Saturday, 28 February 2009

'In Pursuit of Harmony' - Wordsmith (album review)

Nearly 4 years has passed since Wordsmith dropped his debut LP ‘The Roadman Showcase’. Now he’s back with follow up set ‘In Pursuit of Harmony’, an album sure to make a mark on UK Hip Hop this year.

Wordsmith takes a mature approach to many issues – the ins and outs of weed smoking (‘The Cro Debate’), being a father (‘Son’), gun crime (‘Never Would’ve Thought’), the ups and downs of life (‘Carry On’ and ‘Beautiful Life’) and today’s youth (‘They Don’t Seem To Care’). When he’s not proving he could teach an MP a thing or two he’s straight illing out with his partners in rhyme – check ‘Lok Dat’, ‘Runaway’ and the ridiculously tense ‘Leave It Alone’ for a few examples of that.

With perfectly crafted rhymes Wordsmith proves he’s not a one trick pony – he’s a well rounded artist who has fashioned an actual album, rather than a collection of songs. This LP really deserves one of those track by track breakdowns; every one is of such high quality.

With a list of producers like this (Apa-Tight, Vee Kay, Chemo, Beat Butcha, Ido, Tom Caruana and Show n Prove) I don’t have to tell you that the beats are proper, heavy Hip Hop with an emphasis on the uplifting. The fact that there’s not a skip-able track on here speaks volumes – you’ll wanna listen right through.

Mic duties are shared with Foreign Beggars, Dr. Syntax, Dubbledge, Micall Parknsun, Skribblah, Diamond Ruff, Big Ben, Genesis Elijah, Supar Novar and Ahmos –all of whom put in sterling work.

‘In Pursuit of Harmony’ is out now and is available from Suspect Packages as a download or on CD. Support the music, pay the pounds, don’t download! Check the snippets in my last post to get a taste of greatness!

Friday, 27 February 2009

Wordsmith Album Snippets!

Come check the whole Wordsmith album in 30 second snippets - I tried it, it's a really good way to get a feel for this album. It's a really good way to get a feel for the fact this album is awesome and you should buy it!

1) THEY DON’T SEEM TO CARE* – produced by Beat Butcha
2) NOMAD – produced by Chemo
3) THE CRO DEBATE* –produced by Chemo
4) STICKS & STONES (feat. Foreign Beggars) –produced by Ido
5) RUNAWAY – produced by Ido
6) SLIP & SLIDE *(feat. Big Ben) – produced by Caruana
7) BEAUTIFUL LIFE –produced by Ido
8) LOK DAT (feat. Dubbledge & Micall Parknsun) – produced by Vee Kay
9) THE BAD GUY –produced by Show n Prove
10) THREE STRIKES (feat. Skribblah & Diamond Ruff) – produced by Apa-Tight
11) WAIT AND SEE – produced by Chemo
12) LEAVE IT ALONE (feat. Dr Syntax) – produced by Ido
13) COMMON CAUSE (feat. Genesis Elijah) –produced by Show n Prove
14) CARRY ON – produced by Apatight
15) NEVER WOULD’VE THOUGHT* (Feat. Ben & Novar) produced by Apa-Tight
16) SON – produced by Chemo
17) OUTRO –produced by Caruana
18) THE COALITION (feat. Big Ben, Genesis Elijah, Micall Parknsun, Dubbledge, Ahmos, SuparNovar, Diamond Ruff) – produced by Show n Prove

'I Can't Leave it Alone' - Big Narstie

Check out the first single off Big Narstie's forthcoming release 'The Big Man Returns'. It's a big track, produced by Rippa entitled 'I Can't Leave it Alone':

Interview with Soup and Marc7 (ex-Jurassic 5) of Portable Payback

"Soup and I are about to pull a Ghostface and Raekwon on everybody that’s sleeping on us."

Those of you who know me well will know that ever since 'Concrete Schoolyard' I've been a fan of Jurassic 5. So when a track dropped into my inbox by two of the J5 MCs I was pretty thrilled. When I reviewed it and had a personal email back I was even more thrilled. So I sorted out a quick interview with Marc7 and Soup to talk about their new project, the group Portable Payback:

Certified Banger: What’s up Portable Payback?! Thanks for reaching out to me! I’m pretty excited about the project you two have got going on. Let’s talk about it: For those who don’t know; who are you and who were you?!

M: I’m Marc 7 formerly of Jurassic 5
S: I’m Zaakir aka Soup

CB:And what’s in the name Portable Payback? Where did that come from? Is it anything to do with James Brown?

S: Sev came up with the name and I like the fact that it has no hold to it… meaning we can go wherever… It's portable. And I think ALL hip hop has something to do with James Brown.
M: The name came to me one day when I was in the kitchen talking to my wife, I was watching a commercial that mentioned the word “PAYBACK” and I said to myself, “Portable Payback, that’s the name of the group”.

'Droppin' Science Fiction' - The Mighty Underdogs (album reivew)

The most user friendly album album Def Jux ever put out? I’ll say. Singalongability? Check. Rhyme-that’d-impress-yer-gran? Check. Beats plundered from far and wide? Check. Top notch guests? Most def a check.

‘Droppin’ Science Fiction’ is the debut album from Blackalicious’s Gift of Gab, Quannum head Lateef and Crown City Rockers member, producer Headnodic – collectively known as The Mighty Underdogs.

Despite eclectic sample origins the album hangs together sonically like a neck and noose. ‘Ill Vacation’ and ‘Science Fiction’, the most unlikely of bedfellows, sit cheek by jowl the latter being a Brazilian holiday breezer and the latter being a futuristic electro-fest. ‘Folks’, featuring French MC 20Syl, hits the reggae buttons whilst ‘Want You Back’ is a ballad dripping with feelings. And I could go on… it’s diverse.

Subject matter isn’t too confined either. Straight up cartoon violence on ‘Gunfight’ (featuring the king of cartoon MF Doom) shares CD space with the frantic ‘Aye’, a track dedicated to girls who make you say ‘Aye’. OK so that might be standard fare for a rap album, what else is there? Aforementioned love song (and another), Julian and Damien Marley assisted lament, a song about holidays, a track about laughable MCs, party tracks, tunes about the future…you get the picture.

Elsewhere features come from DJ Shadow (cuts of course) and the lovely LadyBug Mecca. Chali 2na, Raashan Ahmad (also of Crown City Rockers), Tash and Zion all pop up on ‘Walk Like a Warrior’ – a certified banger. Lyrics Born, Casual, Mr. Lif, and Akrobatik also appear and there’s a remix from British boy Fatboy Slim.

If you want a new Hip Hop album that you can listen to then this is it. The Mighty Underdogs have come up with an album on which, in my opinion, there is only one track that doesn’t work (‘Laughing’). It’s out now and is worth every penny of it’s price – buy it at all the usual places.

