Friday, 30 April 2010

'Who's Next?' - True Ingredients (video)

Pure madness featuring Blu Rum 13 and Natty among others - stay tuned for more info!

'Memory Banks' - Lazy Habits (video)

I love sample-based beats as much as the next Hip Hop head but I am a sucker for Hip Hop performed by a live band - it combines my love for real instrumentation, classic Funk, Soul, Rock etc and Rap. Lazy Habits do it perfectly as demonstrated here on 'Memory Banks' ft. Baby Sol. The single is released 31st May 2010. Download only from all major online retailers. Pre order now via:

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

'Solitary Confinement' - Rhyme Asylum (review)

Wordplay and lyricism comes by the pound (see ‘Strange Deranged’ featuring Reain for a perfect example - common phrases are sliced and spliced effortlessly) on Rhyme Asylum’s second album ‘Solitary Confinement’. ‘The ‘N Word’’ does wordplay with a message.

Their track ‘The Art of Raw’ sums them up nicely; they do raw artfully and poetically leaving more to the imagination and, as a result, painting a much more graphic picture in the listeners mind. For those with a taste for more vivid imagery there’s always ‘For The Hate’.

Continuing a theme started on their debut album, Possessed, Psiklone and Skirmish have invited along a couple of American voices, most notably Ill Bill (on ‘Open Mic Surgery’ with DarkStar) and Crooked-I. Each MC on the album sounds absolutely at home on this honed product.

Positive vibes aren’t hard to find here either. ‘Returmination’ is a motivational affair and ‘Life Support’ sees Rap quotables weaved into a tribute to this thing we call Hip Hop.

All of these rhyming goings on are backed up by some of the most solid and consistent productions around with a strictly gritty, East Coast, boom to the bap sound.

Rhyme Asylum are an underrated crew, this is a very solid album and I can’t stress this enough: if you don’t know, get to know. Buy this album. It’s out now and can be ordered from the Rhyme Asylum website on CD or it can be downloaded from itunes for only £5.49.

'Half Past Calm 2' - Jon Phonics - Coming Soon!

Here's the blurb, no point in me re-hashing it (there usually is):

Jon Phonics' debut album for YNR Productions, Half Past Calm 2, will be available exclusively from Monday 3rd May via the brand new YNR Productions website. Produced entirely by Jon Phonics and featuring exclusive tracks with YNR artists Jehst, Kashmere, Verb T & Micall Parknsun, plus extended fam Melanin 9, Cyrus Malachi & Nasheron of Triple Darkness, Obba Supa, 9 Planets, SonnyJim, Kosyne, Ramson Badbonez, T-Bear, Fliptrix & More.

The album will be available in a limited edition run of 300 x hand printed 4-ply fold out covers, screen printed by Brixton Basement Press (Some of the process can be seen in the video trailer below) and also a free download from the YNR website for a limited time only.

Take some time to check out this trailer an prepare yourself for what's to come from one of the countries illest producers doing it:

'The Exit Strategy' - Invisible Inc. (review)

Ghost’s electrified woozy beats on ‘The Exit Strategy’ provide the perfect backdrop for the rhymes of some of the UK’s best rhymers: Kashmere and Verb T. With relaxing, hypnotic headnod tracks being the overall experience this is one to settle and listen to – let the sometimes surreal, sometimes true-to-life lyrics wash around the emptiness the production has cleared. Asaviour pops up on 'Suspects' and 'Paranoia' and gels well with the group. This is an understated, unsung release that is guaranteed to give you what you need – if only it had a physical release.

It can be heard for free and downloaded for a minimum of £3.50 from Bandcamp. If you pay more than a fiver you’ll get two extra tracks.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

'Outside In' - Baron Von Alias & MistaBreeze (video)

Friday, 23 April 2010

'Heavy Rotation' - The Disablists & Foreign Beggars (Video)

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

'The Sound of Colours' - Jack Flash (review)

Jack Flash must have a screw or two loose. Firstly, he classes 'The Sound of Colours' as an EP. Secondly, tracks 1 to 9 are free and to get the whole 14 tracks it's only £3.95. This is not normal behaviour.

This 'EP' is chock-full of the type of quality product that any Jack Flash fan would be more than happy to pay album price for and let's face it, it is an album - an LP with a running time just shy of an hour. The title track is a beast - I was really looking forward to this after hearing the lovely acoustic version. It's followed up by a creature more vicious: 'King of the Hill' - wordplay and put downs that prove why Jack is worthy of his EOW accolades.

