Just a few new decent albums to look at from me this month but that makes no difference in the world of Crossfire and now its the perfect time for the nitty gritty.
KIDS IN TRACKSUITS – New Kids Rock the Block
After the success of their debut hit 7″ Get Your KIT On, the Kids have been taking their unique beat-cutting mayhem all over the shop, from top to bottom of the UK as well as representing in France, Holland and the Czech Republic supporting heads like DJ Shadow and Luke Vibert. As we took a look at their latest single I thought it would be rude not to visit the full album.
There is some amazing scratching, cutting and producing on this album. The Kids use a massive range of sampling from language learning records to old films and programmes that we can enjoy and reminisce. The Kids In Tracksuits new cd “New Kids Rock The Block” has now been released for your pleasure. They are just about to set off on their second UK tour and then will be going on their first European tour after the launch party On Saturday the 9th September.
The launch party will be down at The Malt Cross, St James’ Street, Nottingham. As well the nyloned ones there’ll be appearances from Toulouse’s finest exports, Kaney King and Special Whity, plus visuals from Enjoy The Ride’s Stu Pearson, live art from Rikki Finn all for only £5 on the door (or £3 if your flossing your tracksuit)
Go and get this extremely experimental album and mash your brain up to some of the most weird and wonderful sounds I’ve heard in ages. Pre-orders are now being taken at www.dealmakerrecords.com and all HMV shops. For more info mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Upcoming dates for the ASBO Tour (inc. De La Soul support) can be found at;
GOLD DIGGING – As Sampled by Tupac
This album is a must for any Tupac and P-Funk fan!! This is also the 3rd volume in the Gold Digging series, although it’s the first I have heard. I will be crate digging to find the other two. After listening to this one I just hope they can flood as many memories back for me.
The Gold Digging series presents 20 original songs as sampled by Tupac. Fans, critics and journalists consistently rank Tupac as the greatest rapper ever. He is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the best selling rap/hip-hop artist ever, having sold over 73 million albums worldwide and achieving 17 top ten singles in the United States.
As in the previous Gold Digging volumes, (Kanye West and Jay-Z), this double CD brings you the original tracks as used on the worldwide hits Changes, Do For Love, California Love, I Aint Mad At Ya and many more. For Tupac fans and casual listeners alike, this is an impeccable selection of music. In fact, you can make your minds up for yourself…….here’s the track listing:
Bobby Caldwell What You Wont Do For Love Sampled for Do For Love
Bruce Hornsby & The Range The Way It Is Sampled for Changes
Ronnie Hudson West Coast Pop Lock – Sampled for California Love
Linda Clifford Never Gonna Stop Sampled for All Eyez On Me
Kool & The Gang – Winter Sadness Sampled for Picture Me Rollin
James Brown Spank Sampled for Trapped
DeBarge Dream Sampled for I Aint Mad At Ya
Dennis Edwards – Don’t Look Any Further Sampled for Hit Em Up
Quincy Jones Body Heat Sampled for How You Want It
Zapp – Computer Love Sampled for Temptations
Minnie Ripperton Inside My Love Sampled for Me Against The World
Funkadelic Get Off Your Ass & Jam Sampled for Holla If You Hear Me
Five Stairsteps Ooh Child Sampled for Keep Ya Head Up
Sly & The Family Stone Sing A Simple Song Sampled for Temptations
Mr Mister Broken Wings Sampled for Until The End Of Time
The OJays Brandy Sampled for Life Goes On
James Brown Blind Man Cant See It Sampled for Trapped
Cameo Candy Sampled for All About You
Peoples Choice Do It Anyway You Wanna Sampled for Holla If You Hear Me
If you want to know more about this album don’t hesitate to contact Ed at The Outpost.
DOC BROWN – Citizen Smith Volume 2: Nothing To Loose
Here we are for the second instalment of the Citizen Smith saga. For those of you that are familiar with volume 1, “Nothing to Loose” is coming from a completely different angle.
This album has 16 pretty decent tracks throughout. It does address the more light-hearted hip hop fan rather than going for the deep and dirty underground stuff. If im honest I prefer the mucky type of hip hop, but there are some great tracks on here. I’m particularly fond of the live freestyle at the end of the cd. Other tracks to look out for on this album are “Smash That” this is a good tune that could probably get even the shittest of parties rockin’. “Wake Up” includes the work of our old friend Mr Thing and Doc together. This tune tells the story of a one night stand going very wrong (oh dear) I like the skills involved in this one.
