Monday, 30 June 2008

Mally Malcz - 'Under the Influence' Album Review

‘Under the Influence’ is a competently made album but ‘Train Strain’, ‘Late Again’, ‘Our Gaff’ and ‘Why’ are the only pockets of goodness in what is an album over-stuffed with introverted, drug/sex/alcohol/misery soaked tracks.

‘Train Strain’ is a comedic take on the tube experience. It’s bouncy, fuzz bass led production is amazingly catchy and bridges the gap between UK garage and Hip Hop. ‘Late Again’ is an amusing observation on having to wake up in the morning and Mally’s disastrously (and intentionally) bad singing fits the bill perfectly – it gives that really sleepy feeling. ‘Our Gaff’ is built around a rehash of ‘Our House’ by Madness and it extols the virtues of being grown but still living at home with Mum. Despite the apparent misery of the situation Malcz still comes with the funnies that I like him for (‘On the bed, my Super Ted covers’). ‘Why’ is a reflective, haunting but beautiful song covering knife crime, council estate life and life in general, his vision of his influence and the afterlife (‘I don’t believe in God but he might be hearing me’). These four tracks are all ones that I’ll listen to again, however the others don’t far so well. ‘Combat’ is not a bad track either.

A total of four tracks here are dedicated to drug talk and whereas our US counterparts usually boast of being the pusher, here we have too many insights into the mind of a user. Yeah, I love Cypress Hill, weed songs were their thing but those are the only weed songs I want to hear. I’m just so tired of hearing tracks about doing illegal substances. ‘Jo Snow’ is a more interesting take on drugs – Cocaine described as a girl, but again, that idea has been rinsed. Three more tracks are about a combination of girls and sex and frankly, ‘Senorita’ and ‘Love Game’ are disgusting. ‘Love at First Sight’ is better content-wise but whilst the production is uplifting, the lyrics are pretty basic. ‘Party’ and ‘Drink’ are the two drinking/partying songs as the imaginative titles suggest. They also contain liberal sprinklings of drugs and sex, leaving you feeling like you’ve heard it all before and reminding you why you actually don’t enjoy going out on a weekend. ‘Mally Malcz’ is a combination of everything that is bad about this album (see the last paragraph).

The press release claims that Mally Malcz and Joas have left their garage roots behind. Not so, they maybe in the process of doing so but at the moment they come across as a slightly more credible Oxide and Neutrino (just listen to ‘2 Stepz Ahead’ and compare it to this). As I said this is COMPETENTLY done and I’m pretty sure there are a lot of people out there who want to hear a lot of generic tracks about marijuana, misogyny and getting mashed.

If you can find a place to download this then I would absolutely recommend that you get ‘Train Strain’, ‘Late Again’, ‘Our Gaff’, ‘Why’ and ‘Combat’ because these are great tracks. When Mally and Joas begin work on their next project I’d like to hear a focus on some more original concepts, some more lyrical lyrics and whilst they should retain their tunefulness they should work on making the production that bit more Hip Hop if that is the market they are aiming at. They’ve got the business model right: Great artwork, physical product and internet marketing and they’ve certainly got the work ethic right and for a first effort there is a whole lot of promise on ‘Under the Influence’.

C2C Turntable magic

Those of you who are Turntablism fans will be shaking your heads right now as they see that I've only just caught onto the skills of DMC champs C2C. As you can see, the latest vid is 2005, 3 years ago! Anyway, if nothing else, their performances have stood the test of time and are actually pieces of music in their own rights - you can just listen to these French wizards whilst you chill on your hill.

2003 Routine mp3

Dizzee/Calvin @ G'bury

You know you've gotta love this: Two of the most relevant artists of today together on one track - 'Dance Wiv Me' (awful spelling I know). It follows the trend of British rappers using housey production to break new markets but SMASHES the opposition; it's the first legitimate, viable track of this genre and when everyone's tired of the craze, this will probably stand the test of time.

If you didn't already check out the Mitchell Brothers' 'Michael Jackson' (remix produced by Harris) then you should do. It's part of the evolution from British Rap to Nu-UK House Hop.

In nearly completely unrelated news: this ridiculous Malaysian guy singing 'Billie Jean' on Malaysian Idol.

And the live, acoustic version of 'Dance Wiv Me' at Glastonbury:

Reain - 'The Metaphorcast' Album Review

Reain thinks that rain (the wet stuff) is refreshing, I think it’s depressing. Thankfully Reain (the artist AKA Wha’s His Face) is not depressing. Here are 5 reasons why he is as invigorating as rainfall in the Sahara:

1)…and I beg your pardon for this being the first point, ‘Metaphorcast’ is less than 40 minutes long! Eleven, carefully selected tracks is enough for Reain to get his point across - other artists take note. Be more meticulous in your track selection, weed out the worst ones; they give a bad impression!

2) He leads by example. Not only does Reain not rap about the usual materialistic type stuff, he also doesn’t complain about people who do. ‘M.O.N.E.Y’ is the closest he comes to discussing the attitude of others to the green paper but it’s more a call to value the less money-orientated things in life. The rest of the tracks are just him doing his thing; showing other MC’s what it should be like.

