Hello peeps, who knows what I might write today, I’m feeling a bit delicate from last night. That’s means; with my mind on autopilot, I could easily dazzle you with my raw talent produced without preparation, or I could bore you to death with some random pissed-up drizzle.
I tell you what, why don’t you send me some emails to let me know how you think it went after you’ve perused through the new releases. There are some beauties here too; a couple of which I believe will be on this month’s Crossfire radio Hip Hop show, so you can listen to them there.
I think we should start with…
Riding With The Ratman (Single)
This cheeky little number is released on 12th June so keep your ears peeled! Here, the Dr has offered an appointment that we just can’t miss. Just for turning up you get handed to you, a prescription of undiluted, pure funk bedlam. Quickly following the recently released “Watch the Tables Turn“, this 7” and download only release has already been generating some whispers in the next mans ear. Whispers that have turned to mumbling, mumbling that has turned to……. & so on. You get the picture.
“Riding with Ratman & Theme for a Latter-Day Lothario” are a nice plateful of proper funky shit. Both tracks are taken from the forthcoming Dr Rubberfunk album ‘My Life At 33’ and both will be available as downloads from your favourite sites; iTunes, Beathut, Karmadownload, Beatport etc etc … In fact, I get as much satisfaction out of this rather agreeable CD as when I used to get double chips at school, eat half in the queue, and pay for 1 portion. I got caught in the end though. But the beauty of it is, with these first rate tunes you can’t get into trouble.
Dr Rubberfunk’s debut album “The First Cut“, released in 2003, was admired from afar and saw him remix the likes of the Stereo MC’s, Skalpel, Bobby Hebb and the Dutch Rhythm Combo who were all very impressed with the Dr’s vibe, as am I. Yes, im feelin this one and im quite sure you will be too.
You can check out whats going on with Dr Rubberfunk at www.myspace.com/drrubberfunk
Abstract Mindstate f. Common
(4 The Soul Reciprocity)
Abstract Mindstate are a male/female rap duo Ice Gre and Ebony Poetress the Hellcat. These two have released quite a lot of tunes: five 12″ vinyl singles, one seven track EP, a full debut album, an unreleased album and two heavy mixtapes. Here we get a three track single that oozes originality, has some quite tight rhymes, nice bit of production and some very hard hitting beats.
“Nostalgia” is something that is destined to hit the spot of anyone out there loving the American side of hip hop. Fans of Mos Def, Talib Kweli and Kanye West are going to love this slice of Chicago funky stuff. Featuring the legendary Common, this track floats along on a sweet, uplifting groove. A great track for B-boys and girls everywhere. You can buy it at www.abstractmindstate.com
Verb-T & Harry Love
Bring It Back To Basics
Well, here we are! Two of my favourite artists brought together for a whole album! Ever since Verb-T did “Backhand Slap Talk” on Lowlife I was hooked. Verb. T from West London – first worked with Harry Love on the “Showbitchness” single from Low Life’s “Food” compilation and has featured on more recent releases from the Breakin’ Bread and Medication labels. And Harry Love is just a precision craftsman. I first knew of him when he was working on the Kung Fu nights. I think that’s me being a bit slow on the uptake there, but that’s what you get for living so far north. You have to find everything out yourself, no one tells you nuffin.
Anyway, “Bring It Back To Basics” takes you on some good highs and lows & can be quirky with intelligent lyrics or demonstrate some wizardry with rhymes. There are some decent guests on this album too, with Karizma, Yungun, Jehst, Kyza to name a few we’re sorted aren’t we! A track I have decided to point out is “4:30 am“. This track gives a real feeling that it is half four in the morning, I assume this track was written in the early hours of the morning. If you’re feeling chilled this masterpiece helps you to sink into that comfy seat even further. Well it’s track 6, have a listen. Buy it from www.suspect-packages.com if you like.
A New Dawn
Now, I’ve had this one for quite some time now but I had some mates round to have a blast on the old ones and twos, and as always people were using records I never use and pulling out little diamonds. This was one of those, and I’ve done a bit of research so I know my stuff as well.
