Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Silent Soundz

Silent Soundz is a label whose output is so consistent that I just wish I owned their entire back catalogue. The label is the home to some of the UK's best Hip Hop artists and the mix CD that came free with HHC a few months ago really proves my point. This is a CD to put on replay. It features tracks from all of their big album releases (past and upcoming) including Verb T and The Last Skeptic's 'Broken Window' (an amazing album, watch this space), Verb T and Harry Love's 'Bring It Back To Basics' (Yes, he's a busy man), Blind Alphabetz' 'Luvolution' (a good album) and Yungun and Mr Thing's 'Grown Man Business'. It also features loads of the tracks that were released as part of other projects. The CD really is a very generous slice of what Silent Soundz are all about; they're all about GREAT Hip Hop.

I'm not going to just wax lyrical about this CD as a whole, anyone could make that up. Here are my favourites:

All tracks on here by Brotherman are purely delightful but one grabbed me so hard that it stands out a mile; 'Who Knows What'. When the first 4 bars of a rappers verse are this awesome, I have no option but to be their captive audience, these are honestly some of the best lyrics I've ever heard. Who knew rapping about C-sections could be this lyrical and this beautiful; they are a perfectly painted picture: "I was born Ceasarian section, this first thing I saw in this world was a weapon//A blade cutting a line of light in the heaven, severing the life line on which I was depending". Enough said.

First Man produce some bangers for sure but the one that caught my attention was the track with Ayak. It's not common for me to feel a track with a female MC this much and all credit to the label for making this happen. Ayak is an MC and singer who also featured on Hi-Tek's 'Hi-Teknology 2', if that doesn't give you some inkling of her prowess then check this track: 'How I Feel'.

Blind Alphabetz put out a quality album last year and one of the tracks from that is the Kyza featuring, Beethoven sampling 'Concrete Lands'; a righteous and urgent yet chilled out piece of thoughtful Hip Hop.

Yungun was one of the first UK MC's who really grabbed my attention after I borrowed his album from Lancaster library (whoever was in charge of their CD library is a legend). A snippet of 'Spitfire Pt.2' from 'Grown Man Business' is included here and Mr. Thing's beat is a joy to behold, not to mention Yungun's oh so lovely flow. 'Jackin' 4 Breaks' is also just perfectly grin inducing. Yungun nimbly skitters over big tracks by Jay-Z, Biggie, Snoop, Nas and others, switching up his flow to mimick (but in a very original way) the MC's who first rocked the beats.

As I've already mentioned, Verb T and The Last Skeptic's album is brilliant and one of my favourite tracks from that release is 'March' which features Sway and Kyza. Verb's lyrics here are excellent and the two guests bring their own thing to the table; it's one of those collaborations when you can actually tell there are 3 different and original rappers on the mic.

Keep watching this label if you are a serious Hip Hop fan and acquaint yourself with their history too, what better way to do this than to listen to the excellent mix CD?

Yungun & Mr Thing - Jackin 4 Breaks.mp3
Yungun & Mr Thing - Spitfire Pt. 2.mp3
Session & Brotherman - Who Knows What.mp3
Blind Alphabetz - Concrete Lands ft. Kyza.mp3
Verb T & The Last Skeptic - March ft. Sway & Kyza.mp3
First Man & Ayak - How I Feel.mp3

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

10Shott Press Release Party

Look out for our report on this! A Di Real!

Monday, 25 February 2008

Mocambo Funk

This little gem came to my attention this week thanks to Fat City Records. It's a finnish funk cover of 'The Message' by Melle Mel, one of my favouritest ever tracks, and it sounds like it could be the flippin' original. I mean, it could be that Melle Mel's producers just robbed the tune and made it electro. This is just so dusty and crunchy...just how I like my funk biscuits.

I checked out the record label's myspace who put this one out, they're called Mocambo and are in the business of putting out quality modern-but-classic-sounding funk 45's. I loved all the tunes they had on there so I wanted to share them with you, they're only low quality and I'm sure these sound so much better on vinyl - can someone please buy me the whole lot? Mocambo? Wanna send me some?!

