Posts Tagged ‘Hip Hop’

Unsung Heroes of The Hop.

August 3, 2010

For this instalment were going back to 1989. A year when one Texan sporting a LA Kings Cap moulded a west coast sound that would emanate through the nineties. Let me cut right to the chase here – nobody was spitting like this in ’89. The only people who even came close were sitting on another coast – with another sound.

D.O.C

Without The D.O.C, there is no N.W.A. The Texas native became one of the most prolific ghostwriters in hip hop, helping write classic tracks on Straight Outta Compton & The Chronic. The D.O.C. got his chance with No One Can Do It Better. With Dr. Dre behind the boards, The D.O.C. shined with a lyrical prowess unlike any member of N.W.A. (even Cube). D.O.C. broke all the conventions and rules for rhyming at the time. He interweaved his rhymes in and out of bars, ran off beat at will and never once insulted the listener with a sackful of verbiage. Tracy Curry looked destined for greatness before an unfortunate car accident damaged his vocal chords.

Back when Cube – was rollin wit Lorenzo in a Benzo
I was bangin wit a gang of instrumentals,
got the pens and pencils, got down to business;
but sometimes the business end of this shit can turn your friends against you
but you was a real nigga, I could sense it in you
I still remember the window of the car that you went through
that’s fucked up – But I’ll never forget the shit we been through
and I’ma do whatever it takes to convince you, cuz you my nigga D.O.C

No One

The D.O.C. continued to assist behind the scenes; working closely with Snoop and Dre’s on future releases. He was even introduced to a whole new generation (who may have never heard of him previous) through placements on Grand Theft Auto & EA Sports soundtracks in the mid noughties. Revisiting tracks like ‘It’s Funky Enough” “Mind Blowin” or “Whirlwind Pyramid,” it’s easy to see why The D.O.C. looked destined to be in everyone’s top 10 of all-time. No One Can Do It Better may not be as well known as The Chronic or Straight Outta Compton but it’s on the same level, if not higher.

Unsung Hero of the Hop.

The D.O.C

Dré

Artist Feature: Skurge

June 10, 2010

Logan’s belated May blog post pointed me in the direction of this Bay Area MC. I’m always intrigued to hear Yank MC’s respective takes on our sound and after doing some stealthy google work, I found his facebook page. Full up with Music clips and downloads, I got to hear what he’s got to offer and may I say now that Skurge is sick.

Taken from his facebook page:

“Skurge is a member of Sammie Award Winning Hip Hop Group, Righteous Movement. He is all styles. With a sharp delivery and lyrics that often find their mark, Skurge has been effective at giving the listeners what they want to hear. Real, Raw, Hip Hop”

Whilst he doesn’t  jump on what we call ‘Grime’, his music has that same raw element.  He has an infectious drawn-out delivery which slides over some rather tasty, weighty production. The mastering is perfect – an area Americans have always excelled in. They can make a Lil Jon record sound ‘full’ FFS!

Take a trip to his Fan Page and listen to ‘Nobody’, ‘Goose’ or ‘Open Container’ all of which are available for download. Disgusting!

Facebook
Twitter

Kristian

Klashnekoff – ‘Back to the Sagas’ Review

June 5, 2010

Back to the Sagas album cover

With a celebrated music career that has spanned over a decade yet gleaned only a handful of releases, UK rapper Klashnekoff (a.k.a. Darren Kandler) is a figure that commands both love and frustration in equal measure.

His elusiveness and steadfast refusal to participate in industry politics has undoubtedly prevented him from wider success. However, in an age where bland, do-anything-for-the-fame urban acts dominate the media, his outspoken character and honest music is admirable.

Sagas of Klashnekoff album cover

After a three year hiatus fraught with clique divisions and label worries, Klashnekoff is back with his third album ‘Back to the Sagas.’ Working closely with rap producer Smasher, ‘Back to the Sagas’ is a weighty effort that aims to recapture the raucous, Rasta-infused essence of his debut, 2004’s ‘The Sagas of Klashnekoff’.

Indeed, the Hackney-based MC wastes no time in establishing a conceptual link between the two. Album opener ‘Church (intro)’ immerses the listener once again in a Babylonian world of struggle and tussle as Klash sets out his nihilist agenda, punctuating rousing electric guitar and synth riffs in that trademark multi-syllabic yap.

Klashnekoff

Title track ‘Back to the Sagas’ continues the candid lyrical theme and, in some detail, describes conflicts with management and Kyza’s surprise departure from Terra Firma. The rolling snare drums and orchestral stabs lend a military theme to the production, evident in varying degrees on ‘Get it Too’, ‘Repping Hard’ and the excellent ‘Soon Come’.

