Posts Tagged ‘Dizzee’

Newham Generals – Bag Of Grease

September 8, 2010

Newham Generals are one of my all time favourite acts. Undisputed Grime legends, Footsie and DEE have honed their craft over a number of years, a journey which has taken them from pirate radio to sell out concerts and festival stages. They have set trends, blurred musical boundaries and are living proof that making Grime music with wide appeal is still possible.

All this despite only having one CD to their name. Well, that’s all about to change.

Newham Generals’ ‘Bag of Grease E.P.’ is soon to be released digitally and already it looks like it’s gonna be a stomper. Featuring five tracks (four of which have been produced by SKITZ Beatz), ‘Bag of Grease E.P.’ is short, sharp and to the point and will, judging by the samples, live up to its name in every single way. It’s special microsite leaves nothing to the imagination either!

The E.P. includes modern classic ‘I’m a General’ & the remix (featuring the late great Esco Bars), as well as ‘Like It Or Not’, a gritty Dubstep number that’s a nod to the Generals’ shakedowns at FWD>>. Out on October 4th, ‘Bag of Grease E.P.’ will breathe life back in the game. Or take it, depending on how you look at it.

Kristian

Street Fighter Riddim Review

July 12, 2010

D Double E SFR cover

I reviewed D Double E’s forthcoming single ‘Street Fighter Riddim’ for MTV’s The Wrap Up.

Read it here

Kristian

Newham Generals feat. Esco & Skitz Beatz – I’m A General

March 11, 2010

Skitz Beatz on the buttons, Esco & Newham Generals on the vocals. Filmed by Rsky. Say no more.

R.I.P. Esco.

“IT’S THE F**KING LEMON GUY”

Chosen Ones know the path to success

March 5, 2010

Logan Sama’s Chosen Ones set on the 26th February was, like stumbling across an oasis in the desert, a welcome and much needed surprise for thirsty Grime Fans. Two months after Kiss FM’s decision to cut all specialist DJ’s slots by an hour (including Logan’s) Grime is still feeling the effect, and despite recent mainstream successes from Wiley, Tinie Tempah and Dizzee, they have done little to ease MC’s, DJ’s and fans concerns that through mainstream neglect, the scene will peter out.

Nevertheless, the Chosen One’s show, featuring Newham Generals, Ghetts, Bloodline and OG’z to name but a few, went someway to remedy that ill feeling. Not only did it give fans four energetic live MC/Crew performances (a fundamental and necessary facet of the Grime scene), but it revitalised hopes in Kiss reverting Logan’s show back to two hours. Whilst official listening figures are unknown at the time of writing, download figures for the four sets currently stands at around 400 and the Grime Forum thread has had over 22,000 views. This is in no way insignificant.

The Chosen Ones premise is solid. Four back-to-back, but separate sets, with Logan tailoring instrumentals to each crews’ respective flavours and flows; a glut of UK style and pattern straight from the capital, raw and uncut. This is what Logan’s vision for a separate and self sufficient music industry should be built on – ideas like this. With Kiss unlikely to reverse their decision for the time being, the Grime scene needs to focus on developing more innovative formats and platforms in order to expose music.

When D Double spat the bars “Trains run on timing/ When there’s a delay it messes up everyone’s timing/” over J-Sweet’s ‘Gutter’, it rang true. The loss of an hour is merely a delay toward Grime’s destination (of wider and dare I say mainstream success), much like a train journey. Services have been diverted. Logan revealed in his interview on this blog that he will embark on new projects this year that he hopes will not only spark interest in cultural elements of Grime (the beefs, the levels, the gossip, the fashion etc) but will herald a new entrepreneurial push – a rebuttal of what Simon Reynolds called Grime’s “false expectations for mega-fame and Puffy/Jay-Z style transmedia empire building”

If this show is anything to go by, Loges is onto a winner. But the future and development of a scene cannot be pinned upon one man. Fresh ideas, executed well, will yield results. And for those that think Grime is in any kind of musical crisis and incapable of garnering attention from major players, listen to the Chosen Ones sets and think again.

