Happy New Year everyone! Welcome back to The Mix. I cant believe its already 2007. I hope Santa brought you everything you asked for and that you haven’t already broken your new years resolutions. I haven’t started mine yet, I suppose it’s the same as everyone else’s: I do really need to sort my health out after so many days of Christmas abuse.
Meanwhile, I’ll be looking through some of the tunes that I seem to have missed out during the past few months. Thanks to the help of the splendid staff at Suspect Packages, I received some decent tunes from family members just because this illusionist/magician was born on December 25th. Quality!
Record Of The Month
KASHMERE – 20 Minutes of Chaos
Here he is again! Gaining more confidence with each release. Taken from the album “In the Hour of Chaos” which I haven’t yet heard. It’s a bargain at a normal price of a 12″ and it includes 6 different tracks, the best of which is “Spawn of Pazuzu” ft Severe and Dramacide. Of course this is all opinion.
“20 Minutes of Chaos” is moody as hell and is not for the happy go lucky hip hop listeners. Not one for the dance floors, but definitely one for those that like to listen to skills and content. I like this one; it’s made me want to get the album anyway, so there you have it. Get this on in your car for a long journey or a space and time that needs filling and this will keep you occupied for its duration. Spot on. Nice production by Chemo once again!
BRAINTAX – Syriana Style
Well, we’ve already covered the album “Panorama” so this is just a brief look at the second 12″ to be released. “Syriana Style” sticks to the general feel of the album. It focuses on world politics alongside a kind of offbeat tune. I prefer the B-side on this 12″ “Anti-Grey“. Its got the old eighties electronic sound to it and includes a sniff of an old eighties song as a kind of hook. Check it out and see if you recognise it. You probably will.
Anyway, Its well worth buying as Braintax tunes usually are and…. oh yeah, theres also a pretty good tune featuring Rodney P on t’other side of the record: “What the Huh??”. It’s £6.50 including postage if you order it from the Lowlife website.
SKIBADEE – Tika Toc
(Ahead of the Game)
This tune is a big party tune, great for the dance floor in a big club. A funky tune and a catchy hook makes a quality tune to play out on a Saturday night. I’m in to this one, the quick flowing lyrics act as another instrument and improve the tune even more. There are quotes on the record sleeve that say DJ Yoda and DJ Skitz think this is a quality tune. If you don’t believe me, I think you should listen to them.
I got this one from the people that deliver suspicious packages to your door if or when you request them. Request this one.
TERRA FIRMA – War
(Central Foundation Records)
“War” is taken from the Terra Firma album “The Foundation” (which has already been released, I might add). Yep, good track. It has a military march feel to it. There’s a bit of aggression in there to keep you on your toes and get that blood flowing through your body. This tune mixes well into the Braintax tune “Anti-Grey” as mentioned above. The two just seem to fit nicely. You get the instrumental as a B-side so this can be good for you DJ’s out there as well. One worth having in my opinion.
Don’t forget to check out the Myspace pages above for more info and good tunes to listen to. I was quite impressed.
PITBULL – Bojangles
I have put this tune on here because I said I would. This is Pitbull, he makes music that will never be played in my stereo again. If you like the type of music that has that build up like that Ice Cube tune “You Can Do It” (at least that’s what I think its called) then you’ll like this. Imagine some gansta bitch shakin’ her big booty and all that kind of crap and that’s what you’ve got here. Sorry everyone, but this song is pure banter! If you want to have a laugh, go on his Myspace page.
That’s my New Year instalment of the Mix, I think ill hand it over to Joe and Abjekt for now and I’ll see you all in a bit. Hope you like all of the tunes that I’ve been recommending for the past year. Drop me an email or send me a comment on Myspace. Whatever you like.
PS. Here’s a roadblock I saw on my holidays. Thought it was a bit different.
Joe Moynihan up in this bitch:
Record Of The Month
KELIS f. CEE-LO – Lil Star
It’s an unfortunately rare occasion in the RnB genre for anyone to possess genuine variety. Artists cash in on what’s hot and focus their music one just one aspect of the genre with one branded sound. Whether it is a sweet, soulful voice or a raw, jagged husky rasp peppered with rebellious lyrics. Kelis is no such girl. Four albums down the line and she’s still pushing the boundaries on her singing abilities.
