind. A few other tracks benefit from good guest appearances from artists such as Yogi, Venom & Rodney P, not to mention Robert Lee (unfortunately its some singer and not the legendary Newcastle United midfield stalwart from the mid 90s). All in all a very solid album. Enjoy.
4. Don’t Leave Me Lonely
6. Dusk Till Dawn (featuring MJ)
7. Talk Time part one
8. Talk Time part two
9. Death Or Dishonour
10. Paper Cuts (featuring Yogi)
11. The Art Of Survival
12. Silent Screams
13. Too Late
15. Rollin On (featuring Adante, Tre Styles & MJ)
16. Night-Time Chimes (featuring Robert Lee)
17. Rowdy (featuring Dready)
18. Extreme Speeds (featuring Adante)
19. Where We From (featuring Rodney P & Venom)
As a Brucey Bonus, on the subject of Baby J, over at http://www.babyj.biz/ the man himself has uploaded a new mixtape called FTP2: The Refix, which features new versions of the tracks from his second album and some mash-ups between UK & US rappers. Here’s the best part….it’s up for free download!
So go and get that.
Also, a few prominent bloggers from this here community that we so adore are putting together a new project called 'I Hook A Beat Up'. The site's premise is that a song is provided on the site and producers are invited to flip the song and make it their own, with the entrant's products voted for and against by a panel of judges. The Judges will include Travis from my personal favourite blog Wake Your Daughter Up, Eric from When They Reminisce, Max from the always interesting Hip Hop Isn't Dead, Mike Dikk from Dumpin.Net, Andrew from Strictly Beats and a guy I'm not familiar with called King E, from the Justus League message boards.
The site and competitions will be opened on Sunday, February 3rd and it should be very interesting for us fellow bloggers to see what happens with it. If you think you can create a good beat, get yourself down to http://ihookabeatup.blogspot.com/ and show your metal.
Wednesday, 9 January 2008
A belated happy new year to you all. My internet has been playing up for a LONG time since my christmas break, not to mention the boiler in my house breaking (now those were some bitter nights!).
Anyway, enough chatting, lets get down to our new series, 'Uk Classics'. Simply put, Over the next few...well, indefinitely, I'm going to be highlighting certain albums that have been created in the UK of the hip-hop ilk that I consider to be classic hip-hop albums. By this, I mean albums that have changed the whole UK scene, been studied and copied by the younger siblings and played over and over again by music lovers such as myself.
And what better way to start this series with one of the true quintessential albums of our scene. An album that truly ushered in a new UK hip-hop movement that didn't want to sit in the back anymore. The album in question, is 'Countryman' by UK producer and DJ Skitz.
Countryman was released at the turn of the millenium like a bolt out of the blue, and it took the underground scene by storm with possibly half a dozen or even more singles.
Skitz is behind the boards on every single track, proving his diversity with the different styles of rappers that perform from track to track. He has a song to suit every mood on here, including, for me, arguably some of the best posse cuts to ever come out of hip-hop. Period.
The album starts off with an ominous intro, completely taking you off guard as the first track's horns kick in. 'Domestic Science' is, without doubt, the best female posse cut of all time. Forget anything to have come from the US (in fact, if you can challenge this, drop a comment and I'll give your suggestions a listen), this is the one. The shout of 'Uk, UK' from Wildflower in the opening seconds sets the tone for the whole album, because it truly is one that united the whole of the british underground scene in one 17-track onslaught of an album. Wildflower, Tempa (formerly from Nottingham supergroup OutDaVille - which also spawned members such as Lee Ramsay, C-Mone & Scor-Zay-Zee to name just a few) and Estelle (who has gone on to be a huge solo artist in her own right since) all shine on this track with great verses over a bass-heavy beat complete with sharp horn samples and snare-heavy drums. Harry Love tops off the track like icing on a cake with some irresistible cuts and voila! the album has arrived.
Again though, the change of track takes youto a completely different sound, as we go from this to the Rodney P solo cut 'The Killing'. This song can be described as nothing else but vintage Rodney. If you downloaded my Riddim Killa mix a month or so back you will know exactly what that means. If not, it means reggae-influenced dubplate type bass with Rodney's baritone thundering into your earlobes. Regardless of his position in the UK scene, Rodney P cannot do commercial. He is too steeped in his own sound and that alone is a beautiful thing. Supanatchlus provides the chorus (incidentally I don't understand a word he says, but that just adds to the effect) and we're off for another change in pace.
