Posts Tagged ‘mc’

Opium – freestyle

September 10, 2010

Our first foray into film.

Big look. Big up Opium!

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Opium – Opium (CD RELEASE 27th September 2010)

September 7, 2010

Front Cover

Back Cover

Hailed by Wiley as a ‘don’ and held in equally high regard by many of the UK’s best urban acts (including Skepta and Tinchy) Opium is ready to step up as the UK’s next Grime star. His self-titled debut mixtape ‘Opium’ is an impassioned exploration of Grime – both lyrically and musically – and features production from Wiley, DJ Target (1xtra & Roll Deep), Chucka and Z Dot.

Released digitally on the 27th September through iTunes, Spotify and Amazon, Opium has delivered more depth and clarity with his debut than most artists can manage in a fistful of albums. Having learned his craft under the tutelage of Grime veterans Wiley and Godsgift he has steadily established his own sound and approach.

His ‘stream-of-consciousness’ lyricism breaks from the typical ego-driven MC fodder currently abundant in the scene, and is complimented on the album by consistently futuristic production.

‘My Dream’ sets the lunar tone, with mellow synths washing over Opium’s thoughtful verse. Emphatic title track ‘Opium’ is a version of the Wiley space-stomper and ‘Empire’ is the glossy lead single in which he muses over his legacy and future.

Being of Turkish descent and having lived in Munich for a number of years, Opium subtly expresses his own cultural experiences through music. The mixtape cover cleverly conceals his nations’ flag within world of his own making. As ‘My Dream’ says, it’s time to “scrap everything old and start feeling new.”

Opium ‘Opium’ is released digitally on 27th September via iTunes, Amazon and Spotify.

Big up Threefold’s Dre for the artwork, and myself for the words. 😛

Kristian

Interview with Gabriel Heatwave

April 20, 2010

I first discovered The Heatwave through a recorded set they did with Riko in 2007. Since then, I’ve been regularly checking their website for the latest Dancehall news, reviews and mixsets, which for me, have always been on point. Following their massive ’25 years of Dancehall’ mix on Rinse a few weeks ago, we at The ‘Fold thought it was about time we shone some light on The Heatwave and brought focus to the massively important work they do for the UK scene.

We tracked down head honcho Gabriel and pinned him down for a chat:

First of all, please introduce yourself to all our readers, and tell them what it is you do!

Hi, I’m Gabriel and as part of Dancehall collective The Heatwave, I DJ around the UK and Europe. Our new night ‘Energy’ is about to be launched at Driver, King’s Cross. We mainly play Jamaican dancehall music, especially where it crosses over with UK sounds. We all grew up with Garage and Grime and where those two genres cross over into Dancehall is what we are interested in! We also write a blog and host The Heatwave radio show on Rinse, that’s dedicated to all Jamaican sounds.

How did you get into dancehall and what was it about the sound that appealed to you?

Although I was into reggae and stuff when I was younger, I started DJ’ing Hiphop. I moved to Spain in 2001 and there were no decent record shops selling underground Hiphop were I was. However, there was a reggae shop and so I started to purchase records. After a while I had had enough of rap and stopped playing it. I found Dancehall – the uptempo stuff especially – much more lively and appealing. People could dance to it! Also, it was really easy to get hold of the classics whereas 90’s Hiphop classics were really hard to find. With Reggae they reissue stuff all the time, even if it’s just bootlegs. I found I could get all the massive hits from as far back as 20 years ago.

You are the brains behind The Heatwave – a monthly club night that has since grown to incorporate a record label, a radio show, a website and blog. How did it all come about and what was the idea behind this multi-faceted approach?

It has all been accidental really. The Heatwave started as a night we put on in 2003. We had just moved back to London, and wanted to a monthly gig. At that time, in London, there were monthly gigs but outside of it there was nothing really going on. It was at a time when people were starting to pay attention to dancehall again but no one was doing it properly, just Hiphop DJ’s playing the occasional tune here and there. The website followed much later than that, and the blog even later – about 2007.

We started our Rinse show started last year.

What has it been like on Rinse?

I really like it there. We’re the only dancehall show and everybody else is quite different. In a way we feel out of place, but I think what we do works really well. Dancehall and Jamaican music generally, is at the root of what most of the other DJ’s play. Rinse started as a jungle station and everything they’ve done since, be it Grime, Dubstep or Funky, Dancehall has had a massive impact on.

We do our own thing but by being on Rinse, you know the people listening are going to have a deeper appreciation of the music.

In that respect Rinse has its own heritage…

Yeah definitely. Rinse listeners see the links between Jamaican and UK music and to them it makes a lot of sense us being on there. As such we tailor what we do to that audience. A recent example was a show we did about ‘Fastchat’ – an MC style that originated in London in the ‘80’s and was the starting point of what we now recognise as Jungle and Grime MC’ing. We like to highlight that sort of thing on Rinse for a more discerning audience.

