Sunday, 30 November 2008

'Certified Banger Presents On The Radar' - VA (free download)

Certified Banger, a blog (almost) dedicated to the art of Hip Hop in the UK proudly presents this 21 track compilation of some up-and-coming artists and their music. Taking in many different angles of UK Hip Hop 'On The Radar' attempts to bring some new music to your ears, all for the princely sum of nothing.

It features never heard befores, heard before but hard to get hold ofs and tracks already available on the respective artists own pieces of work. With 21 tracks, you're bound to find something you like, and for free, you can go much wrong by downloading it and giving it at least one virtual spin.

This compilation should appeal to Hip Hop fans and people of other persuasions alike, so if you fall into one of those categories (and I think you do), you should right click, left click, save target as with the quickness.

Once you have and you've heard it, be sure to keep coming back here for more features on, and free downloads from the artists involved. Check the 'comments' section in the song tags for the artists website addresses and give them a shout. Drop me a line at and let them know how you feel about this (wonderful) release.

Download a ZIP file


1. Queens English - Mind The Rap (produced by Skinnista aka Nu Balance)
2. Safron - Nightbreed remix ft. Kyza, Jehst & Klashnekoff
3. emceeKillah - The Guns of Britain (produced by Zoutr)
4. B'Tol & Jagos - Finish This (Rassclat Rappers) ft. Da Herbalis of FDB
5. JVF Clique - Those Dudes (produced by Pappa Doc)
6. Spee 69 - Lemonade (produced by Jay Large)
7. Grimlok - Magic (produced by Shears)
8. Revilo - Mr. No Names
9. TLG - Let Me Be ft. Reggiimental, Ras Supa, Biggaman,S.C, Joe Gutta & Rukus
10. Skillit - Talk of the Town (produced by Cable)
11. Conman - Streets Unsafe (freestyle)
12. Loudmouth - Real Talk (produced by Loudmouth)
13. Manny Moscow - You Can't Tempt Me ft. Shepherd
14. Size8 - Watchin Me (freestyle)
15. Skandal - Venom (produced by Chemo)
16. Truth - Been a Long Time (produced by Prolifik)
17. Late - The Villain Man (freestyle)
18. Antmysta - Taste of Ink (produced by Shadowville)
19. Beit Nun - The Music (produced by Illskilz)
20. Reps - Spit ft. Jid Sames (produced by OSTR)
Bonus Track: Uncle Dicky - Neighbourhood Star remix ft. Witchdoctor Wise

A big thanks goes to all the artists and label peeps who contributed to this, without you it couldn't be done - hope it's all helpful promo for you!

If you are an artist or PR or whoever and want your tracks on the next one, start emailing me!

Saturday, 29 November 2008

New Mr. Drastick - Coming Soon!


Friday, 28 November 2008

'Certified Banger Presents On The Radar'

Download 'Certified Banger Presents On The Radar' here from Monday 1st December!

'Certified Banger Presents On The Radar' is a 20 track, free to download compilation of UK Hip Hop featuring JVF Clique, Revilo, Spee 69, Jay Large, Conman, Safron, Antmysta, Loudmouth, Manny Moscow, Queens English, Late, Skandal, Chemo, Truth and more!

'Certified Banger Presents On The Radar' - a collection of free Hip Hop tracks from UK artist.

'Fly Baby' - Reachout (free download)

What's this? A non-UK track? Don't worry the (big) apple don't fall too far from the tree. 'Fly Baby' (click to download) is by Reachout, an artist currently residing in NYC but recently felt on these shores as a result of his production on 'Too Much Too Soon' and 'Well Alright' from Roots Manuva's excellent 'Slime and Reason' album.

This fast-paced track has a bright mexican feel to it, it's actually got quite a nice crossover appeal type sound, so who knows, you might hear this pumping on your radio.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

'The Menace' - Mongrel (video)

'Back Off Man, I'm a Scientist' - Kidkanevil (album review)

Kidkanevil, like any good scientist has experimented extensively, has produced a watertight thesis and is ready to prove it to you with ‘Back Off Man, I’m a Scientist’ (out now on First Word Records).

Kidkanevil, it seems, set out to prove that the bonds between modern, westernised music and traditional ethnic compositions still exist. He’s compounded and mixed elements of both and, quite organically, grown a hybrid form of music. Hip Hop is used more sparingly on this sophomore album, allowing soul, funk and electro to have more of an impact on the resulting concoction.

Immediately noticeable is the reliance on rhythm and percussion - a thread that runs throughout the album’s 10 tracks. Multi-rhythmic compositions form more than half of each track, many utilising more primitive drum sounds than the average release. The starkly contrasting electronic sounds probably should be out of place, but this is science, and you can’t argue with science – it works – Kidkanevil probably shouted ‘Eureka!’.

