Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Are You Ready DJ MK & DJ GO Ft Super Dertie & Phaze What

DJ MK and DJ Go drop join up with Super Dertie & Phaze What from London's Piff Gang for this track from their upcoming album.  A dope slice of original UK Hip-Hop.  You can pre order this now from iTunes by clicking here.  Go grab this now and the album when it drops, I guarantee it will be dope.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

MF Doom and Bishop Nehru - NehruvianDOOM album review

The veteran and the rookie could easily be the subtitle for the album that brings together the legendary MF Doom and young MC Bishop Nehru.  Bishop Nehru first made contact with MF Doom when he opened for Doom and Ghostface at London's 100 club back in 2013.  They got on well and decided top work on an album together 
"Well it's titled NehruvianDOOM. It's DOOM producing the beats and I'm rapping over them, though he's going to be on some of the songs too. We don't have any outside features, it's just me and him."  
For those that don't know Bishop Nehru is a young rapper, born in 1996 who dropped a mixtape presented by Peter Rosenberg and DJ Semtex a couple of years ago before meeting Doom and working on this album.  
The album is nine tracks long (ten if you get the iTunes Special edition) and is released on Lex records.  Eight of the ten tracks are produced by MF Doom with one more being produced by Madvillian (Doom and Madlib) and Bishop Nehru produced the bonus iTunes track.
The album kicks of with a typical Doom intro; Crisp snares, 80s soul samples and strange vocal clips.  Pretty much the usual Doom album intro minus the Fantastic Four samples.
The first real track on the album is "Mean the most" which features a lovely synth sample probably taken from some dodgy 80's soul jam.  The beat is very nice indeed but equally nice is Bishop Nehru's dope lyrics paying homage to the lady in his life with skill and subtlety that rappers twice his age haven't mastered.  Doom sits this one out on the lyrically side of things but the beat could have easily come off Mmmm..Food.
The next joint is a more sublime track called "So Alone".  The beat is a more mellow beat than we're used to from Doom featuring some strings and a piano loop over a slowly drum sample.  Again Bishop shows us he is a skilled emcee discussing loneliness.  I wasn't originally sold on the sing song chorus but its growing on me.
Track four is "Coming for you" which is a more upbeat joint with a nice vocal loop alongside a cool xylophone sample that seem to speed up and slow down throughout the track.  In the track Bishop Nehru refers to himself as "The most underrated, underpaid but still most amazing teenager making music since the cavemen" and to be honest I would be hard pressed to think of a teenager making music now that is better than this.
Track five is "Darkness" another upbeat track with some sick horns and pan pipes throughout and some nice little scratches.  Lyrically Bishop reflects on the darkness of our world with aplomb giving us an insight into his life.
"Caskets' is the sixth track on this album and this time Doom grabs the mic for the first verse of this dope little gem.  The beat features a nice strings sample and some nice drums.  No need for a chorus just the odd nice movie sample.  Doom drops some nice metaphors as usual; "You messed up like O-Dog in Menace" and "Villain get paid laid back like Chacmool, enough to make Pac drool wherever he at".  Not to be outdone Bishop drops some gems on this joint too; "I'm Jordan in '96, sinking everything ands still playing for the chips" and "Life's like a big playbook of audibles, you never know the play until you toss a few, packing rappers in caskets your boy Nehru"
Track number seven is called "Great Things" and features an electro laden track with some nice cymbals too.  Doom again joins in on this joint although this time Nehru drops the first verse with Doom bringing the fire for the second verse.  Its an upbeat track and each emcee works well of the electro sample and the up tempo drums.
Track eight is called "Disastrous" and the production duties on this one are handled by both MF Doom and Madlib, collectively know as Madvillain.  The beat uses a light vocal sample along with some cymbals and strings sporadically.  Lyrically this is another track from the Doom and Bishop duo.  A great tarck that works on a number of levels.
Next up is the final track (or the penultimate track if you got the iTunes special edition version)"Om".  A fast paced track featuring both emcees with a nice chorus and a nice electro loop.  Both emcees spit fire on this fast paced track.
The bonus track on the album is called "They Bishy Bish" which is produced by Bishop Nehru.  The production is very different from the rest of the album and somehwta sparse to say the leats.  However the track works; a simple drum beat and what sounds like a Hammond organ sample.  Its laid back in its simplicity but this should not be seen as a detrimental comment, I like the track a lot and its a fitting ending to the album.  In summary this is a very strong album that showcases Bishop Nehru's considerable lyrical prowess.  The beats are fresh and should appeal to any decent  Hip-Hop fan, especially any fan of Doom.  The only bad thing about the album is its shortness but it only costs me £6 (Yes I paid for it and so should you).  A veyr strong album that will sit nicely next to Monsta Island Czars and Mmmm Food.   I look forward to hearing more from Bishop Nehru.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Lord Finesse @ The Jazz Cafe June 2014

