Monday, 30 August 2010

Personal Classics Vol. 1

Here we are with a brand new series of posts I'll be constructing over the next few months, maybe even longer.

There are albums in hip-hop culture that are regarded as classics of the genre by everyone. Certified classics that have changed the face of the culture through thier existence, either through sheer quality, through controversy and through how it resonates with the fans. Often these albums are untouchable. Think "It Takes A Nation Of Millions..." by Public Enemy or "The Low End Theory" by A Tribe Called Quest.

However, there are also albums that every single hip-hop fan has that they love, which aren't necessarily seen as classics by the wider public. Albums that weren't recieved very well by critics but that certain fans connected with on a personal level at the time and have somehow changed their life or perspective. I have many of these albums.

I understand some of these albums aren't considered classics by most, if any people, but theyre albums which have been important to me in my life. These are my Personal Classics.

Personal Classic #1: Busta Rhymes – Genesis (2001)

As far as hip-hop artists go, Busta Rhymes has always held a special place in my heart since I was a kid. In fact, the first EVER album of any kind that I bought with my own money was “When Disaster Strikes” in 1997 when I was 11 years old. I had heard “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See” on MTV at some point, and right at that very moment, it was the best song I’d ever heard.

I loved that entire album so much that the second album I bought was Busta’s 1996 album “The Coming” for a cut-price. I played them both to death throughout my early early teen years. So even though before this, I had heard and liked famous carting rap songs that did well in the UK, as an 11 year old, Busta Rhymes’ music was essentially my way in and starting point with hiphop, and thankfully it has largely governed my life ever since.

I spent huge amounts of time going back to ‘88-‘94 era rap music in my teens, so while my mates were listening to trance bollocks like Eiffel 65, Indie music like Oasis and the occasional Limp Bizkit album, I was listening to Organized Konfusion on my huge headphones that engulfed my whole skull. This fascination STARTED with Busta Rhymes.

So, history lesson over and background in place, the stage was set for me, waiting with baited breath for pretty much any Busta Rhymes LP. I liked “Extinction Level Event”, I loved “Anarchy”, then came Genesis...

I was 15 years old going on 16 when it came out, the top year of comprehensive school, and from listening to Tim Westwood’s show on Radio 1 late Friday nights (back when it was great and he was effectively the CNN and News at Ten for everything hip-hop related in England) I had heard a lot of tracks that were to be on the album.

“Break Ya Neck” had already blew me away, with Busta on his fast flow and Dre producing his best beat since he’d released “Chronic 2001”. The Neptunes were behind two other tracks to be on the LP in “What It Is”, a track previously on the Violator 2.0 compilation, and “As I Come Back”, a synth-rap song driven by a resung element of Busta’s classic verse on A Tribe Called Quest’s “Scenario” as the chorus. These were the songs Westwood absolutely rinsed in the weeks leading up to the album’s release in late 2001.

Then it dropped...

I bought the album literally on the day it came out, and listened to it on my Sony Discman (yeah baby!) on the bus on the way home from Newcastle. At full blast, from the “Intro” beat entitled “Dolemite’s Theme” produced by Nottz all the way through to the same producer’s “Bad Dreams”, with Busta detailing a bad night out on the lash, it blew me away completely.

Busta was always an incredible emcee, with more different and varied flows than anyone else in the game, but often his albums (although good) were let down by too much filler. He’d do 20 track albums with 10 incredible tracks on each that were clogged up in-between by unnecessary anti-matter. Even his first two solo albums which acted as my entrance to rap had many flaws despite my love for them.

Not this one though, Genesis was a keeper...

The album successfully straddled the mainstream and pleased purists at the same time, as for every commercially viable track there was an equally respectable underground song. To counteract Dr. Dre’s “Truck Volume” & “Break Ya Neck”, you had “Shut Em Down 2002” with Pete Rock. To counteract the two Neptunes songs, you had “Genesis” & “Make It Hurt” by the late J.Dilla, seemingly on his space-age tip.

In fact, the producer list reads like a best of hip-hop catalogue: Pete Rock, Nottz, J.Dilla, Dr. Dre, Just Blaze, Diamond D, Yogi (of Bad Boy & Cru fame), The Neptunes, Dre’s right-hand man Melman, west coast legend Battlecat and also newcomer Michaelangelo who was getting shine on his beats at the time.