Stand out tracks include the raw soul opener ‘Stomp’ which features the singer of Kidkanevil’s band (Justin Percival of Stateless) and ‘R.I.P.’ featuring Leeds rappers Double D Dagger. ‘When I Dig’ is a neo-soul potion featuring Cali MC Blu doing a mockney accent and ‘Black Bug’ is electro/funk/pop of the purest form (if that’s possible!).

The title’s warning against hostility is absolutely unnecessary; no-one will be confronting him questioningly about this solid release. There should be no decision involved in buying this now, you’ve heard how good it is, go buy it!

Wolftown Wednesdays #3

Two tracks for you this week, both taken from 'UK Runnings Volume 4' as hosted by 10Shott and compiled and mixed by Tricksta.

The first track is by producer Juttla and is called 'London Underground' and it features Creamo, Foreign Beggars and P.A.C. - this one might just be eligible for 'Certified Bhangra' status!

The second track is a freestyle by Reload called 'Uphill Struggle' - gotta love this guys tone.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

'So Hard' - Blak Twang (video)

Free Pneumatic and Sloth Tracks

Pneumatic and Sloth are working on a new album, and so, to celebrate and promote they're giving away a whole raft of tracks from their last album 'Audibly Nice':

Monday, 24 November 2008

GreenJade release 'LIFE As We Know It'

GreenJade, London's 'premier Tru-Skool Hip Hop group' have just released their latest album 'LIFE As We Know It'. Best known for their 'Gunz Down' track - just a portion of their positive message based on Christian principles.

They're letting you have a few taster tracks for free (just click this link) and a few tracks from the album are also up on their myspace page.

‘Self Harmonic’ ft. Cage - No Pretense (single review)

Mury Poppinz and Bane of West Yorkshire’s Don’t Talk To Strangers supergroup have hooked up with none other than controversial US MC Cage and Leeds producer Eliphino to bring you and I ‘Self Harmonic’.

Accompanied by some sick artwork the track is swimming with haunting flute loops, plodding drums and bass and eerie lyrics. Cage sounds at home beside the Yorkshire lads; this isn’t just a pointless collaboration. The vocals evoke imagery of moonlit nights crawling with all manner of evil creatures – it’s on a straight ill-out tip; a change from the norm and a sure sign of some active creativity.

The newly formed Don’t Talk To Strangers record label will be releasing ‘Self Harmonic’ late December as a download single. That will be followed by a limited edition zombie green 7" vinyl release in the New Year (and if that doesn’t get your blood flowing, I don’t know what will – I love exclusive coloured vinyl!)

'The Audio Workout' out now!

Vee Kay's excellent album 'The Audio Workout' is out now and available to download at these places (follow the links):


and it'll soon be available at Suspect Packages too.

Sweatbox Sounds

Friday, 21 November 2008

Beardyman videos

'Happiness' ft. Krafty Kuts - A-Skillz (single review)

If you’re anything like me, these dark mornings and evenings a little depressing. If you go to and come home from work in the dark and have forgotten what the sun, no matter how cloud covered, looks like then this might be for you. It’s definitely for me.

The last time A-Skillz and Krafty Kuts kicked it they produced the awesomely funky ‘Tricka Technology’, a five star album if I ever heard one. This time round they’ve pretty much kept the same formula for their track ‘Happiness’. It’s perfect for sticking on after work on Friday, ready for a good weekend of celebrating nothing but life itself. It might even just make you forget that we’re going into recession and it will certainly have you dancing at the kitchen sink. Break beats, hand claps by the Kg, Elvis-ish vocals, hums and all manner of block rocking things make this one, more importantly, one for the clubs – the good ones anyway.

A-Skillz then teams up with Beardyman, who is in my opinion the best beatboxer in the country right now. ‘Got The Rhythm’ follows the A-Skillz template of party rocking breaks and is, as usual, a perfect mashup of Funk and Hip Hop. Beardyman lends some faux-James Brown call-outs, some of his awesome record reversal vocals and some outstanding trumpeting.

The last track is a Beardyman bonus and it’s chuffin’ awesome and hilarious – a sense of humour is now a requirement for any beatboxer, you have to hear this!
It's available right away at download-type places like this one.

'You Don't Know What Broccoli Is?' - Chopps Derby (EP review)

Out and out slapstick Hip Hop definitely has its place in our scene. Pitman went down well, most people liked Devvo and GLC had it for a minute (despite how much you tell yourself they didn’t).

This 12” from Manchester’s Chopps Derby (yes, it’s an alias) plays quite cleverly on the stereotype of a rap fan – ignorant people think it’s just chavs that listen to Hip Hop. In fact, as we know, it’s not just neds/charvers/scallies/townies who like Hip Hop but quite normal people like bus drivers and that.