Download them here:

Part 1 – Newham Generals

“Click here”

Part 2 – Ghetts, Dogzilla, Griminal, Shrimpoz & Devlin

“Click here”

Part 3 – OG’z & Mega Montana

“Click here”

Part 4 – Bloodline

“Click here”

Kristian

Smurfie Syco Interview for Grime Forum

November 27, 2009

Despite having a new mixtape to promote, a tour to prepare for and an album to complete for next year, 19 year-old Smurfie Syco is unnervingly calm. Embracing a workload that many other artists would find too much to handle, the North London MC positively relishes the challenge “That’s where I want the pressure. Right on my shoulders!”

Fresh off his third tour with Dizzee Rascal and with 3 days before his debut release SmurfieSyco.com hits the shelves, Kristian Samuel-Camps caught up with Dirtee Stank’s emerging star to talk Dubstep, Dizzee and Downloads.

I’m sure you get asked this in every interview, but just to clarify, why are you called Smurfie Syco?

Yeah I do! In my family I’ve got loads of brothers and sisters and we all had nicknames for each other. My one was Smurfie ‘cos I was really short. In my area, when I used to run about with my friends, they called my Syco, ‘cos I was this little terrier. Then, when my friends started to come over to my house, they would hear my family call me Smurfie and get confused. So in the end they called me Syco Smurfie. When I signed up to MySpace I switched it around and it stuck from there.

It’s quite a catchy name isn’t it?

Yeah it is. It works to my advantage.

How did you get signed to Dirtee Stank, and what’s it like working with Cage, Dizzee and the Newham Generals?

It’s kinda like Justice League haha! Or maybe Ninja Turtles – Cage would be Splinter with the guidance and knowledge! I’ve been eager to do things and got excited about situations only for Cage to say three or four things and change my mind completely. He sees things way in advance, and is great at making the decisions – which you can see in Dizzee.

All the decisions Dizzee has made, Cage has been instrumental.

Justice League is a good name for them because they are superheroes to me. Even though we’re friends, it hasn’t clicked for me yet. I’ll hop off the tour bus with Dizzee and see people react crazy…

How much say does Cage have in the camp?

He’s like the final thing. At the same time though, he won’t crush my artistry. Seriously, when my album comes out you will see stuff everywhere! He allows me to do whatever I want and then he’ll give me the guidance. It’s up to me to except it. Karate kid can never tell Mr Miyagi how it’s gonna go. He has to listen and interpret it. That’s what I’m doing.

I’m not scared to take risks.

Conversely do you find it stressful having these guys around you, scrutinising your work?

It is stressful. You do get to a point where it’s a gift and a curse. It depends on the audience, and what part of the audience I listen to. You’ve got the fans that are happy to have new music and see new faces, and then you’ve got these internet critics who don’t know much about music at all. In the grand scheme of things, the things that they say will keep them where they are.

They want to compare, compare, compare. I can’t understand why they can’t accept something for what it is. I can’t address all that because if I did, I would never get an album done.

How would you describe your style of music?

Ooh it’s a crazy mix. I ain’t given it a label just yet but it deserves one though ‘cos it’s really good! Haha! It’s melodic and quite old fashioned. I never really owned any music in my house so I listened to a lot of music that at first, I hated. I didn’t jump out of my mum’s womb and straight into Reggae! Now though, when I hear those sweet melodies on a Sunday morning when my Grandma’s cooking or something I can just vibe.

There is a mad mix in my music – I can hear it all in there. On this mix CD I listened to it top to bottom and it is Grime. It’s not quite what is going on today, but it reminds me of those ‘Boy in the Corner’ days. I know that’s a big thing to say but on one track that Dizzee features on (Clappin), it could have made it onto Boy in the Corner. If not Showtime. It’s definitely that era of music. It’s a conscious tune too – it’s not reckless.

