Lord Finesse heavily features in our latest issue 11, toured the UK not too long ago and now has a FREE download of a live set recorded in Tokyo last Valentines day!
If Lord Finesse was a baseball player he’d be in the Robert Hall of Fame for his Triple Crown record in hip-hop. Whether he’s on the microphone, drum machine, or turntables, you know he’ll be chasing that MVP crown. Last month The Underboss and Slice Of Spice hit Japan for the ‘Soundwave Tour’ where Finesse tore it up on the 1s and 2s. We recorded a live 2 hour set on 2.14.13 in Tokyo and as promised we’re sharing it with all his fans in two FREE DOWNLOAD installments. ENJOY!
Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock and missed out on “From A Scarecrow’s Perspective” or the epic “Nature’s Greatest Mystery” alongside his fellow Owls, you should be fully aware of Leaf Dog’s production prowess. The man’s a flippin’ genius. His latest venture, “Dephected Leaf’s Remix Tape”, sees him take the creative helm once more.
A collaborative effort alongside clothing label Dephect, Leafy flips tracks from the likes of LDZ, Bill Shakes, Dr. Syntax, Kashmere and a whole host of cuts from High Focus stable mates Verb T, Fliptrix, BVA, Jam Baxter and Dirty Dike. There’s no filler here folks, Leaf Dog kills it on instrumentation duties throughout and somehow manages to upstage some of the finest wordsmiths in the game right now.
At this point it’s probably also worth a mention that all of this is on offer for your listening pleasure at everybody’s favourite price; nothing! It’s yet another step towards High-Focus’ impending global domination and well worth a download. You know it makes sense…
Review By Mike Pattemore
Check this dope remix video while copping the album either HERE or below.
On Mothering Sunday, 18th March, 2012, bboys from up and down the country and beyond travelled to the scenic city of Bath to exchange skills, get rhythmic in the circles and in the 8 vs 8 crew battle. As part of the Bath Hiphop Festival, the event also hosted a kids under 16 1 vs 1 bboy battle, a 2 vs 2 bgirl battle, a headspin battle and a 1990′s battle
The tunes were hype all day, courtesy of Mista Pete and Jam Fu bringing the dopest funk, hiphop and breaks. The crew battles were good from the word go and the final battle was between Goon Squad, which was a crew made up of different members from well renowned London crews La Familia and Soul Mavericks as they went up against Birmingham crew MDK (Mad Dope Kru) It was a tight battle after a long day of dancing and Goon Squad went on to take the win and be the crew champions of the day.
Both crews worked really hard and more than deserved to make it to the final (MDK having taken out my own crew in the first round)
This was the 2nd time I had been to ‘South West Got Rhythm’, having competed at last years event too. Both years it has been a great day out, really good vibes, cyphers, music, good judging and all in all a fun day and well worth the journey from Cambridge.
Also present at the event was the man behind EOS Films, Elements of Society, Tyler Palmer. Tyler was filming throughout the whole day making sure to get in on the action of the competition as well as the cyphers and all around. Take a look at the trailer Tyler made below to see what the event was like, if you are putting on an event or looking to make a music video or anything at all give Tyler a shout (Facebook search: EOS .Films. Elements Of Society)
Review by Joe Downes
To see more battles from the day including the final battle mentioned above, youtube search: South West Got Rhythm 2012.
ITS BEEN DROPPED, High focus founder, Big Owl (The Four Owls) Fliptrix, one of the key revitalizers of hip hop in the UK, has just dropped the new single “Mind Travelling” which he has put together in an exclusive 3 tracked Mind Travelling E.P, to wet our whistles for the third installment of his saga “Third Eye Of the Storm” (23rd April 2012)
Fliptrix has no need to prove points or claw for rank within UKHH, anyone who’s followed the genre at any given time should know his affiliation and presence by now. This single for me is the result of Fliptrix taking a step back and harnessing every aspect of himself and his surroundings, projecting them outwardly in a powerful flurry of breathless deliverance and meaningful metaphors, with some deep self reflection added for good measure. On production we find 184 once again behind an epically refined beat, this time taking the form of a more spiritual infested journey.