The beats are what Hip Hop beats should be and the flows are everything flows shouldn’t be. Lazy, mumbled vocals take in everything that’s working class about the north – the character is flawless; it beats any Little Britain or Catherine Tate efforts. The five tracks on here are pretty irreverent, but I believe that’s intentional – this is Manchester after all.

If you fancy a good but credible laugh, then find yourself a copy of this cos it's raight funny, yeah? It might be tracked down here, at Gull's Trunk Records' website.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

'Back to the Hip Hop' - K.O. & OD Hunte

‘Back to the Hip Hop’ is a 4 track EP by K.O. and OD Hunte. Of the 4 tracks only one is bad; unfortunately, it’s the lead track and mission statement ‘Blow Up’ which is supposed to be a ‘commercial pop hip hop collaborative effort’. It is just that, with ‘effort’ being the operative word – when something tries to be heavy-hitting and fails it ends up even worse than a track made without that aim.

Thankfully things improve with ‘The Art’ – probably the best track on here. It’s a frenzied mish-mash of old school hip hop sounds topped off with some nice throwback style lyrics from K.O. ‘Be Like This’ is in a similar vein but is led by a nice brass riff that breaks down into thumping percussive beat. These are the two stand out tracks here where they do bring it ‘Back to the Hip Hop’.

‘I Gotta Go’ is built on a persistent, almost ethnic sounding, electronic bass line and riff with mounting organ chords and an auto-tuned chorus. It’s actually pretty catchy and original sounding although the lyrics are a little tiresome.

This is a nice little showcase of OD’s talent and the fact that not all the tracks appealed to me is probably in his favour – someone who likes other stuff will like them. K.O. has a little more to learn writing-wise but his delivery, flow and style is very on point. A good release.

'Hold On' - Jelluzz (single review)

Despite having a creased jumper on the cover Jelluzz is pretty smart musically. He and his producer have scooped up all the latest trends in the urban music scene and expertly pieced them together to create ‘Hold On’.

Double-time flows, screwed and auto-tuned vocals, flow fashion-esque adlibs and Timbaland-ish synthy production meld together to create ‘a fresh slice of urbtronica’, apparently. Whilst not my usual cup of tea, my reckoning is that Jelluzz would appeal to a fair few people out there, especially the ladies and the radio listeners. This track would also sound pretty awesome in a club environment and could probably stand up to a lot of the R’n’B tracks out there at the moment.

It’s the overall sound of this song that makes it what it is; the lyrics are not so much of an integral part of it. They’re kinda sung and definitely on a positive, head up high tip but the theme barely matters, they contribute to the finished product well.

To be honest, it’s the beat that makes this track and that’s fine. Jelluzz has an ear for what’s marketable and that’s a big skill to have; this track aint half bad.

‘Hold On’ is released on 22nd December on Big Deal. Visit Jelluzz on myspace by adding /jelluzzmusic to the usual url.

Queens English Interview

"We aim to raise the profile of Hip Hop from the UK and help it achieve the level of attention and respect it fully deserves."

Queens English reached out to me, I reached back after hearing a lot of hype from heads and after reading HHC's review (a bad one - an unjustified 2 stars - proving that all publicity is good publicity!). I wanted to have their angle on their angle and here it is:

Certified Banger: Yo, who are you and what do you do? Who’s in the crew?

Queens English: We’re English Queens and we make folk-indie-pop music. Nah, we’re Queens English – a 6 member crew consisting of... Emcees: Sherlock, Rhymes & Mr. Chips. Singer: Source. DJ: Mr Something Else. Beatboxer: Pikey Esquire – and we make Hip Hop.

CB: What’s your mission statement? What do you stand for?

QE: We stand for Hip Hop from the UK and all its genuine and honest passion, style and skill. We aim to raise the profile of Hip Hop from the UK and help it achieve the level of attention and respect it fully deserves.

CB: How do you go about achieving that?

QE: Well, we believe that Hip Hop should be accessible to all but at the minute a lot of what is heard or the way it is heard isn’t connecting with the masses. Sometimes this is down to the content, sometimes – particularly with UK Hip Hop – this is down to the sound of the voice, sometimes people struggle to relate, sometimes it is just misunderstood. Music is a two way thing and it’s not always solely about the people making the music – you have to be aware that you are trying to communicate with the listener – if you are successful you will get something back as you invoke emotions, create images and generate a mood for the listener. We aim to make music that people can enjoy listening to because it has a clear message and is delivered in a way that people will want to listen.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Wolftown Wednesdays #3

This was in my inbox this morning so it seems fitting to put this up as this week's Wolftown Wednesday:

It's a whole mixtape this week courtesy of 10Shott's twin Conman and Belgian DJ Makasi.