“A New Dawn” is not your run of the mill conventional hip hop track, I get the feeling it’s running along side next to it. The lyrics in “A New Dawn” are not for the faint hearted. Speaking out profoundly against some of the predetermined ways in which success in the music industry is selected, and how the media destroys an already saturated market with re-branded acts and artists they already know will sell. Take a look at the Black Eyed Peas or Big Brothers, and if anyone has seen or heard that tune by Daz Sampson then I hope you washed your ears out afterwards. How is that shit even allowed? I thought the media had gate keepers for offensive and inappropriate content. White, male, middle-aged, middle-class selective listening.
This music is right at the other end of the scale. Sophie Johnson-Hill worked through the streets of Nottingham along side Karizma and Out Da Ville, bringing with her some true soul and a completely different outlook and attitude.
I’m in to this approach, Even if I wasn’t so keen on the track (which I am) I would probably still buy it because of the basic philosophy of it…..Making music is for peoples enjoyment, not to make a shed load of cash. Ok, making cash is nice too. Yep, go & buy it at www.dealmakerrecords.com
This weeks sites and sounds:
www.bare-records.co.uk – Just waiting for the hip hop basement show to go on the site. I’ve heard it already top tracks crawling all over it
www.myspace.com/cloudsmooke – Making sweet beats
www.myspace.com/krisdrew – It’s my page! There are some good tunes and a tiny bit about me.
www.siino.co.uk – I bought a sweet t shirt from here
Yet another bit of amazing artwork:
Nice one! Ill see you in a bit.
Another month, another mix. And this month, Crossfire HQ has been sponsored by Twix bars, so I’m writing this with chocolate round my face and a gut with a stack of empty wrappers on top. I could try and make a rapper/wrapper joke there, but I’m not nearly clever enough so instead I’ll just get on with the reviews as I have a fair few to get through this time round.
Big ups to Kris for recommending the Verb T / Harry Love album, that shit is absolute fire and anyone with a set of ears needs to grab a copy of it, belting stuff.
(Low Life Records)
We all know just how great Jehst is as a rapper. His EPs and album have sat firmly at the top of my favourites pile for ages as he constantly delivers well thought out and perfectly delivered rhymes. But now Jehst has decided that his rapping needs to take a back seat, especially since his last EP Nuke Proof Suit came out not too long ago, and on this record, it’s all about showcasing his beats with numerous rappers coming in to give the vocals their personal touch.
The opening track, and lead single from the album, Dunya, features Jehst’s lowlife labelmate Micall Parknsun which sees the Working Class Dad hit it with a heavy flow as the eastern-tinged strings layer themselves over some pounding drums. Verb T turns up on Tempa Tempa which is one of the best tracks on the whole CD, his laid back delivery fitting the chilled out bassy beat laid out for him. Following that we have a new beat for the Money In The Bank remix by Asaviour featuring Kyza and Yungun. Now, I love the original beat, but I can’t help but love the new version too, a party beat with dance-inducing horns chirping.
With appearances by Kashmere, Supa T, Rodney P [on a belting remix of The Future], more Kyza and Asaviour, you know that the lyrical content and prowess of the rappers over the beats are never going to slip below the high level that Verb T brought to the plate. But the standout track on the second half of the album is Sir Smurf Lil’s vocals on Listen. The soft drums and soul sampled track fits perfectly with his delivery and cements Jehst’s place as a world class producer. Totally on point.
The Official Misstape Vol 1
(Triple Five Soul Sponsored)
This Canadian DJ has put together a brilliantly compiled mixtape here which kicks off with a bouncy scratch-fest of an intro before launching itself into tracks from the likes of DITC, Gangstarr, Non Phixion, Zion I, A Tribe Called Quest and many more. What’s impressive about this mixtape is that not only does it host a plethora of big tracks, it slides seamlessly from one to the next, the major ingredient of a mixtape.
Killa Jewel has proved she has a great ear for a tune and whether she’s mixing or scratching, you can tell she knows exactly what she’s after and the result is a podium finisher of a CD. The stand out tracks she uses for me are Scritti Politti’s Tinseltown To The Boogiedown, Freaky Flow by Special Ed, Eternia’s Spring Fever [which features a nice mix of cut up samples from Jewel] and the banging in-your-face delivery of Non Phixion’s It’s Us.
