So it’s that time again, we’ve argued amongst the team for weeks and eventually come up with our favourite 25 albums of 2013.
All you have to do is pick one! Easy right? We took a month picking 25!!
We’ve teamed up with one of our much loved sponsors to put another trophy together (this years is looking siiick!). I’m sure it will cause a load more arguments again, but with well over 3000 votes last year it’s all decent coverage and therefore support for music that more than deserves it!
Ghostwriterz is a new project from Banana Klan’s Jimmy Screech, and Unit 137’s Sleepy time ghost. Their debut offering is a cover version of the late great Gregory Isaacs famous track ‘Rumours’. This is a free release but clearly would of had no problem flying off the shelves of any record shop. The track starts with a sample of the Cool Ruler himself who tells us ‘only love can conquer war’, which is a warm message, unifying for any dance-floor and which really nails down the track as a tribute to Gregory.
Whilst maintaining some favorite elements of the late 80’s original like the classic percussive orchestra hits, Ghostwriterz switch up the drums starting out with a Hip Hop style groove for the choruses, and in between fusing beat patterns from a whole next decade of innovators in the form of a half step jungle groove with a 90’s dancehall style kick drum pattern. Sleepy time ghost leaves no 4 bars the same with plenty of sirens and ‘ear candy’ style effects on Jimmy’s Vocal, which is lyrically the same as the original. Mr. Screech delivers with a little more aggression though, disregarding any risk of being served an ASBO by Mr. Officer. The low end does exactly what you want it do, with plenty of the rubbadub rolling bassline of the original only this time Ghostwriters deliver the same riff with a nice variation of Overdrive, and filter movement which builds nicely into the sub stabs set to destroy any dancehall equipped with big enough boxes.
Demonstrating stylish and sophisticated production this is the perfect half way house to cross over between Dancehall and Jungle. With the backing of Unit 137, who are quickly gaining a strong reputation for solid sound system music, the rumours are sure to be spreading that the Ghostwriterz are in town.
A lot of people say that it’s easy to put musicians in boxes (not literally, obviously) and even if they don’t say it they subconsciously draw parallels and only find music appealing if it sounds like something or someone else. I feel this is especially prevalent in hip- hop because the truth is the majority of the good stuff is in the past and as a result we’re always larking on about ‘the new Nas’ and the ‘guy with the lyrical prowess of ____” or “the production style of ____’.
The truth , well the truth as I see it, is most Great (capital G) hip hop is unique, it’s one man or woman’s story told in as poetic a way as when that bloke Shakespeare presented his bars. Bars in sonnet form no doubt and probably not called bars by the OG’s of the time. The thing is though his stanzas have almost the exact corresponding subject matter to Biggie, Wu Tang, Mos Def etc minus the 300 years plus of technological advancements. Love, money, evil, good, temptation and the basic human struggle are some of the most commonly mentioned things found in both.
A lot of EP’s and LP’s have made me think about the link between poetry and hip-hop and MoRuf’s ‘Shades.of.Moo’ was one of them. I was listening to track 14 (same amount of lines in a sonnet, a basic love poem) ‘Fallen’ and I heard a sample from Wilhelms Scream by James Blake (mercury prize winner) and suddenly and somewhat unexplainably I was off on a tangent thinking of the beautiful P, poetry. Perhaps it was due to the fact my mind had been covered 5 minutes previously by a smokey cloud of green and we all know that that shits rotting the minds of all of us rebelling youths and making us think the crazies.. but I was nevertheless, poignantly reminded of poetic verse and the beauty it wonderfully and endlessly emits on those who wish to engage it.
Here’s why: Shakespeare, as genius as he was borrowed a lot of his subject matter from the past. Romeo and Juliet for example was based on the Ancient tragedy of Pyrimus and Thisbe, as are many of his stylistic markings copied from his predecessors like Ben Johnson and Christopher Marlowe. MoRuf borrowing from James Blakes melancholic repertoire seemed, to me, to borrow from this tradition Shakespeare joined. Shakespeare, similarly to MoRuf, realised that by sampling emotions and tales you can add to your own arsenal of story telling techniques. This doesn’t make him any less great though, does it?