Download it here!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

'The Audio Workout' - Vee Kay (album review)

Vee Kay’s producer album ‘The Audio Workout’ is a perfectly cut gem. At 11 tracks and 34-ish minutes long it’s short but incredibly sweet. Vee Kay himself said “I don't listen to music to bring myself down, I listen to it to try to cheer myself up” – this album makes it evident he makes music to please himself; whilst in no way soft it’s cheery stuff.

The chosen samples are funky, soulful and uplifting. The productions don’t just fall back behind the voices of the MCs – they have their own presence (an area where producer albums often fall). It’s the pure musicality of this album that’s made it one of my most played in the last month or so.

The guests are a well selected mix of known names and the skilled up-and-comers. ‘Lok Dat Remix’ is just that, a version of Vee Kay’s track from Wordsmith’s forthcoming LP (Vee Kay has other beats on there too) and it features Dubbledge and Micall Parknsun – in my world that’s star studded! Stig and Syntax rear their double-time heads on ‘Goldwings’ and Dead Residents own ‘Bogey Homecide’ – a hilarious ode to flicking snot. Wordsmith features a second time on the tuneful ‘Bring Me Down’ – it gets me in sing-a-long mode!

Dialekt, Lowercase, Yosh and Cariz provide the other vocals, holding their own on the bangers courtesy of Vee Kay. Of the 7 MC-fronted tracks here there’s no stinker, it smells just rosy.

‘Third Child’ is an awesome demo of skill – a Hip Hop show tune if I ever heard one. The ‘Intro’ and ‘Outro’ are also worth a listen, they bookend the album nicely making the whole affair comprehensive.

‘The Audio Workout’ is one of my favourite releases this year and it’s released digitally on November 24th on Sweatbox Sounds.

Some Welsh Rarebits

If you're at all into Hip Hop then you should check this out:

The boys over at Chrome Kids have put together a very comprehensive selection of Welsh Hip Hop tracks. What's even better is that a mix of the tracks was played live on Rob Da Bank's Radio 1 show (listen now on iplayer).

Loads of the individual tracks are on their blog for free download which is just brilliant - there's no excuse not listen and get into it. Artists included are Metabeats, Blaktrix, Mudmowth, Willo Wispa and Dead Residents amongst many other Welsh names (some more Welsh than others - Y Diwygiad). No Goldie Lookin' Chain though - only pulling your... legs, lads!

'Don't Ya Dare Laugh' - B-Real (video)

B-Real is back! As one of the rappers responsible for me liking Hip Hop, I've got to give him inches on my blog. This is the video for 'Don't Ya Dare Laugh' from his forthcoming album 'Smoke N Mirrors', out on Duckdown Records on February 24th 2009.

It's a departure from the Cypress Hill days of old but over a slick, Suzanne Vega sampling beat B still manages to drop a weed reference before the opening bars die down. Not sure of Young De but anyways, it's pretty cool.

'Going Home' ft. Envy & Pariz 1 - Tor Cesay (video)

Tor Cesay (formerly known as Tor - check the labels at the bottom) brings us her latest track, taken from the forthcoming 'Beatz International' Compilation out January 12th 2009. It features up-and-comer Manchester MC Envy and Nottz representative Pariz 1. Each lady does their thing but I think my favourite on this is Pariz 1 on the last verse.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Wolftown Wednesdays #2

The second in the series where I give you a classic Wolftown track from one of their many quality releases. Last week Tricksta chose, this week I get to.

I'm choosing from 'Extended Family Hustlers Edition' which is hosted by 10Shott's twin brother Conman and Pennsylvanian MC Big Skeem. The CD was put out by Wolftown and The Hip Hop Village. I'm actually going to choose two tracks this week because they're both so good:

Big Wayne & Conman - 'Why Do U Rap?' (on which bass voiced The Streets collaborator chats sense about reasons for rapping)

Conman - 'Bonifide Bredrin' (on which he shows much love for Tricksta and Late)

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

'Stand Up' - Si Phili (free download)

'Stand Up' is by Phi-Life Cypha MC Si Phili. It's credited to be taken from 'Souled Out', which could be the album he's working on, I don't know though.

Phi-Life always had a slightly American sound and Si retains that here. Over quite a slick production from Richy Spitz, Phili raps in his recognisable style which will be sure to draw fans old and new.

Official Download Link

He's also made a remix kit available for his track 'Sunshine'. Do a remix and email it to him at It contains acapellas, drum & horn samples and the acapella for 'Sunshine' with a free verse for other MC's to jump on it.

This man is partly responsible for really getting me into UK Hip Hop in the first place so best believe he's for real.

Here's him and Life (also of Phi-Life Cypha) freestyling on Westwood's show:

Rusty Jukebox Free Downloads

There's a whale, over there! Not really, but if you do go over there (to Rusty Jukebox's website of course) then what you will find is something larger than an aquatic mammal.