Any plans for a Rinse CD?

I have – I don’t know if they have yet! Haha! But no, I have spoken to them about it and we’re possibly doing a Funky Bashment thing, but there are a number of ways we could approach it. There is so much cross pollination in terms of music between London and Jamaica – much more so now with the internet making more collaborations possible…

In those terms your recent ‘Funky Bashment’ mix was really important on a musical level. Not only did you mix Jamaican and British styles together, but you also introduced listeners to the variety of Afrobeat influences that are popular right now and are at the heart of the Funky scene. Could we be seeing the start of a new pan-African musicial movement in the UK that borrows from Jamaica, England and Africa?

I’m no musicologist, but with Funky specifically and some second generation Grime, there definitely seems to have been a shift. In the 80’s, UK black music was all about the Caribbean but now the focus seems to have changed. What is interesting is that, like you say, whilst the UK still looks to Jamaica, Dancehall is now really big in West Africa. The African influence in Jamaican music has always been there –Mento etc – but I’ve noticed in the last year or two that there has been more African-inspired Dancehall production.

Check out a producer called Kirkledove who’s a drummer and makes tracks with lots of African percussion. He’s a good example and has made hits for Mr Vegas amongst others.

Riko @ The Heatwave, 2007

You are known for predominantly playing dancehall but you also dabble in Grime, and in fact the first I heard of The Heatwave was when I stumbled across your set with Riko Dan from 2007. What do you like about the genre and who are your favourite artists?

I like Grime Mc’s like Riko and Durrty Goodz who have the Ragga Jamaican-influenced flows. Saying that, my absolute favourite Grime MC is Wiley and although he has that Jamaican influence, he doesn’t tend to chat in Patois like Killa P, Badness or Riko do.

One of the most interesting facets of Grime is the ‘versioning’ culture it imbibed from Reggae and Dancehall. After a brief hiatus, riddim versions are starting to make come back, as recently demonstrated by S-X’s Wooo Riddim. How important are Riddims to the vitality Grime scene do you think?

I really like having a load of artists versioning Riddims. One of my favourite Grime records is ‘Ice Rink!’ What I like about versioning – and the way they do it in Jamaica – is that it puts all the MC’s on one level so you can immediately compare them. It’s difficult to compare two different MC’s if they spit on two different beats – it’s hard to tell whether the beat makes the difference, or the MC.

I also like the fact that by having loads of versions, different DJ’s can pick out different ones and popularise them. DJ’s tend to play about 3-4 cuts on the same riddim, so if there are 15 versions, everyone can do something different.

Riko & Godsgift @ The Heatwave

How long do you think it will be before Grime can achieve the same kind of self-sufficient industry that dancehall enjoys?

By looking at the way Grime, Dubstep and Funky have developed, I’ll never understand why they are treated as different genres. I look at what has happened in London over the last 20 years and see massive parallels with what has happened in Jamaica. Back in the day, scenes were coming and going, styles were coming and going, uncles, cousins and children were each following in the footsteps of their family…This is why there are so many links between Dancehall in 1995 to Dancehall now.

Now look at Jungle in 1995 and Funky now in 2010 and the same links are there! The same record shops, producers, promoters, radio stations. There is all that continuity in this country and yet everyone slips up and ignores it, instead defining themselves by their scene and genres…

Is that a trait specific to the UK?

I don’t know, but I can’t think why we’re so different, so parochial. The infrastructure is there, it should have been used for Grime and Funky. Saying that it is getting better with so much cross pollination between scenes – it’s great.

25 Years of Dancehall

Your recent ‘25 Years of Dancehall Show’ on Rinse – whereby you played one distinctive record from each year from 1985 until now was, for me, an enjoyable and educational listen. What was it like trying to compile records for the show?

It was really difficult! In the end I did it by artist and tried to list 25 artists that I couldn’t leave out. It was a slightly weird way of doing it as inevitably certain tunes – one hit wonders etc – got left out. But we got the key artists in there and anyway, the mix was never meant to be a finite.

What was the feedback from the ’25 Years’ mix?

I’ve had loads of really positive feedback. Because I’m so immersed in the music I think I sometimes forget that just because I know who did what when, when a certain style changed etc, casual listeners don’t. In that sense, the mix did a good job and because I did it by artist, anyone can look into their back catalogues and find out more.

Do you plan to do similar mixes in future?

It’s something I’ve always been interested in and is, in part, my aim in doing all of this. I feel like Dancehall is under-represented despite having such a massive influence in modern music – no mean feat considering it’s come from a small Caribbean island. The Heatwave shows people the history and the importance of Dancehall as well as being totally about the music and having fun.