If you don’t know…..Doc has collaborated with the likes of Taskforce, Harry Love, Yungun, Tommy Evans and MCD. He has also toured with Busta Rhymes and De La Soul, and they are some heavy names to contend with. That’s quite an impressive line-up if you ask me. You can have a little listen at the myspace address above or go and buy it from the web address above. Remember that this album isn’t out until 2nd October so hold your horses for the next few weeks, it’ll be here soon! You will be able to buy it from www.suspect-packages.com as soon as it’s out.
And that’s that! Here’s a bit of graf for you to lay your weary eyes upon
Over to Abjekt for more delicious delights. See you soon and good luck in winning those tickets for the DMC’s!!!!
I’ve made my return from America, the land of hopes and dreams… ok, well, the land of fast food joints and fatties, and brought a whole stack of CDs home with me that I got free from Scribble Jam, some of which make it into this month’s Mix.
And after you’ve read this, make sure to pimp the Doomtree interview. They’re the best crew in hip hop as far as I’m concerned and put out some of the best and most original music at the moment. If there’s any justice in the world, they’ll be huge so make sure you read this interview so you can boast that you knew them before they blew up. And whilst I’m at it, I’ll let you all know that you should keep an eye out for the video for POS‘ Bleeding Hearts Club with Slug – You’ll notice a certain Abjekt in there as an extra dressed as a bell-hop.
So, I’ll begin with a firm favourite of mine and then move around from the UK to the US and back again with some lovely choice slices of hip hop for you. As always I try to bring variation so there’s something for everyone and I hope you find some stuff you like in amongst this lot. On with the show!
GLUE – Catch As Catch Can
I’m going to say it now – This album is my album of the year so far. And unless something absolutely incredible drops, I can’t see anything overtaking it. Glue have always worked hard and produced brilliant music, but this is where they take a step up and slide into the “great” category. Maker, the producer, provides arguably the best percussions I’ve ever heard on a hip hop album, standing above the monotonous drums that get lazily used on rap records. Even his interludes, like State Of The World, are amazing, and would wipe out tracks on other albums.
Beat Beat Beat pounds away with emcee Adeem battle DJDQ showcasing the talent of both, Hometown Anthem’s liquid guitars wash over the muted trumpets in homage to the group’s own cities, Glupies brings in some more horns but this time around a soulful sample and every track brings its own individuality to the plate as Adeem switches from fast to chilled rapping, never straying from his unique sound and lyrical prowess.
But it’s the track Vessel that proves to be the best track on the record. A track about a robot being made to believe he’s a human to get the chores done, the beat starts off with dreamy keys and are joined by some brushing drums. Adeem’s vocals get more aggressive as the beat steps up a gear with some fuzzy guitars joining the fray before DJDQ breaks out some gloriously effective scratching. The next stage of the 6 minute long track is an understated solo amongst the distortion before the final part rears up as the keys from the introduction of the song.
If you want to hear 3 masters of their crafts come together and produce one of the most consistently brilliant albums of recent years, buy this. Because you will continue to be amazed by it long after the purchase.
BONOBO – Days To Come
You’d think I’d get bored of saying how great Ninja Tune releases are, but its not my fault if they just keep churning out quality now is it? Bonobo is best known for his atmospheric, brooding instrumentals, and his style hasn’t changed for this new album, despite the fact that he has vocals on it. A lot of the time, putting vocals on tracks by a producer that’s used to doing non-vocalised tracks, is a mistake, but Bajka has a voice that just seems perfect for the music she sings on. But when he does do instrumentals, like Ketto, he shows you just why he’s considered as one of the best around.
Bonobo can even experiment with a soulful little pop song with labelmate Fink and get away with it because the little details in it, from the strings to the finger cymbals, give it that dimension that most other songs you’ll hear won’t have. That’s what makes Bonobo stand out, he doesn’t saturate his music with too many sounds, but he’s always got that depth that provokes extra listens. I can never get bored of this guy and this is a quiet slow-burner that’ll really get you if you listen to it in the right mood. Beautiful.
CUT CHEMIST – The Audience’s Listening
When news came through that Cut Chemist wasn’t going to be on the new J5 album and would be doing his own solo thing, I got excited. And as soon as I’d heard the album once through, I felt as though he’d exceeded expectations. From the intro of samples introducing him, to the rolling drums of the outro, Cut Chemist goes from one style to another, excelling at everything he does.
The pounding bass drums on My 1st Big Break sets the scene nicely as the tremolo guitars, reminiscent of the Pulp Fiction theme, twang a melody around various samples. The stand out track, The Garden, gives a chance for the horns to excel quietly with some eastern vibes intertwined with the floating vocals. When the drums come in properly half way through, you get lifted out of your room and into some Mediterranean paradise.