3) His tracks are well varied. ‘The Rap Game’, compares Rap to computer games and at the same time name drops a ton of UK artists – a dual concept track. The production is on a soulful, head-nod, boom-bap, if-it-aint-broke-don’t-fix-it tip. ‘Dear Diary’ featuring Precise serves as an insight into the day-to-day thoughts, feelings and experiences of the MC’s. It’s an honest, personal track that many Rap fans will easily relate to. The production provokes thought and complements the lyrical content perfectly. ‘Carnival’, also featuring Precise, is a super-funky, fun-laden powerhouse that incorporates witty tag teamed lyrics. It’s all about a lad’s night out on the pull and is surprisingly tasteful!

4) He is covertly different. As a very well seasoned battle rapper (under the moniker ‘Wha’s His Face’), Reain does a good line in put downs and is very quick witted – just check his Jump Off battles. Somehow he has managed to channel this talent in to music as far removed from battle rapping as shopping for a pet rabbit is. ‘Beauty’, is well, beautiful. It reminds us to look beyond the ugliness of the world in order to see the goodness that is actually abundant on our planet. It’s not just the fact that his abilities are diverse that make him different – Reain has produced a body of work that is clearly Hip Hop, rooted in the classic NY sound but at the same time doesn’t feel like the same old, same old that us Hip Hop fans put up with usually. It may be in the production, the lyrics, the concepts, the delivery, the openness or a combination of any of these. Whatever his formula is, it works – it isn’t just the average Hip Hop CD.

5) ‘Metaphorcast’ is created for the enjoyment of the listener. The tracks are personal but carefully written, allowing the audience access to a peer rather than admitting them to stand in the presence of a deity. The accessibility makes it a pleasure to listen to. Although ‘Capital City’ spells out LONDON in the chorus (and you will be singing along to that, believe) it’s really just a track about YOUR place of residence and YOUR means of existence. Every track here is down to earth and real, I can’t think of anyone who lives a normal existence who couldn’t relate to Reain’s experiences.

Overall, this is one of the best CD’s I’ve listened to this year; it’s a joy to add this to my collection. This is purely good music. 'The Metaphorcast' is out on the 11th August (Mon Bidet) and you can already order it from a stack of places.

Certified Bangers: ‘The Rap Game’, ‘Carnival’ & ‘Capital City’
Top Lyric: ‘I bury a corpse in the same place that I bury the hatchet’, ‘I’ll spit an acapella rhyme on the beat that your heat skips’ & ‘I could say more than you if I performed a mime’ (Super Lyrical)

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Jigga does Wonderwall!

Oh man, Hova never could sing but the Gallaghers should certainly think twice before mouthing off again. Look at the response Jay-Z got! The crowd loved him! Hip Hop took the show this year a G'bury and it's success has secured it another 2 years.

Look, Jay-Z really does his thing here...G'bury is for guitars? OK so he brings an awesome band and switches from the (already rock guitar based) Rick Rubin production on '99 Problems' to a cover of 'Back In Black', if that's not guitar, then what is?! And again, check the crowd...ALL singing along.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Tinie Tempah

Two things reminded me to write this post: Seeing 'Hood Economics Room 147' in HMV whilst I was waiting to go get fitted for my wedding suit and the fact that my brother is going to Milton Keynes to see Jay-Z et al tomorrow afternoon.

Tinie Tempah has one impressive resume, for anyone, let alone for someone of his age. Often, press releases are full of tenuous details of collaborations and scraped together accolades but Tempah's is a different story. First thing is he's 19, he's got a track on a PSP game, he's toured with Sway and Dizzee. He made his video for 'Wifey' whilst studying for his A-Levels (you hear that kids?)3 A-Levels that is and is now considering applying to go to University (gasp). He has a full album/audio scrapbook on the shelves (see opening paragraph) and has been played on 1Xtra, Kiss and has been reviewed by the New York press.

More impressively he was chosen to record an anti-gun/knife crime track which led to him being featured on ITN, BBC and Sky reports about the recent spate/media obsession with street crime. Then there's the small matter of him supporting Jay-Z at the O2 festival this year...

'Tears', featuring Cleo Soul, is the single from 'Hood Economics Room 147'. It fuses Dance, Grime and Hip Hop effortlessly and is truly cutting edge. It's another example of the maturation of the more youthful of the so-called 'Urban' genres. Despite being a young 'un, Tinie has a very grown-up approach to both his music and the subjects he tackles. 'Tears' focusses on failing relationships and gives an insight into the British tendency to hide emotion. The production, by Davinche, is heartfelt and Ms. Soul brings that club vibe to this surprisingly up tempo lament.

'Tears' is released digitally on 4th August and is available physically on 18th August.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Last Summer Pt. 2

So, even though it's bucketing it down here, I continue to post up summery sounding tunes in the hope that the sun will soon return.

Many moons ago there was an English band called The Kinks and they made many a jangly guitar song with happy vibes and entertaining lyrics. One such track is 'Sunny Afternoon', a song with a moral - you can have lost everything you own but with a sunny day you can be content with the loss. This is a childhood favourite, particularly the line that goes "I've got a BIG FAT Mama, tryin' to break me".

OMC were a one-hit wonder. Their hit was 'How Bizarre' and I can remember the summer this reminds me of. We were on holiday and some older boys at the pool had a stack of CD singles and personal CD player with some mini speakers and they were playing this. It had been all over the radio too and it was a big song, it was at number one in a few countries. Its got horns, which makes it summertastic and it's kinda got a pacific feel to it.