Amon Tobin, Double Click and Sway are Two Fingers

Check out our man Sway on his new project Two Fingers:

The group's album will be out 30th March on the Big Dada label and they've made a few bootlegs to keep you going for now, here are the first two:

'Backyard Betty' - Spank Rock/Dustmen Rhythm - Two Fingers

'Best Best' - Missy Elliott/Moth Rhythm - Two Fingers

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Worsmith Album Launch Party

'London Go Hard Vol. 17' - DJ MK (free download)

Featuring UK artists (Kyza, Ramson Badbonez, Sway, Inja, Fallacy, Terror Danjah and Newham Generals) alongside the biggest US names (50 Cent, Q-Tip, Dr. Dre, Ludacris, Busta Rhymes, Jay-Z etc) DJ MK's latest installment in the 'London Go Hard' series is now available as a free download!

Volume 17 (not to be sniffed at eh?) can be downloaded here and if you want the full tracklist then go to DJ MK's very own blogspot (see they're all doing it!)

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Certified Banger on Facebook!

Check me out - I've gone all social networky!

If you have a facebook account, go on it and type in:

'Cee Banger' (to search for and become friends with me)
'Certified Banger' (to become a fan of the page)
'On The Radar' (to become a fan of my free download compilation series)

'On The Radar Volume 2' Free Hip Hop Tracks

Click here to download all of the tracks from 'On The Radar Volume 2'

1) Certified Banger Exclusive - JVF Clique (produced by Pappa Doc)
2) Coming For The Game ft. Jay Madden, Chris L & Assa - Jut
3) Dr. Who ft. Dan Bull, Mrs. Pez & Jimmy Crack – Skrimshank (produced by Damo)
4) Respect Your Elders ft. Remus - Krate Krusaders

5) Life Is Real - Antidote (produced by Pro P)
6) Truth Or Lie – TLG (produced by Eyebs)

7) All I Wanna Do - Chima Anya
8) Real Life Drama - The Three Amigos (produced by Naive)

9) Final Frontier - Grit Grammar (produced by Baron Samedi)
10) After Life - Dan Bull

11) Drama - Joker Starr
2) See I Realise ft. Anneke – MasterSystem (produced by Whys)
13) Gully - Asaviour & Apa-Tight
14) The Title - Dabbla (produced by Miss Tofelees)
15) Mimsey Grove - Gouki P (produced by Ants & Jut)

16) Subhuman Nature ft. Darkstar - Antiheroes (produced by Reklews)
17) Rugged Bros ft. Lowercase - Chattabox (produced by Sober)
18) Dark Matter (Remix) - Simple Samples (produced by Dweller)

19) Crop Circles ft. Circle Makerz - King David (produced by Safron)
20) Family Life ft. Cipher Jewels – Reggiimental (produced by DJ Konn)

'Memories' ft. Jehst - Joker Starr (free download)

'On The Radar' featured artist Joker Starr is preparing to drop his latest release; the 'Northborough Estate Project'. Now this is a guy who produced a track on Ty's mercury nominated album 'Upwards', has performed in New York as part of Jonzi D's Lyrical Feater and has collaborated with the likes of Estelle.

'Northborough Estate Project', if the tracks he's been dropping on mp3 via the web are anything to go by, is going to be big. The latest track would suggest so too:

Look out for this on May 25th when it will be released and will be available from all the leading download stores.

To see everything I've posted about Joker Starr so far, including free tracks, click here.

On The Radar Artist Profile: Chattabox & Lowercase

Name: Chattabox & Lowercase

Age: 23

From: North East and South West

Track on ‘On The Radar’: 'The Rugged Brothers'

Tell us the story behind the track: Me and Otis from Lowercase wanted to make an absolute pig ignorant battle track. I met Otis and Sober at a gig in Bristol, I like the idea of a monster mash of regional accents so we formed like Voltron to create ‘The Rugged Brothers’ a 2 headed arrogant s**t bag fuelled with piss and cider. After the track was completed we did enjoy a lovely tea and a bourbon to celebrate our success.

Record Label: The Swamps

Who you roll with: Chattabox of the North East crew Dialect, Samuel Otis of the South West crew Lowercase, Sober of Sober & Dribbla, Milestone of The Cohorts, Mr Monk of Fat Club and DJ Rogue - together we're collectively known as ‘The Swamps'.

Favourite album(s): Dain't have one.

Describe your style in three words: mint, belters, cushty

Past/Present/Future projects: The Swamps have an album coming out later in the year called ‘Hard Graft’ featuring some all-star guest from all different parts of the country. Expect sick flows and regional accents! Lowercase are also working on their album, and Dialect's album 'D.Day' will be dropping in March and it features Vast Aire, Copywrite, D Strong of The IRS, Mic Assassin and more…

What? You haven't downloaded the whole thing yet? 19 more tracks of UK Hip Hop? Do it!

The Golden Mic Challenge

What is the Golden Mic Challenge?

We have been promoting events in and around Leeds for a while now and we know that there is a multitude of talent in and around this great city. We wanted to do something that would make us stand out from everyone else, be a part of something new and exciting. There are dozens of open mic sessions all over the UK every week and we wanted to do something that put a new spin on it. We decided to name the event after the prize on offer, a gold plated Shure SM58!

We wanted to do something that would test even the most prolific emcee, so we decided to have an artist compete in varying disciplines including - Freestyle, Pre-written, Battle and Cypher, with points awarded by the panel of judges and crowd.

There are 3 heats with each heat winner going through to the final and the best scoring runner up over all the heats. The final will be judged by some of the finest UK hip hop legends.

So What can I Win?

1st Place: Golden Mic (Shure), 2x LRG Tee’s (Exit Stores Leeds), A beat from Mr Thing, £150 cash, 1st Support @ a major Leeds gig and Press & Promo support from & affiliates

2nd Place: £50 Cash, Press & Promo support from & affiliates

We are currently adding more & more prizes every week.

Where do I sign up?

Fill in the entry form here and we’ll be in touch if you are not able to make any of the heats - please make sure you let us know ASAP.

The entry form closes on Sunday 1st March so be quick!

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Bristol Represent! B'Tol Interview

"Maybe if we all got more involved, actually used our votes and our voices, then we wouldn’t have so much to bloody moan about!"

Outspoken, thoughtful and ready to give you a slice of his musings, B'Tol, the Bristolian MC answers a few of my burning questions in what might be one of the most interesting and in depth interviews I've conducted. B'Tol provides a fresh and insightful perspective on Bristol's musical and social heritage. In amongst that he manages to promote his own music and the entire Bristol Hip Hop scene!