MoRuf has sampled James Blakes tale of confusion and disenfranchisement with love and turned it into an equally as attractive piece of music. They don’t sound the same but what both songs show us as listeners is a poetic understanding and what truly resonates are the poetic qualities of both.
MoRuf has placed his own unique stamp on a tale from across the pond, he has used his poetic licence to mirror Blake’s metaphor of falling uncontrollably in love but told his own story, his own way. The whole of ‘Shades.of.Moo’ is unforgettably unique but what makes it even more complete is it’s acknowledgments of the past and the contemporary. Regularly it looks back over its shoulder, tips its hat to the greats and says ‘Ever so grateful fellas’ interestingly though, as with ‘Fallen.’ MoRuf also gives an appreciative high five to his contemporaries. A great example of this hat-tipping are the interludes included, almost a forgotten art form but something that compliments a lot of great hip- hop albums, most notably Dr. Dre’s ‘The Chronic’. Interludes keep the suspension of disbelief suspended and remind us of the story telling value of a record. In ‘Shades.of.Moo’ the interludes include a reference to Dilla and ‘Buckle Up.’ is 2 minute 18 of voice recordings of MoRuf breaking up with his girlfriend as they can’t commit to their relationship in the same way. These snippets are equally as consequential in making this record great as the tracks are.
On a conventional stage this record is on point too, I mean, the production is tight and MoRuf’s bars are consistently on top form. I’m pretty sure ‘Shades.of.Moo” will always be a favourite of mine but I think more than anything I will be grateful to it and MoRuf for reminding me of hip-hops artistic merit and the beauty of not limiting your opinions to comparisons, because that’s not what it’s about. Whether you borrow and sample from others or even sound stylistically similar, no two artists are the same and it really doesn’t make you any less credible, what really sets you apart from the rest, however, is how you tell your story and the poetic integrity behind your work.
After the success of The Pen The Pad and The Things We Had, Broken Poetz return with their second EP, The Self Fulfilling Prophecies. Mystero and D.Know have taken it up a notch with the familiar ‘upbeat’ instrumentals and lyrics to create this perfectly formed EP that you can grab at a very humble price tag on Bandcamp.
It’s essentially a light hearted listen with tones of sentiment amongst the easy-going words that echo a very similar sound to their previous EP. Granted it explores some of the more ‘typical’ themes you’d find in a lot of hip hop releases; from the end of a relationship, to balancing the life of music and a nine to five job, but that shouldn’t put you off. Break My Heart in 2 is the most likeable track off the EP, with a memorable chorus and infectious horns, but the slightly juxtaposed It Will Help You appears a little less unruly than other tracks off the EP, with the soft acoustic guitar instrumental. Despite the slight dip of energy in this release, Broken Poetz still give us something to smile about with the boisterous final track Going Out Tonight.
I think 2014 may be the year for Broken Poetz, so if you didn’t catch their self-effacing debut release, be sure to check out The Self Fulfilling Prophecies.
Starch Records released a corker this November, making all other releases pale into insignificance whilst Ill Move Sporadic took centre stage with their latest artist collaborative- Drug Corpse. The raw sounds off the album are just as delightfully ‘morbid’ as the album title suggests; packed with Neil Cage and Ben 81′s distinctive sound that continues to inject a rush of originality to the ever twisting and growing scene.
The range of guest vocals on this album represent all the different sounds and characters you would currently find in the hip hop movement. It’s as though I.M.S have grabbed a net and captured the diverse sounds from all corners of the UK, and framed every individual artist’s voice with their pure, gritty beats. Expect to hear a concoction of warped beats; hand crafted with a home grown tint, and the sound of brazen wordplay from the likes of Effeks, Oliver Sudden, Joey Menza and TPS to name a few.
This unique album is fast becoming my favourite release for the winter so far, with its refined heavy beats layered with unruly rhymes from some of the most credited artists on the scene at the moment. If that doesn’t entice you enough, you can also get your hands on the ‘limited edition album bundle’ containing a high quality jewel case CD + Tape Cassette and a Starch Records Medical Prescription containing a digital download code. Definitely too good to miss.
What Upcoming Projects Do You Have In The Pipeline?
I’ve just produced an album for Ramson Badbonez, ‘A Year In The Life Of Oscar The Slouch’ which is out on High Focus Records 9th of December 2013. I have lots of other top secret stuff in the pipeline.