Mocambo Allstars - Free Vibes part 1.mp3
Mocambo Allstars - Swamp Strut.mp3
Mighty Mo and the Winchester 7 - The Next Message.mp3
The Bacao Rhythm and Steel Band - Look a py py.mp3

Hail to the Teef

It's a crime that this didn't go on my blog the day in December I first caught wind and downloaded it. Teef is an excellent artist, one who combines all of the elements that make me love hip hop. He's humourous AND lyrical with his rhymes, yet he still manages to say something and everything to do with him is soaked in quality, recognisable artwork. When a whole product is this good, it is something you want to own. MP3's should not satisfy when it comes to Teef. Check out his video for 'Anonomous' too; it really continues the theme - great music and artwork formed only by pure original creativity.

Here are the tracks from the starter pack that you can download by clicking on the banner at the top.

Teef - Some road ft. Charlie Sloth
Teef - A Fools Bet
Teef - Standing rooms
Teef - Itch FM freestyle
Teef - Whipped

Check these and if you like them (and I'm sure, if you are a regular reader, that you will) come back soon to check a review of his latest mixtape 'Honour Amongst Teef vol. 3'. It's the release that contains the 'Anonomous' track and will be accompanied with the Honour Amongst Teef Brainbook. The illustrations in the brainbook are going to be a visual representation to each of the songs and the whole project is a joint collaboration with the clothing company Carhartt.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

New Braintax Album Coming Soon

I just robbed this off Suspect Packages, Disorda is lucky enough to be the one person everyone wants to tell about their new releases: "dropping on the 10th of March will be 'My Last And Best Album' from Braintax. Having relocated to Australia he's now setting things straight with his final release, well, let's wait and see if it really is to be his last release huh? We all know what retiring rappers are like, plus there's also a feature with indie band Reverend And The Makers in the pipeline. Anywayz, this new album is entirely produced by the don Colin Emmanuel and has collaborations with Steve Mason of The Beta Band, Daniel Debourg and Michael Caine, interesting stuff, and interesting times, nuff said..." (Disorda)

Sorry about the picture, it was the best I could find. I found it on who interestingly seem to have this up for download already.

Here are a few mp3's from his older albums:

Braintax - Antigrey.mp3
Braintax - Birofunk.mp3
Braintax - Escuchame.mp3
Braintax - Godnose ft. Taskforce.mp3
Braintax - Grip Again.mp3

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

The Eve of 10Shott... More News

10Shott's debut, full blown and highly anticipated studio album 'Groundbreaker' will be available on general release through all good record stores, and online in May.

10Shott is busy collaborating with US rappers Redman and Method Man and 10Shott will also be joining 'Wu-Tang Clan' for various UK dates later this year.

10Shott's debut single, with ZY Records, 'Memory Blank' will be launched, via digital download, on 03/03/2008. Sign up to the 10shott mailing list now so that they can remind you when you can go buy it. Next Wednesday 10Shott is having a record release party at the Jam House, Birmingham.

Go to 10Shott's website to see the new video for 'Memory Blank' and to check out more news. pictures, biography and music.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Vote The IRS for the Indy Awards!

Click on this link and take a minute to vote for the guys, they were the only Hip Hop act I saw on the list so if you are reading this, take a minute from your busy schedule to give these hard working lads the boost they deserve! I've voted (on all my different email accounts!)

Jahaziel Interview

A few fridays ago I had the uplifting experience of seeing Jahaziel live at Leeds University thanks to the Christian Union there. After a succesful show that saw many students (dressed up for Chav Night) wandering in to witness God glorifying Hip Hop, I got the chance to catch up with the man for a chat.

For people who haven’t heard your music, can you describe your sound and your message?

My sound I’d describe as hip hop really. I’ve got influence from all sorts of different music genres. On the album you got some reggae influenced Hip Hop, Rock influenced stuff, some soul, some R&B, so Hip Hop in all it’s different facets musically. My message is really a pro-live message, a message that encourages righteousness and positive living and Jesus Christ and his role in that.

Yeah that definitely comes across in the music, it’s not ashamed and I guess that’s a main aim for you.