Certified Banger: Yo B’Tol! We’ve finally got this thing happening! Start us off with telling us who you are and what you do:

B'Tol: Well – the name is B’Tol, I’m a 25 year old emcee and some time producer hailing from the fair metropolis people like to call Bristol! I started writing and experimenting with verse about ’93/’94 – I was at a real mixed secondary school at the time, and it was a real blessing. I was surrounded by and involved in so many different cultures and sounds and somehow Hip Hop found its way to me. I’d kind of heard the standard chart stuff, but my Jamaican mates were giving me Gangstarr tapes, Redman, Hijack, London Posse and early 3PM and Smith and Mighty TDK’s with the almighty Kellogz on and I just kind of fell in love with it. I started off by simply breaking, as my mates would tell me that white boys couldn’t rap! But I started to write on the sly and practice my little 16 bar verses as much as I could, then one day I was invited to my friends in St Pauls to eat in ‘96. To this day I can remember exactly what went on. The 90’s in Bristol were strange times, there was still some racial tension from the St Pauls riots 16 years prior. Paul’s had this air of danger amongst the white outsiders and it was very much a case of there being racial segregation in accordance to regions in Bristol. Also, there were huge tensions between the Bristol born Jamaicans and those who had found their way to Bristol at a later date. I won’t lie, due to the history and what the white lower and middle class folk would talk about, I wasn’t sure… but the moment I walked into my friends house I was made completely welcome. He had three generations of his family under one roof, and there were about 15 of us crowded around the dinner table and the most incredible spread of food I’ve ever seen. His older brothers were friends of Kelz, Chrissy Chris and Lynx, and so after dinner, the whole family crowded round and we chucked on some James Brown breaks and starting breaking in the front room in front of his grandparents! When my mate and his brothers started to rap, I had this little 16 that I’d been practicing for donkeys, so I swallowed my pride and kicked it… and the family went nuts! From there I started to write more, but I’d say it wasn’t until about 2002/2003 I really thought I could start making proper songs and the like. I joined British Intelligence and the rest is set in CD and MP3 with me working with Jagos and the biggest friend and influence I’ve found in hip hop, DJ Rogue.

Click here to read more

'Harmonic 313 Mix' - Harmonic 313 (free download)

Ex UK head (now Aus head) Mark Pritchard is Harmonic 313 and if you like your beats wobbly, buzzy, bleepy and hyped right up but still a bit Hip Hop then you need to tune into his styles. He has an album out entitled 'When Machines Exceed Human Intelligence' but if you fancy a bit of a style sample then head on over to RCRD LBL cos they've got freeness.

Harmonic 313 Mix - Harmonic 313

'J Dilla Tribute Mix' - Ramson Badbonez & DJ Gone (free download)

Ramson Badbonez has waded into the J Dilla tribute swamp and stands high on an island of unique Britishness. Ably assisted by DJ Gone of Kung Fu fame, Ramson makes Dilla's beats his own - his punchy flow fitting Dilla's signature sound perfectly. It's all free to download so waste no time reading what I think - download it and make up your own mind.

(And don't question me on the spelling of Ramson's surname - I've got his mix CD right next to me and it says 'Badbonez' not 'Badbones'. I'm going to stick with the 'z' unless he tells me otherwise.)

Monday, 23 February 2009

Wordsmith Interview

"Violence and weapons are a whole separate story... We as public entertainers have an opportunity and responsibility to discuss these problems!"

UK Hip Hop legend Wordsmith is a week away from the release of his second album 'In Pursuit of Harmony'. 18 tracks of pure goodness that will easily be one of the UK albums of the year can be yours in 7 days. In the meantime, check out what the man himself has to say about it and some other things (including his US namesake, his new label, the album's guestlist and his social involvement):

Certified Banger: Yo Wordsmith! What’ve you been up to for the last couple of years?

Wordsmith: To be honest, just working hard on my grind, trying to make ends meet and get some music out there.

CB: So your album is going to be out soon, tell us some more about that – a lot of people are anticipating it. What can we expect?

W: The official release date is March 2nd. It's been a long time in the making but on the whole its 18 of my favorite tracks. All in all it’s a solid piece of work and big steps have been made since my earlier releases. S**t’s Banging. Buy It!

Click here to read on and check back here on Wednesday for an exclusive sneak preview of the album.

Vee Kay Ghostface/Daft Punk Mashup

That man Vee Kay from the Sweatbox has a funky mashup fo' yo' headphones. He's sensibly entitled it 'Daft Ghostface 500'. Sensible because it almost just says what it does on the tin... whatever.

It's a mashup of the original track that Daft Punk used on 'Robot Rock' and Ghostface Killah's (as he was back then) 'Daytona 500' which features Raekwon and Cappadona. The OG is a personal fav of mine since it featured on a skate vid back in the day (Josh Petty's profile on VG7).

Vee Kay - 'Daft Ghostface 500' (mashup)

Saturday, 21 February 2009

'Something That You Like' ft. Naim - Rup (video)

Broke 'n' £nglish 'Netto Fabulous' T-Shirts

Those Broke 'n' £nglish jesters have come up with a T-Shirt design bound to raise a giggle from all Northern heads. Their 'Netto Fabulous' T-Shirts play on the phrase 'Ghetto Fabulous' (der) and it's safe to say anyone shopping at Netto (I do sometimes) isn't anything like Ghetto Fabulous.

The T-Shirts are going to fly from the shelves at £20 a piece (or 50p extra for a signed version) so get your order in now. They come in either yellow and black (pictured - der) or red and white. Get over to their blogspot to learn more and to place your order!

Ghost Album To Be Released In June

UK producer Ghost will be releasing his new album entitled 'Freedomof Thought' later on this year in June. The album, which is already available in Japan (?!), will feature the good vocal tones of Verb T, Finale, Dubbledge and Jehst - no small fry then.

The artwork, left, is by Will Barras, member of the Scrawl Collective, who's artwork is super lovely and pretty tripped out.

April will see a vinyl EP release as a taster for what the album holds. For starters, head over to Ghost's myspace page because there are loads of clips from the album to be heard by your head flappers. It sounds right chilled whilst still being a banger, maybe it's all the New Zealandish air?

In very long term (well, it's quite far away), Ghost's third album 'Invisible Inc' should be dropping in 2010 - this is the album with Verb T and Kashmere.

'Lowrider' ft. Kel Spencer - King P (single review)

After being reminded of King P by Tricksta's mixtape inclusion of his track 'Won't Stop' featuring Yogi I dug out a track he sent me and checked out his myspace a bit more properly. Sometimes even I overlook absolute talent and for this I apologise.

'Won't Stop' has got the west coast funk swing and it's sister track is 'Lowrider' featuring US MC Kel Spencer, who I've featured on here before. It's a forceful track that morphs into an agressive beast in the chorus. King P is a UK producer but with this transatlantic collaboration he's bound to find fans worldwide - the sound he's perfected certainly has mass appeal.

King P played all the instruments on 'Lowrider' from guitar to piano to programming the drums and arranging the string parts and has been championed by high calibre DJs and radio stations like Dynmaite MC, Manny Notre, Big Ted & Shortee Blitz Kiss Fm, Ras Kwame, Westwood and BBC 1xtra.

His whole album 'Royal Dubz' is available now on Amazon as a digital download. It features aforementioned Kel Spencer and Yogi as well as up and coming artist such as Justin Mills, Donovin Heights, South 71, Kitt, Slix and Tommy D.

'Scene Stealers'/'Last Dayz' ft. Plan B - Skreintax (single review)

Skreintax, the hook-up between Skrein and Dr. Syntax, released their album ‘Scene Stealers’ in December, an album which despite being excellent, sounded like it should have arrived during the summer months.

Now a few months and a whole load of snow deep into winter, title track ‘Scene Stealers’ still needs some sun however its combination of limber putdowns, Dag Nabbit’s heavy drums and DJ IQ’s cuts is welcome.

