Thursday, 24 April 2008

UK Royal Fam Vol. 3

When it comes to walking the fine line between Hip Hop and Grime in the UK there a few names that might spring to mind. Someone whose mind it obviously sprung to was the guy who track listed ‘The UK Royal Fam Mixtape Vol. 3’. Lethal Bizzle, JME, Skepta, Wiley, Ghetto, Klashnekoff, Roll Deep, Bigz, Bashy, Sway, Pyrelli…the list does go on. Believe this mixtape is big, if this type of music is your bag.

Also it’s not so much of a mixtape, more of a tape, well, a CD. It’s just the full tracks collected and sequenced – and I like it that way. And don’t make the mistake I did when I had the 1st instalment (which actually was pretty poor): I thought it was called the ‘Royal FARM Mixtape’! Ha! What an idiot I am.

This particular sub genre of Hip Hop is probably at it’s apex right now. It’s so full of energy yet it’s not as underdeveloped as it was and it’s not got too big for it’s own boots (that’s why Dizzee aint on here!) – it’s in that good old middle ground like Hip Hop was in the 90’s; it’s just coming of age.

It’s hosted by Manchester bod Solja too, who I once encountered outside of a J5 show in Manchester as he hustled his CD to my brother. Solja, shows promise here as one who may ride the dual waves of interest in the Manc scene and the aforementioned impending maturity of Hip Hop/Grime crossover music – usually poorly labelled as ‘Urban’.

It’s actually hard to pick a standout track here, it’s all surprisingly quality! Sincere’s ‘Once Upon a Time’ which features one of radio’s current pets, Natty (even my Dad liked him after seeing him on Jools Holland) is pretty jolly, it’s just annoying that it fades out (good job I've got the full track already then). Either of the Ghetto tracks display that raw rawness that can only be described as raw – check out 'Who's Got'. ‘What’s Your Grind’ comes courtesy of Swiss and has a beat that makes me say ‘Yeah, nice’, so that’s good innit? He talks about something we can all to relate to – the 9 to 5 grind, I know it’s been done, but, he does it well so it’s OK. Lethal Bizzle’s genre bending track ‘Police on my Back’ is here too - a fantastic ode to TWOCing. Skepta's tune 'Blood, Sweat & Tears' is awesome for managing to reference Rosa Parks and Pogs in the same track amongst other great things too.

The last point I must make is that this is free. A great chance to see what this side of UK things is really about because this does feature top album tracks and not just hastily recorded ‘exclusive’ freestyles over someone else’s beats. Go get it.

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