What you'll discover is a vast vault of vibrantly vivacious (sorry, watched 'V for Vendetta' the other night) Hip Hop tunes one of which is one of my most favourite tunes this year: 'Let me Be' by T.L.G. (The Lost Generation) which features Reggiimental, Ras Supa, Biggaman, S.C, Joe Gutta and Rukus. That track comes from their album 'Everything So Clear' which was made available at the beginning of this year.

Other treats on offer here are JVF Clique's 'Alternative Income Sampler', T.L.G.'s 'Infinite Potential', Jimmy B-Boy's 'The Mixtape', Shady Rezidents' 'Unheard Word' and a few other things. All I can say is, go get your download on!

'The Crown' and 'Crush' - Kyza (free downloads) *updated*

Here are some more of Kyza's free-to-download freestyles/tracks:

Kyza - 'The Crown'
Kyza - 'Crush'

"To receive future links all you have to do is send an email to and you will receive one every Saturday right the way up until his album ‘Brand New Same Old Me’ drops in February next year!"

"From now until his album ‘Brand New Same Old Me’ drops (14th Feb 2009) Kyza is aiming at putting something out once a week! It will come in the form of a youtube video or a free download and should be available every Saturday."

"The mix tape ‘Shots Of Smirnoff’ coming soon and the album ‘Brand New Same Old Me’ coming in February next year!"

And go here to download the rest so far: 'Wonderful World', 'Rock Out', 'His Story', 'Bad Luck', 'Freestyle', '2 Nang' and 'Dey Know'.

Monday, 10 November 2008

P Brothers Slam UK Hip Hop

"UK Hip Hop is wack. It's just corny people on the scene... In my opinion it's just rubbish. People are just lost and confused following fashion and trends".

So go the words of Paul S, one half of Nottingham's P Brothers. Which might explain why their latest LP 'The Gas' doesn't feature any UK talent at all - it doesn't exist. Oh, apart from it does feature UK production, by themselves, the P Brothers.

But, they were asked 'What do you think of the UK scene then?'. They are blatantly no longer part of the UK scene and it can stay that way. They can keep their generically-named US rappers. Sure they've put in some good work here over the years, especially with Cappo and Scor-Zay-Zee, but by making sweeping statements seemingly indicative of ignorance they include Cappo and Scorz in the 'just corny people'.

People are entitled to their opinion of course, and this is just mine, but it's sad when there is so much about our scene to be proud of. Obviously there is a sector of our scene that could be described the way Paul S dubs the entire scene, but you can't tar everyone with same brush. It does throw up questions about who represents our scene in the media and what instigates stereotypical views like those of Paul S.

This thought leads us conveniently, though breifly, onto one of the main stories in our music's community: Dizzee Rascal's appearance on BBC Newsnight with Jeremy Paxman. Lots of people, including fans and the press, are disappointed that Dizzee was chosen as a spokesperson for the young and black, and more generally, for Hip Hop.

Dizzee was undeniably inarticulate, although admittedly funny. There are other obvious representatives, Lewis Hamilton for example, whom the BBC could have called upon. But let's remember, despite trying to be 'cool' and 'down wid da kids', the BBC are out of touch whilst trying desperately to be in touch.

It's not Dizzee's music that give people negative views on UK Hip Hop or Grime but he helps to make my point. Certain people are thrust into the limelight for whatever reason and this is what people see. And people form opinions based on what they see.

For example, the current Hip Hop top 10 on itunes displays N Dubz at number 8. The highest charting UK entry is N Dubz! Hardly a representative of our scene. Now I'm not suggesting that this is the basis of the views of Paul S, but it's representative of what happens. If more people were buying Sir Smurf Lil's new LP or say, Styly C and Cappo's EP then they might be the ones who champion our scene. But for whatever reason (their fans want vinyl or at least CD/their fans are too tight to actually buy stuff anyway and just download it off forums) this isn't the case and so, negative, ill-informed views are made.

Like I said, Paul S can have his opinion and I am entitled to mine. For all I know he might listen to everything that comes out of the UK and still think that but in my blinkered world of UK Rap I can't see that that is actually the case!

'Terms & Conditions' - Broke'N'£nglish (free mixtape)

Those Manc lads Broke'N'£nglish have started blogging, it really is the bees knees to have a blog.

Anyway, they kicked things of with upping their own 2005 mixtape 'Terms & Conditions' You can download it for free to see how we (well, they) do it in the North.

In the words of Konny Kon: "Please burn it, pass it on to your friends, play to your mum, listen in your car but do not listen on your mobile on the back of the bus on your phone, because Strategy didn't spend days on end, sitting in front the computer mixing it down so you could annoy old people on the number 86 with your tinny nokia phone speaker!"