Flipside ‘Last Dayz’ is what’s going to attract attention here, not least because it isn’t available elsewhere. It’s a neck snapping, British type Hip Hop club banger that features Plan B, who leaves the guitar aside and spits harder than he’s ever done before. The three MCs rail against all aspects of social evils whilst giving real UK Hip Hop fans what they want and need.

‘Scene Stealers’/’Last Dayz’ featuring Plan B is out on Dented Records on 23rd February. Their album ‘Scene Stealers’ (pictured) is also available now.

'The Future' ft. The Game - Joe Budden (single review)

Joe Budden is making a fresh bid for some more of that ‘Pump It Up’ type cash. It’s in the form of the shockingly trend-following ‘The Future’. It’s got those panning synths and yes, you guessed, some auto-tune vocals. It’s so pedestrian that even The Game can’t make it bang, and I didn’t know that was possible.

It’s got me thinking that actually Nas saying Hip Hop was dead was actually a prophecy about the future. Man, it might even have been a prophecy about ‘The Future’.

Whatever I say about this though isn’t going to matter to the puppets who buy anything the radio presents to them, and I’m sure radio will be all over this one – get ready to be sick of hearing it.

‘The Future’ is out on Amalgam Digital on 23rd February. ‘The Future’ is the lead single taken from Joe Budden's forthcoming sophomore album ‘Padded Room’ available on CD & Digital on February 24th.

Choong Family Video Shoot Invitation

Choong Family are not a group I've featured before, but one I've been aware of for a few years now with 'Memory Lane' being the main track that sticks in my mind.

Now they're preparing their pre-album 'Baptism Of Fire,' for release at the end of April through Gridlockaz.

They are also going to be filming a video and anyone who can make it down is welcome! On Saturday 28th February 2009 at 8am (ouch, early!) just be at Shoreditch Studio, Unit 2 Batemans Row, Curtain Road, London EC1V.

'Generation Gaming' - Dan Bull & Devastator Sounds (video)

Check out the cut and paste video for Devastator Sounds' new single which features Dan Bull on the vocals. Dan goes through the last 15 years of computer gaming history covering all bases. He does all this over some lovely wild west-ish production.

Get over to YouTube and have a go at their little competition: "The first person to successfully list of all the game titles in this video will win a CD copy of Dan Bull's debut album Safe. Send your answers as a video response."

'The Digital Revolution' - VA - Mixed by Tricksta (free download)

Tricksta is no stick in the mud. His latest venture is a free, download only series of UK Runnings mixtapes entitled 'The Digital Revolution'. He sprung this one on me on Wednesday night and I had no idea he was doing it. Now it's available for you to download.

The first installment is hosted by LATE and features plenty of Certified Banger favourites such as Kyza, Supar Novar, Jyager, Dabbla, Miss Tofelees, TB, JC, Skandal and more!

He also assures me volume 2 will be out very soon and that it is hosted by M9.

For those of you into US rap you need to check out LATE's other er, latest mixtape 'Undergound Exposure Volume 6'. It features JT Tha Bigga Figga, K-Rino, Rapper K, Jai Boo and loads more. It's also a free download, here's the link.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

The Clash of the Wordsmiths

Things is about to get complicated! UK heads will know of Wordsmith, the man who dropped the sought after 'The Roadman Showcase' and is about to drop his new album 'In Pursuit of Harmony'.

Some folk who keep their ear to the virtual streets of the internet will know about another Wordsmith, the Baltimore rapper who is constantly on his grind, dropping mixtape after mixtape, track after track and doing show after show at the same time as keeping us bloggers well up-to-date with the happs.

Well Wordsmith (US) is coming to the UK: "For fans of Wordsmith across the Atlantic we have another collaboration album for you. Baltimore artist, Wordsmith, and Dutch artist I.N.C. The Poet, signed a digital distribution deal on 9/19/08 with Dented Records in the United Kingdom to release their album "A Baltimore Martini" and Word is currently working on a 3 year P&D Deal with the major UK distributor Pickwick group for the album/other projects as well. This unique concept album is Hip-Hop in its truest form and with it we hope to cement our artist Wordsmith as an international superstar."

That's Dented Records who currently distribute a sizeable proportion of the hottest UK talent such as DJ IQ, Dr. Syntax, Dubbledge, Foreign Beggars, Kashmere, Kyza, Skrein, Stig, Verb T and more!

If you want to get up on the US Wordsmith then download some mixtapes here.

On The Radar Artist Profile: Simple Samples

Name: Simple Samples

Age: Both 22

From: Northwest UK; Bolton & Salford

Track on ‘On The Radar’: 'Dark Matter Remix' - Simple Samples

Tell us the story behind the track: Was originally a track on our first mixtape ‘Samplicity’ but decided to remix it with a new upbeat fresh vibe.

Record Label: None

Who you roll with: Scrabble & Dweller all the way.

Favourite album(s): The Roots – 'Do You Want More?'

Describe your style in three words: Chilled Local Vibes

Past/Present/Future projects: Putting together a full album this year, keep ya posted!

Get the other 19 tracks!

'Skilzstrumentals Vol. 1' - IllSkilz (free download)

The producer behind Beit Nun's latest release, Dutchman IllSkilz has dropped a free beat tape for all to cop. And it's some fair cop. He's as diverse as can be yet still maintains a distinct sound -you get the impression there are no limits when it comes to producing. You get stuff that would sound at home on an early Massive Attack LP ('My Story') right next to terrifingly hard bangers like 'Buss Raps Like Bullets' - Mobb Deep need to put in a call.

MCs y'all need to drop the man a line, but don't use any of these phrases: "I got lyrics that would fit to that beat", "I can make your beats famous here", "I got the right contacts to get ya a deal", "Send us your best beats for radio promotion or "I almost got a deal, I can make you famous" - they won't work. Although heavily influenced by the West Coast all tastes are catered for on this 13 track sample of just what Illskilz is capable of and aside from a couple of dodgily mastered tracks he is more than capable. MCs worldwide regardless of subgenre should find something to flow over and if you don't rap, just listen, there's enough going on for these beats to stand alone.

'Fish N Chips' - Margaman (video)

Here's a vid they used to play on Channel U a few years ago. It used to make me laugh:

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Trail & Error EP' - Raptilian (EP review)

Continuing where they left off with previous releases Gordon Bennett records’ latest project is Raptilian’s ‘Trial and Error EP’. Sounding like the boys nipped into the next room during a party ‘Trial and Error’ is the Hip Hop soundtrack for a gathering round your place.

Producer Lounge Lizard factors Funk, Soul, Jazz and Blues into his skittish beats and rapper Diagnostik heroically keeps up with some fast paced production. Even though only two or three of the tracks are above 100 BPM the album maintains a rapid pace until bonus track ‘Like No Other’ simmers things down to close. ‘Oh My Word’ stands out for its jolly beats and ‘Life of the Party’ for its dissection of the life of irresponsible ravers. ‘No Filler’ discusses what no one will say about Raptilian – boring albums and tracks.

‘Trial and Error’ is a perfectly executed model of an EP. Its length matches its appeal and Raptilian pack enough into the time they have to suffice – people with short attention spans will more than cope. It’s out now and can be bought from the almighty itunes.