'Blackpool Roll' is by the man, the legend; Mr Scruff. It's pure audio cheekiness and is a perfect accompaniment for almost any summertime activity, including going to Blackpool. It's hard to say a lot about this, if you know Mr Scruff you know what to expect, if you don't, expect great beats with personality and instant loveability.

The Insyderz are a Christian Ska-Punk band from the US. They made this track called 'Paradise' which is basically about heaven but it doubles up, yeah you guessed right, as a brilliant summer track...again, it's those horns and happy-time vibes.

What would summer be without 2Pac and 'California Love'? It would be nothing.Nil.Nada. In August, you have got to bump this and pretend that you too are fresh out of jail and that you can hear hoochies screaming. A song about one locality with world wide appeal is hard to achieve but that bald-headed thug from Cali did it with the help of Troutman and a vocoder and a bomb-ass beat from Dre.

OK. That's the next five, hope you're building up your collection, you will NEED this CD this summer.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Dizzee Live in NY

Just got emailed an email that contained a link for a full video of Dizzee Rascal's Webster Hall show. The American's obviously really love him, check out all the crowd participation. Thanks to the peeps at Baeble Music for this excellent piece of entertainment. Be sure to check out 'Track 9', it's 'Fix Up, Look Sharp' and he has that D>O>W>N!

If you're into your Def Jux then keep your peepers on their website as El-P live at the same venue is coming soon.

Last Summer pt.1 - Start Downloading now!

A great summer tune to start things of with is Ugly Duckling's 'A Little Samba'. This ridiculously over-the-top portion of mocking braggadocio always raises a smile, gets me dancing, rapping along and ultimately gets me into a summery mood. Even in the winter. It brings back that summer feeling even though I bought it in Iceland (the country, not the frozen food shop)!

'Summer Jam' by 'The Underdog Project' was on the CD last year because of my sister. She says it reminds her of a summer holiday with her friends to Ibiza and even though it is poptastically cheesy, grrrr, I can't help singing along and being bouyed by it. You know when it's really hot but there's a nice breeze? This song is exactly that.

Ahhhhh. Dodgy. Who remembers them? Indie-guitar-brit-pop at it's airy, youthful best. 'Staying Out For the Summer' is a brilliant tune, one that even in these days of Hip Hop obsession I love to play when the windows are down and the heat can be seen rising from the road.

'Daydreamin'' by Lupe Fiasco featuring Jill Scott. The original would do but if you can have more Hip Hop micky taking then why not? Lupe's raps are funny; harranguing the rap star stereotype and Jill's vocals are lovely and actually need to go and find some flowers to doze under after listening to this one.

One more for now...perhaps the most predicatable: 'Summertime' by Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. Even though NOTHING in this song represents any one of my summers ever, the tune and the feeling DOES. So that's why it's here. We can all dream about shining up our 64 and its rims, taking a ride down Sunset Blvd, picking up some honeys and then rolling to a BBQ can't we? 'Summer, Summer Time!'

Monday, 23 June 2008

Motown Goodness

I've been putting together a playlist together for my wedding reception (can't trust no other DJ) and have been listening to a load of disco, funk and soul in the process as I search through my records, CD's and hard drive. There is so much old music that is just so brilliant and Motown were a top class purveyor of such brilliance. I've chosen 5 songs that are just some of my favourites from the Motown back catalogue:

I bought this on 7" on one of my last charity shop crawls. I didn't really know the song before then but I love it now. It switches from a slow, sensual soul track to an uptempo disco track, the latter part has been sampled by Will Smith. There's some interesting history too; Ross didn't want to record this.

I love this song because of the Phi-Life Cypher track, 'Free'. The sample DJ Nappa actually used on that was from a the original version of this track by The Moody Blues. This version is great too.

Nuff said? Reminds me of Jackie Chan in Rush Hour. DJ Nappa has also used Edwin's 'Yeah' from this song. 'What is it good for?' It's a good question.

First brought to my attention by Monie Love and my dad tried to convince me the chorus was sung by a man. Obviously Monie Love's version was sung by a woman but the original, which my dad was referring to, was sung by a man! This is classic stuff.

Wow! What a track. My friends had this as their first dance at their wedding a few weeks back. That intro is just so forceful, it really is just pent up sexual frustration in musical form! Think I'll be having this at my wedding too in a few weeks time.

Hold tight for more posts including album reviews, some turntablism and any other random stuff that takes my fancy as I traverse the musical roads of life.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Hassel Real Hard

'I'm Hasselhoff' by Jargon. And that's it.

" many hoes even your grandmother loves the Hoff//They love the hairy chest when I take my buttons Hoff//wear my clothes tight so I can show all my muscles Hoff//Hi-tech gadgets that no other brothers got//Call my car up and make it start up with just my watch..."

Right now I love... Blues Collabos

B.B. King, Phil Collins & Eric Clapton - 'The Thrill is Gone'

Eric Clapton & B.B. King - 'Riding With The King'

Bruce Willis, B.B. King & Billy Preston - 'Sinner's Prayer'

My name is (beet) Hove (n)...H to the O V

Did you know that...

"Beethoven's Ninth Symphony may... have influenced the development of the compact disc. Philips, the company that had started the work on the new audio format, originally planned for a CD to have a diameter of 11.5 cm, while Sony planned a 10 cm diameter needed for one hour of music. However, according to a Philips website, Norio Ohga insisted in 1979 that the CD be able to contain a complete performance of the Ninth Symphony:

'The longest known performance lasted 74 minutes. This was a mono recording made during the Bayreuther Festspiele in 1951 and conducted by Wilhelm Furtwängler. This therefore became the playing time of a CD. A diameter of 12 centimeters was required for this playing time.'"