What would you say to those people who say that, because you didn’t climb the ranks, Dizzee shouldn’t have signed you?

I would say to them that Dizzee wouldn’t be where he is today if he couldn’t make good decisions. If you respect him and think he’s a smart guy then respect his decision to sign me and wait and see.

Your hotly anticipated new CD, Smurfie Syco.com is due to be released on the 30th. How you feeling?

Excited man. I just want to see it in my hands and I’ll be like ‘Yes!’ I want to go and see it on the shelves as well.

Promotion across Dirtee Stank media, including Dizzee’s official announcement yesterday, has kick started the hype…So what can people expect?

Expect hype! If there is anything out there you want to get right now, forget that and get this CD! It is a breath of fresh air in music. if you are buying CD’s, buy mine, Chipmunk’s, N Dubz, Tinchy’s, Dizzee’s and Newham Generals and that will be 2009 right there. My mixtape deserves to be next to all those releases.

Are there any guest spots on the album?

One. Dizzee Rascal and that’s it. Together we recorded three to four songs for the mixtape, but I’m a perfectionist. When I first signed [with Dirtee Stank] I told Dizzee ‘Don’t tell anybody I’ve signed’ and for six months, nobody knew. Everybody there thought I was an office clerk or something; sorting stuff out on the phone, helping the tour manager. I wanted to figure out what I was going to do first.

It eventually got round that I was signed and so I got recording. I made my first single ‘Where’s Your Head At?’, and after performing it live it got such a good reception that Dizzee wanted to come onto the tune. So for me that’s a sign I’m doing the right thing.

What will be the first single?

The lead track will be ‘This Way’ but my first single will come next year with the album, which will probably be ‘Where’s Your Head At?’

Your free download ‘Unleash Da Syco’ instrumental EP showcased your loud and brash production talents. Did you produce any beats on the album?

I produced all the beats on the album. I’m a huge Dubstep fan and it’s crazy ‘cos I discovered it through DJ Tubby by accident. I really ignored it for the first part, but I’ve always been attracted to the grimier side of Grime, Bassline and that. So when I found it I was like ‘Rah!’ Nobody was MC’ing on it apart from Newham Generals and Crazy D at that time, so I immediately wanted to.

‘Unleash Da Syco’ has some musical similarity with Dizzee’s earliest work – it’s messy, electronic and sample heavy. Was this one of the things that first endeared Dizzee to you in the first place?

It could have been. To be honest I’m not sure – I’d have to ask Dizzee. In fact I don’t think I’d ever want to know. I’d like that to remain a mystery because it keeps me working and if I stick to one type of music it’ll blur my creativity.

Would you consider yourself his protégé?

Erm…I don’t know. I don’t think so. I think Dizzee’s protégé is still out there somewhere. There’s elements of Dizzee, D Double E and Footsie in my work, but I don’t think I’m his protégé.

Your 300 bars series on YouTube was an innovative online promotion tool and opened you up to audiences in a frank, honest way. Are you going to maintain the series or have you got something new planned?

If MC’s want to talk about MC’ing, then I would love to see another MC do that, and spit for six minutes constantly! That series must have totalled thousands of bars. The reaction from that series was big. I’m still getting tour fans going ‘Wow!’

We are working on something! That was one of 15 ideas we had and even now the ideas don’t stop coming. We will definitely do something for people to subscribe to and I will be going even harder to make sure there are more eyes on me.

The crowds on Dizzee’s tour have certainly been going mad for you, judging by the videos and youtube comments. What was touring with Dizzee like?

It’s the best thing that could ever happen to my music. It showed me that I could do what I was doing in my spare time, professionally. The first Dizzee tour was Boy in the Corner and Showtime fans moshing. The Maths & English tour, girls had started to come in, then on the last Tongue ‘n’ Cheek tour it was chicks 6 rows deep from the front. I’m happy I’ve seen that and it has made me understand where I want my audience to go.