On The Radar Artist Profile: Lee Scott

Name: Lee Scott aka Mr. Wrong (of Antiheroes)

Age: 24

From: Runcorn

Track on ‘On The Radar’: Antiheroes - 'Sub-Human Nature' ft. Darkstar

Tell us the story behind the track: Basically wanted to make some horrible grimy s**t coz I was PISSED OFF over some s**t I am not willing to discuss with normal humans. I dropped a verse on the bangin' grimy ass Reklews beat originally intended for the Hock Tu Down LP, then got Darkstar to drop a verse. Known about this Darkstar for a while, guy dissapeared for years then we realised he was alive again after some time inside for some sort of New Yorker foolishness and got him on it too. Salar heard it and was inspired enough to jump on it on the last verse and completely kill it.

Record Label: Blah Records

Who you roll with: Children of The Damned Brick Pelican Fam, Blah Bastards.

Favourite album(s): 'Dare iz a Darkside' or 'Stress: The Extinction Level Agenda', depends on what day it is, and what the weather is like.

Describe your style in three words: Fresh as F**k

Past/Present/Future projects: Antiheroes - 'Middle Finger Salute', ETI Records - 'Extra Terrestrial Intelligence' 12'', Mr. Wrong - 'The Wrong Bootleg Demo EP', Children of The Damned - 'Tourettes Camp', Mr. Wrong - 'Put on The Glasses', Children of The Damned - 'Brick Pelican', Hock Tu Down (Lee Scott & Reklews) - 'Prozium Peddlin', Mcabre Brothers (Lee Scott & Monster Under The Bed) - 'Gonzo Lyricism', just some projects released and others 100% complete and awaiting release kid! Antiheroes was also featured on some big releases back in the day but I don't care to list 'em. Check Manage's old LP 'Live in Protest' for a grimy banger featuring the Antiheroes.

Get the other 19 tracks!

'Skullcrackology' - Mudmowth (video)

'Talking the Hardest Remix' - 10Shott

Here's 10Shott's 'Talking the Hardest' - awesome as usual, not many could touch his rhymes.

Monday, 16 February 2009

'Ashley Walters' - Ashley Walters (album review)

February 23rd 2009 sees the release of the latest album from Ashley Walters. The self titled release is his first under this moniker having previously gone under the (stolen) name Asher D.

Walking a line that is surely intended to draw fans from his garage days, the Grime and Hip Hop scenes and the radio listeners Ashley has invited relevant guests along for the ride: Chipmunk, Sway, Durrty Goodz, Ghetts (Ghetto) and Nolay provide verses, Joe Buhdah, Baby J, Scandalous, Maniac, Terror Danjah, Swindle and others supply beats and Mutya Buena, Ebru and Elrae provide sung vocals. Even Ashley’s two sons and daughters pitch in for the sympathy vote!

Most tracks sit well together but tracks like ‘Whoa pt. 2’ seem incongruous – the downside to trying to appeal to everyone. ‘Stress Filled Days’ and ‘Generations’ are an example of a more mature and responsible outlook.

The better tracks lie at each end of the album, sandwiching a few weaker tracks. However, someone reading this will probably only enjoy those four tracks so the wide target audience stunt may be a successful ploy.

'Water of a Monkey's Back - Monkey Sons (single review)

‘Water Off A Monkey’s Back’ is the latest single from Brighton Hip Hop band Monkey Sons. It’s a rowdy stab at the establishment; the government comes under the knife most severely on the first verse.

Ska tinged rock with rapped vocals, chant-along-choruses and scratching is the summation of the package offered by this 7 piece live band. ‘Firechaser’ is a hyped up, Keith Flint-esque electro/rock/breaks monster. It’s an untameable creature (a rabid monkey maybe) that explores personal ills.

This single is available digitally now at the usual places (itunes, emusic, amazon and napster - where have you been?!) or on vinyl or CD at their myspace (click this link).

Cymarshall Law

Rawkus 50 MC Cymarshall Law is no doubt a name you've been hearing a bit lately. Cymarshall Law, originally from Luton, UK but now residing in New Jersey, has just put out his latest mixtape 'Cyology 3: The Freedom Writer'.

'Control' features KRS-One and 'Truth' features Supastition and Phi-Life Cypher (also from Luton) collaborator Skit Slam. This is some real Hip Hop from the US that I can really get down with. If I hear more like this this year I'll definitely getting back into rap from across the pond.

'For Corners' - Diego Bernal (free download)

Following the J Dilla 'Donuts' beat tape format, civil rights attorney and beatsmith Diego Bernal presents 19 tracks of instrumental goodness. And it's free (You're bored of free stuff? Then you can buy it at iTunes on February 24th for $1.99.)

'For Corners' is an eclectic mix of influences coherently crafted into what is essentially an instrumental Hip Hop album. Although if Hip Hop wasn't your thing, I'd tell you it was something else - maybe a World Music album. To make a list of musical styles encompassed here would be boring, so I won't, but trust, it's fairly all-encompassing.

This album has been put together in a way that makes you wonder how Bernal has discarded a knowledge of how things are done in order to totally create things in his own way - this is truly visionary.

Get your copy here from Exponential Records and check these individual tracks out:

Free Ice Cream

Gloriously throwing a defiant selection of fingers at anything resembling a pigeon hole the folks over at Free Ice Cream have got some freebies for you.

Their own unique (and I mean that) brand of Hip Hop often veers towards the more ign'ant side of things but as soon as it does the wheel is righted straight to the leftfield via the hilariously whacked out pseudo-mundane. What's round the corner is a thoroughly unknown entity and Hip Hop hard heads will no doubt balk at some of the stuff on these releases.

The main guys over there are Kats and Domer who are currently working on Volume 3 of their series 'Almost Fameless'. The whole movement came from their putting on of parties and it's evident in their music - best enjoyed with free BBQ, beer and ice cream.

Their latest project 'Business/Casual' features Hip Hop remixes indie rock songs by bands like White Stripes, Black Lips and Spoon (not bands I listen to) and it's pretty cool. Be sure to download volumes 1 and 2 of 'Almost Fameless' and check out 'On The Radar' artist Miss Tofelees' track 'Feels So Right' for some loveliness.

'Hits From The Morning Sun' - Mongrel (free remixes)

New music from Lowkey's newest, set to blow project: Mongrel. The band, if you don't know, consists of Jon McClure and Joe Moskow (Reverend and The Makers) Lowkey, Andy Nicholson (Ex Arctic Monkeys Bassist), Matt Helders (Arctic Monkeys Drummer), Drew McConnell (Babyshambles Guitarist) and Jagz Kooner (proflific UK producer).

Here are three pretty different takes on their track 'Hit From The Morning Sun':

Hit From The Morning Sun - Hit From The Morning Dub (My favourite and the most Hip Hop)
Hit From The Morning Sun - DJ Beware And Motorpitch Remix (DJ Beware myspace, Motorpitch site)

The Mighty Underdogs Play Jazz Cafe London

This Wednesday (18th February 2009) Hip Hop supergroup The Mighty Underdogs are playing the Jazz Cafe in London. Doors open at 7pm, close at 1am and it's £18.50 in.