Roots Manuva makes three appearances on this album, two of them being arguably his two best tracks, or at the very least in his top five. Inner City Folk and the incredible Where My Mind Is At both rumble along with Manuva's ever-present malcontent bubbling over into his verses. Roots Manuva is a master at scizophrenic rap. He sets such a dark scene with his words at times and it can really draw you in to his little world. This is one of the reasons why he is one of the best artists working in the british scene today.
Personal favourites Phi-Life Cypher (who have incidentally released a compilation of material recently, get that bought people)appear first on 'Cordless Mics At 20 Paces' which is all about the lyrics. I've said before that rapper Life has THE best flow in hip-hop and I still stand by that. He's such an underrated artist. In fact, at one time I spent literally weeks in the early 00s trying to find all of his output wherever I went just to hear it.Yes, he is that good.
Tracks such as 'Vocal Workout' by Riddla, 'Let Me Down Easy' by Retna, 'Are You On It' by Covert and 'Double Reds' by Dynamite fit in nicely with the whole album with brooding production on each one and competent lyrics and verses from each rapper.
Speaking of MC Dynamite (yes, the drum n bass emcee) he is involved in the true 'curveball' on the album in 'We Make Them Make Noise'. This track is Drum n Bass in its sensibilities but undoubtedly hip-hop. Its beat pounds like the heartbeat of Godzilla and the atmospherics on it are spectacular. I've always respected Dynamite as an artist with his work with Roni Size, and this track has to be one of my favourites of his.
Before we come to the two-part shining finale, there are two other tracks by big UK artists, 'The Junkyard' by Taskforce and 'Dedication', another Rodney P solo shot. Dedication can go under the same bracket as 'The Killing' as vintage Rodney, and Taskforce does the same trick for their sound. 'The Junkyard' could easily fit into one of their 'Music From The Corner' albums without missing a beat.
And here we are, in my opinion to of the best examples of British hip-hop to play out the album. 'Fingerprints of the Gods' and 'Twilight of the Gods' are two incredible posse tracks featuring the cream of british talent, and no-one dissappoints. Even the scratches are brilliant, and its a very nice touch that the music changes up every time a new emcee starts their verse.
From you to me, Life steals the first track (not a surprise there), with vivd lines such as 'my rhymes colossal to your brain like a line of cocaine straight up your nostril', and on 'Fingerprints...' I have to go for Skinnyman, whose verse is backed brilliantly by a positively evil beat.
This is definitely a UK classic, and it has not dated one single bit since it was released 8 years ago. It showcases every artist at the top of their game, and that is a very rare thing to find in itself. Producer albums are always potential banana skins because they promise so much with their hugr amount of guest artist, but this one hits the mark every time like a pint of Kopparberg Pear Cider. Damn right thats my tipple.
1. Intro (feat. Solomon & Wiggy)
2. Domestic Science (feat. Wildflower, Tempa & Estelle, cuts by Harry Love)
3. The Killing (feat. Rodney P & Supanatchlus)
4. Inner City Folk (feat. Roots Manuva, Valerie Etienne & Deckwrecka)
5. Vocal Workout (feat Riddla)
6. Cordless Mics At 20 Paces (feat. Phi-Life Cypher, cuts by DJ MK)
7. Are You On It (feat Covert & Melissa, cuts by DJ MK)
8. Double Reds (feat. Dynamite, cuts by Joe 2 Grand)
9. The Junkyard (feat. Taskforce)
10. Dedication (feat Rodney P, cuts by Deckwrecka)
11. Where My Mind Is At (feat. Roots Manuva, cuts by Deckwrecka)
12. Let Me Down Easy (feat. Retna)
13. Trying To Make A Living
14. We Make Them Make Noise (feat. Dynamite & GQ Passin Tru)
15. Fingerprints Of The Gods (feat. Roots Manuva, Life, Si-Phillie & Skeleton, cuts by Tony Vegas)
16. Twilight Of The Gods (feat. Rodney P, Skinnyman, Wildflower, Riddla, cuts by Prime Cuts)
17. Countryman Skit
I'm currently compiling my review of 2007. know every other blogger has already done it, but I'm arrogant enought to say mine could be better. Should be coming your way sometime soon. For now though, enjoy this great album like I have.