What Song/ Album Made You Fall In Love With Hip Hop?
Black Moon – Enter Da Stage , Wu Tang – 36 Chambers, Busta Rhymes – The Coming… Too many to mention
What One Track Do You Wish You Had Made?
Chaz & Dave – Rabbit
Dead Or Alive, What Would Be Your Dream Collaboration?
Big Pun, Big L, Kool G Rap, Rakim, Keith Murray & Party Arty on the hook
Who Are You Listening To At The Moment? / Who Should We Be Looking Out For?
Look out for The Three Headed Beast album coming next year, Taskforce – MFTC 5, Diligent Fingers, Rag N Bone Man, Row.D,
Name one thing you do that makes you feel old?
Making beats in my dressing gown
Being 100% Honest, What’s Your Guilty Listening Pleasure?
Bulgarian barber shop doo wop,
Will You Take On The Editors Challenge?
Musicians are often labelled as artists so we’re putting this to the test! Draw us a quick self-portrait.
Any Final Shout-Outs?
My Abnoxshuz Entertainment Family, Ramson, Fliptrix & the whole High Focus fam
So you may be sitting here wondering who/ what is Opal Block? No, it’s not a brand of sweets from the 90′s, however it is the latest alias and release from producer powerhouse Pete Cannon.
‘Tyson’ is the latest instalment from Jon Phonics’ label ‘Astral Black’ having previously released (also on cassette tape) Jaisu’s ‘A Short Album’ earlier on in the year. On a whole, this project is jam packed with synths & electronic robotic futuristic glitchy sounds, so don’t expect to hear any conventional hiphop and you won’t be disappointed.
While I appreciate this style of music isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, personally I found most of the tracks pretty enjoyable and nice to sit back and vibe out to.
The opening track ‘Star Of David’ is my highlight and starts the project off with a nice taste of things to come, snappy drums and euphoric samples which makes for a really atmospheric & powerful beat, provoking thought and emotion which I always find very special in music.
The 3rd track ‘ Dry Roasted Carpet’ switches up into a more hard hitting, head bouncing sound which I could imagine Guilty Simpson doing absolute damage on.
Although all similar in their electronic/ synthy approach, the tracks on this album are very varied and take you on a journey through the future. The final song ‘Shivering Artery’ is really nice, and although it has no elements of being a hiphop track it makes for a good piece of music nonetheless.
Pete Cannon really has had an amazing year in 2013 and put out an impressive body of work. Constantly showcasing his insane diversity as a producer, be it from putting out fan favourite tracks with Dirty Dike, topping the pop charts with Rizzle Kicks or putting out a heavy collaboration with Deadline.
‘Tyson’ is available on cassette tape if you’re into that sort of thing, head over to the labels bandcamp page and check it out. There’s only 60 orange cassettes of Tyson in existence so get them before they run out!
Following on from ‘Live For, Die For’ their second project in as many years, LA based quartet OverDoz are back for a third instalment to add to their previous mixtape releases.
Sleezy, Tube, Cream and Kent rekindle their relationship to bring us another collection of bangers this time featuring production by THC, Iman Omari, The Futuristiks, Brooke D’Leau, Trackzamillion and Gwen Bunn.
Verbal support appears in the form of Pimp C, Nipsey Hussle, Problem, Juicy J and Cheetah Boyz to name a few and having recently worked alongside Wiz Kalifa, Kurupt and Kendrik Lamar things seem to be going from strength to strength for this talented group of artists.
Heavy basslines and chattering snares litter the soundscape as Sleezy, Tube and Cream share mic duties and alongside the soulful sounds of Kent combine to produce a mixtape full of quality from the outset. Careful not to take too much in, you may just Overdoz.
If you have even the remotest interest in the Hip Hop output our shores have to offer, you should be more than familiar with the name Ramson Badbonez. His ridiculous work rate has seen countless mixtapes and features over the past few years, culminating last summer in what was deemed his ‘debut LP’, “Bad Influence”. Badbonez’ gritty prose and graphic imagery has earned him a massive fan base and with his latest outing, those numbers will surely rise higher. Teaming up with the behemoth that is High Focus, his new conceptual project is a tale of twists and turns amidst the dark, grimey inner-city streets of the Big Smoke. Produced entirely by Charlie Mac, welcome to “A Year In The Life Of Oscar The Slouch”.