Not only does the dramatic instrumentation provide real depth to the music, rekindling the warm, analogue feel of his debut, it bolsters Klash’s combative tone and revolutionary sentiments. Nowhere is this more prevalent than on ‘Keep It Moving’ whereby the buoyant, summery beat gives real motion to a flurry of gritty observational prose.

Klashnekoff

Soviet sing-along ‘Klash Anthem’ offers some respite from the serious tone, adding a vein of boisterous humour to proceedings, even if its playback appeal may dwindle over time. The same can also be said about CB4-sampling ‘Music Game’; an 8-bit analysis of the music industry that, whilst cheery, seems at odds with the rest of the album.

Protest song ‘Raw’ brings ‘Back to the Sagas’ to a neat conclusion, and serves a poignant reminder of what Klashnekoff is capable of when in his niche. Whilst ‘Lionheart’, in its attempt to capture a clubbier, more accessible sound obscured the MC, ‘Back to the Sagas’ foregrounds his lyrical talent with layered, soulful and arguably more traditional Boom-Bap production.

Yes, some of the features and speech samples are superfluous, but these are significant of an artist that wants to say something through music, not merely spit for the sake of industry props or fleeting internet praise. ‘Back to the Sagas’ is a reaffirmation of Klashnekoff’s talents and although the ‘Sagas’ bar may not have been raised this time round, it has certainly been nudged.

Buy ‘Back to the Sagas’:

Play.com
Amazon.co.uk
Junodownload.com

Hit Klashnekoff up on Twitter:

@Klashnekoff

Kristian

Logan Sama’s April 2010 Round Up

April 30, 2010

In terms of radio, Chosen Ones Part 2 was a great start to April. We worked with different MC’s and concepts this time, keeping the format fun and fresh. As I mentioned here last month, I wanted a Yardie set for Part 2 and I got one with Killa P, Badness, Shizzle and Jamakabi! It was definitely one of my favourite sets. Double S held down a set on his own (as the rest of Marvell couldn’t make it) for 25 minutes which was very impressive – I’m sure even his critics on the internet would have to agree.

We also had Trim and his Circle, as well as exciting new talent in the form of Dream Mclean, Teeza, Voltage, Onoe and Scruface – the latter an MC who I have high hopes for this year. We are going to keep the Chosen Ones series going and I know people are wondering why I haven’t opted for bigger names so far. However, I’m going to be doing a new Chosen Ones show every six weeks now and as such I don’t want to recycle sets. We are going to get sets from Ruff Sqwad, Cold Blooded, Boy Better Know, Movement and maybe Slew Dem in the summer…rest assured we’ll be doing what the people want to hear! I don’t want it to just be the same show with Newham Gens and Bloodline appearing every week – despite what some may demand!

Chosen Ones gives me the opportunity to feature people from across the UK too, MC’s outside of London – Midlands, up North etc. It’s otherwise hard for me to give exposure to these guys with a one hour show on a commercial station. Kiss management are still giving really positive feedback; they’re really happy with both the Radio listener figures and the web hits. Hopefully, if we can sustain the effort then we might have a two hour show again!

The Grime Forum awards were another April highlight for me. I didn’t even realise I had won the best DJ award – I naturally assumed Spyro had won. There are many things that make a DJ ‘good’ and in light of this award I‘d like to think I’m now alright at most of them! It was a pleasure to receive the award. The fact that the organisers had clubbed together and made a physical award that I can actually keep was special. I made a big deal of it and specifically invited P Money and Blacks down so we could give the awards credibility. Last year the awards came and went. This year, I felt that giving Grime Forum credence on the radio was needed.

People that are doing work should be rewarded for their efforts; Tempa T getting best song and best video, P Money winning best MC and best mixtape and Blacks winning best newcomer was all down to the Grime Scene – not the mainstream/playlist world. It was real fans saying what the hottest shit was this year. I heard Skepta say that for him, this was the first time he had seen a list of award winners and completely agreed with it. Unfortunately, the Grime Daily party didn’t go nearly as well. All I’ll say is it is a shame incidents like that still happen – they are a poignant reminder of what is really going on in the world at the moment. The name ‘Grime’ is very precious and we have to be careful what we attach it to…

Going back to Skepta, he’s currently remixing P Diddy’s ‘Hello Good Morning’ which is big news for Grime. I know Skepta wants to do a big Grime club smasher, so we’ll see what comes of it. As with anybody big dipping their toes in Grime, we’ll have to use it and get as much exposure as possible. It’s good that somebody like Diddy, coming from America, looks to the UK and picks a Grime artist to work with. It’s a step in the right direction when people look over here and see Grime as our equivalent of Hip Hop.

