Thursday, 29 May 2008

Revelations & Recommendations

The first few months of 2008 didn't really spark much interest in me in terms of new releases, but things seem to have picked up of late with some real corkers coming out in the past few weeks or months.

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.

Atmosphere When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint that Shit Gold

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 spektrum

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

Prose - Wasted Talent EP

steady rock prose

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.

prose wasted talent
Prose - Wasted Talent EP

1. One People
2. No Concern
3. Originate
4. Wasted Talent
5. Wasted Talent (Instrumental)

Go to or 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

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!

tony rotten

Blak Twang - The Rotten Club (2005)

1. Rotten Club
2. Position
3. Beef Stop
4. GCSE (featuring K9)
5. Lady
6. Travellin’ (featuring Barrington Levy)
7. Stop & Search (featuring Alborosie)
8. Roadworks
9. Soldier
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)