January kicks things off as Badbonez throws the listener into the heart of Oscar’s habitat. The fictional lead emerges “Straight from the back alleys and trash cans of no hope/ pockets are flat broke, where living life is so low/ kippin’ having big dreams, awaking playing sick schemes/distributing green since the days of two for fifteen”; offering a vivid depiction of life “In Da Blitz Time”. Despite the harsh climate, Oscar is on his grind “Whateva Da Weatha”, a sentiment echoed in February as the mighty Mystro joins in with the storytelling; re-iterating Oscar’s ‘by any means’ attitude and complimented perfectly by Gadget’s smooth, Nate Dogg-esque chorus.
As March turns into April and Jam Baxter and Joker Starr pass through on a “Scruffy, Bummy, Hungry” tip, “April Fool’s Day” maintains the one-tack mindedness of Oscar as Badbonez is joined by the chilling vocals of Balance. The highlight for me though is M.A.B’s verse; delivering his lines with such passion (or perhaps pain) and impact, that the words could easily be spawned from reality as opposed the mainly fictitious narrative.
The ‘warmer’ months normally alleviate low spirits and as we reach July, Oscar’s dealing with it in his own way. Despite his “Foul Moods”, he’s sounding vaguely positive “…Skip all the questioning, I’m just plain forgetful/ disrespectful, drain the rum and straight correct you/ the summer heat’s bunnin’ the bottom of my feet/ all I need is some peace and I’m fucking complete”. As summer draws towards its close, Oscar’s rowdy antics are in full effect. A blur of al fresco fellatio, marching powder, Stanley knives and test-driving cars minus their keys; according to Badbonez and Jinxsta JX, “Dis Iz Normal”.
For me, as September arrives, we’re greeted with one the strongest track. If we focused on Oscar, whips and chains would be the focus for which his illegal endeavors are driven by. Thankfully, “Chains & Whips” is the polar opposite. Metaphorically rich and filled with bold, political statements; Badbonez comes through suggesting the Police are akin to the Klan or modern day slavers before Genesis Elijah delivers one of the best verses I’ve heard this year. Everything he’s released recently seems to have a new anger/ energy to it and this verse thrives from it. It’s entirely quotable but with lines like “chains and whips, wrist shackles, lynch mobs/ no longer in the fields, they’re stuck in the sweatshops/ pissed off, house niggers got desk jobs/ disproportionate profits, the rich see the best of” and “work like a slave, get your masters degree/ knowledge is freedom so they’re harsh with the fees”, you’re going to struggle to find a more powerful and potent 16 bars in anything else you’ll hear in 2013.
As our twelve months alongside Oscar near their conclusion, October and November sees the two lead singles meet the return of chillier weather. “O.T.S” kicks off with frostier side of the Slouch re-emerging, claiming he’s got “…red hands in cold October/ confiscate all your dough, the show is over/ blow a hole in your shoulder with the old revolver”. Ever the charmer. His brazen attitude is contrasted perfectly by Fliptrix’s vivid imagery and Rag’N’Bone’s soulful tones before Row.D delivers a concluding verse that more than does his name justice. “Desperation” offers the LP a mellow twist as Oscar reflects on his actions, environment and questions his peers’ motivations before “Let The Others Know” brings the album around almost full circle, back to his viewpoint on the street corner with the hooded look-outs.
With Ramson Badbonez’ latest album being a concept project and more importantly a story, it’s important to keep the narrative moving. Whilst the plot doesn’t necessarily change month to month, it moves in chunks alongside the seasons. Whether or not it was the plan, Charlie Mac’s production matches it. The fresh energy of January (“In Da Blitz Time”), dreary, April showers (the haunting strings of “April Fool’s Day”), feel good, summer vibes (the boombap, head-nodders “Foul Moods” and “Dis Iz Normal”) and back around to the return of the darker, colder autumn/winter nights (the more laid-back “O.T.S” and “Desperation”). It’s an ideal combination as Badbonez takes Mac’s instrumentations and weaves his dark and twisted tales of Oscar the Slouch into them. It’s not easy listening in the sense of subject matter but it’s once again a solid release from one of the hardest working and most reliable artists in the country. Teaming up with the High Focus camp will undoubtedly open Ramson Badbonez music up to new and wider audiences and with “A Year In The Life Of Oscar The Slouch”, he’s added yet another brilliant release to the label’s legacy.