Thanks to Wikipedia for that gem and now enjoy Walter Murphy's (Irish by name, funky by nature) disco interpretation of Beethoven's Fifth - 'A Fifth of Beethoven'.

Kasha remixes Estelle

You should hear Kasha. If not only for his brilliant remake/remix of Estelle's 'American Boy' which is entitled 'American Girl'. He takes off Kanye's lazy slurring brilliantly (uh-ohh that was lazy -x2 brilliants, ah well) but adds his own precise delivery to the mix.

He also has an EP in the pipelines called 'Wildheart' and you can hear the title track of this here. He's also done a track inspired by Rick Ross' 'Hustling' also called 'Hustling' (that's the second take off of that I've featured this week). The boy's got skills for real so dip your toes.

He's also just recorded a track named 'You Have A Choice' as a theme song for an upcoming, anti-knives-on-streets event held at the Emirates Stadium. This is an issue I have some views on so expect a post soon about the UK media's latest pet topic - knife crime. I can't say too much right now but the point is, the government are getting it all wrong - no surprises there for some people but I am not usually of that opinion!

Monday, 9 June 2008

Bubbz aka Chief!

Bubbz (Yeah, me neither) has got a new tune out. It's called 'Money' and it does start off with money sounds like the Pink Floyd one, but from then it's something altogether new and fresh. This guy has toured with Sway and you can tell why, although he's not a copycat they belong in the same bracket of Nu-Brithop (did I just invent a new sub-genre name?).

Bubbz doesn't exactly bemoan the fact that he has no money but in a light hearted way, he stipulates that a fatter wallet would be nice. The chorus is on the double time, whisper tip and is really honest; 'I'm a fiend for the money, dreaming of money'. The first line explains the theme well: 'I can't keep up the lies that I'm telling to my self//Look into the mirror saying I don't need that wealth'. We all need money and we all do what we can do get it. Word.

There's also a remix to fit in with the newest trend of rapping to dance music. It doesn't really give Wiley or Lethal B a run for their money but it's still banging.

You should also check out his last single which notably, loops The Cure's 'Lovecats'. It's called 'Be Easy' and is really good. Check out Bubbz's crazy dancing too.

Bubbz - Money
Bubbz - Money Remix
Bubbz - Be Easy

GTA's Second Single

GTA, of Oxford, are soon to release their second single, the title track from their pending album, 'The Way'. At the moment, you can hear a snippet at their myspace page or if you are lucky enough to be a student at Birmingham University (where Chima Anya studied), you can catch them live tomorrow (10.6.08) at Valefest (as well as The Anomalies).

Back to the lecture at hand: 'The Way' is a powerfully built juggernaut that many a MC would kill to spit over. The bass pounds, the horns riff, the lady sings with all her might and Ineff and Chima fully enjoy riding the production with some triumphant, 'We're the bomb!', type of raps. 'The Way' will leave you feeling up for it (whatever it may be); it's got a real motivational feel to it. If they do a video it should have a training for victory theme a la any film where the underdog works hard and comes out on top (see Rocky 4).

'The Way' will be out digitally later this month, watch this spot for news on where you can get your digital paws on that. And whilst your waiting, feast your lug holes on these:

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Mystro & Natural Born Spittaz

Here's a video for Mystro's 'Live & U Learn'. It's off his latest EP 'F.D.T.' which should be dropping soon on Beer & Rap. You can listen to 'Thorish' and 'The Truth' on his myspace page and you can also clap your peepers on the cool X-Ray artwork.

Also watch out for his Natural Born Spittaz collaboration with Jargon. Follow the first link for their blogspot (embrace the modern age!) and follow the second one for the quality 'Everyday I'm Hasselhoff', the hilarious take on Rick Ross' 'Everyday I'm Hustlin''.

You can click here to download a Natural Born Spittaz exclusive (or here for my own link) from 'Tip of Da Mysberg 2' on which they rap over a beat that's really annoying me cos I can't remember what it is!

Bashy's Adulthood Video

Combining footage from the forthcoming 'Adulthood' film, follow up to 'Kidulthood', with the normal music video fare, it's Bashy's latest track, called 'Kidulthood to Adulthood'.

Buff Nuff Video

Here's the video to Roots Manuva's loopy forthcoming single 'Buff Nuff', out on 30th June. Is it just me or does he look strangely like Andre 3000 in that get up?!

Friday, 6 June 2008

MicBeatz Radio

Click here to listen to a radio station who have no Lil' Wayne on their playlist. Only the bomb Hip Hop, the real Hip Hop from all nationalities but mainly US with a nice chunk of UK. You'll hear tunes you already like and tunes that you will start to like. It plays what you want to hear and informs you of stuff you've never heard before! Highly Recommended!

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

New Tracks from The Colony

The Colony, the group consisting of MC's Conspicuous, Willo Wispa, Grimlok and Sir Smurf Lil', have dropped us all a little gift - three to be precise. Off their forthcoming mixtape 'The Empire' come 'English Kids', 'Find a Way' and 'Understand' and these are available at their myspace page. The mixtape will be released on newly formed label ,Ottomanelfmusic.