Yuuup Yep. When I used to rap before i was a Christian I wasn’t ashamed of what I believed then even though it was wrong so how much more bolder should I be now I know the truth. You know you see guys out there, like, y’ know, to name a name, 50 Cent for instance. He says he’s a thug and he believes it and he says it like he believes it and im as bold as they would be doing what they do.

So you’ve talked about how different music has influenced you but you’ve got some kinda famous family, yeah?

Ah yeah yeah. My uncle Maxi Priest was a real big inspiration when I was younger. He was a popular reggae singer in the 80’s, early 90’s. You know, growing up and seeing him and being able to be in the studio with him when he recorded and other artists been down the studio, people like Shaggy and what have you. Seeing them gave me the belief that I could do something with this music thing. It started off as a hobby, I didn’t plan to be a musician but people said it was good so I carried on doing it.

So you’ve been involved in a few things, briefly, what have you done?

Yeah, my catalogue I guess is that… I’ve done a lot of remixes. In a space of about two years I was doing mad remixes. I was at a bit of a crossroads, I was a bit discouraged about how things were going financially so I figured, let me use my talents to try to get paid. My mind wasn’t really as settled as it is now that I will use my gift exclusively for God. I hooked up with some guys and I started doing remixes, my name got around and I was getting phone calls from Sony and BMG to do remixes for the likes of Lamar’s first few singles, couple of joints with Craig David, I did a song with a guy named Raghav and Daniel Beddingfields album too, couple of songs on there.

Yeah we were always like, who’s that rapper on the end of there? Who is that?!

So yeah, I was keeping busy man but I got fed up of featuring on other peoples things and not doing my own thing. I said, let me focus on my own stuff and that’s when the album started to come together.

You were in ZionNoiz, you were featured on the Channel U compilation CD. I’ve actually got that vinyl. Were you on that track?

Yeah, ‘And What?’, I think I did the chorus on that. Yeah ZionNoiz; all friends. I kinda had to part from that because, to get an album done if you haven’t got a label behind you, to get an album done it’s more easy. I had to cut off a lot off other things to prioritise and focus on my album.

Cut off the hair?!

Yeah cut off the hair, went through a few changes.

When people in church ask me what music I like, I tell them I like Hip Hop but i think people are going to judge me for that. How do you respond to those sorts of opinions? I’m sure you must get it: How can you be a Christian and like Hip Hop? How do the two go together?

It’s difficult to separate the art form of hip hop, the music side of it from the negative that is associated with the culture but nevertheless they can be separated. Just like I can look at a drawing and appreciate the persons artwork. I can listen to a sogn and be able to appreciate good craftsmanship, good guitar playing or good mic skills or whatever, I can appreciate all of that. But because hip hop is closely associated with so many negative things: violence, the love of money, derogatory terms for women and stuff like that. Especially the hip hop culture, I say that cos that’s where I’m from. I do find it difficult to separate the two. Nevertheless it’s a style of music that comes naturally to me. It’s what I enjoy, I like the rhythm, I like the style of expression. There’s ways you can express yourself on a rap song that you can’t do in another way. I don’t hear songs that make me wanna tear down satans kingdom, I hear songs that make me wanna worship God, great and Hip Hop can do that too but there’s a useful energy and passion that you can express through it. So, I don’t knock people who say I don’t agree with Hip Hop whether it’s Christian or none Christian, I wont argue with that if that’s your opinion. I’m trying to use my talent to glorify God. If I could preach, I’d preach. If I could sing, I’d sing. I rap, that’s all I do.

Yeah, it’s God’s gift.

It’s not for everyone. Maybe those people in a church they wouldn’t appreciate the album anyway cos it’s not their style of music. But then saying that, the amount of people who’ve come to me after a show and said ‘You know what? I don’t even like Hip Hop, I don’t listen to Hip Hop but I really appreciate what you’re doing and I really like it’. So maybe they’ve never come across Hip Hop that’s been inspiring, motivational and encouraging. Maybe when they do hear that, they’ll be like ‘Whoa. I have to rethink my opinion’.

This question is more related to Hip Hop. What are your thoughts on the state of Hip Hop with Nas saying Hip Hop is dead and the reaction to that? Talk about that from a secular point of view or a Christian point of view. How do you think about it? We can’t separate the two anyway.