I came across these guys due to one of the tracks on this album being produced by Blue Scholars/Common Market producer/DJ Sabzi and I’m delighted that I did. This album is one that you wanna put on your stereo when you’re burning your food on the BBQ in the sun and pump the beats out loud as hell to piss the neighbours off. From the staccato bleeping beat of Champion, you’re banging that head and pumping your fist as MCs Kiwi and Bambu narrate their stories over the jumping beat.
But the production on the album switches up numerous times showing their ability to rap over differing types of hip hop. The lacy strings on Hammer allows the rappers to spit faster as they ride over the looping harp sounds whilst the soul sampled Treason gives them the chance to plod over the soft shoe shuffling music. When Typical Cats’ Denizen Kane appears on Slave Thinking, I knew I was gonna dig it, as I’m a big fan of his, but Native Guns step up to the plate and throw down the gauntlet to their guest star.
By the time 1995 comes on, the Sabzi produced joint, the latino flavour spills through as Kiwi and Bambu rap about how they came across hip hop, writing bars with their mum’s hello kitty stationary and listening to NWA beats. You’ll get to the end track, the bumping Get Down and you’ll immediately want to reload the album and listen again. This is hot.
Marvin The Martian
Hoods And Badges EP
Going solo from his WhyLout? Crew, Brixton’s Marvin The Martian has gained notoriety lately for pioneering the “grindie” scene. But ignore all that bollocks, and just sit back and enjoy this slice of grime. The track which was labelled “grindie” is Stay Off The Kane, which samples Art Brut, and its just that, a grime song with a sample. So if you don’t want to hear what you think NME will be sucking off, don’t worry, this is still a belting track.
Before that, the lead off track I Don’t Go [Alone] is a catchy little number which sees Marvin rapping frankly about how his life is going, humble and very interesting as a high pitched sample winds behind him. His delivery isn’t as raw as the grime MCs I’m used to hearing but that’s to his credit as he sounds a lot more polished, in the vein of Kano. The second track on the 3 track EP samples a motorbike. You heard me, a motorbike. It’s a fantastic track as the bass pumps the shit out of your speakers which takes you on a ride around Brixton. As a local to that manor, I can’t help but like it and, having heard his mixtape, I reckon Marv is gonna be the next big crossover name to watch out for.
Fan-Tas-Tic Vol 1
The untimely death of super-producer J-Dilla earlier this year hit the hip hop community hard. His influence spread throughout the hip hop world and his laid back beats inspired many great groups, including The Pharcyde who said at their last London show that if it wasn’t for Jay Dee, they wouldn’t be doing what they’re doing right now. High praise indeed.
All proceeds of the record Fan-Tas-Tic Vol 1 will go to the fund established by Jay Dee’s mother during his illness and it is an album that all Slum Village and Jay Dee fans will love. The typically smooth beats surround the vocals with that evening vibe that was always their sound, and provides the backdrop to the 24 tracks [which includes some remixes].
Kick back and chill, this one goes out to James Yancey. RIP.
Order Of Operations
Lushlife got big from his West Sounds mash up, following in the footsteps of DangerMouse’s Grey Album, when he mixed Kanye West with the Beach Boys. Now, in my eyes mixing something as beautiful as the Beach Boys with something as shit as Kanye West is a travesty and he needed to really bring his game to change my opinion of him when he released his album proper.
To be honest, this album doesn’t appeal to me a great deal, but that said, it does have things which would definitely get people interested. It’s a jazzy hip hop album with chilled out beats, piano samples and some laid back summery vibes on there. The title track is a nice standout point on the album, with an off kilter electronic sample and some smokey sounding drums and The Day The Universe Changed is a nice switch up with fuzzy busy beats bounding around a faster delivery.
So that’s the music for this month and so I move onto the art section of my update. This month we’re getting stickers by a very talented guy called Gav Strange, who heads up Xynthetic, a company that designs custom made skateboards amongst other things. The stickers are something of a hobby for Gav but they are fun little monsters and all seem to have their own characteristics, giving them a life of their own when he sticks them around. Make sure you check out his site here and have a butcher’s at his doodles, much fun to be had there.
Ok people, that’s your lot. As ever, if you want to get in touch or want me to hear your music to feature it in another Mix update, then feel free to email me from the address at the bottom of the page. I love getting emails and you wouldn’t want me to get sad now would you? Until next time, peace.