The free tracks are great examples of how the UK is producing the real Hip Hop. 'English Kids' has a brooding, electronic beat with some chilling patriotic lyrics to match. 'Find a Way' is built around a good time soul sample and has that necessary summer vibe, the group chat intelligently and with lyrical dexterity over the beat. 'Understand' follows a similar template to 'English Kids' but comes as their statement of intent.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Summer's Shaping Up

With Summer showing it's face early at the beginning of May in Britain I got my yearly craving to create the perfect CD for summer cruising, BBQ's and step-sitting. Last year the CD was a beast and combined favourite summery tunes past and present (well, present at the time) but this year has to be something completely new. I may post up last year's tracklist at some point but for now I'd like to chat about how this year's is shaping up.

One of the main tunes features a group who have previously had a prominent track in my summer listening. You'll remember 'Aww Naw' by Nappy Roots, and I hope you remember it as fondly as I do. Well this year they've hooked up with Greg Street to bring us 'Good Day'. Any given day, you listen to this and I can almost vouch for the fact that you'll have a good day! This is the new 'It Was A Good Day' (from last years CD). Even the instrumental without the lyrics is just as if long evenings, cold beers and beaches have been converted to soundwaves and burnt to a CD!

The Game's new track is also going to feature. It's called 'Game's Pain', features Keyshia Cole and is bound to be a hit. I'll admit right now, I'm a proper fan of The Game, both his albums have been brilliant (just listen to his last one in the summer, tracks like 'California Vacation', 'Let's Ride' and 'Too Much' are custom-made for dropping your hood or at least winding your window down). This one is much in the same vein - West Coast Riding music that is ALL about the bass as The Game reminisces about Hip Hop's past. He also extends his name dropping beyond the confines of N.W.A although don't worry, they don't go without a mention!

Other tracks that shall certainly feature are 'Once Upon A Time' by Sincere and Natty, 'Futuristic' from Million Dan and 'Yesterday' by Atmosphere.

Associated Minds

Big up to Mayor from Associated Minds, the Welsh Hip Hop label currently impressing fans and journos alike with their roster of artists. He got in touch a few weeks ago and has since provided me with some goodies. And best believe, this is one email and package I was very glad to get!

One of the goodies was 'Metaphysical', the LP from producer Metabeats. This has been garnering great praise from all the big UKHH publications and websites and I only didn't have it because I'm really poor at the moment! It's an awesome album and I may follow this up with a proper review but right now I thought I'd let you look at the proper professionally made videos for two of the albums biggest tracks. 'Live and Let Live' is definitely my favourite track on the album whereas the video for 'F**k with Me' is an absolute killer - big up Ryan Andrews for these:

If those tunes tickle your fancy then get steppin' to somewhere that sells it and buy it! Look out for more mentions of Associated Minds, they're going to do all right for themselves! Here's a taster of what they do (these downloads also available on their myspace page):

Metabeats - Live and let Live
MudMowth - The Most Colourful Years
Beatbox Fozzy - Tuna Fish ft. Willo Wispa

Monday, 2 June 2008

A Party Jam For A Not Average Man

Not content with having the Canaries AND the beloved Delia Smith, Norwich now has Gordon Bennett Records (great name, I know) to be proud of too! (And yes, that's all I know about Norwich). It's their 'positive yet comical outlook' that reminds you that 'Oh yeah, Hip Hop's meant to be fun innit?!'

On 'Take The Sun Away', Diagnostik demonstrates the angle from which GB are coming: 'It's getting a little bit difficult trying to be original//Tasting the talented run-off and the creative residual'...well he kinda does, that second bit sounds cool but its the first line that makes sense to me: it's not easy to make good, original Hip Hop, it's meant to be hard but these guys have tried and have pulled it off.

Featuring artists with strange names such as Crow Stick, Purple Turkey and Chuck Dangerfield this cheeky compilation will appeal to those fans of all that Hip Hop coming straight outta Brighton, Norwich must be also riding and surviving off those good time vibes too. Raptilian provides us here with the ingeniously entitled track 'Pass the Parcel', I mean, who doesn't love Pass the Parcel?!

It's not just Hip Hop here, that oddly coloured poultry provides some breaksy beats and some comedy Scruff-esque type trumpety goodness. This really could provide you with a nice little soundtrack to a gathering of you and your mates (as long as you're not the average type of blokes/blokessess that is) and all you have to do is visit Gordon Bennett's website, send them a quick email and they'll send you a download link! Another Freebee CD for y'all to vibe wit' and meanwhile, try these for size:

Diagnostik - Take the Sun Away
Raptilian - Pass The Parcel ft. Mojangle, Microphile & RZ

Purple Turkey - I'm a Bassist
Chuck Dangerfield - Let It Be Done (Just Chill)

Wordsmith's '08 retrospective

For those who haven't been aware of what Wordsmith's (The American Wordsmith, that is) been up to so far this year and DJ Denox have put together 'The Mid-Year Review Mixtape'. Along with the trendy-cool artwork (take note those who are planning a free mixtape release - we all still love dope artwork). The press info tells me that it will 'keep your heading nodding for over an hour and some change' but I'm sad to report it wont. Because according to my itunes it's only actually 42 minutes something long. No bad thing really.