Yeah, the state of Hip Hop is that there is a need. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I’m totally cool with a none-believer expressing their thoughts and opinions because I expect them to show the same respect to me. However, there seems to be a predominate culture within Hip Hop of a certain way of thinking that might not relate to the way a person genuinely think but just what sells records. Let’s say for instance, a guy like Snoop gets up and raps about hoes and bitches but then goes home to his wife. So the values that he communicates are not necessarily the ones he thinks and believes. I think that’s the problem with Hip Hop. It’s cool to promote drugs, even if you’re not a drug seller, still talk about drugs. Even if you’re married, still call women bitches. Even if you’ve never had a gun in your life, talk about violence, talk about guns. And I think that’s the problem with Hip Hop. If it was somewhere like a speakers corner, where everyone is entitled to share their genuine thoughts and feelings I think we’d get a lot further. And I think back in the day that’s more what Hip Hop was about but now it’s kinda come down to this. There is such a great need for people like us to show an alternative to the young people, to be a voice within Hip Hop, the culture, saying ‘Hey, you don’t have to be a gangster or a pimp. It’s not cool to be dumb. It’s not cool to be a thug’. Not a lot of people like that, some people think ‘ah, you’re whack’ but I’m providing an alternative and I think that’s important.

From the style of the music it’s obvious that you’re trying to provide an alternative. How do you use your knowledge and experience in a positive way?

You can learn thing either through teaching or experience. I learnt mine by experience. I’ve been down a lot of the roads a lot of young people wanna get down. I can testify that the bible is true, that the wagers of sin are death but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. I can say that not just cos it says that but because I’ve experienced that. The bible says oh taste and see that the lord is good and I’ve tasted and seen so I’m on a track trying to say ‘Yo, this is where life is at and those dead end roads they’re telling us to run down don’t lead where they tell you they lead to’. It’s a narrow path that leads to life and I just use the mic and use Hip Hop as an opportunity to share that with people. The kids, I don’t know what it’s like in Leeds but in London, it’s a big thing, lets say for instance; violence. To resolve conflict with violence is just standard. If a guy says or does something to you, you resolve that with violence and if you don’t you’re an idiot. But Jesus gives a different way of thinking, having been down that road trying to be tough and ending up in situations where, but for the grace of God, I could be in prison now. I talk about my experiences, I don’t people to think I was born a Christian and I’m perfect, I made mistakes, I still do. I try to share that.

Do you think it’s essential to have testimonies like yours?

You need every testimony. Wherever you’re coming from there’s someone who can relate to you. It’s real important that you be real about everything. As Christians, it’s important we share victories and difficulties and challenges. The bible says there is no trial or temptation that comes to you that’s not common. You might think I’m the only person going through this, every other Christians got it all together but chances are, they’re not just bold enough to talk about it.

I guess it all comes down to Jesus’ command to us to all be out there on the mission.

Absolutely bruv. And everyone has the ability to affect their surrounding. If there were a hundred levels and you’re only on level two, there’s someone on level one who can do with your help, there’s always someone you can help.

Well, we’d better wrap it up. Is there one verse you just want to share with us from the Bible?

I can share verse that I’ve been thinking on. ‘In a great house there are many vessels, some for honour and some for dishonour. If a man therefore then cleanses himself from that unclean thing he will be made a vessel unto honour, fit and ready for the masters use, prepared for every good work’ and I just encourage anyone who is a believer to strive to be a vessel unto honour. Not just to warm a bench but to be used in some capacity. Whether it’s like you on a computer or me on a stage, let God use you and affect this world, man.


Jahaziel's Website
Jahaziel's Myspace
ZionNoiz - & What
Jahaziel - Power
Jahaziel - Jesus


Saturday, 16 February 2008

Life - Outside Looking In Album Review

After just one or two minutes of listening to ‘Outside Looking In’ Life’s voice is instantly recognisable as THE sound of Phi-Life Cypher. In the same amount of time Life and Nappa set the tone for the entire CD; this is an introduction in the truest sense of the word.