From the confident, flirtatious visage on debut single “Bossy” to the toned down, highly emotional and sublime current release “Lil Star“. Accompanied by the wonderboy of the moment, Cee-Lo of Gnarls Barkley, the two combine their superb voices to create a delightful burst of fresh air in a highly competitive genre.
It’s the perfect contrast to hubby’s aggressively awesome “Hip Hop Is Dead“, just think of the possibilities of the children! Before drifting away into a dream of urban super families that take over the globe, I’m gonna remind you how dope this track is. Kelis really shines on here, and I’m a huge fan of the so fresh and so clean Cee-Lo so this track was floating my boat from the off. Let me just say, he brings the fucking session on the chorus, so catchy! Taking away the bias it’s a shit hot single choice that you should get your teeth into. Best get the forks out for January 8th then kids.
2PAC – Pac’s Life
Itching, right, is one of those weird everyday activities, like sneezing, that bizarrely comes equipped with a sense of pleasure. You wouldn’t have thought it at all, but it’s the bright side of having say, a nasty rash. Like a nasty rash, Tupac, despite being six feet under for a decade now, refuses to let his mark on the world fade. But like a nasty rash, it does come with a bright side. The bright side, like itching away, is hearing more and more dope albums comprised of unheard recordings from the man himself, mixed up with some rhymes from today’s hard hitters. This is one of the best post-mortem releases yet. Ol’ 2pac must have been one horny fucker with that microphone, as you’ll only recognise one verse from his previous albums. Saucy eh?
2pac kills it from the off. Always demonstrating consistent flow, rhythm and slick lines like a maths teacher busting logarithms. Except there’s one problem with 2pacs equation. That being some of the lame ass, crackerjack, waste cadet, sucker emcees alongside him that’ll have him turning in his grave. Although some respectable efforts are certainly deserved credit, the likes of Snoop Dogg (come on, why would he not be on there?), Ludacris, Ashanti and Krayzie Bone all keep momentum flowing alongside the Pac. You still can’t help but notice the tragic input of mandemz Mr Shakur wouldn’t be caught dead with (oops!). But even despite lacking the common advantage of being alive, he still manages to redeem the albums class by simply doing what Pac does best. Raw, dead good (arf!) talent.
2pac fans should not even think to hesitate in adding this to their collection, everyone should catch the drift now, it’s 2pac. Love or hate. Simple as brah.
JAY-Z – Show Me What You Got
A question I’m positive has been asked on many occasions is – “How many times must you re-introduce yourself Mr. Carter?” We all know his name by now; it’s not hard to dismiss one of the best, if not the straight up fucking Godfather of modern hip hop. Quitting again Jay-Z? Oh yeah? Pull the other one mate.
Slipping out of his retirement robe once again, Jay-Z teases his fans with debut single “Show Me What You Got” from the new album “Kingdom Come“. It was inevitability to the extreme, let’s face it, but I’ll forgive him, as he’s supa-fly like chicken pie. Jay-Z’s rhymes are viciously better than my attempts, and thankfully these aren’t completely absent from this slick gem. While he doesn’t unleash as many vocabulary hounds on us foxes as in previous singles, it still soars above his lesser competitors.
With Just Blaze on production duty we can expect a solid, pumping kettle of boiling beats. If there was anything to protect Jay from an assault of critics on his not-so-perfect-as-every-other-thing-he-has-touched lyrics it’s the instrumental backdrop. An army of brass acts like ecstasy on the brain, the trumpet score sieving through the fierce beat into your mind with the Jigga as your tour guide. While Jay may be showing his age, him and Just Blaze are definitely a winning combination.
It’s not difficult to criticise Jay-Z by looking at his ridiculous back catalogue, a portfolio that leaks talent over the floor, causing passers by to fall at his feet. Yes, this is far from his best work, and some may even call it disappointing. But don’t doubt the J-Man. It’s a teaser of what’s to come, and it’s still the cream of the mainstream hip-hop crop, and you know it.