Wayne Smith

‘Under Mi Sleng Teng’ released by Wayne Smith in 1985 was a phenomenally important record for dancehall. Can you just highlight for us just why that it is?

‘Sleng Teng’ is often credited as the first digital reggae record, which isn’t quite true, but it was the catalyst in everyone in Jamaica dumping their instruments and going digital. Given what has happened since then, that event has been phenomenally important even though not everyone saw it as a positive thing at the time.

After ‘Sleng Teng’ dropped, everyone was interested in drum machines and digital sounds rather than instruments. I’m not slighting analogue instruments, but going digital allowed many producers to do innovative things. One thing that I find amazing about ‘Sleng Teng’ and indeed with many older digital dancehall cuts is that they don’t sound dated in the same way the Happy Mondays do now, even though they used similar drum machine equipment.

In the ’25 years’ show, you sight the Diwali Riddim as being important in terms of the sounds progression. What did it introduce to Dancehall?

Diwali Riddim was a new kind of rhythm – a 4/4 beat. It had been done before but after Diwali it was copied hugely over the next few years. It also paved the way for the Coolie Dance Riddim the year after, which in a way was more significant commercially as it was a little faster – closer to a house tempo. The other thing Diwali did, by using Indian sounding samples, was open peoples’ minds to Asian and Oriental influences.

What do you think will become the next big theme in Dancehall musically or lyrically?

One of the things I think will be big at Carnival this year will be the Triple Bounce Riddim, which has got versions by Vybz Kartel and Movado. Also I think the African sound will get bigger, as it’s still sounding new.
We’ll be pushing the Funky Bashment thing, trying to get as many Jamaican artists to collaborate as we can. Not a huge amount have been taking up on it so far, but people like Sticky are going to be working with a lot more Jamaican artists this year. Tunes like ‘Party Hard’ by Doneao have been doing really well in the Caribbean recently too.

You compiled ‘An England Story’ – a compilation CD of English MC tracks across 25 years. Were you pleased with how it was received and are there plans to do another?

Yeah I thought it went down really well and it had that educational feel. I feel like it has helped change the way UK MC’s are viewed and brought focus to the progression being made here. It annoys me that people take their MC cues from America rather than Jamaica – comparing Dizzee to rappers as opposed to Vybz Kartel for example. It’s annoying and wrong. Culturally our MC’s operate in a way closer to the Jamaican industry.

I have already pencilled a tracklisting for a follow up, but what I want to do with this one is fashion one CD as a retrospective, and the other as an illustration of what is happening now.

Which UK Dancehall artists should people look out for?


Lady Chann
, Gappy Ranks, YT, Serocee, Doctor and Riko.

And finally, what is next for The Heatwave?

The plan is to focus on production and as such we have a tune with Serocee out next month. Other than that it’s just going to be more DJ’ing and more gigs! We also have our weekly night at Driver, Kings Cross, which commences this Thursday. Plus we hope to be reaching Jamaica soon to record.

Check out:

The Heatwave website
The Heatwave on Rinse
The Heatwave on Facebook
Gabriel on Twitter

Many thanks to Gabriel for this in-depth interview. Look out for more schoolings from him in the near future.

Kristian

Opium – Out Of This World E.P. Free Download!!

February 24, 2010

Here we proudly present Opium’s debut E.P. Out Of This World for free download! Design work by Threefold Media. Watch out for his forthcoming, full-length mixtape (also designed by us) available later this year.

Big up Opiumtree!

“Opium is a visionary MC whose music pays no regard to industry stereotype or genre. Yet, in terms of style and delivery, he remains positively Grime.

Hailing from East London, Opium is a mere 19 years old and yet, has collaborated with some of the biggest names in Grime – people such as Wiley, Godsgift and Dot Rotten.

It was under Wiley’s tutelage that Opium forged his style – a rapid delivery of Grime lyrics brimming with imagery and turn of phrase. Indeed, Opium’s style is often reminiscent of Wiley around the Tunnel Vision era.

With Opium preparing to release his debut mixtape later this year – mixed exclusively by MSM Engineer – Grime fans can be sure that real Grime music is going nowhere. A new breed of MC, shaped by the foundation, Opium is certainly one to watch.

To prove it, he has put together a small EP of tracks available for free download! Called the ‘Out of This World EP’, expect esoteric lyrics, wicked delivery and hard riddims.”

Download here:

Rapidshare

Sendspace

Hit Opium up here:

Myspace

Twitter

No Hats No Hoods Showcase – January 2010

February 1, 2010

No Hats No Hoods showcase @ Tim & Barry’s studio, featuring P Money, Blacks, Royal T, Magic, DJ JJ, Rude Kid, Hammer and the Don’t Watch That team.

Big up to all those involved! Set soon come!