Anyway, Wordsmith has obviously been busy making some cracking music and is a dab hand at telling those stories that we Hip Hop fans love so much. The tracklist is as follows:

01. The Soulless Saint (Produced by Strada)
02. Grudge of a Madman Remix (Produced by Capish & Wodzu)
03. Danger Zone Feat. Black Knight (Produced by Professa)
04. Quest for My Existence (Produced by Professa)
05. The Missing Element (Produced by DJ Denox)
06. Dreamin' of Superstardom (Produced by Capish)
07. Scrapbook Vol. 1: The MC Years (Produced by DeMo)
08. Word's Signing Day Freestyle feat. Kontact & Black Knight
09. Above Average Status feat. RhymeZwell & Black Knight
10. The FunkBox Remix feat. Kontact & SoL, Black Knight & RhymeZwell (Produced by Capish)
11. Park & Ride (Produced by Strada)
12. A Psychedelic Side to Love feat. SoL tha Analyst (Produced by Street Level)
13. Diaries of Deception feat. D-Dub, Deedaman & Black Knight (Produced by Strada)

You can download yours here now but be warned, it's one of those all-in-one-trackers (hence the tracklist above).

And for your summer in the drop top on the way to the BBQ having just shined your paintwork needs here's 'Park & Ride'.
Oh and, 200th post!

Million Dan Interview

Certified Banger: There's not much need in recounting your musical past, everyone reading this will know for sure! We can start instead with you filling us in on the years between the Demon Boyz and 'Dogz 'n' Sledgez'.

Million Dan: The years between the Demon Boyz and Dogz N Sledgez were very BIG years for me. This period saw me develop into the artist I am today. Back in the day, myself and Demon D annihilated many shows and mash up many stages, but that time finally came when we said "It's time to crush this industry as solo artists!"

Let me give you a quick summary/History trip:

After we agreed to work as solo's, Demon D then flew to the U.S to pursue his career (as his flavour was Hip hop / RnB). I flew to Jamaica to check out that scene first hand - as my flavour was more Hip hop / Reggae.

At that time, my parents were in the process of building a house in Jamaica, so this was a perfect opportunity for me to go and see them, as well as check out 'Waa Gwarn' out there in J.A. I eventually ended up staying with them - period! This was the beginning of something BIG with me. Many Artists in the U.K hold the Jamaican and American music scene with very high regard (me included), so when I actually started 'sparring' with some heavyweight Jamaican mc's and Singers, Mike J/Million Dan began the next level of growth as an artist. This new journey was completely undeliberate, but fate had one SERIOUS course mapped out for me.

What followed was years of me working on the Jamaican underground scene then eventually Canada and the U.S. I was regularly performing alongside some of the biggest names the industry had to offer. Many of the big names knew who I was because they had repeatedly seen me BLAAZE up many shows, but I didn't record any material with them simply because I wasn't signed to any Record Labels.

During this time, I had to basically start my WHOLE career from the beginning. Start from scratch. Even though I had my big name and reputation in the U.K as part of The Demon Boyz, that big reputation didn't mean ANYTHING outside of Europe.

Fast forward to 2003. Whilst in Canada, I had written this new song, but didn't know what to call it. I was thinking "Get Up and Move" or maybe just " Raagh", or even "Dogz N Sledgez" etc. Anyway, I had started flying into the U.K more frequently and was working / producing on some new Million Dan track here. After I laid the vocals down for this particular tune, I called my bredrin - Dj Ras Kwame. I told him that I had an EXCLUSIVE for him....

The rest is history.....

CB: Many people might consider this a come back, is that how you see it?

MD: Yeh this is a comeback, but only as far as the U.K is concerned. I became quiet in the U.K when I moved to Jamaica, but in J.A I was making nuff noise. As far as the World goes, I've been rampant throughout - Terrorising the underground scenes of Jamaica, Canada and the U.S. The Mike J / Million Dan onslaught never stopped!

CB: All of your (very different sounding) singles from 'Spektrum' have been received excellently and rightly so. What mind set do you have when beginning to write something that you want to really catch on?

MD: I think first and foremost, the winning formula is always a BIG production and a MASSIVE hook. You gotta reel the people in like a fisherman does when catching fish! Yo, when I dropped Dog N Sledgez, the industry went 'BLAAOW!'. Exactly the same thing happened when I dropped 'Mic Chek' and 'Scream Out' and most definitely when we dropped Glimity Glamity' back in the Demon Boy days.

As far as mind set goes, you can't really dissect the process when you're making a hit tune. The most important thing is that the VIBES and the ENERGY must be right. You KNOW when you've just recorded a banger, you can feel it. The ultimate test is when you wake up the next morning and listen to the song again: If it sounds just as big, or BIGGER than the night before, then yehh, you might have yourself something special right there. Then you have to pass that all important test of playing the song to your peers (close friends and famz), they are the peoples who will really let you know if it's BIG. When I play my family something big, they would just laugh and start swearing words of abuse "Bombo Clart Milly....this is MASSIVE!!"

CB: What process do you go through when writing a song and what's the most important part of it?

MD: Different things can happen at the creation stage of a song. There's times when I get an idea for a beat/production first, then after building the track, I would then write a vocal for that track. OR there's the flip side, where I will come up with a hook first, then I would build the whole track around the hook. Or lastly, I would work the lyrical side and metaphors and build the verse FIRST, then I would proceed in building the hook and the production around that. This tends to be the way I always approach lyrics for a serious subject matter.