But it wasn’t about just the beats. Busta was at his finest, channelling his insane Leaders Of The New School style and fusing it seamlessly with mainstream appeal. Almost every track could have been a single due to the abundance of memorable hooks and choruses, yet that never compromised the overall quality and grounded sound.

For me, “Genesis” is Busta’s best album, and an absolute CLASSIC.

Busta Rhymes - Genesis (2001)

1. Intro
2. Everybody Rides Again
3. As I Come Back
4. Shut Em Down 2002
5. Genesis
6. Betta Stay Up In Your House (w/ Rah Digga)
7. We Got What You Want
8. Truck Volume
9. Pass The Courvoisier (w/ P. Diddy)
10. Break Ya Neck
11. Bounce (Let Me See Ya Throw It)
12. Full Moon
13. Wife In Law (w/ Jaheim)
14. A** On Your Shoulders (w/ Kokane)
15. Make It Hurt
16. What It Is (w/ Kelis)
17. There’s Only One (w/ Mary J. Blige)
18. You Ain’t F**in’ Wit Me
19. Match The Name With The Voice (w/ Flipmode Squad)
20. Bad Dreams

Thursday, 19 August 2010

UK Mixed Bag Vol. 2

After a few days that you've been given to digest, listen, learn and fully appreciate the first installment of the UK Mixed Bag series, here we are back to hitchuwitdat (word to Lootpack) second one.

All the names are here, from Blak Twang & Rodney P, all the way back to Gunshot, London Posse & the Krispy 3. One or two well-known tracks, one or two rarities. All just to keep you on your toes, keep you listening to the best UK Hip Hop, and keep you from migrating to the land of the shite which unfortunately UK urban music is sliding into more and more of late. Here's that real material. Nod your head and download.

UK Mixed Bag Vol. 2 (2010)

1. Blak Twang (feat. Rodney P & Lisa I'Anson) - Dirty Stopout Uncovered
2. Cel One - Watchyamindsay
3. Creators (feat. Blackstar) - The Hard Margin
4. Deckwrecka - Catch Wrecka
5. DJ Yess & Wotee - Man Made (feat. Genghis)
6. Dozeguys - Simple Things (The Young Guns Part I)
7. Fleapit (feat. Lil' Angry Man) - Scraps
8. Jimmy Screech - Jimmy Screech
9. Junior Disprol (feat. Alkaline, Jehst & Skeleton)
10. Kamanchi Sly - Hung Drawn Quartered
11. Krispy 3 - Come N Get It
12. London Posse - Jump Around (Censored Mix)
13. London Posse - Oversized Idiot
14. Encona Coarse - Rhyme Grenade
15. Gunshot, Tribal Clash & HuntKillBury Finn - Minus 10
16. Jimmy Screech - Attention
17. Blufoot (feat. Yungun) - Alphabet Man
18. Depth Charge - Sex, Sluts & Heaven (Bordello Mix)

Sunday, 15 August 2010

UK Mixed Bag Vol. 1

So here we are, the first instalment of four compilations I've created over the weekend from various vinyl 12"s in my collection. Initially I ripped a lot of them onto mp3 just for personal use but I had honestly forgotten about how great some of these tracks are.

Its called a mixed bag for a reason for starters, with a huge spectrum of artists spanning from the early 90s all the way up to possibly about 2005, and on this first volume we have some big names and some small names all together on the same 18-track album.

You've got the northern panache of Asaviour and Jehst, the legendary Blak Twang, the veteran sounds of MCD over a Deckwrecka track and Huntkillbury Finn lying amongst the newer names of Foreign Beggars...not to mention some classics in there from London Posse, Karl Hinds & DJ MK.

Its a joy to listen to some of these tracks after such a long time, and even this site has took a small hiatus from posting UK songs recently admittedly. Most of that is due to there being a dearth in UK underground rap that I personally find as inspiring as that which was released 5-10 years ago, but hopefully the frontrunners like Sway and Dizzee can inspire and usher in a new breed that are fit to take the torch and fire it up.

Until then, enjoy UK hip-hop at its finest...

