Thursday, 30 April 2009

24/7, Sway show with Devin...

Here's one to attend - UK Hip Hop legend Sway and Devin? Goes without saying. If only I lived in London eh?!

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

'Distant Voices' - ScholarMan & Jonesy (free download)

ScholarMan, a MC from the US of A, must have a penchant for collaborations with UK artists. A few weeks ago he dropped a free 7 track EP with UK producer Jonesy and today SoloCypher revealed his track with the man.

'Distant Voices' demonstrates ScholarMan's diversity - 'Across Waters' is laid back but 'Well Suited' certainly smacks of Wu-Tang. Jonesy's beats are of that Golden Era survivalist style - y'know, it doesn't sound exactly like the 90s but the influence is there. ScholarMan's lyrics are credible and is his voice is gritty and commanding.

His hook up with SoloCypher, 'Change Thru The Rhyme', expresses a collective desire to use music to catalyse positive changes in the world and when this style of Hip Hop becomes fashionable, I'm sure we'll get there. At the moment, I feel we're in the tail end of the fashion for ignant rap.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Exclusive Rapskallions Tracks!

Got a couple of tracks taken from Rapskallion's forthcoming album, the pleasantly titled 'Slicker Than A Bucket of Snot'. Just in case you didn't know or you forgot, Rapskallions are Slippa and Zoo Mark. 'Just Another Day' is produced by Vee-Kay & Gut1 and 'The Joint' is produced by Wosk Master Astek. If all goes well the album will be out in June on Sweatbox Sounds, around the same time as the Yosh EP, also on Sweatbox Sounds. Oh and Mr. Loop says he's got some stuff on its way too!

Certified Banger - 'The Number One Blog for UK Hip Hop'

'D.Day' - Dialect (album review)

Being from the North East isn’t Dialect’s weak point, nor is it their gimmick – it’s what makes this album so refreshing. Their place of birth has driven them to create one of the most compelling Hip Hop albums I’ve listened to in a while. There’s none of the usual slang or superiority complex that make many other UK releases a little tedious. There are only brutally honest accounts of their real life. This album should definitely not be dismissed by non-locals.

This is one of those albums with which you can kick back with in order to really listen to it. There are autobiographical tracks in the form of the funky ‘Won’t Stop’, the slow burning ‘Quicksand’ and ‘I Woz ‘Ere’. There are anthems like Hip Hop versions of Kaiser Cheifs songs in the form of ‘The Landing’ and ‘Put It Down’ (just one of the tracks on which they really pull off the reggae ting). There are top quality collaborations such as ‘North and South’ with Ed Strong (of I.R.S.) and Mic Assassin, ‘Cerberus’ with Vast Aire, ‘War Games’ with fellow North Easters Text Offenders and ‘Grand Slam’ with Copywrite and Ru’ral – all of which have their own unique sound and style.

Production is mainly done in house by Peta Max although Chattabox contributes the instrumental for ‘I Woz ‘Ere’ and Sermstyle supplies beats on ‘No Guts No Glory’. The overall outlook of this album is a very positive one, certainly the music gives that feel even when the lyrics turn to the old Newcy Broon induced fighting talk or the back story of Rick Fury’s life. Check the secret track for beautiful production and a lovely guitar solo.

Despite being 17 tracks long and weighing in at 1.3 hours (whatever that means, thanks itunes for using unconventional units of time) this album is full of quality music, not just the same old, same old. It’s out soon on 1984 records, check back here for more details on its release date – it should do better than Sep's beloved team are doing right now.

Certified Banger - 'The Number One Blog for UK Hip Hop'

Sinoptic Music Free Promo Pack

If you fancy a choice selection of what Bradford label/collective Sinoptic Music have to offer then look no further than their free to download promo pack. It featrues a nicely digestible 8 tracks which represents the whole crew.

'Wifey Bars' from the Missing People EP is on there and 'On the Radar' producer Miss Tofelees' US hook-up with Real Life 'Oven Roast' is on there too. JND, ExP, Never Learn, Angry Nik, Lunar C, The Protagonist, Wydeboy, Mastermind and singer Angela Bellis all feature as do Bradford live Hip Hop/funk band Freyed Knot.

Follow the links in the artist's names to check out some myspaces after you've picked your favourites.