'Missing' - Kyza (free download)

'Missing' by Kyza is the latest free download in a series of mp3's that the ex- Terra Firma man has been giving out via his myspace page.

Kyza gets reflective over this mellow lilting beat and chats about the absence of a friend, a girlfriend and his father for a verse each.

There have been others previous to this, I'll see if I can get the links to those too.

'Ballistic Affairs' ft. Deadly Hunta - Skinnyman (video)

Here's the animated video for the awesome Show N Prove produced track taken from the 'Food 4 Da Brain Second Serving' compilation album:

'Craziest' ft. Stylah - Smiler (video)

Check out this new video for Smiler's remake of the Naughty by Nature classic. Smiler and Stylah (so hip hop that even their names rhyme) bring a new UK twist on the original and safe to say, it's a certified banger:

It'll be available to download in January and I'll let you know where from later.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

HHC Review Disagreements

Before Myspace and the Internet in general, I relied on Hip Hop Connection's recommendations. But in the last year, as I've been receiving and listening to more and more music I've begun to realise that their reviews are often not inline with my own assessments.

There are particular reviewers who just seem to have, in my opinion, bad taste. For example, in the latest issue there are a number of reviews that I just can't get with:

Sober & Dribbla - 'Freaks Speak Dark' - got 3 stars, deserves 1.
Prodigy - 'Product of the 80s' - is no way a 4 star album, maybe a 3, if that.
Geejay - 'I Came To Represent' - got 3 stars, deserves 2.
Brotherman - 'The Dark/The Light' - got 3 stars, deserves 4 (or not to be equated to 'I Came To Represent' or 'Freaks Speak Dark'.

I guess my main problem is with Adam Anonymous and his judgements; he does make me wonder if he really did listen to these releases properly or not. Both Geejay and Sober & Dribbla have not produced 'A good solid record...still worth buying'. Hugh Leask on the other hand, I often agree with, for example, his review of Jack Flash's 'Union Jack Album' (4 stars), but then sometimes I question why someone who can like something as much as I do could have such a different opinion on others!

Same goes for Harris Pilton, although possibly we don't agree as often. But check this quote out from his/her review of M9's '144,000' - "Time travelling rapper M9 has been sent back to tell us all what life is like in 144,000 AD. Imagine people running through the streets on fire, aliens force-feeding women poisonous elixirs, and cars cars [sic] on every street corner" Great. So he/she had no understanding of why it's called '144,000' and then he/she just described the artwork. He/she turns in one sentence that could actually pass as a review and surrounds the rest with trash. Pure laziness.

This said, I am still a subscriber to this magazine and it's been a boon companion to me over the years so on the whole, keep up the good work HHC!

Friday, 7 November 2008

Hip Hop Producers - Vee Kay interview

After producer Vee Kay sent me a copy of his forthcoming album 'The Audio Workout' I had to know more. The LP is excellent, full of good vibe boom bap rap and a few little surprises too. We hooked up an interview to let you know exactly what he's all about:

Certified Banger: Yo Vee Kay! How are you today?

VK: All good thanks fella.

CB: Let’s get things cracking, I’ll switch things round a bit: Tell us about your latest piece of work: ‘The Audio Workout’.

VK: Well, the record is a long time coming, it's been 4 years since my last solo release, in that time I've been busy, but I decided that it was time to have my name at the front again, rather than in the liner notes, haha. It's a collection of songs that have been recorded at my Studio over the last year or so, well, the best ones anyway, so there's a variety of tracks on there, from the classic sounding hip hop to the more up tempo double time type tracks. Listening back to my last release, the whole sound of it was similar to that golden age hip hop, and that was pretty much it, so this one's tracked my maturity in production. There's still the classic hip hop sound on it, but I've peppered it with other bits and pieces too.

CB: Your instrumentals, certainly on this album, are top quality – I’m a big fan. What do you aim for when making a beat? What sound do you look for?

VK: Cheers mate, appreciate it! Without a doubt, the most important thing when making a beat is that it catches you straight away, ‘cause no one's gonna want to use a track that sounds s**t or doesn't grab you. The drums gotta bang too, I'm a complete sucker for big drums, I listened to nothing but boom bap for years, so I was immediately grabbed by big heavy drums and breaks. It's also gotta sound as original as possible, because when sampling, you're already taking something that’s been finished, so now you've got to try to mould it into something completely different, so that the first thing someone hears isn't the track you've sampled, but the track you made, using bits from other songs.

CB: What inspired you to make your first ever beat? Can you remember it? Tell us more!