Fliptrix definitely knows how to cause a storm in a teacup when it comes to releases, this track has quite simply got me itching to get my grubby mitts on the album. This guy has done untold amounts for the scene, with this warm up release its obvious he plans to push boundaries, open eyes and touch upon things of deeper meanings, The High focus seal of approval has always been issued deservingly, This Single does not cease on the expectations. DOPE
There’s no better feeling then coming across an underground release and it actually being half good, and the Haanshake is just that and more.
Both parties involved I’d never heard of before, man I’m pleased i do now. Emcee Haan teams up with producer Sixth sense to release their free debut. London based Haan has a almost hypnotic style of deliverance, weapon of choice being, an in-depth understanding of various life subjects and interesting life concepts which he puts across while avoiding the cliche whiney preacher flex, with an extensive vocabulary to back him up further this guy showcases a lot of strength, Sixth sense on the Production movements kills it for me, working heavily within looping strings and tangy drum snaps laying almost eery tracks like “Be like you”, complimenting with tracks like “The ending” which takes us back to familiar hip hop territories, the guys productions are dope.
The whole album stinks with talent bunched with intelligence of the genre. It’s also FREE, seriously download this and support.
For any of you who know People’s Army, then you should know Logic and you most definitely should be aware of the direction and form that their music takes.
As a Group they have been confronting world-wide issues at its truest and rawest form. With a debut release from People’s Army, foreman Logic teamed with producer Last Resort, we never expected anything less than a unadulterated perspective into a powerful mind. Last Resort on production, lays down a tally of modern hip hop Wizardry that would keep not only the diehard fans of the genre entertained but catch the attention of others more inclined to other Uk scenes, “Animal” for me should be a straight club banger. Logic as always is keen to express subjects that affect us all, both directly and indirectly, which he delivers flawlessly. This album is full of “true story” ethic, boasting features from Lowkey, Klashnekoff, Akala, Remus and Maverick Sabre to name a few, make this release bound to be Big for the UK scene.
“Pump Dat Bass” is the first single taken of the eagerly anticipated debut “Bad influence” from the verbally gifted Ramson Badbonez.
Bonez has already gained firm acknowledgement with our ears and within the scene, with several highly rated mixtapes and singles already under his belt allowing him time and experience to fully master a individuality within his style and push forward towards undoubtedly a Sick debut album.
For me this single is him marking his territory and letting any Whack emcees know that he’s ready for business. With Row D beats destroying production, this single is a promising insight into his debut set for release early 2012.
Keeping it Badtaste records again, Trellion is part of A-Street-Cartel who released the self titled album recently, we run 10 question by him…..
1. Where are you from?
Parker place, Lunaville island. Sheffield sometimes as well.
2. Do you have a calling card or catch phrase?
3. Cornflakes or Pancakes?
4. What’s in your fridge right now?
Bowl of sweetcorn, peach Ice tea and a bottle of milk that looks like a lava lamp.
5. Are you touring? Where can I see you?
Done a bunch of gigs up and down the UK in 2011 and looking to do a mini tour sometime early 2012.
6. Whats the worst thing to happen to you on stage?
Nothing bad has ever happened to me on stage, touch wood, no homo
7. Can you link us to a Youtube video of yours?
What other UK artist should we look out for?
I’m definitely digging Defenders of Style from Leeds but apart from what’s coming out of my own crews label (Bad Taste) I’m pretty out the loop about what’s going on in the UK scene. I’m all up for hearing new shit though.
9. You say a lot of words, but whats your favorite word of all?
Luna (said in evil scientist voice)
10. What’s your latest release and where can I get it?
A-Street Cartel- available from Badtasterecords.co.uk. Sniff got some foul beats on there, shout out Young and Miffa. Also make sure you look out for ‘The Shadow People’ LP a joint venture from Trellion and Figment, all beats by Thirdpersonlurkin.