I love all the girls there – I’ve even got my own little group now called The Smurfettes – which are my own female fan club.

Anybody who wants to join by the way, just holla me on Twitter @Smurfiesyco!

Tell us about your album due to be released next year. According to Dizzee’s MySpace, he, along with Cage will be executive producing it. Can you shed any more light on it at all?

It’s untitled at the moment, but we’re aiming for a 3rd quarter release. My single should carry me through until then and I believe there is nothing from the UK that will be as complete as mine.

With that in mind, what does the rest of this year hold for Smurfie?

Just promoting really, speaking to my audience, keeping them in the loop. This is nursery rhymes right now. I want to take my crowd and start singing real music that can stand on its own.

I want to stress that SmurfieSyco.com is the sharpest end of the knife, and will be for some people because it’s Grime. But after this I’m going bigger, wider, and you will like it because I keep things real. I’m heading toward success – if you want in, follow me!

Any shout outs?

Shout out Dirtee Stank – it’s the label! Laurence – number 1 UK label manager. Shout to Musical D, my family, my fanbase and R.O.A.D – the Righteous, Organised and Determined.

Kristian

Smurfie Syco

November 26, 2009

Interviewed and then accompanied Dirtee Stank’s Smurfie Syco for a day around his ends in Wood Green, before reaching Kiss with DJ MK.

Pics and interview to come, but check out in this vid in the mean time:

I’m the pesky snapper getting in the way of the camera 😉 Big up Smurfie who is promoting like a madman right now. Follow him @smurfiesyco.

If you need press coverage, contact me here

Martin Clark (Blackdown) Appreciation

October 2, 2009

Martin Clark is one of this country’s most underrated music journalists. He has written for The Guardian, Jockey Slut and Pitchfork Media, and has almost single-handedly intellectualised the Dubstep scene by writing in depth about its rhythms, production techniques and style patterns.

As half of Dubstep production outfit Dusk & Blackdown and resident DJ on underground staple Rinse FM, Clark has a unique and participatory insight into his subject matter. His blog, Blackdown Soundboy is packed with quality articles, interviews and insights from the Dubstep, Grime and Funky scenes – a ‘must favourite’ for any self-respecting fan of the aforementioned genres. Recent highlights include an extensive interview with the bastion of Funky, Marcus Nasty and an interesting piece on Funky re-fixes of garage classics.

Here though, is an abridged version of a candid interview he conducted with Wiley way back in 2003, which can be found in full here. It’s an absolute favourite of mine; frank, charming and to the point…Which is Clark all over.

Enjoy.

Wiley is the biggest MC in East London. In any bit of London for that matter. He’s the man who brought Dizzee Rascal and his Roll Deep Entourage through, who re-invented garage with a hip hop twist via his “Eskimo” and the “Ice Rink” riddims. The man who added the Orient and took away the beats with “devil mixes.” The man of many lyrical beefs. The man with the string-lead, glacial, riddim-not-track musical vision. On the release of “Ground Zero,” one of his very strongest riddims to date, Hyperdub caught up with Wiley …

Martin Clark: How did Eski Dance come about?

Wiley: One day I just wanted to do a rave innit? I thought of the name and went to Mix It Up promotions and did it with them. We had the first, the second, the third and it’s going well. We’re on our fifth one now. We just tried to get all the people in the scene under one roof.

M: And what is that scene?

W: Some people call it grime, grimey or whatever it’s called. But I call my sound “eski beat.” That’s what I call it and everyone else can call their sound whatever they want. So people who make similar music to me, it will go under that anyway.

M: So who else is on your wavelength?

W: Very few. Dizzee. Jammer, Kano from NASTY. TNT. There’s a couple of people who see the vision. There’s many more but they’re the ones I see on a regular basis. Danny Weed, Target, Louie White and Bigga too.