VK: I started off as a rapper, and I worked with another Producer, who had been in the business for years, so we went ahead and made a demo, this was way back when, probably about 10 or so years ago...anyway, didn't work out, so I started learning how to make beats. I went to college to do a course, but it was s**t, and I left after about 9 months after showing the tutor how to MIDI up a sampler, I'd been going to studios for a few years to record, plus I read every magazine and book I could, so I just learnt by listening and watching. From there I just started collecting bits of kit, trying to find out what worked best for me, and the end result is the Sweatbox Studio. So I guess, back onto track, my inspiration was just so that I could have something to rap over, that didn't come off the latest Ja Rule 12"

I think I made my first ever beat on a cracked copy of some weird sequencer that Roland made, it came with a sound canvas, and it was so s**t, there was a massive latency problem and the sounds were your horrible generic MIDI sounds. I had an Akai S20, but really couldn't figure out how to use it for ages, I remember making my first 2 bar loop on it, but not figuring out how to save it, so I left that bad boy on for about a week straight, until I got bored and wanted to make another loop, so I just deleted it.

CB: So you sample? What, in a typical digging session, do you go for? What makes for good Hip Hop?

Click here to read more

Thursday, 6 November 2008

'' - Bashy (mix CD review)

Bashy’s had an excellent year and things could get better. His latest mix CD, at 29 tracks deep, is a little long but beyond that it’s possibly innovative.

My main observation would be that Bashy clearly thinks originally. There is no typical street talk, only positive observations on life as a black man in a black community. Bashy has a rare skill: he can decry negative situations whilst the very people who need to hear his message listen intently.

Think back to his earlier success this year with ‘Black Boys’; he gave young, black folks an anthem whilst encouraging them to look up to positive role models. This conscious commentary continues on tracks like Sam Sparro flipping ‘Blacks and Gold’ (where Bashy exlores the relationship between black people and the desire for wealth), 'World' (where Bashy urges every waste man to get a job) and ‘Just Say No’ (to coke).

Some tracks (‘Man @ Home’ and ‘Need to be Baiding’) are a little strange, but inventive for sure. ‘Phonebook’ is an example of creativity gone right - it’s cheeky and it demonstrates Bashy’s range perfectly. The ‘Blackout Freestyle’ from Westwood’s show is fire - Bashy spits straight sense about his ‘Black Boys’ video being banned from TV – one of the best frees I’ve heard for ages!

With too much fresh material to mention here things are looking absolutely amazing for the release of his actual album. Bashy’s mind must be awash with concepts and ideas and the way he executes them in mix CD format can only mean that the LP will be off the chain! One of the best mix CDs this year.

Hip Hop Producers - Tricksta Interview

Everyone knows Tricksta’s name right? But does everyone know quite the extent of his work for our music scene? I interviewed him to get the complete low down from start to finish. Just to prove how internationally hard working he is, we had to break off the interview half way through whilst he spoke to K-Rino on the phone! Here’s what he had to say:

Certified Banger: Let’s start right back at the beginning…

Tricksta: Well first and foremost I am a DJ. I started playing back in 1989 and got my first residency in 1991. I played a right mixed bag of styles; I have always been open-minded when it comes to music. I worked at a record shop from 1991 to 1995 (good era!), and in 1995 I left to work for a record label. While I was there I was made label manager of a label called Urban Flavour.

CB: You told me the other day your first release was a jungle 12”… when was that and what was that like?

Tricksta: It was that label that my first ever 12" came out on. The act was called In Deep and the 12" was called 'From The Depths' / 'Electro Solution'. It got rinsed by peeps like Fabio, Bukem, Doc Scott and DJ Lee. I worked at that label up until 1999, and I left to start Wolftown Recordings. Something I had always wanted to do. I started making music around 1993 so I am 15 years deep now - old git!

CB: Haha. So how did you get into Hip Hop from jungle?

Tricksta: Don't get it twisted, I have been into Hip-Hop since 1986, I just had the opportunity to do that release and a few others so I grabbed it by the bollocks. I think looking back it was good to get studio experience and work with instrumental music before I started doing Hip-Hop and working with vocalists. So yeah, I have always been into hip-hop, I actually used to put hip-hop nights on with LATE. We did a night called Revival Pressure back in 1994; we booked First Rate before he was in the Scratch Perverts. The night was packed and I even write a piece about it for HHC! I also used to write for a magazine called Rap Trade back in 1994 too.

CB: Yeah you def do a lot of work for the good of our scene. How did you get into the Hip Hop industry as an artist? Was it all your own hard work or through contacts? Was it a lucky break?

Mongrel on BBC

Check out John McClure of Mongrel on the BBC:

"With British Iraqi rapper Lowkey, I'm trying to give a voice to a section of society that is largely ignored by the by and large. It's the same with the hip hop community, the indie world just doesn't know."

"Voicing his opinion on the UK Music scene, McClure added: "It's a crying shame because the British music industry seems to be increasingly ghettoised, where white people listen to guitar music and hip-hop's ignored."

