Saturday, 30 August 2008
Friday, 29 August 2008
Baby J: It’s just nice to have my s**t coming out, I love letting people hear my stuff and seeing what feedback it gets. I always feel lucky just to be able to be releasing music, it’s what I’ve always wanted to do so every time is an honour.
CB: You’ve had loads of attention from the sphere of UK Hip Hop and I’ve heard your tracks on Radio 1 nuff times, especially ‘Young, Gifted and Black’. You’ve made moves with big names in the pop world like Mark Ronson. What are your hopes and expectations for the success of ‘Baby Food’?
Baby J: I think I’d just like to get my stuff heard outside of the UK hip hop arena, I feel like I got my stripes there, I’d like to be known as a producer not just a hip hop producer, I’m always gonna make hip hop cause that’s my heart but id like to be able to try some other stuff to.
CB: There are going to be loads of guests on ‘Baby Food’, as usual. Who have you had a chance to work with this time that you have never worked with before? How important are the guest singers and rappers to your work?
Baby J: Farma G and Million Dan were big ones for me, just cause they’re both legends. The artists on my albums make the albums, I provide the landscape but they make it what it is.
CB: What do you look for in an artist when doing collaboration? Are there any MC’s or singers who you would really like to have on your productions in the future?
Baby J: Just someone that stands out. And someone that’s about their business, I’m getting too old to be chasing rappers! I’d like to do something with Dizzee, and Rodney P and Lilly Allen and Adele
CB: Let’s talk about your production sound now. You seem to have a knack when it comes to picking samples; your beats are always so catchy whether they have a happy or a darker vibe. What’s your sample finding process?
Baby J: 2 things, firstly its got to be sonically nice, there’s gotta be something nice about the texture of the sound, the way it was recorded, the instruments used. Secondly the original music’s gotta be hot. I’m usually into a track before I sample it.
CB: Lots of people read my interviews with producers to get tips. What tips would you give to an aspiring producer? Are the any little secrets you can let us into?
Baby J: When you’re working with samples you’re the last musician in the room, so try and add instruments and playing styles that are sympathetic to the music that’s already down, don’t just add some generic boom bap drums over the top. And… EZ Drummer, vintage rock, insider info.
CB: Does the production on ‘Baby Food’ follow the traditional sampling method or have you started from scratch on any of the tracks?
Baby J: There are no samples on the new album. All the tracks have been made from scratch. A couple of tracks have been inspired by other tracks id heard and id got musicians to come and replay things but everything else was from scratch. It was a conscious decision, I felt id done the sample thing and I wanted to challenge myself with a new way of working, so I bought a piano of ebay for £40 and a bass and a guitar.
CB: Who and what inspires you to make music? What got you into producing in the first place?
Baby J: I first started making music because that way I didn’t have to wait for new records to come out to have new music, in some ways it’s the same thing now, I make music when I want to create a certain vibe or feel.
CB: As a fan of Blade, I’ve got to ask, as you produced his last ever album, how did you feel when he said he was going into retirement? Did you know he was going to do that when you were working on ‘Guerrilla Tactics’?
Baby J: To be honest I don’t think I really believed him, I thought it was talk. When we did the album and it came out it was on the tale end of records actually selling and I think he just got disheartened with the sales from the project. We new it was a good album, and it got the critical acclaim but that just didn’t manifest into sales cause people just weren’t buying music in the same way they were 5 years ago.
CB: A lot of prominent people in all walks of life feel a certain amount of responsibility. What’s your role in UK Hip Hop besides making dope beats? Is hard being the one behind the ones with the voice or is that good for you?
Baby J: I get to choose which artists I work with, so they get to speak for me in a sense. I look at music as propaganda. its a tool to talk to the youth so we all have a responsibility to use it accordingly, if you aint got nothing worth saying put the mic down. Recently I was at an anti BNP rally outside their national festival, you see these guys pushing their pro-white racist bulls**t and it suddenly occurred to me, I bet most of their kids listened to black music, they damn sure aint listening to morris dancing.
CB: Thanks for your time. Are there any last words, anything you’d like to add that we’ve not covered? Any interesting insights that you’ve been thinking about over the last couple of weeks?!