The Mighty Underdogs are Blackalicious’s Gift of Gab, Lateef the Truth Speaker and Bay Area producer Headnodic. They are currently signed to alternative Hip Hop label Def Jux although their sound is accpetable to most. Their album 'Dropping Science Fiction ' can be found now although its official UK release date comes in March. The album features DJ Shadow, Mr. Lif, Akrobatik, Tash, Chali 2na, Julian and Damian Marley and Fatboy Slim. Check back here soon for a full review.

L' Arlez Concept

If you like your Hip Hop hard, musical and with an international flavour then check out French duo L' Arlez Concept. OK, so I don't really understand everything they're saying but I've always loved French Hip Hop. Rap in foreign languages can be enjoyed in a totally different way - entirely based on sonics - a testament to Hip Hop's universality.

'C'est Tellement Complexe', which roughly translates to 'It's So Complex', is led by a nice piano riff but gets a little mexican with the addition of a trumpet solo. 'Criminels de L'humanite' ('Criminals of Humanity'?) is reggae based and I can only assume contains some pretty conscious, politcal lyrics (they are French, that's what they're known for).

'Kick Off Ya Shoes' - GreenJade (video)

So, ideally I'd have posted this on Valentines Day, but I had better things to do then than embed videos on February 14th. 'Kick Off Ya Shoes' comes as a British and more R'n'B version of some Native Tongues/Common/Jurassic 5 type vibe and features the Jazz legend Frank McComb on keys and the vocal talents of Jaz Elington and Clinton Jordan.

It's taken from their album 'LIFE As We Know It' which is available now.

'Back in the Game' - Kid Rad (free download)

Taken from the forthcoming UK Runnings/HHB Radio link up double CD album 'Flying the Flag' is Kid Rad's 'Back in the Game'. Whilst here he's saying nothing new, you can appreciate the skills; Kid Rad has tongue twisting clarity.

Look out for 'Flying the Flag', a 50 track epic covering all ground between Grime and Hip Hop and obviously featuring purely UK artists.

'Debt Collector' - Blessed House (video)

If you liked the Blessed House EP 'Holy Residents', then check out their video for standout track 'Debt Collector':

Saturday, 14 February 2009

'The Unwritten Rule' - Styly Cee & Cappo (video)

YNR 2009 Releases

Having already released Sir Smurf Lil's 'A New Bloodline', YNR Productions are gearing up for the release of Jyager's first album 'Encrypted Scriptures'. Also in the pipeline from Jehst's label this year are:

Various Artists - 'Feeding Time At The Zoo'
Micall Parknsun - 'First Second Time Around'
Jehst - 'The Dragon Of An Ordinary Family
Kashmere - 'Kingdom Of Fear'
Verb T - 'Serious Games'

Friday, 13 February 2009

On The Radar Artist Profile: Miss Tofelees

Name: Miss Tofelees

Age: 33 – the granny of uk Hip Hop!

From: Huddersfield, now living in Leeds

Track on ‘On The Radar’: 'The Title' by Dabbla, produced by Miss Tofelees

Tell us the story behind the track:

Miss Tofelees: I had been wanting London Zoo to jump on a track for quite some time. It was then Dabbla who warmed to my beats and decided to do a track with me. His rapping is a lyrical feast for the starving fans passionate about good lyrics out there.

Dabbla: The track for me was a whole bunch of thoughts and emotions I've had or been having trying to find peace within oneself. Without getting all deep and carrying on with myself I'd just like to say its refreshing to receive such a well produced, soulful instrumental to spill my kinda ish onto. Don't know where Miss T finds her samples but she's got a serious ear and takes good care when putting this stuff together! MCs out there need to holla, get involved quick sharp and ask nicely for some beats before I tag em all up! Hot s**t for double 0-9 star!

What Farma said: More big tunes... Dabbla holds the mellow groove well and spits the bars nicely: "be a tree and bend with the wind". Clear and coherent!

Record Label: Sinoptic

Who you roll with: I am one half of the group Homeless Genius with 3Demons of Don't Talk to Strangers. I am also doing an album on Sinoptic records run by Exp and Super funk group Freyed Knot. I am also doing a lot of work with Spida Lee from Huddersfield.

Favourite album(s): Too many to mention but those that immediately spring to mind are 'MadVillainy' by Madvillain, 'Donuts' by J Dilla, 'Special Herbs' by MF Doom, and the new album by yours truly!

Describe your style in three words: Jazz, funk, passion

Past/Present/Future projects:

Past: 'Tomorrow’s World' featured on Osmosis mixtape 'Wizard of Oz', 'Feel So Right' featured on Kats and Domer mixtape 'Almost Fameless Volume 1', 'How Long' featured on Smokio mixtape 'Last Orders', 'I Don’t Want' featured on Tapestry mixtape 'Laced', 'Coolo' by Spida Lee and D.Bo. 'General' featured on 'Grind Time UK Edition Volume 1' hosted by DJ Ames, 'Incompatible' by Deci4life featured on 'Grind Time UK Edition Volume 3' hosted by DJs Ames, Drama and Woogie.

Present: I got a business idea I am working on but gotta keep that secret! I am constantly producing beats and promoting them. Currently working on tracks with 3demons for Homeless Genius.

Future: Miss Tofelees album released on Sinoptic, 'Homeless Genius EP', 'The Title' on Dabbla's EP, 'Cursed in da Streets 2' on Universal Balance album, a couple of beats on Tapestry mixtape, a few tunes on Spida Lee album, plenty more projects still needing to be confirmed!!!

And yes, you can still get the motherload of tracks recently endorsed by Task Force's Farma G.

Farma Certifies 'On The Radar Volume 2'

Get on over to Farma G's Music From The Corner blog because he's totally dissected 'On The Radar Volume 2' in it's entirety and I have to say, it's more than favourable - which is good for me and all the guys and girls involved:

"I'm new to this blog thing but one thing I know is that Certified Banger is the top dog in this blogging phenomena... period! This is the second volume of 'On The Radar' and it is FREE!!! The artists are all on the come up and from all over the UK which for me is now a very important thing to be showcasing. The UK Hip Hop scene is not just a London thing anymore (not that it ever was, but it has been the general perception) and the local accents of my brothers and sisters from all over the UK are something to celebrate and enjoy."

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Q-Tip Rolls Out The Rhythm Rug

After years of tumult as a solo artist in the fickle world of Hip Hop, rapper Q-Tip has decided to follow an avenue hinted at back in 1991. As part of Hip Hop group A Tribe Called Quest, Mr. Tip rapped ‘Wipe your feet really good on the rhythm rug’ on their golden age hit ‘Can I Kick It?’. In interview the legendary MC disclosed that “It was time to take a walk on the wild side”. He also denied rumours that he has been in talks with Johnson & Johnson about a range of sponsored ear cleaning products.

In an unprecedented move Q has started business in the world of soft furnishings and floor coverings. His lead product, the 'Rhythm Rug', is bound to greet visitors at many a Hip Hop fan’s house in the near future. Q-Tip himself has been an integral part of the design and testing process, he said “It was important that the rug ensured a real good wipe, for two reasons: kicks and carpets”.