“A Year In The Life Of Oscar The Slouch” drops Monday so head over to High Focus and grab your copy now. – http://bit.ly/18FKtNt
Equally popular and ever-productive Pete Cannon (aka Mr Dick) returns as he and Deadline reconvene this month following the duo’s extended hiatus from UK Hip Hop coalition Tactical Thinking. With production from fellow crew member and UK stalwart Naive, as well as guest verses from Jim Raygun, Assa and Kid Genius most of the original line-up is intertwined with an extensive selection of tunes showcasing the many glorious talents within the group.
This stellar release features some of the country’s most recognised voices as they exchange bars over a constant stream of fully loaded, Pete Cannon bangers. Welcome appearances from Dr Syntax, Leaf Dog and Stig Of The Dump (always a pleasure), Sonnyjim, Serocee and Yogi increase the albums guest list with a track produced by legendary US producer Marco Polo (‘Mic Savage’ is a particular highlight) and a verse from Mac Lethal to top things off.
Birmingham raised ‘Unkle Deadaz’ returns to his natural environment as he discusses a variety of issues. From the subject of the title track ‘My Mums Favourite Rapper’ to the hilarious and catchy ‘We Want Pussy’ Deadline disperses intricate flows combined with the passionate delivery of someone intent on proving a point.
Introducing the crew and himself ‘Deadaz aint died, I was buried alive, now I’m scraping at the coffin lid, pressure applied’ the opening scene also provides an indication of the level of intensity which the duo aim to maintain throughout.
As the first track to be released ‘B.A.D.A.S.S.’ is a perfect extension to the intro as Deadline begins to show his credentials with an explosive concoction of complex, hard hitting lyrics. Complete with a video featuring Cannon in more surreal surroundings and sporting a rather fetching straight jacket, this all out smash of a tune is the first real insight into the duo’s mighty sound.
A second visual accomplice has recently surfaced featuring Serocee and Yogi. As Deadline and producer Pete Cannon show their versatility on the reggae-based anthem there’s plenty of graffiti filled walls to compliment the feel of ‘This Is’, an honest account of the lives of the aforementioned MC’s.
‘School days’ is a jovial look at the typical personalities found in your average comprehensive, some of which we can all recall as vividly as Deadaz describes them. Characters aplenty litter this story as the futures of various figures within a fantasy classroom are played out over a composed, rolling drum/sample combo.
The standout track within this array of Cannon crackers is ‘Sticks and Stones’. ‘F**k the sticks in the stones, it’s the stone from the sticks’ is the call as the nocturnal Brother Of The Stone, Leaf Dog is joined by Jim Raygun and Deadaz on a beat similar in its composition to the genius High Focus producer’s own work, turn this one up.
‘Booze Music’ is the albums party anthem, the beat on this is so good its allowed to run for almost a minute before the machine gun lyrics from TT members Deadline, Jim Raygun and Assa begin. A chorus easily memorised by even the most intoxicated members of a crowd captures the mood perfectly as this high tempo track will have still heads nodding and eager feet moving from start to finish.
Unsurprisingly the production from Pete Cannon is audio perfection with heavy bassline-driven tracks complimented throughout with lashings of classic kick/snare combinations. This culminates in a truly versatile platform on which Deadline is allowed to display his natural and until now unappreciated ability on the mic.
Proficiently attacking each passing bar, Deadaz holds nothing back as he delivers on all fronts with apparent ease.
Clever, catchy and full to the brim with lyrical satisfaction combined with a free bonus disc containing a further sixteen tracks (featuring BVA, Kosyne, Redbeard, Tahakra and many more), this huge project is all set to fill the playlist for some time.
The name of this album ‘The Lying, The Rich & The War Globe’ is possibly hands down the ‘title’ of the year. Brave choice to evoke the memory of a story from childhood. After the revelations revealed in ‘Hip Hop Hoax’ documentary that showed a couple of Scots rappers who scooped a record deal pretending to be American and hence lived a fairy tale, fantasy career and lifestyle. But this is no fairy tale stuff from ‘Konchis Physiks’ but rather it’s about real life goblins and shysters and empty bank accounts and grim non TV reality tales.