Baby J: Check my blog http://babyjbiz.blogspot.com to hear my rants about life. FTP (oh, and buy my album, please)
Thursday, 28 August 2008
Further redeeming features are Jack's own production and the two other versions in the package. The first is the 'Extra Curricular Refix', a live version by the backing band Jack Flash tours (Extra Curricular) with and the second is the 'Acoustic Version' that does what it says on the tin. All three versions are nice and all three versions feature Thabo who lends some top quality R'n'B love song crooning.
As well as the verisons and the instrumental you also get the Apa-Tight produced stomper 'Step Back', a bonus track not featured on 'The Union Jack Album'. Jack battle raps his through this track with lines like "Told you it was cold up North, It's below the nought//Watch how I turn a 'hot rapper' into a frozen corpse". Jack displays another side to his character from that portrayed on the lead track. Consider 'Step Back' a warning of what's to come!
'Intoxicating' featuring Thabo is out on October 6th and will be released on Klinik Records. Stay tuned for an album review and an interview.
*'Step Back' and 'Intoxicating (Extra Curricular Refix)' are in the flash player now.*
Cool video and track from Opio, 'Some Superfly Sh!t', taken from his new album 'Vulture Wisdom Vol. 1'. Remember this is the man behind Hieroglyphics and Souls of Mischief!
Wednesday, 27 August 2008
Ozomatli - Cut Chemist Suite.mp3
Ozomatli - Cut Chemist Suite Cuts Remix.mp3
Ozomatli - Cumbia De Los Muertos.mp3
*'Slow Me Down' and 'Dead Ender' are in the awesome Certified Banger flash player to your right*
Tuesday, 26 August 2008
Eliphino - I Like It Yo.mp3
Eliphino - Break Up.mp3
Friday, 22 August 2008
Backed by a range of different production sounds – reggae, country, boom-bap and break orientated Hip Hop – Reps displays his lyrical disposition. The majority of the content is musings on life and just straight up rhymes. Comparisons could be drawn between Reps and Braintax, in vocal timbre, delivery style and illness of rhymes. Reps says things that make you think ‘Nice! I’d have never thought of saying it like that!’. Reps raps clearly and in a relaxed manner making for ear pleasing music.
‘The Saga of a Peaceful Man’ is largely original. ‘Lion King’ is an innovative take on the personal, life story track and ‘Park Ranger’ ponders the nature of freedom and the freedom of nature. ‘Out in the Field’ and ‘Hee Haw’ cover more familiar ground – weed and sex respectively – and seem a little out of place here although both subjects have been tackled creatively. All of the tracks have individuality and identity, this isn’t just a collection of similar sounding songs but neither do the tracks sound disparate. Reps applies himself to each track and as a result the songs all come across as essential parts of the whole product.
‘The Saga of a Peaceful Man’, on Flash Fry Records, is available now at Suspect Packages for just £7.99. If I hadn’t already got a copy I would not mind paying that price for this CD!
Thursday, 21 August 2008
From Chima of GTA:
"The Way" has been picked up by Sky digital 370 (ahem *Channel U* ahem) and I know we all gunning for some positive vibes and substance to be introduced for the children. The opportunity is finally here.
They will be showing the vid every day for a couple of weeks starting today. The vid with the most votes gets added to the official playlist. BRITAIN needs your help to bring substance back to society and present a different positive image for the youngsters to latch onto.
Text WAY to 81700 to vote for our video. Texts cost £1 and thats it, think of it as a donation to SAVE THE WORLD. haha
Tuesday, 19 August 2008
Skreintax is the collective name of Skrein and Dr. Syntax (see what they did there?) and is a project I’ve really been looking forward to. As two of most lauded MC’s in today’s UK scene it was pretty much a dead-cert that their efforts would be well above average. Their album ‘Scene Stealers’ is due to drop in November on Dented, ‘Breathe’ is its first single.
‘Breathe’ is a sunlounger, second to lowest setting, by a pool, mid 30’s with a cool breeze blowing. Skrein begins with a complementary laid back, softly voiced flow. Graziella, the featured guest, soothes the listener, gently imploring them to ‘slow down’. Syntax takes over with his trademark bassy voice and on a less vertical vibe that, thankfully, doesn’t detract from the overall feeling. Take a day off work, get yourself a copy of this, stick it in a playlist with your other favourite summer tracks and relax.