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

'Fantastic JJ Project' - Fantastic Planet (free mix)

According to Lex Records:

"France-based hip hop maestros Fantastic Planet have just released their 'Fantastic JJ Project', a mixtape dedicated to Jneiro Jarel, specifically to his Dr Who Dat? alter ego. All the beats from this mix are taken from JJ's almost entirely instrumental Beat Journey album, only now with added raps and cuts from USA's Mattic and La Fin Equipe crew."

Wolftown Wednesdays #1

The first in the Wolftown Wednesdays series sees Wolftown main man Tricksta picking out a tune from the vast back catalogue:

This is taken from Late's excellent '2Thousand & Late' which was a mix CD released in the run up to the release of his latest album 'Below Street Level'. It features loads of Wolftown and SPC guests and is every bit as good as the album, if not better!

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

'Snippet Mix' - Skandal (free download)

Download here, it's actually better than it sounds. The snippets are chopped and mixed in a hardcore way and the beats and rhyme are quality.

Production comes from Beat Butcha, Chemo, The Last Skeptik and Ed Strong as well as the utilisation of some stolen beats.

If this is an album taster then the album promises to be full of flavour. It's not just on the dark, stripped down tip that his EP was on so don't worry if you weren't really feeling that, although those tunes do feature here.

Roots Manuva/Farma G/Mr. Ti2bs (free downloads)

Here are few treats I gleaned from myspace and the like:

Farma G - Paper Fakes
Farma G - Influenza
Mr. Ti2bs - Go Hard
Roots Manuva - Let The Spirit (Hot Chip Remix)

I'm not usually into promoting things for big companies but HMV have got some good deals on a few UK Hip Hop titles that you might be interested in. So you've you've worn out those illegally downloaded mp3, snapped that copy your mate did for you, want to find out who produced that track or just want to do the right thing, get over there and pay a few quid to get some quality music:

All at £4.99 with free p&p:

Roots Manuva - 'Awfully Deep'
Braintax - 'Birofunk'
57th Dynasty - 'Boro 6: Volume 2'
Asaviour - 'Borrowed Ladder'
Dizzee Rascal - 'Boy In Da Corner'
Roots Manuva - 'Brand New Second Hand'
Ty - 'Closer'
Mystro - 'Music Mystro'
Dizzee Rascal - 'Maths & English'
Sway - 'One For The Journey'
Wiley - 'Playtime Is Over'
Roots Manuva - 'Run Come Save Me'
Dizzee Rascal - 'Showtime: 2cd: Includes Dvd'
Million Dan - 'Spektrum'
Sway - 'This Is My Demo'

There are also a couple of good US releases there too.

'Out Now' - Sway (free download)

Just to prove that Sway didn't just sit back after his album was released, here's a track he recorded soon after the release:

Monday, 3 November 2008

'Rei EP' - Teef & Toes (free EP download)

Teef has knocked up another freebee for the likes of you and you and you. This time he's done it with the help of a producer named Toes. It's called the 'Rei EP'.

You can download it here.

It seems that Toes like Metal and Electro and Hip Hop cos he's fused the three together and Teef's taken to it like a duck to water.

The pack also includes an acapella so you can get remixing if that's your bag. If not then why not give your computer a nice Teef desktop?

Anyways, its really about the music innit and this is slightly quite different to what the average man is doing nowadays so grab your vitual copy and bump it, bump it.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

'The H-Bomb EP' - Styly Cee & Cappo (12" EP review)

“Can we listen to something else? This is too hectic”. Hectic: a word that sums up Cappo and Styly Cee’s latest collaborative outing, a limited pressing 3 track slab of wax entitled ‘The H-Bomb EP’. H-Bomb: another accurate term of description. This is explosive, in the way that Public Enemy were on many of their heaviest tracks; expect an ear-battering session reminiscent of the rap releases of the late 80’s.

In fact it draws together a few influences, some may hear Rza and the Wu-Tang, some Rick Rubin and his many MCs, some the Bomb Squad, some the Young MC-esque releases of days gone by. Whatever it is you hear, it’s bound to evoke nostalgia and in a climate of some pretty lame, spiritless versions of Hip Hop, this is more than a good thing. In a wistful way this is invigorating.

Styly Cee does update the old sounds though, in many ways the production here is mature and professional compared to its roots – it’s suitable for this century and is more than a re-hash of aged ideas. Cappo harnesses the angst of street commentators both modern and traditional, and with a Nottingham lilt he supplies the necessary other half to Styly Cee’s weighty sonics.

As far as I know, and my knowledge has considerable distance (but do correct me if I’m wrong), no-one in the UK is running things quite like this and the ability to rise above the sea of sameness is everything right now. Cappo and Styly Cee; we salute you, for you rocked.

'The H-Bomb EP' is out on November 10th on Son Records but can be bought with pounds at places like this and this now!