M: So is it a new UK form of hip hop?

W: Yeah it is but it hasn’t been called that yet. But it is very similar because everyone writes their beats, everyone writes their songs, it’s rapping but English. That’s the only difference. People are just talking about their lives.

The other side of it is the MCs. Some MCs are big but they can’t write songs. They haven’t made the conversion from MC to artist. That’s why some of them are still just MCs. Once you make the conversion and start writing about your feelings and all things like that you make it real for yourself. You gotta make the conversion.

M: Tell me about the sounds that you use…

W: Yeah I’ve got a few more plug-ins now. But I use whatever my ear catches innit. I flick through and then play whatever I want to play with it. I’ll play melodies. A lot of people don’t think I make my tunes but I’ve made everything. I have done tunes where I didn’t engineer but whatever happens I always play what I want in. That’s why I call myself a producer. I mix it all down and do it all myself right now. I’m just trying to press on and get further and further in my career.

M: Why do you use sounds that no one else would use?

W: Exactly, exactly: sounds people would think that’re weak, or that’s anything. But I just hear things. I play it and it just forms together innit. It’s like a gift you know that? When I sit down I don’t copy nothing, as such. I don’t try and base my music around anything. Ideas just come in my head and I play them.

M: There’s a big Oriental feeling to them…

W: I used to watch a lot of Kung Fu films. I just like the idea of the Oriental thing. I started that idea, then I stopped it and then went back to it. It just something I like. I like Chinese music. I like Greek music. I’ve been buying loads of kinds of music: Greek, Chinese, African. I just went to some place called Sterns? It sells world music and I bought loads of stuff there. I’ll take it back and sometimes I’ll sample it, sometimes loop it, or take parts and put them in different places. I do all different bits to try and get the finished thing.

M: That’s strange to hear you’re sampling because a lot of your tunes have sounded distinctive and related because the strings seem to come from a similar source or module…

W: I like orchestras innit. I listen to a lot of that. If I flick through a module and hear anything orchestral I might go in that direction. Though on another day I might go in another Oriental direction. I go in different directions every time I start.

M: So how did the idea for the two Ice Rink vocal 12″s come about?

W: What it was that I made that thing quickly and vocalled it myself. It’s going to be on my album – I’ve got a song on it. One day I decided to let other people do versions to get their names big. There’s loads of different ones – I only put out those two vinyl – but I’ve got all the best MCs on it. If it becomes a single for my album I’ll put them out. There’s a version by Flirta D, he’s done a good one. He’s been around for ages but he’s here now, noticed now.

I like him, he’s one of my favourites. Kano, he’s one of my favourites. Crazy Titch, his one didn’t come out. There will probably be two more parts before I bring out the CD. Plus I’ve got the “War.” I’ve got loads of mix CDs. Once called “Creeper Vol 1” coming out soon. Tinchy Stryder, he’s got one called “The Takeover”. Roll Deep Regular CD we’re doing. All three of them will be done very soon. On Creeper it’s little snippets of some tunes from my album and other stuff, freestyles. Tinchy’s is the same. Roll Deep’s is the whole Roll Deep Crew, everyone, working together to get the Roll Deep vibe going again.

M: That’s the funniest thing, because your 12″s are the biggest on road, but no one’s got them on dub…

W: They’re about. I’ve even got a back catalogue of stuff that never came out. or it came out and it wasn’t mixed down properly. But it’s gonna carry on, it’s not gonna stop.

M: How did the idea for the beatless “devil mixes” come about?

W: Nah it’s not “devil mix” you know? I called it that because it sounded evil to me innit. But I don’t call it “devil mix” anymore because when I started calling it that I started to get lots of bad luck, if you understand. I called it that because it sounded evil but really, why didn’t I call it “god mix” then? Because I don’t believe in the devil. The more and the more you say his name, believe it or not, he’ll come closer to you. And that is the truth, I swear I am not joking. “Bass mix” I call them now, cos it’s just bass. The devil mix brought me too much luck. I was selling the devil mix of Eskimo and they were selling so fast. I bought stuff with the money, bought a car and crashed it. So it just turned me off.