FAT JOE – Me, Myself and I
Fat Joe has been in the game (no, not the rap artist you filthy cunts) for many a moon now. A Latino homeboy with a tremendous brewery of experience in all aspects of the hip-hop culture. Dabbling with various big names from all over the spectrum, Nas, Biggie, Wu-Tang’s Raekwon and Jennifer Lopez to offer a drop of ink on a novel full of collaborative success. In his latest, and seventh full-length offering, aptly penned “Me, Myself and I” he does his shit alone, and goes right back to his roots. This is straight up groggy, vicious, hostile rap.
From opening roller “Pendemic“, through late night beach jam “Breathe and Stop” and consistent throughout the entire album, Joey Crack provides relentless, aggressive vocals over the rim of a reassuringly mellow beat. This is a chilled album through and through, presenting you with a dope contrast against the gangsta rap lexis. Does the trick like David Blaine. Except Fat Joe doesn’t fuck his magic up from time to time. The Bronx Terra steps up to the occasion once again, proving he’s still up there with the top cats. Only having a couple collaborations on the LP being gold dust in hip-hop these days (G-Unit/Shady crew much?), it hypes me up to hear a quality, rock solid album from just one dred. Plus anyone who comes from a borough that has sneaks like the ones below made in its honour need nuff respect. Ya hear me blad?
I’ll happily trade in my shelltoes for a fresh pair of those. ST4ST?
That’s the lot from me this month. I’ve had my fair share of glitter and trauma music wise this month; let’s just say the good shit is on here, while Eminem and Fergie are in the bin, so to speak, literally. If you haven’t already dragged your mouse pointer over to Abjekt’s interview with Dutch mixmasters, C-Mon and Kypski and clicked furiously, then you best start doing so. It’s finger lickin’ good.
Stay safe kids.
Another year gone, another comes flying on in. Over the past 12 months I had some fucking good shit to listen to, I saw some amazing concerts and I even appeared in a video [shut up, I’m milking that bitch for all it’s worth]. 2007 promises to hold just as much and if the majority of the releases I’ve reviewed this time around are anything to go by, it’s gonna be a banger.
Now then, let’s stop chit chatting and get on with the hip hopping.
Record Of The Month
MARS ILL – Old Ironsides
After having their album Pro Pain put back for a couple of years due to legal wrangles, Mars Ill wanted to be able to give their fans something immediate, despite it being the same year as Pro Pain was [finally] put out. And so the album Old Ironsides was made available by the group to say thank you for the waiting and the continued support and with it coming in a rustic envelope with wax seal, you know it’s had a lot of effort put into it.
Mars Ill are, without a doubt, the most under-rated group in hip hop and have always done things consistently and to an incredible standard. Dust’s beats are always a joy to listen to, with his big booming drums and bluesy samples and as always Manchild’s lyrics are a spiritually intense and heartfelt as ever.
From the awesome twinkled lick of Learning Me to the aptly titled Barnstorming, the duo prove they’re worthy of the Record Of The Month crown from me. Stocks might not last long so make sure you head on over to their site and pick this gem up before it’s too late.
CECIL OTTER – Rebel Yellow
When you release a CD so limited that you’re still pressing it up only hours before the biggest show of your career, you know it’s gonna be something a little bit special. Doomtree’s Cecil Otter managed to get his things together in time to have a limited run of his new record Rebel Yellow out at the Doomtree Blowout 2 recently and I’m damn glad he did.
The album takes both his production and rapping to another level, far higher than what was heard on his False Hopes CD and lyrically he is still as poetic and charming as he ever was. The title track on the album, combines a spectacularly comforting guitar loop with some fresh drums and cradles you into submission after the introduction and is continued throughout, with the stand out tracks being 1999…The Curse Of Gab, Sufficiently Breathless and 100 Fathers. But every song on here could be seen as a stand out, that’s for sure.
Cecil might say “they call me Rebel Yellow, but they don’t know me” but after hearing this, trust me, you’ll want to know him and every last second of this record. As if proof were needed that every member of the crew is absurdly talented, then this is it. Time to let it be known.
