Monday, 26 March 2007

Bang! And the grime is on!

MP3's at the bottom of the page.

2Planets – ‘Do it now’

Oh. My. Goodness.
This had to make it onto here as I don’t think there is anything that would attain ‘banger’ status as well as this does, it demands it, and actually, I’d be scared not to give it that label.
To be honest, I don’t know what it is that 2Planets want me to do right now but within 20 seconds they convinced me that I should find out and do it. Aurally 2Planets are a burst dam in your ear canal, and the water is pure grime. T.Amore and Sublow sound like the spawn of M.O.P., conceived in the dirty dirty south and shipped over to Bedford, UK. The Crossfire production is big, hyped and almost drum ‘n’ bass sounding and can only have been designed to rip apart those speakers that come as standard in your mums Toyota Yaris. If you are weird enough, to put it plainly, to try listening to this quietly then you will discover that it is intrinsically loud, it is in its nature to smack your eardrums at any volume.

M.O.P. – ‘Live from Ground Zero’

I might as well carry on with some more certified bangers and who better to choose than M.O.P. I’m not sure what relevance, if any, this has to 9/11 but to quote Lil' Fames first words this has ‘funky beats’ and his ‘dope beat rhymin’ make it so simple’. So now you know. Also this is ‘the showstoppinest rockinest,non-stoppinest poppinest’ track ever…possibly.

O.K. who’s up next?

Bubba Sparxxx – ‘Heat it up’

It’s the most slept upon most under-rated and probably most interesting MC in the south. I’m not much of a fan of the southern sound; it’s not their accent, more the choice of beat. I can’t stand the double time, ear piercing tinny hi-hats and the overuse of synths. Bubba chooses more varied beats - I’m definitely a fan of the more country sounding guitar led tracks but this one is just straight up…er…heat. You wouldn’t be wrong to liken it to Lil’ Jon’s remix of Terror Squads ‘Lean Back’ with the flute loop, hand claps and bass drum being the major components. The difference being that even Bubba’s party raps are more intelligent than the bulk of the mainstream club fodder that you hear in the ‘other room’ in your local lava and ignite.

Bigg Steele – ‘In & Out’

Have you ever been to the dentist and had to have cotton wool swabs in your mouth? Bigg Steele has and he forgot to take them out, also in post production they seem to have taken down the pitch of his voice. Maybe that’s just his real voice. A heavy, unrelenting beat that has more than one loop drives this track and I’m pretty sure the chorus only came about because Bigg actually needed to catch a breath or two before he begun his next onslaught of thuggish utterances. The reversed drum loop that kicks off the third verse is the icing on the cake for me, those four bars just leave me feeling satisfied, safe in the knowledge that those drums will always be reversed and that I can always listen to it again.

The Game – ‘It’s so hard’ (I made that title up)

What with my dislike of southern hip hop I kinda shot myself in the foot with the last two tunes. Here’s a nice piece of westcoast rap from our home slice The Game. This man is single-handedly heralding in a new rap sub genre; I like to call it ‘fan rap’. And yes, he does mention Dre, of course he does, he loves the bloke. Henessey, jail, pistols, hoodrats, snoop de villes and NWA - subjects of choice for any commercially viable rapper are all covered here, oh and Dr. Dre. Craig David’s ugly brother provides the second verse - I don't like Bank$ on the whole but he rides the beat well with a strange, snappy emphasis on the 13th beat of each bar. The beat is just so good that the quality of the rappers doesn’t matter that much.

Karl Hinds – You don’ know

‘In this industry mans get used like roll ons…NEVER!’
Back to the UK again and K Dot H steals the intro off ‘Public Enemy Number 1’ and manages to continue it into an entire banging track. Woo! This track is for those who ‘don’ know’ (his spelling) and by the end you know that he likes shouting lyrics in a likeable high pitched London/Patois kind of accent. Also check out his ‘Don Gramma’, it gives the meaning of UK slang words (A condom is a rubba), a bit like the late Big L did with ‘Ebonics’. And now, on to the underground…

Aesop Rock – ‘Fast Cars’

Yeah! Def Jux alternative kinda guy Aesop Rock raps over a nice steady beat and talks about ‘scrubbing piss with a toothbrush’; all totally listenable and lovely. I don’t know what he’s on about cos it’s not really about fast cars, danger, fire or knives but every time you listen to it you can pretend he makes sense and feel smug that you are listening to something that could be construed as clever and intelligent, that’s what we all like isn’t it? It’s cool to listen to music like this because it’s not gangsta rap isn’t it? Yes, it is, but no-one knows why.

Here’s something new for you, something somewhat more head noddish and, let’s not beat around the bush, something more Albino.

Brother Ali – ‘Truth is’

Brother Ali is apparently an Albino Afro-American (please don’t hate on me if I got that wrong) and he has a nice flow and a good ear for an appealing tune that is a totally finished product. And as I have made a habit of quoting lyrics, ‘I want more’, I really do, I want his new album ‘The undisputed truth’ and like he says ‘Hot songs are supposed to be the voice of our soul’, it’s good to hear a rapper doing what they claim to be doing.

So we’ve had UK, southern, westcoast, underground and for the last track we really go underground…to the grave actually. Hip Hop’s obsession with the deceased has resulted in the recent posthumous hype of J Dilla. To be truthful I’d never really heard of him before and so I thought I’d check him out. The hype is justified and I certainly want to add ‘Ruff Draft’ to my CD collection where I can stash it away next to Pac, Biggie and Big L…oh and the Run DMC album I cut into thirds. Anyway, this track is nice, probably due to the sample, but sampling aint always easy.