Farma G’s festive 5 Word Freestyle Challenge touched down in East London again this week and with it came everything that Wordplay Magazine loves about the UK Hip Hop scene; dangerously clever lyricism, vibes a plenty, alcoholic beverages of every single shape and size, massive fuck off zut smoking circles and live PA’s to kill for. Special shout outs have to go to Dirty Dike, Jam Baxter and DJ Sammy B who almost took the ceiling off during their stage show at the Villain Bar.
Aside from the positive vibes that can always be found at any Task Force bashment, it is fair to say that the calibre of entrants this time round was just about as good as it has ever been. Notably, a dope face off in the semi finals between Team Hate compatriots Enlish and Stig Of The Dump. After a Punchline heavy face off Stig deservedly took one slot in the final. Stig was closely followed by Row D to make up the final two and after a closely fought battle, it was decided that an acapella round would have to be introduced to set the rappers apart.
Wordplay would like to extend a million big ups to Stig Of The Dump for taking the crown and with it 150 pounds sterling to splash on champagne bubbly.
SEE YOU NEXT TIME…
Post by: Tom @ Wordplay
Weds 7th Dec…
Farma G’s Five Word Freestyle returns this Thursday with a Christmas special. With Farma G, Mystro, Chester P, Jam Baxter & Dike, Louis Slippers and Dj Gone thats a massive line up!
Get there well before 10PM not only for the cheaper ticket but for guaranteed entry, last time it was rammed and 1 in 1 out.
Another release I’ve been meaning to add for a while, Cappo returns not long after The Fallout with Gusto grizwold: International vacation. Taking beats from all over, some well known like Massive attacks Teardrop and others unheard. This is all about the barrage of lyrics he spits on every track, Kling Klang is a perfect example:
I was meant to post this a few days back, a new radio show from Bozak and SMB. This guys got a serious record collection, all vinyl starting off with Northern Soul and building to some savage old skool hip hop! This is well worth a listen, lets hope they can stick to a show a week!
RAP MUSIC OUTSELLS EVERY OTHER MUSICAL GENRE AND DOMINATES CHARTS ACROSS THE GLOBE. LIVEMUSIC EXPLORES WHY RAP HAS BECOME THE DOMINANT FORCE IN MUSIC AND EXPLORES HOW IT HAS ADAPTED TO CATER FOR THE MAINSTREAM.
My love for hip hop can be traced to two key moments in my childhood. One, the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, and two, when I found Wu Tang Clan’s ‘Enter The 36 Chambers’ under a bush at the age of ten. I have felt a strange spiritual connection with the changing face of rap music through the nineties and into the dreaded noughties ever since that discovery. It’s like it was destiny or something. The trouble is hip hop has become such a gargantuan filth spewing beast that it is nigh on impossible to pin down and contextualise. Trying to fathom exactly why rap music has become what is has can be likened to theorising a new religion. Droves of rap fans live, eat and breathe hip hop culture. Whether they are fans of krunk or Anticon, UK backpackers or 2-Pac diehards with the posters on their walls and ‘THUGLIFE’ tattoos on their bellies.
Before we get sucked into the sub-genre rap mire, let’s take a second to consider why rap is HANDS DOWN the most commercially lucrative form of music on the face of the planet.
IT ALL STARTED WITH MTV…
News that MTV has taken the unprecedented step of revisiting its roots by announcing the return of Yo! MTV Raps, should act as a reminder that hip hop music was once both creatively and artistically leagues apart from the music that is currently polluting the billboard charts from England to Israel.
For those who are unfamiliar with the Yo! formula, the weekly 2-hour show ran from 1988 to 1995 and played a key role in taking hip hop from the street corners and positioning it in the living rooms of middle America. Hosts Dr. Dre, Ed Lover and Fab Five Freddy took relatively unknown rappers (N.W.A, Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince, Eric. B and Rakim, Wu Tang Clan, Notorious BIG to name but a few) and transformed them into household names. Weekly cyphers, video showcases, interviews and album features made rap a consumable product; a new mode of entertainment that would kick start the revolution and turn rap into a dominant musical force. Speaking on the re-birth, Yo! host and hip hop legend Fab 5 Freddy said:
“In order to appreciate how far hip hop has come, you have to pay respect to the songs and artists that helped catapult the genre from a small community of fans to world domination.”