Lyrically this album has something to say; actually it has lots to say. Serious topics such as first hand experience of our prison system, religious misunderstanding, war and peace, the devil and money all come under Life’s thoughtful microscope. The spiritual and political musings of rappers are usually ignored; they generally are half formed ideals or opinions that serve no purpose. Life is an exception; credible arguments and reasoning prove that these are issues he is serious about. If you were looking for an album to have a mindless party with, then continue your search, this CD deserves deep thought

It’s not just the content of the lyrics that is great; Life’s poetical-but-not-contrived rhymes are jaw dropping and his energetic delivery flawless. No-one raps quite like Life and having originality and uniqueness scores many points in this saturated world of rap.

Not a single beat on this CD can be faulted; DJ Nappa is a wizard who works his magic with what I imagine to be endless crates of ultra-sample-able vinyl. Soul and Prog-Rock seem to be the main ingredients for a spell binding, soulful yet very heavy, array of beats. The close partnership of Nappa and Life is evident; it’s easy to see how Nappa’s beats have prompted Life’s heartfelt lyrics and (probably) vice-versa. This CD furthers my conviction that working with one main producer really does proffer great results. The bonus CD is a collection of 28 classic, re-worked and exclusive Life instrumentals produced by DJ Nappa and Mr. Thing and is perfect for all those aspiring MC’s out there who want to write a verse to a Nappa track.

My only criticism is that scratched samples are used to provide a ‘chorus’ far too often. When Life does write a chorus, it’s pretty catchy (on Soldiers for example) so it’s a wonder that on this release he relies so heavily on Nappa’s collection of (often quite irrelevant) US Hip Hop acapellas. Typically a chorus gives a track a big chunk of individuality and as a result of the employment of the scratched samples some tracks lack identity and rely only on the strong lyrical content and beats.

Stand out tracks are ‘Bad Minds’, ‘Peace’, ‘Prison’, ‘Hands Up’ and ‘Right in Your Face’ but the album as a whole stands out from a mass of recent Hip Hop releases, it has been a pleasure to listen to a CD of this standard. At 20 tracks (plus 28 on CD 2) long any Phi-Life Cypher or Life MC fan will definitely feel like they’ve got their money's worth. ‘Outside Looking In’ will be available on Zebra Traffic on 3rd March; check out the Etch shop to get your copy.

Life - Bomb Propaganda (Clean)
Life - Hands Up (Clean)
Life - Peace (Clean)
Life/DJ Nappa - Sound of The Beast (Clean)

Friday, 15 February 2008

Official Sway Mixtape Download

The Dotted Lines Mixtape is now officially available from Sway's Myspace page or click on the image above. You will have to give your email address so you can be added to the mailing list.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Fourthly... some events

If you live in or near to Bradford then 'Get Cained' is a great chance to see loads of great Yorkshire artists do their thing live...and it's all for free. Brutal Artistry are also shooting Spida Lee's next video on the night so get yourself on there and see your face on Channel U!

If you are in or around the Leeds area on any of these days, come check out Diff'rent Strokes and support some up and coming artists and real Hip Hop.

And now... a competition

Politik are a group who basically just make really funky music with great artwork. Because of this fact, entering this competion will be one of the hardest things you will ever do!

Politik Mixtape Download Link

Bembe Segue and Mark de Clive-Lowe welcome you to The Politik Remix Album + Artwork Competition. We had a lot of fun making this album in London and Vancouver and now it's your chance to have a go at flipping it. We've uploaded remix parts for the entire album plus the original raw artwork.
This competition is open to anyone and everyone who'd like to have a go at remixing one (or more) songs from The Politik's debut album. The winning remixes will be compiled into the official remix album The Politik Remixed to be released on both physical and digital formats.
The second part of the competition is an artwork remix competition for the cover art of the official release. Download the original artwork by Joshua Mays and have a go at reworking it in the spirit of the Remix.

All entries must be received by April 14, 2008.

For more information, download links for all the files and the submission info click:

Hear the original album at

Next... some singles

Last week I was privileged enough to recieve, all the way from the US, a promo copy of Yea Big + Kid Static's latest single entitled 'Eatchyo Samwich'. The single is the first part of a series called 'FMSMPRC Presents...3 Inches to Paradise'. Each release is a limited edition of 100 copies, now that is limited so I strongly advise you to get in touch with them and get yourself one.