That’s it I think, but I just had a thought, dya remember when Westwood got shot? Haha, that was funny. If you think I’m cruel then check out the DVD that came with ‘This is my demo’ by Sway, witnessing wigga Westwood slapping the camera and ruining biggz’z’z rap leaves you wishing that the ride by shooting had been successful. Drop the bomb….!

Brother Ali - Truth is

Karl Hinds - You don' know

The Game - So hard ft. Bank$ & Balance

M.O.P. - Live From Ground Zero

2Planets - Do it now

Bigg Steele - In & Out

Aesop Rock - Fast cars

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

This week's CD

Most weeks I make a journey to Birmingham and back, which gives me two and a half hours each way to listen to music uninterrupted. Most weeks I make a new CD of downloads or songs I haven't listened to for a while that I love and sometimes I pick out CDs that I just haven't listened to much. Since these mix CDs are a pretty accurate record of what I am listening to currently, I thought I'd put them on here for others to (possibly) enjoy.

RJD2 - Beyond the beyond
Hmmm...if you know RJD2 then you'll know this is typical him: a Hip Hopish broken beat with musical melodies and sweet voices singing. No rapping - Aceyalone ain't here on this one, although do check that collab out.

DJ Vadim - I got to Rock ft. Zion
Nice beat, nice laid back westcoast flows. Good Hip Hop.

!!! - Heart of hearts (The brothers mix)
Dirty funky electro beats... it's a good job that it's long, cos I want as much of it as possible! Oh, and you probably know, but it's pronounced 'chk chk chk', not 'that band with three exclamation marks'.

Leo Roy - Pound for Pound

Gruff Rhys - Gyrru Gyrru Gyrru
Singer from Super Furry Animals makes a fun song in another language that you have to sing along to.

Jason Mraz - Wordplay
Don't know who this fella is but I like this song and what it's all about. You can't go wrong without a few oohs and ahhs, but Kaiser Chiefs take note: you can overuse them!

Hadouken! - That boy that girl
Zane Lowe played this as my car radio turned on when I took a CD out and I carried on listening. Heard it played at Club NME a week later. I like the song and the sentiment.

Maximo Park - Our Velocity
Great band keeping it real with their accents. A more mature song from the Geordie band's new album.

The Notorious BIG - Party and Bullshit (Ratatat remix)
"I was a terror since the public school era..." Ten years this month since 25 year old Biggie was shot. His legend does live on, without wanting to sound too melodramatic. Great remix from Ratatat - check out their other stuff for more of the same (minus Biggie lyrics).

Just Jack - glory days
Saw Just Jack live a few years ago supporting French Hip Hop group Saian Supa Crew. He had a live band and his 'The Outer Marker' material impressed me so much I bought the CD on the night. Although a bit more radio friendly now, this reminds me why I liked him first.

Calvin Harris - acceptable in the 80s
Bit of Radio fodder here, but ear pleasing nonetheless. Listen to it now before you hear it so many times that you hate it. I don't listen to the radio so I'm OK.

The Shins- A comet appears
A nice way to finish off the CD.

Now I'm off to burn myself a new version of this CD, as I just scratched mine by using a sharp permanent pen. Grrr.

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Klashnekoff - Lionheart: Tussle with the Beast

Klashnekoff's 'Focus Mode' mixtape left me wanting more, whilst at the same time feeling content that I could also just hit the play button again. 'Lionheart: Tussle with the beast' is The Black Russian's first full-length set and is exclusively produced by Joe Buhdha. Klashnekoff is one of my favourite UK artists; I feel I can trust him to bring out something that I will enjoy listening to, and I bought this on pre-order on the strength of that.

So, what's Klash like once his music is translated into album format? Impressive really - you can't expect another 'Murder' or 'Jankrowville', but the way the album flows is good, although I've never been a fan of skits.

The track that stands out to me, the one I would skip to, is 'Sayonara' with Terra Firma (Kyza and Skriblah). Thankfully, this was recorded before Kyza's departure from TF. He spits pure fire over the piano driven loop. The three had a real group dynamic; cadence, voice and flows complementing each other well. This track leads to 'Bit by Bit' via some skit, which is another more classic sounding Klashnekoff track and more heat.

I could mention other tracks here, as I pretty much enjoy listening to all of them, but look out for the funky beat of 'The Revolution', the laid back reggae styles of 'Refuse to Die' and 'Bun Dem' featuring Capleton, or the rowdy 'Terrorise the city' with none other than Kool G Rap. 'Can't you see?' is a banging street anthem and 'Make P's' showcases Klashnekoff's thoughtful lyrics well.

One track I would advise you to skip would be 'My life', which has some lovely melodies going on, but the part of the beat that has been looped doesn't quite convince me that it's a whole product; rather that there are two separate parts, a good bit and a bad bit! Chances are, you will have heard the story told here anyway (every rapper seems to like to tell us their life story with their own twist). To be fair, Klash does talk about some negative experiences with positive and mature hindsight.

For a Klashnekoff fan, nay, a UK Hip Hop fan... make that just straight Hip Hop fan, this won't dissapoint - for me it's quickly become an essential. The US should hear this. They're not producing much at the moment that shows as much diversity, and most sets from across the pond are not ones that I can listen to in one sitting.

It's the K, lash your rassclart neck off...

Friday, 9 March 2007


Here is my new blog, inspired by other blogs that have inspired me. I've been listening to loadsa good music recently courtesy of blogs - they are the future. I don't intend the downloads to bankrupt artists, but rather to gain them a little more exposure. Mp3 will probably only be available for limited time, so if you like something, buy it; if you don't, delete it.