If one considers the fact that MTV initially blacklisted hip hop and soul music when it took its first steps as a Music Television network, and that the first episode of Yo! quickly went on to become the most watched show in the network’s history, then the historical significance of Yo! cannot be questioned. However, the evolution of rap music that Fab 5 Freddy touches upon is where it becomes puzzling.
Just how far has it really come since the golden era Freddy?
The return of Yo! will celebrate the roots of the movement by focussing on a selection of classic hip hop joints, but at the same time educate a new generation of rap fans about how it all began. The question is, to what extent will a new generation of whippersnappers be interested by the likes of A Tribe Called Quest, Ice Cube and Geto Boys when the rap music they have been raised on is 80,000 leagues away from the aforementioned artists? While it is great that Yo! MTV Raps is being given a final swan song, it will get no nearer to explaining why the world of rap has been overrun by an artistic and stylistic approach that would leave Biggie turning in his grave.
If the nineties saw the rise of the multi-million dollar gangster rappers; the guys with the drugs and the guns (and subsequently the Bentleys and the mansions), but most significantly, rappers with real skill and verve, then the noughties has become a breeding ground for undiluted pop acts that walk and talk in the same fashion as the golden generation, but either cannot or choose not to showcase their rapping abilities on their biggest hits.
At times majestic, but most of the time appallingly bad, 21st century rap music has a lot of explaining to do. Are these idiots still selling as many units as the legends of rap? Yes? Should they be? That is up for you to decide. Have a listen to what Ill Doctrine has to say about virtuosity in the modern rap game.
“To be lyrical or not to be lyrical. That never used to be a question…”
In order to figure out exactly what the fuck is going on in 2011, let’s focus on both the good and bad in rap music today. The most exciting and the most retarded.
THE MOST EXCITING
It is sad to say, but the legends that Yo! MTV Raps championed back in the late 80′s and early 90′s have grown old, grey and boring. That, or they are no longer with us. Rap music grew stale and sorry for itself until OFWGKTA kicked the door off the hinges to breathe life back into the scene. Odd Future were born in the noughties. They represent the high-speed bandwidth generation. Their ‘we do not give a flying fuck’ attitude has galvanised an army of fans across the globe and said following has seen the gaggle of LA reprobates achieve overnight legendary status. In the same way that Yo! MTV Raps took rap music and introduced it to television audiences, Odd Future have done everything in their power to build an unrivalled internet presence. Tumblr pages, the militant use of Twitter, free album downloads in their dozens, everything.
Tyler The Creator and his gang of Odd Future compadres insurmountable rise can be linked to their active disregard of the golden era of rap and the holier than thou pillars that made up hip hop culture. It can also be closely linked to the fact that rap music was screaming out for an Odd Future shaped injection, basically a good old kick up the arse. The pillars do not exist in the commercial rap world anymore, as they no longer define success, only credibility, and let’s be honest, credible artists rarely take the charts by storm.
Odd Future represent revolution. The LA skater kids have split the scene with their utterly captivating output. Regarded as too ‘unorthodox’ and ‘gimmicky’ by hardcore rap fans and too ‘outlandish’ and ‘childish’ by the left field backpackers, they have reinvigorated rap by doing something entirely new and refreshing. Comparisons with Wu Tang Clan only make sense when considering their youthful and nihilistic angst.
THE MOST RETARDED
Here is Livemusic’s top five list of ‘The Most Retarded rappers in the game’.
5 – Lil B
Lil B has to make this list, but that does not mean I dislike him. There is something strangely entertaining about the music Lil B is responsible for churning out. Sure, technically he rhymes like a 9 year old boy with learning difficulties, and he has a penchant for calling himself “a pretty bitch”, which if you are searching for superlatives (as rappers do 24/7) this isn’t really the best thing to coin yourself, however, his music makes people laugh, usually as no-one can tell if he is being serious or not. In a world where most rappers take themselves far too seriously, Lil B is actually a breath of fresh air. The trouble is, it seems everyone is laughing at, rather than with him.