'The Glossop View EP' - Missing People (EP review)

Missing People, the newest Hip Hoppers to come out of Bradford, come with beats and rhymes so ill they could have just been on holiday in Mexico. I can’t decide whether a screwface or a cheeky grin is more necessary upon listening to ‘The Glossop View EP’ – probably both if you take into account the different characters of the three members – Lunar C, Angry Nik and Never Learn.

Production is shared between Never Learn and Freyed Knot frontman ExP and JND (also of Freyed Knot) contributes the beat for ‘Wifey Bars’ featuring Wydeboy and Freyed Knot. It’s Never Learn’s beats that are darker with his stand out moment being the Erik Satie sampling ‘Annelids’ – big favourite. ExP provides the more cheerful sounds that match Lunar C’s solo loony lyrics so well on ‘Why Are People Gay?’ and ‘The Earl of Beantin’. ExP also lends verses on ‘Sweaty Gooch’, ‘Needles In The Gutter’ and ‘Let’s Get To This’.

With lines like “I’m heavy like a bag of soggy Argos catalogues” you know you’re going to enjoy listening in to the minds of these young Yorkshire lads for 25 minutes. ‘The Glossop View EP’ is out now on Sinoptic Music and can be bought for a mere £3.50 here.

Certified Banger - 'The Number One Blog for UK Hip Hop'

Monday, 27 April 2009

'My Top 10 List' - Loudmouth Melvin (video)

Awesome concept (which has to spawn other versions surely!) even if I don't agree with his top 10 - lot of 'Grime' MCs here for someone who I consider a very Hip Hop MC. It's all good though, no doubt they've all got skills! His "'If I did a top 10... list" bit at the end is cool too!

Check out Loudmouth (now known as Loudmouth Melvin) on the first 'On The Radar' free download.

Certified Banger - 'The Number One Blog for UK Hip Hop'

Simple Samples Cypher Free Download

Simple Samples (<- Click that for all my past posts on them) have done the daring thing and recorded a 10 minute cypher with their new pal Mal in order to fully showcase their Northern rhyming skills. If you think they're only doing pre-writtens, listen to how they react to the beats, for example when there's a gunshot sound effect in a Dre beat. Top stuff, if only more rappers would do this...

'Lyssynup!' ft. Timid - Cee Rock 'The Fury' (video)

Cee Rock 'The Fury' featuring Timid, produced by 12Bit - 'Lyssynup!' - lovely, happy vybes for everybody, it's for all y'all!

Fresh Cuts Radio Show #1 - DJ Matman

Hi peeps, do you like DJ mixes? Well DMC Champ DJ Matman (copied that from the picture but I did know) has got one and it's the first in his series of Fresh Cuts Radio shows. It's got a freshhhh mix of Hip Hop, some from the UK, and it's all erm, fresh. UK Artists involved are Kyza, Jack Flash and 3 Amigos and the US is repped by DOOM and a whole load of Detroit guys (which is the best sort of US Hip Hop guy right now).

'Bad Guys' - Delegates of Culture (album review)

After ten years of larking around together and occasionally throwing out a record or two, Delegates of Culture have put together their second full-lengther. Now don’t get it twisted –they’ve been putting in work with their ‘Headcleaners’ mix CDs, solo/duo releases and Cambridge Hip Hop nights but now it’s time to get serious. And serious they have got.

‘Bad Guys’ features differing combinations of vocal stylings from core members Toe, Bee 109, S Class, Inja and Skuff. It also features a fine assortment of beats from Shox, Bee 109, Toe, Earshot and Rak.

The album kicks off with some hardcoreness in the form of the no-nonsense ‘Intro’ and metaphorical ‘Goldenaxe’. This, however, is a misleading start because when the funky, up-tempo ‘HipHop Side Effects’ kicks in you hear the type of Hip Hop that DOC are good at. S Class then stands solo on ‘I Don’t Know’ on which he talks real sense over an upbeat piano loop making it a favourite of mine.

‘Laid Back’ is a standout moment mostly because of its 80s science documentary arpeggiated synths and ‘Cream 2009’ (reproduced by Toe) is a quality UK take on Wu-Tang’s classic (although I doubt many American’s will like it!).

Overall, without taking each track in turn, Delegates have put together an album with suitable diversity both in lyrical styles and content and production sound. The album is out today (that’s 27th April 2009) on School Bully Records and you can pick it up over at Disorda’s ever-faithful Suspect Packages.