As you may have seen on here and on my own blog, I’m a bit of a Street Fighter fan! A nice surprise this week was D Double’s vocal of Swerve’s Street Fighter Riddim. I had no idea Dee was going to vocal it, in fact the first I knew was when I received a text from Laurence at Dirtee Stank saying ‘D Double’s Street Fighter Freestyle is Fucked!’ I rang him straight back! I got sent it and it was like two of my favourite things mixed together. A special made for me (almost)! In terms of the actual game, I’m really enjoying it. I actually want to get good at this version as me and Jamie are thinking about going to some tournaments and trying our luck.

I’ve been trying to work with Dudley, but like any new character it’s hard at first. As he only punches, using him effectively is quite technical, but once he gets in there he can do some damage!

As a final note, look out for B-Live’s Modern Warfare release this month, which comes with a massive, MASSIVE remix as well as the Sharky Major and Badness CD’s. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone that supported the ‘Shark Attack’ single because it was a bit of a gamble, but it paid off. J Beatz, Nuklea and Z-Dot instrumental EP’s are coming soon. In terms of gigs, if you want to keep up to date with where I’m playing check my blog, http://www.keepinitgrimy.blogspot.com. I’m looking forward to playing Hip Hop Kemp in the Czech Republic this summer, as it’s all good fun and hopefully I shall be going to San Francisco in May…Fingers crossed!

Until next month…Keep it Grimy!

Logan.

Style Society @ Orange Rooms, Southampton

March 17, 2010

null

Here’s some pics from Sarah Leigh’s Style Society event at Orange Rooms last Sunday. A very successful evening, with much fun had by all! Rumours have it that there might be another event in the not to distant future!

Big up Sarah, Sophie the models and all those that lent a helping hand.

Kristian

Unsung Heroes of The Hop.

November 26, 2009

Today we present, Mr Craig Mack.

mack

When you think of Craig Mack, the first song that comes to mind is the Flavour in Your Ear Remix, the first image that comes to your mind is probably a smug git tapping some bottles. Somewhere in between that track and that person is the reason why Mack is not held with the reverence as his chubby Bad Boy counterpart. Mack picked on scraps, while the Big bandwagon sparred with the rival coast- it’s orchestrator always close at hand.

project

Many forget that it was Craig Mack who cemented Big Boy Records as a genuine threat to the airwaves. His debut LP, Project Funk Da World possessed all the trimmings of a bonafide boom bap classic. It had character, fine production and an emcee more than capable. Perhaps it’s biggest downfall was that remix which featured two players who were keen to stamp their mark on an industry dominated by a synth-laden west coast. Biggie’s ambivalent flow set the bench mark, and Busta erratic prose stole the show (remember crazy Busta?).

get down

Both emcee’s are undoubtedly legends of hip hop now, but they lacked the ease with which Mack dropped bars. When he was good, it was effortless; a throwback to the days of call and response and high-top’s (bring it back Temps). This isn’t meant as disrespect to Biggie and Busta. They more than deserve the acclaim, but I would argue that Mack has waited long enough for a bit of recognition; at least a chapter on the revival of east coast hip-hop.

Ladies and Gents, Unsung Hero of the Hop:

Mr Craig Mack.

Get Down
Embedding is disabled for the music video, click here for visual stimuli.

Jockin My Style

Dré

Wiley’s New Style

October 28, 2009

Without trying to sound like rebore Wu Tang, Wiley has fathered many lyrical and musical styles. However, his recent commercial successes, whilst broadening his rapping vocabulary (or narrowing it, depending on how you look at it), have caused a bit of a dry spell on the production front.

But now, it looks like he’s back to his button-bashing best. Over the past couple of months, a few Wiley productions have surfaced that have really caught my attention. Showcasing frenetic drum patterns, little or no melody and sharp interjections of vocal snippets, they contain a hint of the old school, whilst also being totally current and banging.

They are:


Wiley feat. The England 10 – She Likes To

The drums on this kill it. With two kicks battling against skittish hihats and percussive ‘Yelps!’ this is sure to smash it in the clubs. It’s big, brash and dramatic.


Wiley & Shifty vs. Ghetts & Devlin – 1,2,3, GO

This is oestensibly a rap battle track, fully updated and pumped full of adreniline for 2009. The drums are similar to She Likes To but the repeated ‘1,2,3’ refrain adds a nice lead into each verse.

The third example is Fumin’s ‘Out Of The Game’ featuring Wiley, Ice Kid, Jookie Mundo and Diesle, but I couldn’t find a video for it 😛 Sick new style for the Godfather, proving there’s plenty of life in him yet.