The boom and the bap is there and unmistakable from wherever it emits from across the globe and Glasgow is in the mix. Track 2 ‘Subterranean’ has a sinister don’t mess with my stash vibe to it. Rap from Scotland still possibly under some people’s Hip Hop radar really needs to be given it’s due.
Track 4 ‘Dephects In The Womb’ has a laid back vibe and possibly Irish singer Enya was kidnapped to give some ethereal “ahhhs” that float over the track of course I jest. ☺
The production for track 5 ‘Mundane Mondays’ has a hint of Strong Arm Steady sound to it and the emcees sound like they are proper vibing on this one. It’s a head nodding foot stomping tune.
Track 6 ‘Poizonous’ has a lickle reggae vibe with some ska style‘ horns crowning this chant for the jobless “Make some noise for the unemployed!” Indeed cuz soon those without jobs will be made to treat searching for a job a career, with 36 hours a week in a job centre who have been deliberately cutting people benefits for invented misdemeanours. Oh well my rant is over and it’s with great relief that the next track is ‘Phuckwits’ feat. Leaf Dog. Lovely jazz vibes. Very cool, clever funny lyrics. It’s a good’un. True friends of mine know I’m fond of profanity and I have to say the Scots swear with as much conviction as Jamaican’s!
Title track is hitting hard cussing about lying, cheating criminal politicians. Sending out a warning to the rich and even popstars should take heed with this pertinent vocal sample “stripped of your will, stripped of all your fame, when your time has come you won’t have a name”. They remind us that after all, its ashes to ashes, dust to dust for us all!
‘Fathoms’ “Suffered a withdrawal of my bank account” not many of us 99% who don’t understand that line. Short track but it’s a standout one for me.
The jist and running theme through this album is a crew tryna make ends meet and remain creative in the face of further decline of society. Grim but they make it sound good! Well worth checking these dudes out. They are genuine with their intent.
Unless you’re been living under a rock in deepest space the last few months, chances are if you like your dub and reggae, you’re going to have heard this tune at some point and had your proverbial socks blown of.
“Victory” from Bristol’s Dubkasm (Stryda + Digistep) is probably the most eagerly awaited dub release in a long, long time. First heard last year, the tune has since been cemented into the record box of legend by the mighty Aba-Shanti-I who was the only other person to apart from Dubkasm themselves to have a copy of the dubplate. Aba-Shanti took that legend to the next level at 2012’s Notting Hill Carnival where he dropped it as his last tune and the rest, as they say, is history. After plentiful and numerous requests from soundmen and heads alike, Dubkasm relented and decided that Victory should be available on general release. That release is now upon us and we are not disappointed.
Released on Dubkasm’s own Sufferah’s Choice label (Check out DJ Stryda and guests on the Sufferah’s Choice Radio Show (www.passionradiobristol.com ) and pressed on 180g heavyweight vinyl, this tune has it all. With 4 dub versions to choose from, this tune kicks with the most epic of fanfares from Galgo and Digistep (trumpet and alto sax respectively) that dub and reggae has heard in a long time. A pounding steppers riddim and driving bass line keep you skanking hard, while the brass lifts you up and sets you free. Everything about this release screams instant classic. The dub versions are all there too, (with two previously unheard mixes for this release to keep the selectors happy) and gets progressively rawer and heavier each mix, dripping with Dubkasm’s trademark reverb thunder-claps and delay.
If you weren’t lucky enough to have got hold of a copy of this plate when first released on the 15th Nov (Sold out in under 24hours!!) then fear not. Dubkasm are running another press as soon as they can, but don’t delay. No doubt they will disappear off the shelves into record boxes just as quickly as the first run. One seriously crucial record.
Large Professor is so involved with the history of hip-hop, it’s almost impossible to separate the two. His first beat-work was for Eric B. and Rakim. As a founder of the golden age crew Main Source, he gave Nasty Nas his debut. He rapped and produced on Tribe’s Midnight Marauders, and co-crafted the sound of Illmatic. The list goes on: Kool G, Kane, Slick, Busta, Common. Whatever L.P. touches seems destined to become classic and through it all, like rap itself, this Queens auteur continues to push the movement forward whether lacing others or blazing his own path.