4 – Mike Jones
There is absolutely nothing wrong with repetition in rap music. Repetition is prevalent in all forms of music, but this guy takes it to another level. Is it just me or does repeating your name over-and-over again not really constitute rapping? Maybe he is onto something? In a world where everyone is rapping, embracing a relentless name dropping tactic in an attempt to DRILL your existence into the deepest recesses of rap fans cerebrums seems to work for Mike. Mike Jones is rap music’s first cold caller. He is like a double glazing salesman. Genius? Or just plain annoying?
3 – Gucci Mane
Gucci Mane is another shit rapper who recently spent a spell in prison for throwing a woman out of a moving car because she refused to have sex with him. One of his more famous tracks is called ‘I’m The Shit’, however, it would be a far more appropriate title if he had removed ‘The’ from the title. He thrives in the 50 Cent ‘I got shot 9 times’ / ‘I killed a man’ bracket to sell units. It seems to work.
2 – Waka Flocka Flame
Waka Flocka Flame is a 25 year old rapper from Georgia. He is the perfect example of everything wrong about the world of rap today. Even though this guy says absolutely nothing on absolutely every single track that he has EVER released, he was still named the eighth hottest rapper by MTV in 2010 even though he only started rapping in 2008. There is very little one can do to explain what motivates Waka Flocka’s output, but having read several interviews it is clear that he started rapping not for the love of the craft, but more in the pursuit of substantial amounts of money.
Waka Flocka Flame sounds like your drunk buddy trying to kick freestyles even though they have never once rapped before. In fact, scratch that, Waka Flocka is not even as good as that guy down the pub. Has anything ever been more bamboozling than someone proclaiming they are a rapper but refusing to acknowledge that they have lyrics?
1 – Pitbull
If there was ever an emcee that took the fundamentals of rapping (speaking rather than singing, saying yo occasionally, talking about having money and girls) and turning it into a successful formula for the pop charts, then this guy takes the entire packet of biscuits and eats them in one greasy gulp. His verses are made up of random spurts of inane wordplay that finish in a flash / queue an RnB singer / then back to a little bit more of Pitbull and BLAM!! Number one in seventeen countries. Pitbull currently has three different singles in Spain’s Top Ten chart. Pitbull personifies everything that is dark and depressing about what has become of rap music today, he may as well be a stumpy little robot.
MTV lost interest in championing true grassroots music when the network realised that reality television drew a bigger viewing audience. What did we expect them to do? ‘Youth Culture’ attracts greater viewing figures than music videos. In this regard, MTV has been a sinking ship ever since the cataclysmic success of ‘The Real World’. Let us hope that the rebirth of Yo! will trigger someone in the board room to re-jig the programme schedule, even just a tiny bit. Now while it is fantastic that Yo! MTV raps is being granted one last opportunity to educate a new generation of fans, some of who think that the Lil B’s and Waka Flocka’s represent the beautiful art of rap, the chances of it making any difference whatsoever are slim to none.
Let’s leave this debate with an enlightening outburst by respected hip hop critic Neil Portis…
“I just suddenly lost it…I couldn’t live with the lie any longer. Rap is horseshit…What the hell was I thinking?…”You know, I’ve just been giving out three stars to every new rap album—and I can’t tell the difference between any two”…“I was sitting there, listening to God knows what, and I suddenly thought, ‘What is this shit?”
The Palace is a Sick single Conjured up by north London based, politically minded Rap group Defdfires. With their debut album Operation: Zombie Nation that dropped last month they are definitely worth looking out for.
These guys are taking hip hop too new levels with what they have to say about the current state of our economy and what the world is possibly coming too, “The Palace” being a direct finger up to the system and an insight into some Interesting views. Along with a nice twist on hip hop production and a well directed video make for a promising first single.