Kristian.

The Real Hip Hop is Over Here

October 14, 2009

hiphop

In celebration of the 30 anniversary of Rappers Delight, the Beeb has done a short little piece following a New York paramedic who, as a very young photojournalist was the unofficial documenter of the ‘birth of hip-hop’.

The 14th of October, 1979 was a special day for Sugarhill fans worldwide. But lest we forget a few days later, the non-commercial entity Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five gave us the seminal Superrappin’. Hip Hop subsequently arrived to a mass commercial audience. Did somebody say irony?

You didn’t?…well just carry on jiving then, ya sucka ass turkey!

Click HERE for the BBC video on the birth of Hip-Hop

Ps. How silly of me, did i forget to mention the death of it?

Dré

Giggs – UKHH Saviour?

September 21, 2009

Am I the only one that doesn’t ‘get’ Giggs? When I hear that cold, lobotomised delivery and those simple word association metaphors (Take off your whole head-top…Hannibal Lector) I can’t help but cringe.

And yet, people are going crazy for this guy – he’s been on Hell’s Kitchen, Collabo’d with The Streets and is frequently the subject of keen discussion on forums. What is it that I’m missing here?

Giggs (real name Nathan Thompson) is a rapper from South Peckham, London, and a member of rap collective SN1 (which, before you ask stands for Spare No 1 and is not a Swindon postcode as I previously thought!) He has released a handful of mixtapes and albums, the most notable of which, Walk In The Park, received a BET award last year.

In mid 2008, his single ‘Talking the Hardest’ was released to much aplomb and arguably Giggs’ breakthrough tune, although its success was in no small part due to being built around a little-known Dr. Dre beat originally made for Stat Quo.

Since then, his standing in the UK rap scene has gone from strength to strength. His violently indulgent alphabet rhymes seem to bypass any hint of ‘Frank Bruno’ parody and instead strike a chord with many young Grime and Rap fans.

Despite an outwardly shy demeanour, Giggs’ Wikipedia entry states that in 2003 he was sentenced to 2 years in prison for gun charges. So perhaps his appeal is wrapped up in being authentic and real – living what he speaks. Which is fair enough.

The point here is not to protest about Giggs’ ultra-blunt gun and drug-dealing bars, or question his authenticity. But, the fact is with the lack of any vocal urgency, call to action, musicality or insight into that street lifestyle, how are you meant to enjoy his music?

Kristian

Unsung Heroes of The Hop.

September 11, 2009

Now, Hip-Hop has it’s legends. Held aloft on the mountains of commercial success, or the arse end of the Eighties. But what about the others?

Sure, we know of Dre, the Wu, the 18th Letter, L. Krishna, the niggles with anger, Dre 3k and the Boi. Marshall, Cliff and Reggie etc etc.

Its about time a few others got a mention, a few that possibly slipped under the radar of our die-hard reader(s).

I present to you, the first Unsung Hero of the Hop. Dj Sub-Roc.

The Roc

Perhaps best known as the launching pad for one M.F. Doom, Kausing Much Damage personified the early boom-bap sound that underpinned hip-hop throughout the nineties. While later Doom efforts showcased his ear for the obscure sample, under the moniker Zev-Love X – his K.M.D sound kept the ingredients rather simple.

Mr Hood

Base heavy, Check. Dusty break loop, Check. One bad-ass New-York Eazy-E sounding sibling, Check. While there is no doubt that Zev helped define the style of the group, it was his younger brother Sub-Roc who truly flourished over K.M.D’s distinct drowned percussion.

Just before the completion of the controversial second album Black Bastards, Sub-Roc was struck by a car and killed. A true loss to any fan of expression and more poignently, real hip-hop.

What Sub-Roc embodied more than anything, was a trait solely lacking in hip-hop in recent times. Fun.

Without getting too nostalgic and preachy. Hip-hop truly has lost that spirit that brought it out of the grid systems of New York, the sound systems of Herc and Co, and into the living room of the middle class gin-drinking yuppie.

T Shirt i am hip hop

It didn’t have to threaten to entertain, sure it could and would at times, but it had a point to prove to its fellow genres (no, not you emo! before then). It certainly proved its point, perhaps too much I would argue – given the parody it exudes at times. Perhaps the cover of Black Bastards was not controversial, rather, prophetic of things to come.

Black Bar Stewards

Do you remember when emcees had fun over a track?

If not, then I urge you to turn the volume up, anything less than a Spinal Tap eleven is truly sacrilege.

Ladies and Gents, our first Hero of the Hop.

DJ Sub-Roc (1973-1993)

Dré