For a free download of 'Grip', another favourite from the album, click here.

New Blog: UK All Day

There's a new kid on the blog over at UK All Day. His is a 'UK Hip Hop British Rap Blog' and judging by things like this: "...but in due course this will be the place to stop by for your fix of everything hip hop in the UK" and "I couldn't see anyone had the blog angle covered", I think he's out to get me.

I'm all up for supporting the UK scene though and if he is too then I'll support him. Let's just hope we don't end up as clones of each other! He's already posted a few bits I've missed such as a track by The Delusionists and a review of Rup(ert)'s new album which I possibly may not get around to. He's also made a handy list of UK Hip Hop label websites for all you boys and girls shopping demos.

Stick with me for now, but when I fall off, go to him!

'Slow Me Down' - Skilf (video)

Here's the new video to one of my favourite tracks from last year 'Slow Me Down' by Skilf (check my review here). Whether this means this is seeing a re-release I don't know but check it and get your hands on it somehow.

'Unauthorized Biography of Jimi Hendrix' - Shaun Boothe (video)

Shaun Boothe has made this awesome biographical track about Jimi Hendrix featuring numerous Hendrix samples and Jimi's life story. He's already done James Brown, Bob Marley, Muhammad Ali, Martin Luther-King Jr. and Barack Obama so check those out on the youtube.

'License To Kill' - Lowkey (video)

Video for political raptivist Lowkey's latest track 'License to Kill' which addresses the police brutality at the G20 protests and the death of Ian Tomlinson. The track is produced by Stylaz Fuego:

And the video for 'In My Lifetime' featuring Wretch 32, produced by Quincey Tones and taken from his album 'Dear Listener' which is out now and excellent!

Certified Banger - 'The Number One Blog for UK Hip Hop'

Friday, 24 April 2009

'Gutter Streets' - Franko Fraize (free download)

Got a couple of nice tracks from Thetford MC Franko Fraize whose EP with rhyming partner Lyrical T will be out soon. Franko Fraize is cast in the classic MC mould and UK Hip Hop courses through his veins - something evident in his lyrics and delivery.

'Gutter Street' is extremely reminiscent of Phi-Life Cypher, which by all accounts is a good thing. On this track Franko spits frenetically about life and death over a hypnotic beat.

The second track is by Forbidden Tongues and is entitled 'Life' - Franko Fraize features on it. 'Life' is in a similar vein to 'Gutter Street' but check out his myspace for a more diverse view of this MC.

'When The Sunshine Comes' - Kero One (video)

If you're looking for an uplift this weekend then it may come in the form of 'When The Sunshine Comes' by Kero One. The story is heartwarming stuff and if you're technically minded check the 'making of' video too. It features Dan Westbeach.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

'The Big Man Returns' - Big Narstie (mixtape review)

Large Londoner Big Narstie is back for the latest in his line of mixtapes: ‘The Big Man Returns’. It seems that this man can ride any beat and make it sound pretty good. Most of the beats here err on the grime side although the title alone of ‘Hip-Hop Miner’ makes it clear where he feels he stands.

As a member of N.A.A. (N-Dubz South) that “Na Na Nye” was bound to pierce the air somewhere and I hate to admit but the collabo is pretty catchy. Fellow N.A.A.-ers Solo and L.Man also feature as do big-in-the-gamers Giggs, Wretch 32 and Scorcher.

Big Narstie’s trademark “Hello Hi” punctuates this mixtape as he raps with poise on the classic bravado, lyrical tip. Not all of the lyrical content is to my taste but I’m just one man - this is hype-up music, don’t expect much of a message; just grimace to the likes of ‘Wildout’ and the looming '45 Remix’.

‘The Big Man Returns’ is out now on UK Runnings and can be bought here.

'Jimstrumentals' - Jimmy Green (free download) **New Link**

Rapsploitations Sessions man Jimmy Green has put this awesome mixtape together of his beats with UK Hip Hop verses from the greats - just check the image for the list of MCs. Let me assure you now before you listen in, Jimmy Green's beats are HOT, next thing he'll know is that these rappers will be calling him for beats and next thing we'll know is that his beats are on tracks and albums by said rappers.