Hymnal’s appearance on What’s The Attitude brings in a more traditional hip hop boom bap beat for his vocals and the guest spots by the ever-incredible Edan and Def Jux’s Mr Lif with a spaced out vibe spins the listener’s ear drums around and places them firmly into the beat itself. Who needs J5 when you have this?
BASEMENT JAXX – Crazy Itch Radio
Basement Jaxx are the sort of group you want to DJ your house party when you want to crank the volume up and piss off the miserable old bastards next door. They can switch to any type of music and still make the party jump and that is exactly what their new album does.
From the horn-led Hey You which sounds like what Gogol Bordello would sound like if they did dance music to the grimey Run 4 Cover with Lady Marga [a would-be Lady Sov sound-a-like], the Jaxx boys keep the beat thumping and give you no choice but to tap those feet, strum those fingers and swing those oh-so-snake like hips. Move it or lose it buster, this is another cracking album from Felix and Simon and you need to get out and buy it.
AMP FIDDLER – Afro Strut
Joseph “Amp” Fiddler does what most male singers can’t do – Get me interested. In the days where any fella with a high voice can wail over a beat with absolutely melody, it’s refreshing to hear someone with a good voice singing over a tune which you can actually hum to yourself afterwards. If I Don’t is a lovely bouncy jazzy number which leads off the album well and Right Where You Are has some wicked strings and mellow vibes to it.
I Need You shows his ability to throw a few surprises into the works with some bashment infused vocals and Funky Monday sounds exactly as you’d hope – some raw bass distortion which makes you think of Shaft strutting and striding down the street. This is the sort of BBQ in the garden type CD that you’ll be putting on when its raining, wishing you could be out chilling on the grass.
BABY J – FTP 2 – Fight The Power
(All City Music)
Baby J is one of, if not the, most loved producers in the UK right now and his new album, hot on the heels of the first FTP album and his work on the beats for Blade’s last release, is set to get great responses. Getting Dynamite MC onto the tracklist early on is a good call, as his familiar flow raps over the sample of Young, Gifted And Black with some thoughtful lyrics on black society. Bluesy sampled Down Here It’s Raining sees Fallacy step up to the plate and deliver some fresh rhymes and the Poisonous Poets throw up an appearance over some more sampled beats.
Baby J could be seen as a little lazy because he seems to follow the same blueprint for most of the tracks, chuck in a sample, put a beat over it and loop it. But whilst this is true, a fair amount of the beats are catchy and the rappers he gets on the tracks are quality in parts and he ends the album with some real quality in the form of Mr Ti2bs on Thoughts. If you dug J’s beat for Skinnyman’s I’ll Be Surprised, you’ll like this album.
ALIAS & TARSIER – Plane That Draws A White Line EP
This EP, the follow up to their album Brookland/Oaklyn [which was featured in a previous Mix], brings the talents of beatmaker Alias and singer Tarsier back together with some remixes and 3 brand new tracks. If you dug the chilled out, swirling beats from the album, then you will no doubt be into this EP. One of the new tracks, Nocturnal Eye, could be Bjork singing on the track, a diamond for sure.
The other two tracks are equally soothing, with Sleepy slightly more upbeat with its distorted bleeps and subtle vocal samples. The remixes are similar in that respected, with the exception of one, which offers something a little different however. Boom Bip’s remix of the title track hovers in electronica and speeds up the beat somewhat, giving it a slightly more hectic feel.
GON – Where The Truth Lies
This was one of the free CDs I got at Scribble Jam and is definitely one that I would have spent money on. To start with, the artwork is great, nothing like some good visuals to make your stuff stand out amongst all the freebies. Gon raps over other people’s beats, as we’re getting used to on mixtapes, but he gives the tracks something extra when he raps, rather than annoying the listener by ruining a perfectly good instrumental.
When you have his elegant delivery flowing over jazzy Blockhead beats and sounding just as effective over a funky quasi-psychadelic RJD2 canvas, you know you’re listening to a very capable emcee. Lyrically he’s on point too and I’m really interested in hearing his next release. The best things in life are free – this may just be the proof you need.
KID KOALA – Your Mom’s Favourite DJ
Cut and paste hip hop is either great or really, really annoying. Thankfully you know when you stick Kid Koala on that you’re never going to get the latter. Opening up with some finger-click inducing swing and then melting that into funky basslines and drums is the perfect way to get those rumps shaking. By the end of the first of his 2 mixes, you’ll have swayed through some neat scratching, cocktail party pianos and some blues.
