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It’s that time again, because there are so many singles and albums being released at the moment we thought we should blast out another episode of the Mix to keep you lot up to date with what’s hot and what’s not.
Myself, I’ve gone for the tunes that are a little harder to find. I thought I would outline some tunes that may have just passed you by if you weren’t looking in the right places. But yes, we do have some treats for you and im sure you’ll agree, there are some hidden gems out there.
Drop me a line if you know of some tunes that you think deserve a mention and we’ll make sure they stay in the Crossfire archives so people can find out more whenever they wish. Yep, it’s me Kris Drew going for it once more and letting you know what you’re missing. Get in!
Relik and Whitey
What Makes Us
Now this sweet little track comes to us from Whitey (matey on the rhymes) and Relik (the producer) on an album that is soon to hit the shelves of any decent, self respecting music establishment in your area.
Their recently completed album “Lost In Sentences” has brought us a track.
You can download this tune or just stream it from www.relikandwhitey.com just to give you a sneak preview of what’s to come.
Ghetto Brick Road
I’ve picked out this album mainly because of one particular track. Well, actually it’s a track that’s in two separate parts on the album. “Guy inside the ghetto – part one and part two“. As some of you may know I’m well into my story telling tunes (a bit of thought never hurt anyone) and this tune is just that. As you might guess its about a guy inside a ghetto.
Good story this one, Matey starts off well, or at least looks as if he is. But issues in his head start the change the way he lives and things start to go wrong. Then things just go completely wrong. There are some damn good flows in these two tracks and some good use of description so you can picture the scene going on in your head. Proper visual shit.
This album has got a different sound to it to most conventional hip hop albums. It has a rugged, raw sound to it. No commercial shiznit on this album. It’s got fat beats that just make you feel dirty after hearing ’em and some top rhymes throughout. No high pitched woman singing the hook on fast forward, which im sure we’re all bored of by now.
Foreign Beggars ft Ohno & Dubbledge
Slow Broiled Ilk
Yep they’re back with another killer “Slow Broiled Ilk” is a heavy, dance floor rockin’ tune that makes you nod your head until you’ve neck ache. Hard hittin’ rhymes and a pretty catchy hook that links the verses seamlessly together make the tune an all round remarkable and notable one. Sweet as. As usual the b-sides to this release are also spot on; you always get your money’s worth with the Beggars.
Dented Records have themselves one of the best hip hop groups (for want of a better way to put it) in Britain. Immense quality comes from each track, they move with the times and display insane skills with each release. Catch up with them if you haven’t already. You can get this single from these two places, and here they are:
www.dentedrecords.com , www.cantaloupegroup.co.uk/shop/product_info.php?products_id=145
Baby J f. Laurissa
Baby J Enterprises
This single is from the recently released Baby J Presents…..F.T.P album. Which I have to say is full of treats for the people out there that like to hear decent collaborations with British artists. “Let Them Know” is one of those feel good, bouncy summer tracks. Ok it’s not summer yet but it’s still good to have blastin’ out of your car on a sunny day. There’s some good, in-depth production happening here!
This is a track about getting back into the hip hop game and realising or remembering how sweet this scene really is. This track gave me a good sense of thinking hard about what we do. After doing this kind of thing for years you can easily forget how good something is, but taking a step back and looking properly can really sort you out. There’s some proper head nodding when this track gets played out in our local bars. You’ll just love this track if you’re in a good mood.
This week’s sites and sounds:
A touch of paint I saw somewhere near the Sonar festival last year:
Peace! Take it easy until next time…
Finally, spring is here! Alright, so that only means we’ve swapped freezing cold temperatures for rain, but that’s a step closer to sun and the summer right? No? Well then I guess I should stop talking about the weather and get on with my recommendations for this edition of The Mix.
Before the recommendations begin I just want to throw in a little link for everyone to follow which takes you to the new Asaviour video for “So Northern” which features Braintax on the chorus and a host of well known faces in the video. Asaviour’s album is out on Lowlife right now and if this song is anything to go by, it’s going to be an absolute banger. You can find the video here. Big ups to UKHH.com for putting it up.
The first album I’m gonna recommend this week is the debut album from Baltimore’s Spank Rock who have already started making waves through funky live shows and brilliant single Sweet Talk. This album beings as it means to go on with Backyard Betty, a track about an “ass-shaking competition champ”, which booms out a huge bass line and electro mayhem as MC Spank Rock’s high pitched vocals dissect the beat with a nice mixture of fun and filth.
Another single taken from the album was Rick Rubin which has another big bass line but this time brings rapid staccato drums which are layered with a brilliantly body rocking fuzz and some pure old school percussion sounds. XXXchange‘s beats and MC Spank Rock’s vocals once again mix in brilliantly.
But it is Sweet Talk that really takes over the album. From the opening “Tap that ass” repeating over until the short strums of a guitar filter in, you know you’re going to be dancing in no time. This song is as funky as James Brown’s unwashed thong and delivers just what the frontman promises when he says he’ll “fuck you up like a percocet”. This is a brilliant debut album and if you want to get down to pure funk and unadulterated filthy beats, then make sure you check this lot out.
Coldcut are back, and basically they return with a hell of an album. This is another one of those albums which has such a variation, that you could worry that it would end up just being too jumbled, but to their ultimate credit, they’ve managed to bring an album that is diverse but seamless. The ever listenable Roots Manuva turns up on True Skool which features hand claps, a taste of the East with tablas and Indian style singing in the backdrop collected together with a a bumping bassline.