Check out the way he totally changes the vibe of Rodney P's vocals from 'The Doggist' and how he re-flips Premo's 'It's Yours' beat! Listen as he throws in quotes from 'Dead Mans Shoes' and comedy routines about bad breath. Get this for yourself and if you're an MC get in touch. If you're a producer - watch out! Click for tracklisting.
Here's a new link that includes DPF's verse:

'Shifty - The Mixtape' (free download)

Promoting a movie with a mixtape - now there's an idea eh? Shifty (which I didn't manage to get to last night) is out in cinemas on Friday and the crew have put together a mix of tracks and film dialogue for you to download.

It kicks of with the gorgeous strings of Roots Manuva's 'Dreamy Days' and then Burial kicks in - nice! On the UK Hip Hop side of things Riz MC, Sway, Plan B and Fallacy & Fusion feature. A fair few other genres are represented too by the likes of Bjork, Shy FX & T-Power and Toasty. Get it and bump it now for the general beats.

'Rebel Without Applause' - Elemental & Tom Caruana (album review)

I love it when Hip Hop isn’t taken too seriously but is still treated with respect. Elemental and Tom Caruana have put together an LP that is as silly as it is credible. In fact this sentiment, taken from ‘Cup of Brown Joy’, might just sum up the attitude: “So when times are hard and life is rough, you can stick the kettle on and find me a cup”.

The album is a patchwork of full tracks, actually funny skits (‘Hunting Season’ is about hunting hunters and mounting their heads) and short idea tunes (‘Patience’ and ‘Cartoon Baboon’) which makes listening easy and pleasurable, especially if you have ADHD. Tom’s production more than adds to the joyful feel of this album as he samples what can only by smiles and sunshine in audio form.

Tracks like ‘Town Called Nowhere’ and ‘Livin’ in the 90’s’ (awesome sample used here) will appeal to everyone who has lived in a town or in the 90s – that’s a lot of people and I hope they all hear this album. ‘Ye Old School’ has a great message and is similarly appealing – quite a few of us have similar fond memories of our days in education. ‘Pay Me A Visit’ features Hip Hop legend Count Bass D and is worth a mention in this review for that fact alone.

Elemental and Tom Caruana have the skill to evoke the “That’s so true!” reaction that a good stand up comedian draws from his audience. They are testament to the fact that the mundane things of life (like sick days) can be the funniest and that they make good subject matter for rap songs.

‘Rebel Without Applause’ is a breath of fresh air in our serious scene and whilst not everyone should be on this tip it’s a very good thing that Tom Caruana and Elemental are. It’s out now on Tom’s Tea Sea Records label and is available from their website. Check out the video for 'Cup of Brown Joy' below:

'Alternative Income' - JVF Clique (album review)

Kicking off with a ‘Shook Ones Pt 2’ vocal clip can’t be a bad thing, can it? Add to that a beat that’s only just a bit too light hearted for the official Queensbridge murderers to flow over and you’ve got the perfect way to begin an album. By the time the lyrics enter the fray of title track ‘Alternative Income’ you know that this is Hip Hop that you can get with.

So, Hinckley Town, Leicester may not strike you as a hotbed of Hip Hop but this art form is everywhere and JVF Clique are purveyors of a particularly fine version of it. Just like Havoc and Prodigy they rap about their environment (no, not the Midland's comprehensive rail and motorway network (apart from on ‘Where We’re From’!) or the fact that they live in the “Cradle of the Hosiery Industry”) taking in subject matter such as bored kids turning to drugs, earning pounds and pence and our Government. The realness continues as they chat about frustrating drivers on ‘On The Road’ (check the last verse for the cheeky ending) before substance abuse talk gets well abstract on ‘Brown Horses’.

The production is nicely varied with loads of plundered sound including a few plucked strings - something not heard all that often in Hip Hop. The LP does have a certain mood – one that’s not all that bright – and the lyrics contribute to that as much as the instrumentals. If you’re after happy times then buy something else but be sure to have this to hand when you need some UK real talk and original beats. It’s only £6.99 over at Suspect Packages - trust JVF to do their bit to make up for the countries financial cock-ups.

To check out tracks for free download the whole ‘On The Radar’ series for ‘Those Dudes’, ‘Drugs Need Kids’ and a Certified Banger exclusive!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Baron Von Alias

What do Detroit and Geordieland have in common? 'Here and Now' and 'P.H.O.N.E.Y.' - two tracks by UK rapper Baron Von Alias! OK, so how does Motor City fit in? Well 'Here and Now' features Guilty Simpson and 'P.H.O.N.E.Y.' features Frank 'N' Dank - who'da thunk it?