Flows, subject matter and beats never stay similar - 'Too Much Make Up' proves Mr. Flash can do social commentary, 'King of the Hill' confirms his ability to double time (and you won't even realise it's so effortless and... ungarbled!), 'Slow Down' sees Jack flow over one of those wonky, soulful beats that are oh-so-cool right now and 'Writing on the Wall' is a great ode to graffiti over a espionage-type backdrop.

The only apparent let down is 'Keep On Dancing' which sees autotune married to something that sounds like the BBC News theme tune but upon closer scrutiny Jack slams the whole euro-pop-urban on the radio scene and this track ends up as a very clever send up of "all these lame songs" - make sure you listen right to the end! I suspect that a fan of the type of music Jack Flash is criticising would not even notice the message and would just love it - clever!

'Yes Blood' - Jeye Severe (video)

'Over' - Remus (video)

The seed of Task Force's Farma G has called upon Charlie Sloth do make him a video. This is about as different from the musical output of his father as is possible although the quality is something that is shared. Obviously, Remus appeals more to those who are more Grime-minded, and lets face it, more to those who are young (he's only 17).

'Terrorvision' - Skandal (video)

Sunday, 18 April 2010

'The Landing' - Mr. Boss (free download)

Perfect production from Mr. Boss and a great guest list: SonnyJim, Skrein, Delusionists, Yosh and Dr. Syntax to name a few. At only 18 years old this guy has more than enough time to establish himself and if this is anything to go by it won't be long before every MC worth his salt will want a beat from Mr. Boss.

'The Landing' has been made available for free despite the fact that you should be paying for something this decent. Click here to download it.

Don't be tempted just to listen to the tracks that have the well known MCs on (although they are dope and SonnyJim kicks things off in style, no doubt). Tracks like 'Young and Foolish' by Them Lot and 'Understand' by Chango Flash are top notch. I'm definitely looking forward to hear more from all involved in this project.

Dynamo Showreel

'Recession Music' - Emdee & DJ Wich (review & free download))

Woooo! Fast paced, uplifting and triumphant – the perfect remedy to ‘the current economic climate’ (in newsreader voice). Emdee, a new name, has teamed up with DJ Wich, another new name, to bring a slice of audio that a more established artist would be well pleased with. I’m talking about ‘Recession Music’ which features mature lyricism and a clear idea of what makes decent Hip Hop music.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

'The Elephant Dance' ft. Aynzli Jones, Dabbla, Cobes & Rebel MC - Formula (video)

'Good Writtenz' - Stappz (review)

Coming from Sermstyle’s camp is something for the true Hip Hop head: ‘Good Writtenz’ by Stappz. With a sound similar to (and I absolutely loathe making this comparison usually) Eminem in his ‘Slim Shady LP’ days, this Geordie MC flows effortlessly over one of Sermstyle’s many production styles (in this case West Coast Dre style done to a very high quality). With a focus on introducing himself as a rapper and claiming his spot lyrically, Stappz big himself up, puts other rappers down and basically just shows us what he’s capable of when it comes to making words rhyme.

There are a lot of great tracks on here, I started making a list but it started to get too long: ‘Give Up’, ‘How I Live’ (featuring American Livin’ Proof) and ‘Alright’ are mellow tracks based around acoustic guitar loops whereas ‘Rockstar’ adds a distortion pedal and some heavy drumming to the formula. ‘Good Writtenz’ adds a British edge to the West Coast sound whereas ‘Fall 2 Pieces’ has that wonky sonic. ‘Get To Know’ sounds like Nate Dogg, Snoop, Warren G and maybe even 2Pac should be rocking the mic but Dretonio and Stappz do a great job instead.

Buy it now as a download or as a CD at the venerable Bandcamp website!

'Only Built 4 Croydon Linx' - Sparks & Curious (review & free download)

I’m a little shocked that this concept hasn’t been done before, but here it is now: ‘Only Built 4 Croydon Links’ by Sparks and Curious. Painting a picture of a place that I now never want to visit the two MCs make it clear what they think about their ends and the people who live there.

‘Cronx Tales’ is a compelling listen and anyone who’s ever been to Croydon will be able to confirm how accurate the depiction. ‘Hmmm’ furthers the portrayal by simply discussing the characters present on a bus journey and the title track gives away their real feelings about the place they love to hate.

Some of the tracks do betray the fact that this partnership are, to some extent, a product of their environment and sometimes the differences between them and some of the folk they bemoan are not that obvious: they take drugs, just different ones (‘To Me To You’ and to some extent ‘Bone Chiller’) and they don’t like working the daily grind (‘Wake Up’) but hey, I’m here to judge music, not people!