My forthcoming Single from my Spektrum Album is exactly that, a very serious track. Titled: 'Inner City Got Plenty Cases', this song talks about the 'Inner City and Ghetto's of London where I grew up. Constructing this song was much MORE about the lyrical, than the beat. Saying that though, let me shout out my brother [Producer] Jay Large for the production on this one. Absolutely Ssick fam!

CB: How important has the formation of 'Million Dappa Records' been to your success as a solo artist?

MD: The formation of the Lion - Million Dappa Records has been completely PARAMOUNT and at the center of my assault plan. When it comes to the Music Industry, I've been there, SEEN it, DONE it. As an artist, I've been signed to Major AND Independent Labels, toured the World and worked with many artists etc, so the time had come for me to finally step up and utilise all my knowledge.

MILLION DAPPA RECORDS saw the Genisis at the beginning of 2006. The most important factor was assembling a small team that had good or great experience in the industry. A team that would be committed and one I could TRUST. My MDR team are straight family to me. That's one of our strengths and the reason we do so well.

CB: There are a lot of genres of music represented on 'Spektrum', are these all genres that you actually listen to?

MD: I'm a fan of MUSIC. All music. I grew up on Reggae, then was adopted by Hip hop. As much as Reggae and Hip hop is me fundamentally, I like anything that sounds good. It could be Jazz, Rock, Pop, Latin, Grime, Classical, Dub, Dubstep - ANYTHING, as long as it sounds GOOD.

I grew up in a typical Jamaican household so of course we had the Bob Marley Albums and King Yellow Man Albums, but we also had the James Brown Albums and the Al Green Albums. Then when you add in the fact that I spent a LOT of my time around Sound Systems as a kid, you can see the diversity.

To appreciate real music, you must be able to tell when a song is heavy, regardless of the genre. Whatever style or sound that particular artist is trying to achieve - I personally can always tell whether it was a good, natural sounding attempt, or whether it was some half hearted money making attempt - with no soul. I would prefer to listen to a good jazz tune, rather than listen to a WAK hip hop song anytime - trust me!

CB: What are your favourite genres after Hip Hop and Reggae and what is the strangest type of music you listen to?

MD: Apart from Hip hop and Reggae, I'm a fan of RnB / Soul music. When I'm working, all I hear is LOAD music: Big basslines, big snears and big kick drums, so when I'm not working, I like to listen to a calmer, more passive selection. This is what I listen to in my spare time. I like slow jams, but only the good ones. Nowadays I think the quality of good RnB has deteriorated. Too many artists are worried about being commercial rather than just pushing out GOOD quality RnB. The same thing can be said about Hip hop.

The strangest kind of music I've ever heard was when I performed at the Electric Festival in Canada. After my performance, I went to another stage to check out the other groups. There was a Japanese group playing some weird head banging noise. I can't even say it was music! To enjoy that kinda shizzle, you gotta be taking some seriously heavy shit!

CB: Who has influenced you musically during the making of 'Spektrum'?

MD: To be honest with you - Nobody did. Whilst I was in the studio getting the Album ready, I was completely tuned into ME. That's it. I wasn't interested in what was 'in' or 'out' or the latest trend etc. I think it's important that artists sound like themselves and not a stupid imitation of somebody else regularly getting played on the radio! Influence is a powerful thing - truss me! Many rappers UNdeliberately start to sound the SAME because they're all influencing each other. Million Dan has always been tuned into Million Dan.

CB: What was it like working with people like Sizzla and MCD, people who are big and legendary in their respective games?

MD: It's always an honour working with a Lion or lioness at the top of his/her respective game/s. All of the artists featured on my Album are people I have a HUGE amount of respect for. There are names on there that people know and names that people don't know, but one thing they all have in common is their incredible talent. Artists like NIAMBI and Namouzoke alongside of course the great Bounty Killer, McD and Sizzla are just a few names. Let me plug this and tell all the readers tuned in to GO GET MY SPEKTRUM ALBUM. You won't be disappointed - truss me!!

CB: The artwork for 'Spektrum' harks back to 'Recognition' and you included 'Glimity Glamity' as the final track on 'Spektrum'. Is it important to you that your Demon Boyz days aren't forgotten?

MD: Most definitely. I'm proud of my Demon Boy history and if you don't know, GET to know!

DB were flexing during the original days. For me, I call it the GREAT era of Hip hop. We were rampant during the the days when groups like Public Enemy' and the 'Leaders Of The New School' to 'Brand Nubian' and Tribe Called Quest' were doing their thing. Yeh that was proper hip hop. REAL hip hop. To be a part of that era was big.

The Demon Boyz laid down our mark within the concrete foundations of this thing. Even though we were very young and still at school during most of the course of our Demon Boy career, we changed the game forever. Alongside London Posse and Hijack, we three groups set the trends. In a recent poll held by Hip hop Connections Magazine - the same three groups came in as producing the BEST three Hip hop Albums EVER recorded from the U.K - nuff said!

For the Spektrum Album cover, I deliberately wanted to copy our original 'Recognition' Artwork as a mark of respect. 'Recognition' was my Album DEBUT and 'Spektrum' is my SOLO Album debut.

CB: The Demon Boyz have been one of the most influential rap groups, particularly in the UK. Why do you think that was?