If you’re local be sure to head down to this one, actually i’d travel any lengths to make sure i was standing frontside with a can of Redstripe in my hand.
Strictly over 14’s only – SPECIAL CONDITIONS OF ENTRY APPLY. Ages 14-17: You will not be permitted access to the Venue/Club area EXCEPT if escorted by a Responsible Adult over the age of 25 years who must remain on the premises. The Responsible Adult is able to supervise a maximum number of 4 young people inside the Venue/Club. See Venue Information for further details
Suffolk resident and host of the ever popular Rapsloitation Sessions, Booda French returns to the airwaves with a second release in as many years. Club 27 Reservations features beautifully composed production as Rossrock, Skill Mitchell, J57, Jimmy Green, Elaquent and Deadpoole combine to repeat the soulful melodies played out on last years Ventolin.
Guests MC’s a plenty on this project include Brooches, Koncept, Biig, Skrabl, Yesitsfiasco, Chrome, Jefferson Price & Kashmere as Monsieur French calls on a varied list of vocal characters to support what is his biggest project to date.
A classic sounding opening sets the tone for the album as ‘Fifty At The Banquet’ kicks in and the journey to musical enlightenment begins. ‘Jordans In Jordan’ is next up as Booda discusses the importance placed on certain materialistic items considering the true poverty spread across various counties of the third world.
Continuing with the more focused lyrical display following the previous EP, ‘Love Music’ is perhaps the best track this time out as the story of discovering of an angelic female compatriot is played to perfection over a wonderfully uplifting beat from J57.
With another majestical highlight appearing in the form of ‘Dreams Of Brooklyn’ each of the eight full-bodied tracks have been given an equal level of applied dedication to help produce a focused and perfected sound to the project. An enjoyable listen overall its unbroken, uncompromising style is fresh and compliments the smooth voice of Booda French throughout.
When you say 2008, it seems like an eternity ago. Yet it’s been five years (!) since Brotherman released his widely well received and respected double EP “The Dark/ The Light”. A handful of features followed before an apparent hiatus. Then earlier this year, new material emerged. February saw the release of “Drift Off” before we were later treated to a live, 9-piece band reworking of the break off success from his earlier release, the infectious, originally Chemo assisted “Heart Of Dem”. Now Brotherman’s back with a new EP, “The Tapes Vol.1”. Mixed by Chris P Cuts, it’s a 6 track re-introduction into what we’ve been missing.
Just as with the opening to “The Light”, “Piece Of The Pavement” sees Brotherman waste no time in engaging the listener. Succinct and to the point, it addresses inner-city stereotypes and the determination to challenge the mainstream viewpoint. As ever, it’s laced with swift, clever couplets to accentuate his point “…amongst the cold-hearted bastards, troubled as their past is/ park kids, school part-time, skip classes/ coming from facilities with more fails than passes, harness the darkness/ never get an answer, half have stopped asking..”
Always one to deliver powerful, thoughtful imagery, “I’m In Love” isn’t your straightforward ode to affection. Broaching the subject of Black history and culture, it’s highly driven by respect and gratitude towards those who have stood proud to ensure future generations would live alongside one another as equals. A personal favourite, “Memories” is a retrospective of Brotherman’s journey thus far. Be it previous collaborators or declarations of admiration towards his peers, it’s refreshing to see an artist paying his dues whilst embracing his musical environment and the art form itself.
There’s a decent dose of boom bap beats thrown in for good measure too. “In The House” is a stripped back head-nodder, complete with the vintage roll call for the hook. Following suit, Brotherman rolls through with “Stickers” in his back pocket, slapping them wherever he can to spread the word.
The first of a hopefully long series, “The Tapes Vol.1” showcases Brotherman at his best. The beat selection is built upon the simple and soulful; serving Brotherman well as attention focuses on his vivid imagery and story-telling prowess. It’s too short for my liking but I guess you’ve got to build anticipation for the future! Older fans won’t be disappointed and for those unfamiliar, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. A free to download offering from one of the most honest and finest social commentators? There’s no question that you need to add this to your collection sharpish. In addition, keep your eyes peeled for an exclusive Brotherman feature in the next issue of everyone’s favourite Hip Hop publication…