The ‘Rhythm Rug’ comes in three different colourways, and whilst the current version does not quote his famous lyric there are plans to include it on future models. Tip stated “I didn’t want to appear big headed, but the demand is there, peeps do wanna wipe their feet on my words”.

The ‘Rhythm Rug’ has an ‘interconnecting circular design with carved detail in 100% polypropylene’ and is ‘available in 4 sizes and 3 colours’. It retails at £21.99 - £69.99, depending on size and is available exclusively in the UK at 24studio’s home shopping website.

On The Radar Artist Profile: Grit Grammar

Name: Grit Grammar

Age: Old enough!

From: London

Track on ‘On The Radar’: 'Final Frontier'

Tell us the story behind the track: This is one of the first tracks me and Baron ever recorded together. Its basically an exploration of a possible metaphorical future, and questioning if it's the future at all! DEEP!!

Record Label: Unsigned

Who you roll with: I roll solo, but work closely with Baron Samedi, Lixx and other MC's around London.

Favourite album(s): Too difficult to say, but probably Big L – 'Lifestyles of the Poor & Dangerous'.

Describe your style in three words: Versatile, lyrical, abstract.

Past/Present/Future projects: 'Final Frontier' features on the promo I just dropped called 'Reflections In The Dark'. Look out for my official debut album fully produced by Baron Samedi due late 2009.

You can have more than just this one track - catch 'em all!

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

On The Radar Artist Profile: Chima Anya

Name: Chima Anya

Age: 24

From: Oxford

Track on ‘On The Radar’: 'All I Wanna do' ft Chemo

Tell us the story behind the track: Beat is sick. Needed a sick MC!

Record Label: Phoenix Down

Who you roll with: GTA/ Ineffable/ Astrosnare/ Kid Fury

Favourite album(s): ‘Ready 2 Die’

Describe your style in three words: Swagger, Soul, Intelligence

Past/Present/Future projects:

Past: GTA – 'Love is Here' (EP) 2006, GTA – 'The Way' (LP) 2008
Present: Chima Anya 'Higher Ground (Everything's S**t)' Mixtape March 09
Future: Chima Anya + AstroSnare 'TBC' (LP) Sept 08

You still haven't got it? Get 'On The Radar Volume 2 now - it's free y'know?!

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

On The Radar Artist Profile: The Three Amigos

Name: The Three Amigos (Leaf, Bva + Naive)

Age: Leaf 22, Bva 22, Naive 25

From: Leaf - East London + Glastonbury, Bva - Glastonbury, Naive- Brighton

Track on ‘On The Radar’: 'Real Life Drama' - The Three Amigos

Tell us the story behind the track: Well we wanted to make a statement to everyone that we were not like them and that we make real music to help real lives! So this is a big GET F**KED to some certain MCs trying to fade the 3's empire!

Record Label: R.L.D Records (Real.Life.Drama)

Who you roll with: Artists we roll with are Mr Dick(our DJ), (Kid Genius, Assa, Contact Play - R.L.D Crew a side project of ours), Tactical Thinking crew, Ghosttown, Orifice Vulgatron. DJ Insight, Dirty Dike, SMB, 2 Many Steps. We have worked with Sadat X, Diamond D, Rampage (Flipmode) and Dr Syntax.

Favourite album(s): ‘36 Chambers’, ‘Ready 2 Die’, ‘Moment of Truth’ (Gangstarr), ‘Firing ‘ (M.O.P.), Dr Dre’s ‘2001’, Task Force’s ‘MFTC 1’ and basically every album from the 90's.

Describe your style in three words: Real Life Drama

Past/Present/Future projects: We have an album from 2005 that we released on R.L.D Records which is still available from our website or myspace page. ‘World War 3’ is nearly ready to be released, its set for 2009 on R.L.D records with some help from Dented Records. Leaf's solo album is also pretty much finished and features Diamond D and Rampage (Flipmode). Other projects being worked on are another 3 amigos album, An R.L.D Album featuring the whole crew and a few more projects yet to take shape.

If you have yet to download Certified Banger Presents: 'On The Radar Volume 2' then click here now!

'Tomorrow' - Kerogen (single review)

Ethereally beautiful keys and strings and dubby half-step beats – Kerogen’s latest double A side single ‘Tomorrow’/’Concrete Keys’.

Kerogen, a producer from London via Hastings, creates a strangely tense but relaxing atmosphere on both of these tracks. The vocal samples draw the listener in, making ‘Tomorrow’ a heartfelt and personal lament and ‘Concrete Keys’ a haunting recollection of past mistakes. For fans of electronic music, Hip Hop, Dubstep and Moby.

‘Tomorrow’/’Concrete Keys’ was released on 26th January 2009 on Lewis Recordings and can be bought from itunes.

Monday, 9 February 2009

'The Dirty Helmet Sessions' - Pitman (album review)

Haha! Pitman is back! Son Records’ most wacky creation brings you a back catalogue of tracks from a 12 year period of between times mentalness from real life man Styly Cee.

With 6 of the 10 tracks being previously unreleased, the hardcore fans of Hip Hop’s most rappin’est coal miner won’t be disappointed. In fact, no-one should feel let down – jokes, of a kind, flow freely. ‘Phone Pitman 2’, ‘It Takes Tea’, ‘Latin Bingo’ and ‘Jungle Pit ‘97’ are the 4 tracks that have already made their way onto 7” vinyl. ‘Phone Pitman 2’ lambastes Jamie Oliver, whack MCs, Jay Z, Elton John, Craig David, Vocoders (very apt for now), Nelly (the elephant) and Gary Glitter. ‘It Takes Tea’ takes off the Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock track wonderfully – it’s a banger, and it’s hilarious!

Of the unheard tracks there’s plenty more hilarity to be had with way too many quotes to mention. ‘The Breaks’ sees Pitman commentating on a load of classic funk breaks and ‘Words 2’ is a perfect example of Pitman’s how his mind wanders from one thing he thinks is crap to another – like James Blunt. He even imparts advice from a book what ees got on ‘Bright Side of the Fence’.

‘The Dirty Helmet Sessions’ is out on the 16th February on Son Records.

'The Illegal Operator' - Dr. Crobe (album review)

Having a good rap name and an interesting background, it seems, can be the making of an album. Dr. Crobe relies on the ‘doctor’ part of his name (‘Plastic Surgery’, ‘Gin Lane’ and ‘In the Lab’) and his train line based graffiti legacy (‘Hot Spots Cold Nights’) for inspiration on ‘The Illegal Operator’ (The title track combines the two). Strangely, I don’t think it’s actually a bad thing – the album is very consistent as a result. In fact it borders on ‘concept’ status.

OK, so Crobe deviates in places: Opener ‘Rappers Coffee Morning’ wryly likens most MCs to grannies meeting at 11.00 for a brew, biscuits and a gossip. ‘Boogie Down Bradford’ bigs up his place of residence, not known as a Hip Hop hotbed, but nevertheless, he proves it’s worthy of stealing the prefix of the Bronx.