MK LARADA – Music For B-People
Another Doomtree release that I picked up at Blowout 2, this was performed in parts during the interval of the show with Marshall spinning the finger-lickin’ good shit whilst the local breakers performed on stage. I would say that this CD puts the “fun” in funk, but that sounds corny as hell so I’ll leave that nonsense out. If you wanna strut your stuff, bounce your booty or just plain dance like you’ve got a scorpion attached to your nuts, this is the CD for you.
Plus you’ll get POS rapping over a Daft Punk jam and if that ain’t worth picking it up for, then you’re clearly an idiot. Yes, you. Now get that dunce hat off your nut and get over to the Doomtree store [ www.doomtree.net/store ] and rinse it for all its worth. Freshhhhh.
BRAILLE – Box Of Rhymes
(Hip Hop Is Music)
Braille has been bringing out quality hip hop for a while now, and this new release provides his typical blend of insightful lyrics and catchy beats. The record begins on a high with the second track, the Tony Stone produced Pour It Out and the following 2 tracks, I Wouldn’t Do It [featuring fellow HHIM labelmates Sivion, Surreal, Big Rec and Theory Hazit] and the infinitely happy sounding Everything’s Changed.
There’s a minor blip with Antenna with the RnB singing throughout but this is just a one off and the rest of the album continues on the high level Braille Brizzy always sets himself. He shows he can do the slower jams with Humility, the keyboards and guitar rounding his lyrics off brilliantly, and he also proves his worth on the upbeat fast paced Fresh Coast. But then, with Ohmega Watts on the beats for both of them, you can’t fail to enjoy the music.
This is an album for fans of easy to get into hip hop, the beats keep on rockin’ and the lyrics are definitely worth more than a few listens. Bump this in your stereo and it’ll be summer all year long.
TTC – 3615
What is it about the French I love? Ok, so loads of my family are French and I feel as French as I do English, but they have this uncanny ability to bring out music that I wouldn’t like if it came from America, but love because of its Gallic swagger. TTC have always been innovative in their music and their new album, 3615, continues the trend even using the Hokey Kokey in a song.
This album brings around an electro-crunky type sound and shit as that may sound in principle, it works like you wouldn’t believe on record. Paris Paris, the DJ Orgasmic produced banger, is a homage to the city with bumping basslines and synth’d layers. The best song on the album though is [Pas La Peine D’apeler Je Ne Reponds Pas Au] Telephone – it’s a club hit if ever I heard one, forcing your legs to kick out, your neck to pop and even making it ok to break out the running man on your bedroom carpet.
Antenne 2 is a track which moves into the more electronica aspect of their work, with a softly spoken beat and bleeping melody featuring female vocals on the chorus. So whether they’re making club smashes, pop songs or even pseudo-grime numbers like Une Bande De Mec Sympa, they’re doing the business. Big Dada know what’s up, and so should you.
ECID – Biograffiti
(Fill In The Breaks)
I was lucky enough to catch Ecid playing a show in Minneapolis when I was over in December and after only 3 songs of his set, I was persuaded to pick up his record. Needless to say it was a great decision because Biograffiti is a quality album, one which I urge you to pick up quicktime.
The brilliant Akmude Sallam serves a great message, lambasting how everyone simply assumed someone is a terrorist because of how he looks. The music compliments the lyrics perfectly and shows just why Ecid is such a great musician. He can bring it a little more upbeat too with the swaying Recovering Eco Enthusiasts Might Enjoy This and the winding Ordinary Freakazoid.
The eastern tinge of Tip Your Server booms out with Ecid saying “A wise man once said never bite the hand that feeds you, you might grow see-through”, and, whilst I might not be wise, I’m saying buy this record.
SATURDAY MORNING SOUNDTRACK – Saturday Morning Soundtrack
(Fill In The Breaks)
Saturday Morning Soundtrack is the Minneapolis/St Paul collective featuring Ecid, and Impulse, Abzorbr’s Kristoff Krane, Hecatomb’s Capaciti. The record starts as it means to go on with the darkly warped Adopted Birth Defect, with the rappers all bringing their own flavour to the distorted plate.