‘Reach’ is a solo effort from Skrein. It’s from the Adulthood soundtrack, features Graziella and is accompanied by Plan B’s band. I LOVE this track. It’s such a fresh direction for UK Hip Hop; lyrically it’s a ‘conscious narrative of London’s ills’ but musically it’s a combination of cutting edge, double time drum patterns and the rock music that you were brought up on. The guitar riffs and solos are soulful mirror images of Skrein’s lyrics; this is music of high quality.
Whilst you wait for this to drop get yourself acquainted with the work of these two artists. Skrein’s ‘The Eat Up’ is a great collection of tracks and guest verses and ‘Self Taught’ by Dr. Syntax is his debut solo album. Both are available on Dented Records.
‘Champagne Lifestyle’ is what the Channel U generation need; as well as being a sonically mature version of the trash on said TV channel it also preaches a new message to its viewers. This track sees the rotton one (sic) take on the persona of someone who finds himself needing to impress a lady by buying expensive bubbly that he can’t afford. The track rallies against all those guys who front with the image of a wealthy man when really they can’t afford it. Twang continues to use his position as an elder statesman as someone in his position should; he teaches the youth and for this he should be applauded.
‘The B-side is ‘For the Summa’, a track that is unsurprisingly, summery. It’s laid back and is the usual fare of short skirt, drop top, picnic type rhymes – it’s nothing new but it’s done well. It still makes me wish it actually was sunny this summer!
Despite not being my choice of single from the 24 tracks on his album (I’ll be reviewing that very soon) it’s still well produced and very catchy – I sing along to the chorus – and Blak Twang’s lyrics are skilfully woven. The result? A great single that should appeal to Hip Hop heads, grime fans and radio listeners alike.
‘Champagne Lifestyle’ is out on Monday (Aug 25th) and is available already for download on itunes.
Each of the 10 tracks (11 if you count the ‘hidden’ one) has a clear manifesto. ‘Intro’ actually introduces the artists and the collaboration, ‘Happiness’ is really about unhappiness, ‘City’ symbolically describes urban life and so on. You wont be left wondering what Modulok is on about. That’s not to say these are nursery rhymes, it’s just that Modulok and his guests are communicators. Lyrics like “One day you wont be able to tell where Modulok stops and the city begins to swell” are replete with imagery yet they convey exactly how the MC feels – it’s poetic.
Story telling is also strength. ‘Grimy’ tells a tale of rejection as a result of a woman’s desire for wealth. ‘Stories’ is in a classic mould; 3 accounts of different people’s life changes. ‘Assassin’ is a first person shoot-em-up that I’m sure must be a metaphor for something.
Guests come in the form of old Bare Beats collaborators (Perry Scaramanga, Kal Sereousz and Smokey on ‘Trouble’), fellow Torontoans (Apollo Creed and Baracuda), UK scratchmaster Jabba Tha Kut and beatboxer Wireless.
This album is on Bare Records, is available now from (and can be listened to at) the Modulok and Bare Beats myspace for only £6.99 and that pays for it to get right to your crib too. If you’re a fan of indie Hip Hop, good production and poetic but understandable lyrics then grab yourself a copy of ‘Two Cities’. If you fancy a free taster of what these boys are capable of you can have one from here.
Friday, 15 August 2008
SonnyJim 'Trading Standards' out on Dented Records, September 2008.
Thursday, 14 August 2008
This track is available now on itunes. Go get it for a few meagre pence.
Tuesday, 12 August 2008
Monday, 11 August 2008
To celebrate the life and times of soul legend and South Park voice man Hip Hop Is Read have put together a selection of Hip Hop joints influenced and sampling the late Mr. Hayes. Go to their blog to read up on the thought behind it. Seems like they were waiting for man to pass away, that or this was a hasty job!
Young MC's 'Know How' could have been on here as one of the more well known Hayes-sampling tracks but all in all it's pretty good!
Click here to download 'Fathers of Rap Volume 1: Isaac Hayes'.
Thursday, 7 August 2008
Wednesday, 6 August 2008
Mouthmaster Murf and DJ Mayhem of The Anomalies have spent 9 months creating this 6 and a half minute rhyming rap summary of the Arnie action film classic, 'Predator'. The lyrics fit with actual footage and soundbites from the film with amusing results - even the quotes rhyme!
You can even download it here for free.
Watch out for these guys, they could be coming your way real soon. In fact, click the The Anomlaies tag below for another track by the band.