‘Shapeshifters’ (which features Groundwurq's J-Simple and Sam Hep) demonstrates the ill out lyrical abilities of Crobe whereas ‘Money Grows’, ‘Show The Kids’ and ‘Don’t Smoke Crack’ explore life, crime and vices.

The production is divied up between Brutal Artistry and Electric Pimpernels – two more local outfits. The latter often provide a live feel, still a rarity in Hip Hop. The focus of the beats is making heads nod whether that be through piano and string led backdrops or funk fuelled bangers.

‘The Illegal Operator’, out now on Brews N Biscuits can be bought directly from Dr. Crobe’s website for a tenner. If you buy, you’ll also get ’10 Graf Commandment’s’, Crobe’s version of Biggies immortal ’10 Crack Commandments’.

'Put On The Glasses' - Mr. Wrong (album review)

Another album that’s been out a while (can you tell I’m playing catch up?) is Mr. Wrong’s ‘Put On The Glasses’. Mr. Wrong, an alias of Lee Scott of Antiheroes and Children of the Damned notoriety, has created an album that lives up to his alter ego’s name.

With his punctuated, staccato Northern flow it’s easy to tell when he’s on the mic – always a plus point when there are a million and one rappers out there who sound, let’s face it, pretty similar.

The album kicks off with ode to Green party conspiracy-monger ‘David Icke’, a track which demonstrates Mr. Wrong’s wrongness – you wouldn’t want him in a position of power. The beat to follow up track ‘Dumb ILL’ proves that wrong can actually, on occasion be right (in music anyway) – it’s an exotically creepy jerky thing that suits Wrong’s voice most perfectly. The rest of the (self) production is a dense, more- blunted darker version of early 90’s Dre G Funk with hints of DJ Muggs’ beats.

The next few tracks serve to prove how vicious and twisted Mr. Wrong can be. Alongside Bill Shakes and Children of the Damned Mr. W proves his battling skills in unison with his warped, but often not disgusting, verbals. Things continue in this way for the duration – you decide whether that’s good or bad. The album is littered with awesome quotable, stand out lines – enough to keep a rap lyric geek entertained for 50 minutes anyway.

Your copy can be ordered from Mr. Wrong’s myspace – but hurry, they won’t be around forever.

'Audacity' - Ugly Duckling (album review)

So Ugly Duckling’s new album has been out for a couple of weeks now and I’ve not yet passed judgement despite having had it for some time. Here we go:

It kicks off with lead single ‘I Won’t Let It Die’ which I’ve already reviewed so I’ll say no more (I really liked it). ‘Audacity’ has what all the other albums had with an added element of seriousness and more meaning. Not that UD never had stuff to say, they did (for example, on ‘Pick-Up Lines’ they expressed views no rapper ever had before or since). It’s just that the overall reputation of UD was good time, fun-having Hip Hop.

So, it still is fun and funky (Einstein brings funk by the pound – no other producer does it quite like him) but there is a more spiritual approach to this LP. To me it sounds like a concept album based around a man’s inner moral (and possibly religious) conflicts. It’s fitting that this is the case: UDs listeners who picked up their 2001 album ‘Journey To Anywhere’ will have grown and matured along with the group and are probably totally ready for more complex subject matter – I know I am.

Don’t get the wrong impression though – it’s seriously witty. All of the more grown-up ideas are delivered with humour and droll lyrics. The addition of sing-songy hooks doesn’t make this any less credible – just more listenable and memorable – I’m all for them. Also, it does mean that this album is a whole lot more accessible to people, I know I’d be happy playing this to my younger brother, my dad or my Nana and the chances are, they’d appreciate some aspect of it. You couldn’t say that for most rap artists who ‘make it’, and I don’t want to be ashamed of my music of choice – this is something I’m proud to be a fan of.

Ugly Duckling – well done and thank you. A quality release – listener, buyer, consumer – buy yours now.

'The Oracle' Kasha (album review)

With obvious salutations to his inspirations, London youngster Kasha has carved a nice little album for himself. ‘The Oracle’ is an entertaining listen with stand-out moments coming earlier on in the playlist. ‘The Wake Up’ must be intentionally reminiscent of Nas’ ‘Memory Lane’ and ‘Coming Back With It’ reminds of the more recent superstar; Lupe Fiasco.

‘Hustling’, whilst a topic that has been covered innumerable times, is a nice guitar led track that’ll have you singing along. ‘Black Rhyme’ finishes off the one, two, one, two dual-combo that kicks off the album with a positive message over a backwards looking, forward thinking production from Vivid Imagery.

Kasha’s flow is unorthodox; a stream of ideas mingled with wordplay which makes for some refreshing listening – a unique flow is a gift in this market. The album continues focussing on life’s themes: love, girls, work, imaginary stories and reality. Sonically you get Blaxploitation, Soul and Orchestral sounds all touched up with an up-to-date Hip Hop brush.

‘The Oracle’ can be bought now at Suspect Packages. Check Kasha’s myspace and website.

Here's the back cover and full listing for 'On The Radar Volume 2' (click on it to see it large!) and here are some tracks from it:

JVF Clique - 'Certified Banger Exclusive'

Asaviour & Apa-Tight - 'Gully'

Krate Krusaders - 'Respect Your Elders' ft. Remus

Download the whole thing!

And here's the link for Volume 1 in case you missed that.

Certified Banger Presents: 'On The Radar Volume 2' - VA (free download)

It's here! The second installment! 20 tracks of UK Hip Hop for your lug'oles.

Download now!

Check back daliy for updates on more music from the artists involved. Be sure to check myspaces,
leave comments for me and them - all feedback is welcome.

Feel free to use these tracks, re-post them on your blog, burn them - whatever y'all do with mp3's these days. Just be sure to let us know what you do with them so artists can keep track!

1) Certified Banger Exclusive - JVF Clique (produced by Pappa Doc)
2) Coming For The Game ft. Jay Madden, Chris L & Assa - Jut
3) Dr. Who ft. Dan Bull, Mrs. Pez & Jimmy Crack – Skrimshank (produced by Damo)
4) Respect Your Elders ft. Remus - Krate Krusaders
5) Life Is Real - Antidote (produced by Pro P)
6) Truth Or Lie – TLG (produced by Eyebs)
7) All I Wanna Do - Chima Anya
8) Real Life Drama - The Three Amigos (produced by Naive)
9) Final Frontier - Grit Grammar (produced by Baron Samedi)
10) After Life - Dan Bull
11) Drama - Joker Starr (produced by G Man)
12) See I Realise ft. Anneke – MasterSystem (produced by Whys)
13) Gully - Asaviour & Apa-Tight
14) The Title - Dabbla (produced by Miss Tofelees)
15) Mimsey Grove - Gouki P (produced by Ants & Jut)
16) Subhuman Nature ft. Darkstar - Antiheroes (produced by Reklews)
17) Rugged Bros ft. Lowercase - Chattabox (produced by Sober)
18) Dark Matter (Remix) - Simple Samples (produced by Dweller)
19) Crop Circles ft. Circle Makerz - King David (produced by Safron)
20) Family Life ft. Cipher Jewels – Reggiimental (produced by DJ Konn)