The 1 track, 3 inch CD (package between two slices of bread) is worth whatever you'll have to pay, the track matches up to it's exclusivity. The beat, even now through my laptop speakers, is heavy and the lyrics are mean-muggin' and sandwich related. No buttery flows here, just a straight up slice of meat. Sample lyric: "Hold the Bacon, We don't even mess with them killers//comin' to git us just because we makin' that lettuce".

The second single of the day is 'Blackstars' by Highly Rated. Slated for release on 3rd March this tracks rides the welling wave of tracks representing the artists heritage. The country in question here is Ghana, currently in the limelight in Hip Hop circles because of Sway (check his 'Black Stars' remix of Bashy's 'Black Boys') and in sports news because of the African Nations Cup.

Highly Rated are a trio consisting of Beckz Winter, Xploder and D.Dark. Despite all being previously known for their work in the grime arena, 'Blackstars' definitely crosses over into Hip Hop territories. The beat, produced by D.Dark is the stand-out component of this track, a beautiful violin melody soars between the more grimey but uplifting synths whilst chanted vocals finish the proud sounding instrumental off nicely. The chorus is simple but effective and if you're anything like me, you'll be singing along. The verses are nice enough, nothing special lyrically, but the MC's are more than capable when riding the beat. All in all this a well finished piece of work and worth alot of praise, it's definitly a track I'll listen to all year.

First up... some videos

The first video for you is a trailer for Bashy's 'Black Boys' DVD/CD double pack. It features some of the remix artists and is still on a positive vibe. Check Youtube and Myspace for more videos, especially the one with Skinnyman.

The second video is an interview by DJ Analogue in association with Leeds Hip Hop Scene with The Last Skeptik and Verb T. If you don't know much about either of these cats then spare less than ten minutes to get up to speed. Verb T has one of the best voices and flows in the UK and Last Skeptik currently has some of the nicest beats. I haven't had the cash to pick up their latest collabo but have heard tracks from it, the team up with Sway and Kyza being a favourite.

Also you should get the weekly podcast by The Last Skeptik, 'Dusty Crates Radio', where he plays good Hip Hop old, new and futuristic. His blog is here and this link does something about getting yourself the podcasts on the regular. And here is a link to the latest 'cast featuring Braintax, Manage, Ali Vegas and Kool G Rap among others.

Saturday, 2 February 2008


Wow! February 2008 came fast! I don't know what your view on Hip Hop in 2007 was; mine was on the whole a good one. If you were looking to the world of mainstream, big record label Hip Hop then you probably entered 2008 slightly jaded. The major releases of 2007 were dissapointing: 50 Cent pretty much proved he hasn't got 'it' any more, Kanye West still thinks he is 'it'; his ego spoilt his release which wasn't as good as his previous efforts anyway and Jay-Z, despite genius marketing moves and use/abuse of his position still didn't provide us with an album anywhere near as classic as The Black Album. If you looked just under the surface then there were plenty of good releases and most of you probably heard and bought at least one album that you will always listen to.

Many people will be looking to 2008 as some sort of saviour for Hip Hop. 2007 seemed to be a lost cause right from the very beginning but it needn't have been if hopes had not been set on the major releases. If the focus of anticipation had been directed to the more minor, underground releases then last year would have been more fulfilling for more people.

This year I suggest you look to music more local to you. The internet is great for hearing everything that's out there but it cannot provide the sense of belonging that music that is more relevant to you can. Yes, the US created Hip Hop, it is Hip Hop's homeland but there is very little I can relate to at the moment. The beats are not to my taste although I guess if I resided in the Bay Area I would 'get' the whole hyphy thing or if I was from Miami then I would like bass music, but I'm not so I don't. The lyrical content of much US rap has worn thin but what I do still relate to are skills and this is why there is still US rap that I listen to.

In contradiction to the last paragraph's opening sentence, if you are not local to the UK then you should be looking to the UK. Just as people can relocate, musical genres can too. Hip Hop lives on in the UK. So what can you expect from us in the coming year?