The production all comes from Shazam the Sorcerer and it’s all good. The MCs are very able, have written some interesting material and deliver it in an entertaining and skilful way.

'OB4CL' by Sparks and Curious is available now and can be downloaded for free here. Alternatively you could go to Suspect Packages, buy something and a get a free CD copy of it!

'Lost Where I Belong' - Andreya Triana (single review)

Thinking of releasing a single? Do it like Andreya Triana did with ‘Lost Where I Belong’.

There’s the original track (produced by Bonobo): beautiful, sunny, Neo-Soul with a lyrically original take on the classic love song – a lovely thing. There’s an acoustic version with deeper grooves and extra rhythm (which may just be the better version). There’s also an album version (which prolongs the experience by a couple of minutes).

Then there’s the Flying Lotus remix which totally turns the original on its head whilst retaining the summertime, swimming pool vibes. As if that’s not enough you also get the instrumental of the remix which is, by itself, a perfect piece of music ideally suited to getting lost in – an absolute gem.

By the time you’ve listened to the 5 tracks in the package the song will be so firmly cemented in your head that you will be a fan – job done.

Friday, 16 April 2010

'Emotions' - Ty (video)

Headcount TV - Episode 1 (Ollie Bates & Sloth in the studio)

'Genghis' - Cappo Available Now!

New Cappo album 'Genghis' now available in all formats.

CD available from,, downloads available from,, itunes and various online retailers and mobile networks.

Limited edition usb collectors edition available exclusively from limited to 50 copies click here for more info and to pre-order.

Premium limited edition double vinyl LP - small number of copies still available from

'DJ Sarah Love Tribute' - Black The Ripper, Mystro & Loudmouth Melvin

A big thank you should go to 1Xtra's Sarah Love for her services to UK Hip Hop. Her last ever show can be heard here for a limited time only: It's Charlie Sloth's turn to pick up where she left off.

'Wednesday' (UK Remix) ft. Mystro & Loudmouth Melvin - Saukrates

Download it here:

'Death' - Chima Anya (video)

Thursday, 1 April 2010

'Untitled' - Jack Flash (video)

Another track from Jack's live set a couple of weeks ago. I'm really gutted I missed this now because I love this track - beautiful. Really looking forward to hearing the new EP.

'Air It Out' - Conspicuous (video)

'Music & Mouthwords' - No Pretense (album review)

A quick look at the cover art and a prior knowledge of lead single ‘Self Harmonic’ featuring Cage will more than certainly mislead you. You’ll think that you know what ‘Music & Mouthwords’ has in store for you – but you’ll almost certainly be wrong.

You see, No Pretense are multidimensional; they don’t just do dark, twisted Hip Hop, they do it all. Don’t be fooled by titles like ‘Darkskies’ – this particular track is one of the least cheesy but most honest and heartfelt love songs Hip Hop has ever produced. The vein of sincerity and reality runs thick and deep – ‘Keep Breathing’ is written in such a way that it could be metaphorically describing a number of things, but it’s the stark reality of it that is the true subject matter – leaving behind a life of drug use. Tracks like ‘Fallen’ and ‘Death of a Star’ are a fine balance of lyricism and thought provoking ideas.

It’s not only Cage who represents the US here. None other than Prince Po turns up on ‘Elevation’ and drops a dope verse alongside Belinda Hards’ perfect sung chorus. Belinda Hards, of Knew Jeru’slum, appears elsewhere on the album and there’s no doubt her contributions are more than just filling gaps.

Eliphino’s rich sample pool has provided a sonic backdrop unlike any other. This isn’t boom bap, this isn’t old school styled, this certainly isn’t today’s chart fodder – this is just Hip Hop. In fact, if Don’t Talk To Strangers fancy releasing this as an instrumental album too, I, for one, wouldn’t mind. Cuts from Brutal Artistry add to the realness.

As things move along the album does get more shadowy. The absolute departure from crunchy drums and dusty production on ‘Wyrmslaya’ featuring Chief Wigz heralds vivid imagery based on various conspiracy theories over pumping synths. Bane and Mury P are joined by Chief Wigz, Spida Lee and Propticz on the militant beat of ‘Trife & Trivia’ – a banging posse cut for real.

With a keen sense of making a well rounded product and unashamedly Yorkshire accents No Pretense definitely bring something different into a flooded market. It's out now so order it for £5 only by clicking here.