Posts Tagged ‘uk’

Hammer – Explosive (produced by Royal-T)

August 20, 2010

After a brief foray into cheesy eurodance with ‘Mic Check’, Hammer is back with new release ‘Explosive.’ Employing the talents of Southampton-based producer Royal-T for the beat (1Up, Mega, Damn It etc), Hammer is back to what he does best – vocalling hard, fast-paced Grime.

This record has a touch of nostalgia about it with a skippy, 2003-era beat and a mellow breakdown that’s more in keeping with bubbly 2-Step than Grime. It is an enjoyable stomper nonetheless that Hammer laces with monotone ease; his vocals commanding the beat much like a Garage veteran:

Royal-T has told me a remix is on it’s way featuring a BIG guest MC…

‘Explosive’ is out October 4th from all major digital outlets.

Enjoy

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

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

Ghetts Vs Ghetto (P Money vs Ghetts)

February 13, 2010

WHAT AM I GOING TO SAY? SOMEBODY TELL ME WHAT IM GOING TO SAY!

If you haven’t heard P Money and Ghetts going at each other over the past couple weeks, then you are very late, and frankly, missing out on some of the most exciting dubs to have been recorded in a while. Check Grime Daily or Grime Forum for the videos. I’ve no time for updates!

However, Today brings a very interesting development. Ghetts has released ‘Ghetto vs Ghetts’ – a 6 minute self-cuss marathon that has got the twittersphere hyping. Whilst I’m sure the P Money vs Ghetts outcome is far from decided yet, this latest development will surely make it very hard for P to retaliate.

See, Ghetts has done exactly what Eminem’s ‘Bunny Rabbit’ character did in the final round of the 8 Mile battle finale. In order to silence his opponent, Ghetts has effectively listed all the diss lines he’s accumulated throughout his career, leaving P little, if nothing to work with in round 2.

Those gold teeth, his inability to step out of Kano’s shadow, his seemingly sugar-induced hype levels – it’s all there, laid bare…

P’s gonna have to get his thinking cap on…

Kristian

Vogue UK February 2010 Issue – Nick Knight & Natalia Vodianova

January 10, 2010

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These images are simply stunning. I’ve always loved Nick Knight’s work; while studying fashion photography at university his style was one of the ones that immediately struck a chord with me and provided inspiration to carry it forward. The idea of the shoot is to raise awareness for Vodianova’s Naked Heart Foundation, which aims to provide safe and clean recreational spaces for Russian children.

The fairytale dresses which form the centrepiece of this editorial are donated by brands such as Chanel, Valentino and Prada, and will be auctioned off at an event this April with all proceeds going to Naked Heart.

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via fashiongonerogue.

James

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

Boy Better Know – We’re Goin’ In

November 3, 2009

Bit late I know, but I had to blog about it. Good look for BBK – a good example of genre-disregarding music. Unsure of the vocoder, but the blended verse at the end is a really good idea, and Jammer is hilarious! When Donatella asks Skepta ‘Where can you see this being played?’ during this Grime Daily interview, and he stumbles for an answer, I couldn’t help but laugh.

I feel Grime fans pay too much attention to these sort of things. Instead of listening to a piece of music and making a judgement based on the emotional response the piece does, or doesn’t provoke, many base it on marketplace, situation, BPM, image or genre. This has to stop.

Shank bars and productions with no commercial appeal does not equal integrity. Shank bars are so widespread they should be viewed as spuriously as 8-bar loverman chats. Just because they don’t make any money doesn’t make them any more authentic or expressive.

I welcome this new direction for BBK. Vibes. Vibes. Vibes. And I know for sure, that there are more tracks like this on their way.

Kristian.

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.

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.

BBK In Studio

October 20, 2009

Hold Tight MSM for the link up. Tim & Barry interview with Skepta coming soon (with me asking those questions – ALWAYS READY!)

Kristian