The beats are all vying for the listener’s attention, such as Strangers, which sounds like it could be the soundtrack to some darkly lit thriller, never mind a Saturday morning and the energetic, busy DB Sweeney which flits from unnerving drum to persistent buzz in the background. With Eyedea guesting on the final track Play Dead Til They Kill You, you’re exhausted by the time you’ve reached the end of the CD. Easy listening it ain’t, but rewarding it certainly is.
ED209 – Stay Exstatic EP
(Voodoo Rhythm Devil Records)
209 is back with his third and final instalment of the Exstatic series, 2 years after having released Stillexstatic. With 4 vocal tracks being partnered later on with their instrumental versions, his beats give the platform to Kon, Cappo and C-Mone, to give their personal flow down.
Brass sampled Black Thorn Rose features Manchester rapper Konny Kon threatening to close your mouth like a bird cage but it’s the arrival of Cappo on Inside Your Mind and The Majestic which takes over the EP. Lyrically he’s tight and his flow is amped but it’s the way he connects with 209’s beats that make it that bit special. From female sampled vocals onto straight boom bap with jumpy guitar loops, 209 rides them really well.
The strength of the production comes to the fore in the instrumental versions, showing that they can stand on their own, without the need for rappers, as they have enough going on whilst still managing to keep your attention on the tune. It’s a good ‘un.
EDUCATED CONSUMERS – Steal
I got given this CD of Maryland’s Educated Consumers by a friend whilst on holiday in the States and put it in the player knowing nothing about the group or their music. After the first track, Steal, had finished, I wanted to know a lot more. A distinctly energetic beat layered under the rapper’s flow works really well on the track and when second track Catch A Glimpse followed in with some funky piano styles, I knew this was one freebie that I glad I got handed.
The bumping Loud And Clear finishes off the CD [well, you get instrumentals too which is dope as the beats are quality] and both the producer t*E*C*K and the rapper Seezmics have done themselves proud on this record. Hit their myspace to experience it all for yourself. It’s well worth it.
YING YANG TWINS – Chemically Imbalanced
This is the new record from the duo that brought us Wait (The Whisper Song) which featured the chorus “Wait til you see my dick bitch”. Looking at the tracklisting on the back of the album, I saw tracks called 1st Booty On Duty, Big Boy Liquor and Jigglin, and I feared for my ears.
After having sat through this record, my ear drums are officially on strike and refusing to let me hear anything remotely like this. Apparently if they do, they’re picking up their shit and leaving my ears. Mind you, I’d rather be deaf than listen to this ever again.
AMON TOBIN – Bloodstone [Single]
Amon Tobin has never been on to rest on conventional laurels and his new single, Bloodstone [accompanied by the tracks Esthers and Here Comes The Moon Man] certainly supports this claim. Tobin and his assistants went out on the streets with high sensitivity microphones, recording all sorts of sounds, from singing neighbours to ants eating grass, and then working them into the fabric of his music.
Bloodstone holds a haunting string arrangement which underpins the entire track, which begins with soft pianos, something which wouldn’t be out of place in a film like Goodbye, Lenin or Amelie, before leading it into the murky cacophony of bass-heavy drums. If this is any indication of the album, Foley Room, then it’s definitely going to be another great release from Tobin.
SHAMELESS f. LOWKEY & TB – Live Fast [Single]
Leyton’s Shameless has been labelled as the pioneer of the grindie scene by the NME. And we all know what I think of that rag. Regardless, this is a catchy track about not pissing about with your life, taking a chance and doing what you have to do.
It’s something that will no doubt do well on Channel U and might interest the indie kids who are feeling the likes of Marvin The Martian, but for hip hop fans, this isn’t up to scratch and will have you turning off before getting to hear the remix by Terror Danjah.
This month’s artist that I wanna big up is Madsteez. Colourful, funky and definitely fresh, I recently came across his work of Dennis Hopper – making a portrait of him after having seen Hopper’s own work as an artist.
It’s nice to see how he goes about making the piece and the reaction on Hopper’s face. Plus, if you pimp out his site, you get some badbwoy hip hop mix playing whilst you browse. Dope on a stick bitches.
That’ll do for now. You know the drill – hit me up on the email, listen to the shit I recommend, send me music, art, money, houses, hot broads, all that. Until next time suckers.