Each tune has its own vibe proving this mysterious figure to have diversity and creativity. 'Here and Now' is a jaunty, non-conformist but nevertheless very Hip Hop affair whereas 'P.H.O.N.E.Y.' is an electronic, double-time heater.

Both tracks are from his album 'Timepiece' which could possibly the biggest Newcastlian surprise since Keegan got United into the Premiership. An in-the-run-up mixtape by Baron Von Alias is available for free download (see the link below and thanks to Kevin Nottingham for this).

Free Tough Touch Tracks

I don't know whole lot about Tough Touch but rest assured I'll find out. What I do know is that they are 3 guys - Social Conscience, Kali Mist and Reggie Million$ who are most probably from Bristol. They sent three tracks for you to download for free: 'Ain't Got A Scene' which is produced by Kali Mist, 'Tomorrow' produced by DJ Fingafood and 'Still My Baby' produced by Matchstick. All three tracks are rooted in the classic 90s sound but have a modern edge that makes them fresh for '09, your suckers.

None of these excellent tracks will feature on 'The Big Band Theory EP' by Social Conscience and Kali Mist so consider them a bonus when you buy that later this year. Check those Reverbnation links above for more free stuff from these boys.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

'Peace in Death' - Nine Leaves (album review)

The new album by US group Nine Leaves kicks off with the Atmosphere-esque ‘Yesterday’, instrumental ‘Last Words’ follows sounding like something from the ‘Gladiator’ soundtrack and the first hat-trick of tracks is rounded off with ‘Apt A9’, a haunting Pharcyde-quoting lament.

The mood shifts as ‘Pain is not Enough’ makes itself known bringing with it angry and anxious emotions although musically things calm on ‘Drift’ whilst tension remains alongside the furtive lyrics. And so the rollercoaster goes.

Topic-wise, the album begins at the end and ends at the very end. The three instrumentals ‘Last Words’, ‘Losing Touch’ and ‘Peace in Death’ could signify the end of a relationship, the end of life or anything in between. Lyrically, feelings have been captured well – the choice of words and tone of voice ensure that you are right there with the vocalist – inside their psyche.

Whilst the production is musical and creatively epic (the album’s highlight) this album does not contain too many good vibes which limits its listenability – if you’re looking for a break-up album, this is it. To check further the work of producer Zack Hemsey look no further than his version of Reebok’s Allen Iverson advert – a youtube cult video.

'Blood, Sweat & Tears' - Mr. Ti2bs (free download)

Mr. Ti2bs (pronounced Mister Tibbs!) is the latest UK artist to be throwing out a free download - 'Blood, Sweat & Tears' being the D/L in question. Perhaps the title pertains to the difficulty he and other artists experience when attempting to make a living from Rap.

If anything, the recession, blah and downloading has made artists up their game by making music available for free and making better albums and singles - Ti2bs has killed two birds with one stone here - quality and costing nothing to you, the listener.

The album's serious tone relaxes when our man takes on Mark Ronson's tongue-in-cheek version of Britney's 'Toxic' (with ODB's verse left in). 'Black Man Rise' features some comments on society over a nice laid back beat.

Monday, 20 April 2009

'Scarface'/'Please Listen' - Stylah (free download)

Ex-Poisonous Poets MC Stylah has been busy. Here are the two tracks that form his latest double A side single 'Scarface' and 'Please Listen'. I've already posted one version of 'Please Listen' which was produced by Show 'N' Prove but this new version is produced by Sivey. 'Scarface is produced by Australia's Styalz Fuego.

Stylah's debut album 'Treading Water' will be out soon. It features Grafh, Ghetts, Joell Ortiz, Immortal Technique and Sway. To check what Stylah's done before now on a solo tip check out these mixtapes he's done: 'Prince of Thieves', 'Crash Course' and 'The Dubs Mixtape'.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

'We Made You' - Dan Bull (video)

So up to date it's painful! Dan Bull rips off Eminem's latest pile of poo and talks current affairs over a montage of relevant video clips. It's a promotional track for his forthcoming album: 'Dan Bull Ruins The Classics'

3 Free Endemic Tracks

Endemic, the Nottingham producer whose album 'Terminal Illness' is currently being well recieved by fans of the featured MCs over the pond, has let a few bits and pieces go free:

'I'm Show You' features the oh-so-gully Sean Price and Ruste Juxx and it's a track from the album.