UK Mixed Bag Vol. I (2010)

1. Blak Twang - Don't Test
2. Cel One (feat. Sniper) - Code Red
3. Dead Residents - Verbal Assassin
4. DJ MK (feat. Jehst, Kyza & Supa T) - It's All Live
5. Doc Brown (feat. Yungun & Harry Love) - Out There
6. Foreign Beggars (feat. Dubbledge) - Hot Plate
7. Huntkillbury Finn, Gunshot & Taskforce - Liar Liar
8. Jimmy Screech - Lets Get Moving
9. Jonzi D - Live At The Apricot Jam
10. Junior Disprol (feat. Alkaline, Jehst & Skeleton) - Junq Waffle
11. Karl Hinds (feat. Tempa) - You Piss Me Off
12. London's New Delegates Of Major Stars - Foldinem
13. London Posse - Money Mad
14. Deckwrecka (feat. MC D) - Priceless
15. Encona Coarse - Taste Of The Future
16. Asaviour (feat. Kyza & Yungun) - Money In The Bank (Remix)
17. Champions Of Nature (feat. Supa T, Apollo, Jehst, Profound, & Lewis Parker) - Finalisation
18. Dynamic Syncopation (feat. Def Tex) - Way Past Noon

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

K-Os - The Anchorman Mixtape

His last album "Yes" seemed to drift under everyone's radar last year, which was a crying shame considering how good it was, but K-Os is back and this time travelling to San Diego to show his class by releasing "The Anchorman" mixtape.

Featuring some surprising guest-spots and a lot of his native Canadian talent (notably Saukrates), he has put this mixtape out for free, and its damn good stuff. Let that scotch go down down to your belly, punch a girl right in the babymaker and perform an urgent cannonball, because the Anchorman is here.

Tracklist on cover below.

K-Os - The Anchorman Mixtape (2010) (via wegotthejazz)

Sideshow Blog

There has been a tiny expansion of the Northern Author empire for you to be aware of. We now have a tumblr blog at (name is a homage to the infamous Fast Show character) which will essentially house anything that comes into my brain that doesn't fit on here.

So, the Northern Author blog as you know it will stay the same, be updated regularly and include the cream of hip-hop from the UK and beyond, and will not change for the world, but if you haven't had your fill I'll be posting random pictures, music videos, musings, rants, and anything non-Northern Author over there.

Feel free to link up and check it out:

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Quik's Groove: The Collection

I've been wanting to do this for a while just for personal use as I've always been a huge fan not only of DJ Quik, but of most of his production he's done spanning his entire career. The jewel in the crown for me though, has always been his "Quik's Groove" series, which has popped up one at a time throughout his discography.

Its just an example of how beautiful hip-hop music can be, and how brilliant he is at his craft. A lot of people take hip-hop production for granted, play about with a Casio Keyboard and a drum machine and think theyre a musical prodigy, but only when you hear a true beatmaker like Quik ad how he works in his craft, do you realise how tough it is to be a producer of the highest calibre.

Not many people can stand next to DJ Quik and say they can even be considered as good a musicmaker as him, not just in the hip-hop genre, but in music in general, and his Quik's Groove series has always been the section where he can flex his skill and talent and show his true musicianship.

There have so far been seven Quik's Groove songs released through his career, spanning from the first edition in 1991, to his most recent one which was released as part of a greatest hits package back in 2002. Hopefully there's more to come, and with a new solo album reported to be in the works there's a good chance there will be. For now though, get yourself an ale or lager (or a Coors Light for the homosexual), chill in the garden, and enjoy 25-30 minutes of the most laidback, beautiful west coast hip-hop music you'll hear for quite some time...

DJ Quik - Quik's Groove: The Collection (1991-2002)

1. Quik's Groove I (1991)
2. Quik's Groove II (For U 2 Rip 2) (1992)
3. Quik's Groove III (1995)
4. Quik's Groove IV (Medley For A 'V') (1998)
5. Quik's Groove V (2000)
6. Quik's Groove VI (2002)
7. Quik's Groove VII (2002)

Also, just for the sake of completion, there was another release called "Quikstrumental", which is also known as a Quik's Groove, that was part of his 2005 release "Trauma". Its slightly different as it features Jodeci on vocals, so doesn't necessarily fit in with the rest of the Quik's Groove series with it being non-instrumental. The youtube video below features this track so feel free to track it down and add it to your collection if needs be.