For photos contact me on twitter @threefoldmedia

Kristian

The 24 Days of Christmas – Day 15

December 15, 2009

As we all know, Christmas is fast approaching and as we all also know, many of you will be struggling to think of interesting gift ideas for your nearest and dearest. ‘What shall we buy to show our love?!’ we hear you cry. Well, fear not, for we at the Fold know that sometimes, thinking beyond the usual DVD boxsets/smellies/Xbox games can be a little difficult, and so over the course of December we endeavour to bring you a new gift idea each day on the run-up to Christmas, totalling 24, and with each one we shall also bring you an accompanying song that somehow represents the gift in some way. ‘Gift ideas and related entertainment?!’ we hear you now crying! ‘How on Earth do they manage it?!’

Day #15 – Singing Star for a Day Experience

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For those with a desire to hit the big time, it’s obvious that we all have to start somewhere. Well, with this thoughtful and unique gift, you get to play Simon Cowell and give someone the chance to hit a recording studio for a full 6 hour session and record around 5 songs (although according to the website, they have actually managed 11!)

Obviously the musician-to-be will need to be well rehearsed and ready to hit the ground running, as it were, but hey – 6 hours with professional sound engineers in a full studio? AND you get to do your own CD artwork too?! Awesome. This would also be a good opportunity for producer friends as well – I’m sure they wouldn’t mind someone tagging along just to ask a few questions of the staff…? Although don’t quote me on that, I’m not being held responsible if it all kicks off…

Now to start hitting up those A&R’s!

Available from buyagift.co.uk.

Now let me think…. what song would go well with this particular gift? Ahh, I know.

This wasn’t actually the first song I wanted to put up – but unfortunately thanks to draconian copyright laws I wasn’t able to use it. Thankfully, this one’s still a banger.

James

Manga – The Adventures Of Manga Review

October 28, 2009

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Manga is a bit of a Grime anomaly; a high-pitched, skippy, bespeckled MC whose bars frequently reference style, garms and crepes, yet unlike most rarely stray into badman territory. As a Roll Deep member, his playful persona often seems at odds with the rest of the group – especially when ‘Skeng’ is the main topic topic of conversation (which it often is.) As such, he has faced stick and general ignorance from both MC’s and fans.

Nevertheless, the perpetually adidas-clad MC has persevered, embracing his differences for debut mixtape ‘The Adventures Of Manga’, released earlier this week. Comprised of a curt 10 tracks, the free download features guest spots from Lady Chann and long time sparring partner J2K, and production from Scratchy, Wiley and Bless Beats.

‘The Adventures of…’ starts as any debut Grime mixtape should – with a collection of snippets showing us Manga’s musical journey thus far. If nothing else, in an era of throwaway music, it reminds us why we should pay attention. Verses cut from ‘When I’m ‘Ere’, ‘Fully Involved’ and ‘Do Me Wrong’ set the right tone; a short, stark reminder of this MC’s calibre and his lyrical dexterity.

Indeed, on closing track ‘freestyle’, Manga showcases a colder, ruthless side that has rarely – if ever – been seen before. Addressing his musical demons and stereotypes, he proves that there is substance to back his bubbly delivery. Which begs the question, why include it as the last track? There it is a footnote, whereas if included earlier, it could have been a bold statement of intent.

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The imaginatively titled ‘Style’ featuring Roll deep affiliate J2K is undoubtedly the mixtapes’ highlight. Over a big bastard of a bassline and skittering drums, the pair talk with finesse about their favourite subject. Given their previous form this should sound tired, but they manage to keep it fresh and enjoyable and more importantly – Grimey.

In fact, from the Chemical Brothers-sounding ‘Me Nar Like You’ through to menacing Scratchy-produced ‘Rampage’, this mixtape showcases a rich tapestry of Grime textures within a dancier, more upbeat context. Yet, unlike many ‘GrimewiddabittaFunky’ mixtapes, this isn’t in any way a compromise. ‘Activity’, Danny Weed’s production of the year makes a welcome appearance, although one is left with the impression that the self-named Sir Matchalot could have hit the much-versioned beat a lot harder.

Unfortunately that is one of this mixtapes’ shortcomings. Whilst you can appreciate and enjoy Manga’s stylistic differences, you just wish he’d punch those lines home and add a little dynamism to his delivery. With such skippy, syllable-governed flows, it’s easy to lose track. The radio clips included on the tail-end of ‘Grime Activity’ hit harder than some of the tracks and if Manga is to become top three, he should recognise this and adapt.

This is a solid mixtape, full to the brim with style and should be a welcome addition to any Grime fan’s MP3 library. A great start for Manga, although he will have to shout louder if he is to step out of Roll Deep’s shadow.

Download here.

Kristian

P.S. – Check out Fullygrown’s interview with the man himself here.

P.P.S. Respect to Lady Chann, apologies for the mistake… check her MySpace here.