Life MC of Phi-Life Cypher will be dropping an album on Zebra Traffic in March. I'm surprised at myself for not mentioning this before but Phi-Life Cypher's album, 'Higher Forces', is one of my top 2 UK Hip Hop albums; it's awesome. Look out here for a review of the new Life album and an inteview with the man himself. Also, I really should tell you some more about 'Higher Forces' so keep 'em peeled for that too.

Silent Soundz is probably the only UK label giving Low Life Records a run for it's money. Their roster of artists is incredible: Skitz, Kool G Rap, Yungun & Mr. Thing, Verb T & The Last Skeptic, Blind Alphabetz, First Man Productions and Brotherman. The 3rd of March should see the release of Brotherman’s debut single - a double A-side called Heart of Dem/Bollox. April should then see the release of a double EP project from which will be two EPs sold separately that can be joined together to form one plush package. Together it is called The Dark & The Light (stay tuned here for more on Brotherman). SS are also releasing Skitz’s second producer album, the follow up to 'Countryman' which will drop in Q2. This is entitled 'Sticksman' and features most of the big UK emcees plus Masta Ace, Wordsworth and Kardinal Offishall. The Kardi single will be released in Q1, probably end of March. It is called Struggla and also features Rodney P and Skibadee with D&B remixes by Ruff Cut. Not only are they releasing these big UK joints but they should also be releasing “Long Live G Rap” by Kool G Rap in Q2, an album which features Busta Rhymes, Mobb Deep, Canibus, Saigon and Sean Price among others. Other than that they’ve got a digital only single from Blind Alphabetz, track TBC, which will feature a Jehst remix of Change as a bonus track. Phew...

Lex records are a label to watch too; last year they released one of my favourite albums 'Romance Ain't Dead' by Kid Acne and the much lauded 'Craft of the Lost Art' by Shape of Broad Minds. Previous releases include more of my very favourites - 'Ghetto Pop Life' by Dangermouse and Jemini, 'The Mouse and the Mask' by DangerDoom (now that's US Hip Hop I CAN listen to!). Although they don't have any UK Hip Hop releases slated for this year they are releasing a Khujo Goodie (of The Goodie Mob)/ Jneiro Jarel (of Shape of Broad Minds) collaboration. Guests on the album are the other big Dungeon Family members and it should be out September. A single, 'OPR8R' featuring Khujo Goodie is out this spring, with a UK tour getting sorted around the release time. Now that Ghostface has done his time with DefJam Lex may be able to finally release the Ghostface & Doom album and Indecision at Boombox Distribution tells me Dangermouse has a follow up album to 'Ghetto Pop Life' called 'Kill Your Heroes' which is apparantly a concept album about living a pimps lifestyle on a budget. Again I've contradicted myself but I totally trust Lex as tastemakers, if they release it and it's from the US then it's probably very relevant to the UK market. Also every bit of Lex artwork and packaging totally kicks bottom!

Other things to look forward to that I don't have as much information about are:
  • 'The Signature LP', the new album from Sway, is supposedly to be released in May.
  • Million Dan, the Demon Boyz UK legend, is working on an album release due for mid April (get the Suspect Packages re-issue of 'Recognition' now and check the Spektrum Ride/Mic Chek 12" for something a little more up to date.)
  • 'Food For Da Brain Second Serving' - the last one featured the cream of UK's rap talent so the next one will be big too with a posse cut featuring Skinnyman, Harry Shotta, Shameless, Foreign Beggars & Deadly Hunta being the lead single.
  • New Asaviour projects - check his newly released mixtape, buy 'Broken Ladder' if you don't have it and savour the great West Yorkshire accent.
  • New albums from Dented - not sure who, could be Foreign Beggars, Dr. Syntax, Skrein (possible their collabo - Skreintax), Stig of the Dump...whoever it is, it'll be good.
  • Bashy is releasing a DVD of all things 'Black Boys' related.
  • Wretch 32 is releasing his album: Wretchrospective.

Whoa, well I never intended to write that much but I hope that if you're reading this bit you're looking forward with me to at least one of the above releases . Here's to 2008 and good Hip Hop.