'Can't Stand To Wake Up' is also on the album but here's a free remix by Kevlaar 7.

'One Day' is another remix of an album cut which features Killah Priest, Timbo King and King David on spits. This time it's Endemic who's done the remix.

On The Radar Artist Profile: Jut

Name: Jut

Age: 23

From: North West (Macclesfield)

Track on ‘On The Radar’: 'Coming For The Game' ft. Jay Madden, Chris L & Assa

Tell us the story behind the track: Chris L hooked up with fellow North West MC’s Jay Madden and Assa, I flipped the beat, DJ NSD from Knutsford came through to do the cuts, Naive recorded the vocals, I produced it, Ojb mixed and mastered it.

Record Label: GP

Who you roll with: A bunch of stinkin’ winos an coke fiends.

Favourite album(s): GZA - 'Liquid Swords'

Describe your style in three words: Thorough, dark, mythological

Past/Present/Future projects: Check out previous Gouki P & Chris L material. Jut also features on HHB Vol. 3, Beit Nun – Where The Art Is, UKHHF Mix CD, Filthy Rich – From The Dirt/Operation Light etc. Future… currently in the process of providing beats for 777, O.N.E., Warghosts, Beit Nun, Analyst and lots of other domes I don’t want to mention yet… Stay tuned.

'Back Again' - Reflection Eternal (video)

OK so it's the least original and most used title ever for any rapper/group releasing the first single off their second album but never mind. Reflection Eternal's debut has some of my favourite Hip Hop tracks on it and I'll be looking forward to the return of Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek.

'They Don't Know' - J Simple (video)

Here's Huddersfield's J Simple with his new track and video 'They Don't Know' - also in the video are Thabo and Jack Flash. The video is directed by David Ainley, who is something of a legend on the UK Skate scene and is known for his video editing skills. 'They Don't Know' is taken from J Simple's forthcoming LP 'Late Night Theatre'.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Disgracelands Tonight!

If you're in the West Yorkshire area (or near, you might be in North Yorkshire for example) then get over to Bradford for this night of niceness - I'm going. Jack Flash's right hand man J Simple is heading the line up, Brutal Artistry's set will be peppered with guests like Bane and Knew Jeru'slum, beatboxers Ballzee and Megamouth will probably stir up a storm as usual and new kids on the block Missing People will bring the ruckus too.

If you're there then wave some money in Bane's direction and he'll furnish you with a hot off the press green 7" vinyl of his single with Cage. Have a butchers and peep out the last logo on the back:

'Protekshun Rack-it' - WanDan (free download)

This is now a couple of years old but it's new to me and chances are, it'll be new to you too. WanDan's 'Protekshun Rack-it' features all sorts of Hip Hop shenanigans including a fair dose of beatboxing, the very thing he is known for.

WanDan is the beatboxer in the live Hip Hop group Lazy Habits, who I featured before and who will be playing at Glastonbury 2009. MC Lazy of Lazy Habits features prominently on 'Protekshun Rack-it' alongside Compound. Jid Sames also pops up with a characterful verse on 'National Wanthem'.

More recently WanDan has been working with the excellent Nathan 'Flutebox' Lee (who, yes you guessed it, plays the flute and beatboxes) - check WanDan's myspace for more of that.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Banana Klan Presents Unfriendly Neighbours Promo Video

Sounding like big things with the Banana Klan hook up and the features from the likes of Verb T, Beit Nun and production from folk like Rusko and 2nd Suzpect - one to look forward to!

'C-Mone vs. The Indie Boys: The Mixtape' - C-Mone (free download)

One of Britain's bestest female MCs has dropped a mixtape so chock-full of quality that it's hard to believe she got clearance for all the samples. Oh wait, she probably hasn't but we Hip Hop fans like that don't we?

'C-Mone vs. The Indie Boys: The Mixtape', as you may have guessed, is Nottingham's C-Mone rapping over beats made from tracks by artists such as Ian Brown, Razorlight, Coldplay and Bloc Party. If that's something that appeals to you already then great, but if it doesn't, give it a go, it's really worth it.