Walk A Mile In My Shoes is on some Massive Attack style tip with a beautiful soundscape of strings and a majestically sweeping backdrop as Robert Owens’ smooth voice weaves in and out of the beat through the verse and floats over the chorus. This track is definitely one you need to listen to a few times just so you can pick out all the details and really get a feel for how brilliantly it has been constructed.
Finally, Island Earth is another example of the variety on the album. A deep thumping bassline bumps underneath Mpho Skeef’s vocals which show how a lovely voice needn’t be wasted on tuneless RnB as a piano chimes in and the Coldcut boys cut and paste a late night warehouse dance vibe into the mix. On top of all this, the packaging the CD comes in is absolutely wicked, and you should get the CD for that, even before being blown away by the music.
Washington producer and DJ Sharkey brings about a good album with this release which boasts a plethora of big name guest spots and it is the second track on the album which features the first of these as Cannibal Ox appear on Fuzz. Never has there been a more apt title for a song as the fuzzy sound dribbles in before unleashing a beast of a beat which provides Vast Aire’s mouth-half-full delivery with a banging backdrop to rap over.
Jean Grae’s guest spot on the album comes in the form of Summer In The City [Lovin’ It] which is a homage to New York over the bounciest of beats. The horns and ska-style sampled drums compliment Grae’s rapping, which seems as fun loving as the title would suggest. Skank, bop or headnod, it doesn’t matter, this track makes you move and that’s why it’s absolutely top notch.
A Typical Day In Sunny Washington, DC is the third track which really grabbed my attention as the understated washboard scratch percussion is accompanied by happy brass melodies and booty shaking beat for The Graykid to sing about sitting in the hotspot and making me wish I wasn’t looking out of the window at another dreary grey afternoon.
Seattle’s Common Market are MC Ra Scion and producer/DJ Sabzi, who is also the beatmaker for feel good hip hop group Blue Scholars. He doesn’t let up from the happy sounding music on this project either and that’s the main reason why this album is well worth picking up.
From the very first track, Re Fresh, the horns and vocal choir sample filter in and Ra Scion’s high pitched voice brings a flawless old school style sound helps the track set the scene for the rest of the album. Immediately bringing a smile to your face, this song not only delivers brilliant music but heartfelt and thought provoking lyrics, it’s no wonder KRS-1 has taken time out to big up this group.
G?Dang Diggy brings in that ol’ dusty sounding snare with more horns and more vocal backup and arguably the catchiest chorus on the entire album [which is no mean feat, believe me]. The line “some of you emcees would make better actors” sums up the mainstream rap game in one simple sentence and it’s this ability to get a message across in such a fluent yet easy way that makes Scion’s wordplay stand out.
My Pathology is the track I’ve bumped the most on this album though, because I just can’t get enough of the bluesy guitar riff that opens the track and then strums its way throughout the entire song, as the chilled snare snaps mark out the time for Scion’s verbals. I’m really impressed that even when Scion has something really close to his heart to say, he does it in a way that never even borders on angry or rough and that compliments the beats really well. A great album this one.
Watch The Tables Turn (Single)
A nice jazzy number this one with the vocal talents of Sara J from Dr Rubberfunk which is the first single of his upcoming second album. The producer, who has done a bunch of remixes for the likes of Skalpel and the Stereo MCs brings in the kick and the snare with funky results as the 70s style guitar floats around, as if Huggy Bear was about to come in a knock heads.
Some nice remixes of the track on the single too, with the Beat-A-Pella version heightening the drums and doing away with the guitar and the melody from the original. The beatbox backdrop which drops in every now and then over the ride cymbals is certainly a nice touch and delivers an equal, if not better, result than the 12″ version.
So finally for the music this time round we have an Argentine, a Frenchman and a native of Switzerland on the beats. Now, this might not strictly speaking be hip hop, but as soon as I heard it I loved it and vowed to put it in the Mix to share with you guys. It has a very South American flavour to it in terms of vocals and the melody but it’s the beat that undercuts it that gives it that fully rounded feel.
Pianos and strings work together brilliantly over the sublime vocals of Cristina Vilallonga and bring about the typical feel of the old tango songs from Argentina, but also introduce a further modern element and really give you the urge to get up and dance around your room.
Instead of having a photo or graf this week, I’m going to big up the talents of Mike Kjolhaug, a wicked artist who is influenced by underground hip hop artists such as Slug and Eyedea. His pretty unique flavour of art brings little demons, angels, goblins and all sorts to the forefront with wicked colour and mischievous mannerisms.
To the left you can see a little sample of his work, a piece of work I’m particularly fond of and you can check out the rest of his stuff over at his website, which is: http://www.threepointfive.30art.com with the online store to buy stuff found at http://www.cafepress.com/threepointfive which includes a run of clothing featuring his designs also, something you all need to check out. Inventive and fun, this guy is doing it fresher than most. Wicked stuff.
Well, that’s it for me for this time round, I’m going to carry on bumping hip hop, annoying the neighbours with the noise levels and generally being nuisance to anyone who doesn’t like hip hop. As ever, if you have anything to send me I’d be delighted to get it and if you have comments on what I’ve written then please do get in touch.
Until next time, get those heads nodding.