M: It’s an obvious thing to do – take the beats out of the tune – but in practice no one dares to do it. Why did you just go “fuck it?”

W: Cos I just did. I like bass innit. Obviously my dad used to be on a soundsystem, it used to be all about bass. You used to get parts of the tune that were all dubbed out. Just bass running and then the beat coming back in. So the ideas were all there but I decided to just take the beats out and just leave it and MC on it and it worked.

M: Who’s on the Eskimo vocal mix?

W: It’s being done now, but we did have one already but I’ve re-done it because it had some different people on it. I just wanted to keep it straight cos it had a bit here, and then another bit there.

M: Is like that the amazing “Eskimo (Chubby Dread vocal special)” with you, Dizzee and more?

W: Exactly. That was a special but people started to like that. I was going to do it like that but then I changed my mind, because it’s so old I didn’t want to do it. My single is going to be “What Do You Call It” which is on the “Igloo” rhythm. I done it ages ago, before “War.” It goes “what do you call it?/garage?/what do you call it?/urban? 2step?”

It’s explaining about how we started doing garage and then they started turning their back to us. Pushing us away, trying to say we’re ruining the scene and all that.

M: Who’s “they?”

W: A few people, they know who they are.

M: Media people or garage industry people?

W: A few people in the industry, the big people in garage, they were blaming the sound because they think it makes people fight or get shot. Whatever they thought, they tried to associate it with that. But we’ve had four Eskimo Dances and no one’s died or nothing. That proves it weren’t nothing to do with me. We’ve moved on and they can’t say it’s anything to do with me because all I do I MC and do the music. If someone’s got a feud with someone and they want to shoot them then that is going to happen with or without us.

M: So when you’re MCing, whatever lyrics you say, it makes no difference?

W: Erm not really. What I say – I can’t talk for everyone else, I say what I say – I don’t actually go out there and say “Oh yeah, hello, I’m going to shoot you with a gun… I’m this… I’m that.” That’s not really me. I just go up there and say lyrics. My lyrics aren’t really like that, so they can’t associate me with it.

M: What was Dizzee like when you first me him?

W: He was like just a little boy from the area. He was like energy, raring to go. He put something back into me that I never had in me at the time. I wasn’t converted to an artist, that’s one thing. And I was just an MC. Listening to him made me convert to an artist, it made me open up my mind that it’s not just about garage. It’s music, just make music. Before that I didn’t have it in me, but I got energy from him. When he was growing up listening to me it was vice versa.

Interview by Martin Clark on 23/10/03
This is the transcript of an interview for Jockey Slut magazine.

Kristian

Dizzee Rascal – Tongue In Cheek Preview

September 17, 2009

Dizzee Rascal is back, and by the look of this CD cover, he’s coming cheekier and more outlandish than ever.

Tongue N Cheek is the fourth studio album from Dizzee aka Dylan Mills, and is set to be released on Monday. Featuring 10 tracks, including number one singles Bonkers and Holiday, this album promises to be the Bow rappers’ most esoteric work to date. Having already received 4 stars in the Telegraph and Observer respectively, it looks like Tongue N Cheek will have no trouble garnering attention from the media, cementing him as one Britain’s most influential artists.

Having heard live snippets of album cut ‘Road Rage’ on radio sets this year, I’m eager to hear what Dizzee has to offer. Despite his cheesier, but ultimately successful, dance explorations this year, I’m confident that he won’t have lost that inimitable cheek and stand-offish flippancy that first caught my ear way back in 2002. However, with a plethora of dance producers contributing to this CD, my worry is that it’ll lack the punch and urgency of his previous releases.

Stay tuned for a full review next week.

Kristian