MD: I think it was many factors:

a) Our age. Being young is always a novelty in this industry - especially when you've got skillz!

b) Our Rap styles: At that time, everybody was rapping in a deep American accent! We simply MC'd in a more natural London style, blended with our Jamaican heritage.

c) Our backgrounds connected with the fans. We were straight from the ghetto, spitting ghetto lyrics about our surroundings. It was REAL and people liked it. Other rappers were spitting lyrics about New York and most of them hadn't even BEEN there!

d) Lastly, the speed of my tongue. The fact that I could (and still) spit lyrics at a very fast rate! People loved it on the songs and at the shows. Me and Skinnyman recently gave everybody a demonstration of that speed - at my Spektrum Album launch party at the Jazz Cafe [Sat. April 19th 2008]. Those who were there know the dilly - BIG TINGZ! I think footage can be still be seen on You Tube.

CB: What is your best memory of those Demon Boyz days?

MD: There were some HEAVY memories. Touring with the legendary NWA was one of them. We were on the same tour bus and lived closely with the whole crew for DAYS! DB alongside DR DRE, alongside EASY E (R.I.P), alongside ICE CUBE and MC REN etc. Demon Boyz and London Posse supported their British tour and every single show we did was absolutely HEAVY. The London leg was Brixton Academy....that show was KILLER, nuff said.

Another memory was when we toured Europe with Salt N Pepper. They loved our rap styles and we all got along like famz. Pepper was a big fan of the whole Jamaican reggae scene. Whilst on the tour, she had Jamaican sound clash tapes of King Jammie and Killermanjaro. The coincidence was - I went on the tour with EXACTLY the same tapes too! We would all be backstage listening to the legendary PAPA SAN and then spit lyrics over the bashment ridims on the tapes. If the Demon Boyz were American based, I KNOW a solid, long term working relationship with the two camps would have developed.

Lastly, I have to big up Chuck D and Public Enemy. They were extremely supportive of the DB too. On trips to the U.K, they would always 'Big Up' me and Demon D on the radio. They went on to giving us a shout out on their heavyweight Album 'It Takes A Nation Of Million To Hold Us Back' For me, that was one of the highlights of my Demon Boy career. To get a salute from a group like that was - and still is amazing...

CB: Is there anything that people don't really know about back then?

MD: Yeh, this is a good question! Let me quickly speak about Dj Devastate. A lot of people thought he was a part of the Demon Boyz, but he actually wasn't! He was only involved in our first DB Album, but then we parted company with him very soon after that. Our PROPER and official DJ, who ran with us for most of the duration of the Demon Boyz was the heavyweight DJ DEF K. A seasoned name on the world DMC battle circuit. Well known for terrorising all the other Djs who tried to step up! I still work closely with Def K to this very day - he's head of AnR at Million Dappa Records and STILL one of the best scratch Djs on the road right now!

CB: All of your tracks have such different sounds - part of the 'Spektrum' approach - is this something you plan to continue in your work or should we expect something different in the future?

MD: SPEKTRUM was a concept I had for a while. It means many things. A Spektrum of songs. A Spektrum of time. A Spektrum of Artists, featured from a Spektrum of different countries. Also, remember my recent mixtape is called 'INFRARED' which is also a real part of the scientific Spectrum. My next mixtape will be called 'ULTRAVIOLET' which will complete the series and complete that concept. I have another HEAVY concept for my next Album, but I won't give that away right now! Keep checking out my websites for updates on that one...

CB: To finish, any shouts or plugs? Any advice for the kids or knowledge for the grown?

MD: Yo, I wanna big up ALL my peoples who have supported me - past and present. One Love to you all. Have you ever heard the Orange slogan: "The Future's Bright, The Future's ORANGE?" Well let me tell you the latest one..."The Future's Bright, The Future's MILLION DAN and THE JUGGERNAUT MILLION DAPPA RECORDS- Crushing major labels to dust!!" Go tell you fren - fe tell dem fren, fe tell dem fren..." Come and check us out on the following websites:

Your support is blessed and always appreciated, so make sure you pass through...

Here is some advice for the young artists coming through: Before anything, you must have faith in YOU. In 2008 the music industry is a HARD place to succeed and the competition is fierce. Once upon a time in the U.K, there was an era when records used to SELL. During this period there was a lot more money floating around which was good for aspiring artists. Now the doors are much harder to kick open, so when you kick, you must kick HARD. Five things: 1) Build a Myspace page. Put your best songs on there. Try and put some thought into building your page and create it so it grabs the attention of the viewer. 2) Buy 100 blank CDs from any store i.e; Curry's / Argos / Woolworth's etc, then burn your hottest songs onto EVERY SINGLE cd. Once complete, make sure you write your contact details on the CD and don't forget to include your myspace page address. 3) Go along to ANY open mic sessions where you think Artists and Industry people may be hanging out. Grab the mic when you get your chance and MAKE SURE you spit (or sing) FIRE lyrics on that sh#t!! Following that, go and network your CD’s to who-ever may be present. Only go to the famous people OR to anybody who has given you some BIG talk!! You will find that a LOT of people in the industry will give you broken promises, but think of it like this: Out of 20 broken promises, at least ONE - MUST come through. 4) Keep doing this process for as LONG as you need to. 5) Let me say that again.... DO THIS PROCESS FOR AS LONG AS YOU NEED TO. 6) Nuff Said....Holla at me through Myspace in 6 months time if any of my advice has worked for you! O.k., Let me just say a massive LaaaRRGe up to Aidan and the rest of the guys for this interview! - Nuff Rizpekk! Keep supporting ya boooy... 1up!

Million Dan.