The mixtape also features a few new names: CizzI, Kirk Spencer, Zeeks, Soulstice, Nick Stez and Jah Digga.

'Amerika/Falling Star' is a pretty intelligent exploration of the world's obsession with America (over Razorlight's 'America') and opener 'Guilty', produced by Nick Stez and featuring Chicago's Soulstice and Nott's resident Jah Digga is also well nice. 'Festival of the Rising Sun' is a really interesting interpretation of Snow Patrol's 'Chasing Cars'.

'In The Ruff' - Diamond District (free download)

Oddisee is a producer and MC who has worked with DJ Jazzy Jeff, Gary Shider of Parliament and Funkadelic, Talib Kweli, J-Live, Asheru, Little Brother and Finale amongst others. His latest project is the Diamond District album 'In The Ruff' which features him alongside rappers X.O. & YU.

The album is a return to that raw East Coast sound - both the beats and the raps have more than just a gritty edge with the instrumentals being hard to the core and the lyrics being hewn from the streets of DC. This LP is for those of you who are sick of the trash being passed of as US Hip Hop at the moment - and it's free.

'One Man Show' - Finale

Finale's 'One Man Show', from his album 'A Pipe Dream And A Promise', is produced by Black Milk and it's an absolute hit. It's got me wanting to hear the album but until I get it I'll have to be content with King Most's Finale Megamix.

Finale is from Detroit, a place where it seems all the most promising Hip Hop artists are emerging from nowadays. UK Hip Hop fans will also recognise Finale's name from his features on Ghost's albums both past and present.

The album also features production from J Dilla and Oddisee.

'Same Ol' Same Old' - Willo Wispa

One of the most promising rising artists in the UK scene right now is Willo Wispa. The MC who is on the Associated Minds label has recently been picked up by Radio 1 on their 'Introducing' show - one of the best radio shows around and definitely doing good things for underground music. Even though they've spelt his name wrong they've been kind enough to make a player with his track 'Same Ol' Same Old' which is produced by Conspicuous in it:

Certified Banger in HHC and Rago Magazine

So the new Hip Hop Connection is well and truly online and I got my first mention in there - maybe digital is the way forward, some kind soul also put a link to here from their website too - lovely, thanks guys! The PDF format is awesome due to the fact they've made it readable without scrolling (all you other PDFers take note - screen shaped PDFs are the future!) and the content is as nice as ever, if a little slimmed down.

Whilst I'm bigging myself up you might as well check out the interview Tricksta did with me - yes, he asked the questions and I answered them this time! Excuse the jpg on that page, that's totally my fault!

'Grown Ups' - ReggiiMental and Unfriendly Neighbours (video)

This track reminds me of Mudmowth's 'Most Colourful Years' - it's about being a kid and the beat by 2nd Suzpect has a real feel good factor. 'Grown Ups' is featured on 'Flying The Flag' and the video was done by Baby Knotted Productions.

Reggiimental and his whole Rusty Jukebox crew are on the rise and are defo ones to watch. The Lost Generation will be dropping their album 'Lost Property' very soon in partnership with Eat Good Records.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

'It's A Funny Old Game' - Farma G

Farma G has just dropped a new mixtape - 'It's A Funny Old Game'. He's done it on the innovative bandcamp website and, like Radiohead's last album, you have to make a 'donation' in order to download it.

The minimum donation is £5 for the whole 18 tracks. You can listen to it all before you pay the money so that try before you buy argument works here without actually stealing.

It features some tracks you may have heard before on youtube and myspace ('I Love Dee Cake!', 'Influenza' and 'You're Such A Dope' for example). There's not a bad track on here IMO and Farma proves that he is still one of the kings of the UK scene.

<a href="">B.D.R of D.Y by Task Force</a>

Engine-EarZ perform 'Hydroactive vs Stay Seated' with Foreign Beggars (video)

And with Nathan 'Flutebox' Lee:

'Remixtape' - Soulbrother Simon (free download)

You know when remixes don't really sound like remixes because the remixer has just substituted the original beat for a similar one? Well that's just what Soulbrother Simon doesn't do.

He doesn't do himself justice either: "Just a whole load of US Hip-Hop acapellas over UK Hip-Hop beats by me."