The second disc is just as interesting, with distortions, electric guitars and brilliantly sampled vocal slots, Kid Koala runs diagonally across a bunch of different types of music. Amongst all the change ups and scratching, the DJ still manages to keep me interested with his style and allows everything to flow seamlessly. A quality release.
DISTRAKT – Distraktions
(Yard Rock Records)
Another CD I got given at Scribble Jam and another one that is definitely forking out some cash for. Distrakt, out of Colorado, used to run with Atmosphere’s Ant and this album is proof that he can easily go it alone. Shit Ain’t Sweet is a great track to put on near the start, with its simple but devastatingly effective melody and thumping beat whilst he shows his ability to switch up styles with more soulful vibes like Greed.
The pounding bass of Don’t Get Mad with its “girls pee pee when they see me” sample is a brilliant slice of hip hop and the honky-tonk piano in Too Bad sits nicely off-kilter with his more pushing vocals. Distrakt has put 21 tracks of quality hip hop up on this album, and with his quality beats and solid rapping, he should be checked out without a shadow of a doubt.
TOKI WRIGHT – Low Budget High Quality 2.0
Everyone should know by now how much I love the Minneapolis/St Paul hip hop scene and Toki Wright is one of the hardest workers around. He passed me this CD of some of his work, guest spots and more to check out and I’m glad he did. His work with the Doomtree Crew – Sims’ Market Made Murder and POS’ Ants – were tracks I already knew, and loved. His verses standing up superbly against the Doomtree rappers, so it wasn’t a surprise when I checked the other tracks on here and found they were quality too.
Chilled out beats on Building Blocks, smooth flows on Schoolyard Bullies [which includes the fresh Nomi from Power Struggle] and the awesome jazz-tinged Cradle To The Grave provide fitting soundscapes for Toki to deliver his knowledge over and if you’ve got any sense, you will find out about all his projects, from his solo stuff to his work in The C.O.R.E and Aphrill. Twin Cities did it again!
ICE CUBE – Laugh Now, Cry Later
Former NWA man Ice Cube is back with a bang with his new album Laugh Now, Cry Later. From the heavy hitting single Why We Thugs, which sees Cube question the Bush administration and continual problems found throughout America and the world. He’s never been one to mince his words and this new record is no exception with tracks like A History Of Violence, Child Support and The Game Lord.
Hardcore pounding beats and aggressive no-nonsense rapping is what you get on this release and it’s a testament to Cube that after all his years in rap, and his progression to the big screen, that he can still deliver what his fans want. There are some guest spots on the album which help give another style to the tracks, such as those from Snoop Dogg and Lil Jon. But one thing is for sure, if you were ever an Ice Cube fan, this album won’t let you down. He’s as raw, impassioned and in-your-face as he ever was, and this album will make you remember just why you liked him in NWA in the first place.
ATHERTON & SIRE – A Different Way Of Doing The Same Old Thing
(Vinyl Tap Music)
Canada’s Atherton & Sire first came to my attention when I heard one of their tracks which sounded like someone rapping over an old 1980’s console game. How pleased I was to hear that it was added onto the end of this album, it’s belting!
The beats on this album are brilliant, pure and simple. Atherton’s way of switching up numerous styles for Atherton to rap over is superb on this record, with Everything starting the proceedings off on some fantasy-strings vibe and haunting backing vocals before flipping the script to bring some honky tonk piano into the melody on ATM, where Atherton delivers his knowledge on money and lack thereof. Another standout track, Past Tense, is another floaty sampled beat with high strums and a simple piano beat and Three Simple Words, the duo’s love song, has some Spanish guitars twiddling under Atherton who hits the listener with original take on those three magic words – “headtrips and mindgames” as he puts it in the chorus.
This is a great album which varies in tempo and style but always maintains a high level of sound. Definitely one to check out!
This month’s art comes from Spain’s Flannmd who dropped by Crossfire HQ not too long ago. His art is nice and vibrant, cool and quirky, just how I like it when I’m pimping some graff. It’s always good to see artists move around to find new street canvases and it’s awesome that he came over to London to slam this badboy on the walls over here. Long may it continue!
Well folks, that’s your lot for this time around – An absolutely huge load of stuff for you to check out. If there’s anything on there you like, drop me an email by clicking on my name below and let me know what it was you liked, I’m always down to recommend more stuff to y’all! Until next time, keep those dunks kicking and those fingers clicking.