He takes on Hip Hop artists as diverse as Lil' Wayne and Beastie Boys and he even remixes a Britney Spears track! Erykah Badu, Swizz Beats, M.I.A., Jay-Z and Aaliyah all get a makeover too, many of the tracks being better than the originals.

'You Gotta Go' - Alex Blood (single review)

Over Baby J's new signature stripped back live instrumentation sound (which is getting better) Alex Blood does a sing song rap making light of a bad situation that most of us can probably relate to in some way. It's a funky but simple track that requires no effort on the listeners part.

'You Gotta Go' is the first single of Alex's forthcoming album which as yet seems to be titleless. The single will be released in May.

On the Alex Blood website you can also get your hands on free downloads of 'Little Dean', 'Goin' Mad' and 'Beats and Feats', the latter being a selection of tracks rather like a mixtape that features Kof, Rukus, Yogi, Fallacy, Ty and Genesis Elijah.

More Forthcoming Reviews

As usual I've got a never ending pile of CDs and a hard drive full of mp3 awaiting review. Here's what I'll be covering soon, hopefully before each of their release dates:

JVF Clique - 'Alternative Income' (album)
Big Narstie - 'The Big Man Returns' (mixtape)
Elemental & Tom Caruana - 'Rebel Without Applause' (album)
Dialect - 'D.Day' (album due out April)
Delegates of Culture - 'Bad Guys' (album due out on 27th April)
DJ Vadim - 'Hidden Treaure' (single due out 27th April)
Wordsmith & I.N.C. The Poet - 'Take a Walk in My Shoes' (single due out 27th April)
The Score - 'Opus' (album due out 27th April)
Yung - 'Unconditional Hustle' (mixtape due out 4th May)
Mr. Lif - 'I Heard it Today' (album due out 4th May
Homecut - 'No Freedom Without Sacrifice' (album due out 18th May)
YNR Records - 'Feeding Time At The Zoo' (album due out 25th May)
Wordsmith & I.N.C. The Poet - 'A Baltimore Martini' (album due out 25th May)
Choong Family - 'Baptism of Fire' (pre-album due out 25th May)
The Early Man - 'Alpha' (single due out 25th May)
Resin Dogs - 'More' (album out 1st June)
DJ Vadim - 'U Can't Lurn Imaginashun' (album due out 8th June)

There are probably more too. I'll try get these done for y'all!

On The Radar Artist Profile: Chief Wigz

Name: Chief Wigz

Age: 24

From: Leeds/Bradford

Track on ‘On The Radar’: 'Leafs'

Tell us the story behind the track: Fresh flex on battle rhyming.

Record Label: Don’t Talk To Strangers

Who you roll with: Brutal Artistry, Don’t Talk To Strangers & the 9 Lives Clik

Favourite album(s): Jay-Z 'La Roc Famila: The Dynasty'

Describe your style in three words: Confident, complext’d, context

Past/Present/Future projects: 'Sunday Service' 12” out end of June on Don’t Talk To Strangers. And the self titled Album ‘Chief Wigz’ end of the summer also available on Don’t Talk To Strangers. All musics produced by Brutal Artistry Productions. For anymore future releases check the DTTS web links 'cause there are too many to mention.

'Flying the Flag' - VA - Tricksta & Lunatrix (album review)

When Tricksta and Lunatrix are ‘Flying the Flag’ you’re guaranteed that your tastes will be catered for. Whether you like Hip Hop flavoured Grime, Boom Bap flavoured Hip Hop or Rap flavoured Ragga it’s all here – providing its origins are in the UK. This does mean that probably not every track will be to your liking – some of the Grime tracks I still can’t get with, mainly based on the daft lyrics (Spitta raps about Slimline PS’s and DS Lites).

On the Hip Hop side of things there are loads of artists on here to make this more than worth a purchase: Wordsmith, Kashmere, Jehst, 10Shott, Sir Smurf Lil, Ramson Badbonez, Dr. Syntax, SkinnyMan… I could go on but instead, go check the tracklist. Some of the tracks are little dated but it’s still great to have them alongside newer and more exclusive material.

This is a significant release – it’s the first time Grime and Hip Hop have been mixed together on one release - a good sign of some unity between the two scenes. The music from both sides is of high quality and Tricksta and Lunatrix do nice job of mixing it and making it flow.

‘Flying the Flag’ is out now on RGS Entertainment on 2xCD or mp3 download. UK Record Shop have it in stock now.