Lord Finesse is one of those emcees that I had been waiting to see for a long time and recently he paid a visit to London with the 5th Platoon's Boogie Blind on the decks.  I made sure I had a ticket to this jam.  He did not disappoint at all; he played all the jams I hoped he would, the sound was good, Boogie Blind was great and they stayed on stage for almost two hours.
Finesse played all the classics and at one point showed he had considerable skills on the decks too. 
Not only did Finesse show a great deal of respect for the UK by putting on a great show but he stayed afterwards for signings and photos

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Crate Digging 6 - Haiku D'Etat - Los Dangerous 12"

I picked this joint up from Hiphopsite.com back in late 1997 when I was buying a lot of vinyl from this site because they had such good deals and always threw in lots of cool merchandise like T-Shirts, stickers and other cool stuff.  I was interested in this 12" because of the artists featured in the group; Mikah 9, Abstract Rude, Aceyalone and the drummer of rock group Third Eye Blind Adrian Burley. Obviously I had enjoyed the lyricists work as part of Project Blowed, The Freestyle Fellowship and Abstract Tribe Unique.   This group of artists along with other musicians created a dope fusion of Hip-Hop, Jazz and Funk. 
This was the first 12" released by Haiku D'Etat and they did go onto release two albums; Haiku D'Etat (1999) and Coup De Theatre (2004).  This 12" features three joints and an instrumental.  All three tracks are backed by live musicians with all three lyricists dropping verses alongside a female vocalist.
The title track is called Los Dangerous and features a nice saxophone over the Deep Cover bass-line with a guest Reggae vocalist dropping the hook.  Each emcee drops a nice little verse providing their own take on the early morning police raid which is such a staple of the gangsta rap genre.  Its a nice take on the Deep Cover classic and for good measure they throw in an instrumental too.  The B-Side is a more mellow affair with a nice bouncy joint called Kaya.  It has a nice uptempo beat with some suitable singing for the hook.  I'm sure there is some xylophone in there somewhere with some Jamaican influenced lyrics promoting an Irie lifestyle.  The second track on the B-Side is called Still Rappin' and is a very nice ode to persevering with the career choice of rapping.  Its a mellow upbeat jam with a nice chorus.  Check the Link below for the vinyl rip (apologies for a few skips)


Monday, 5 May 2014

Crate Digging 5 - Kool G Rap & DJ Polo On the Run 12"


Heres is a another gem from my own collection.  This is a certified Queensbridge classic from the legendary Kool G Rap.  I honestly cant remember where I picked this up from although something tells me I may have bought it from a friend of mine who was selling off his Hip-Hop collection, possibly Diablo I'm not too sure to be honest.
Wherever I picked this up from there is no doubt this is a perfect example of Kool G Rap's Crime filled storytelling.  This 12" features two versions of the track; The Al Capone and the Untouchable version as well as instrumentals and an accapella.  Both of these are different to the album version.  There is also the inclusion of another track called Straight Jacket.  The A side starts of with a dirty version of the Al Capone mix of the track.  This version comes in at just over four minutes and features nice piano loop over the Skull Snaps drum break.  It also has vocal samples of Robert DeNiro from The Untouchables movie where he played Al Capone, hence the name of the mix.  This remix is produced by Trackmasterz as is the Untouchable remix too.
The other version of the track is the Untouchable mix which again features the Skull Snaps drum break but this time alongside a more melodic piano loop.  This creates a more mellow joint as opposed the more hard hitting piano stabs of the Al Capone mix.  We get instrumentals for both and an acapella complete with De Niro samples.  
The extra track on the B-Side is Straight Jacket which is produced by Sir Jinx and Kool G Rap.  It is very similar to a lot of Sir Jinx' production at the time in particular his work with Ice Cue on AmeriKKKas Most wanted and Kill at Will.  A crisp drum and horns sample make up a mid tempo track with G Rap rhyming about his murderous slide into insanity.  What a nice guy.  Check the link below for the rip.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Crate Digging 4 - The Last Emperor Secret Wars part 1



This is the fourth entry in my Crate Digging series whereby I pick out gems I had forgotten I had in my collection.  This little slice of mid nineties indie Hip Hip is brought to us by underground hero The Last Emperor and was released in 1997.  This was his first 12" and featured three joints; Secret Wars part 1, Bums and Monumental.  The Last Emperor was originally from Philadelphia but in the mid nineties moved to New York and began performing at The Lyricist Lounge. He was featured on KRS ONE's "C.I.A. (Criminals in Action)" with Rage Against the Machine's Zach De La Rocha which was featured on the. Lyricist Lounge compilation released on Rawkus. Two years later he signed to Dr Dre's Aftermath however like a number of promising artists at that time that never lead to an album release.  In 2003 it was announced that The Last Emperor had signed to Rawkus Records. A few singles were released in a period of 6 months, but around that time Rawkus ceased to trade. He finally released his solo album in 2003, Music, Magic, Myth (Palace of the Pretender in Europe) this was on his own label Red Planet.  I cannot recall exactly where I picked this up although something tells me I may have picked this up on the internet from either HipHopsite.com or Sandbox who at the time had some great deals on vinyl.  The main track on this 12" is the Secret Wars Part 1 joint (was there a part2 ?).  Its a simple beat with a nice piano loop that sounds like it was taken from the opening bars of the Love Story theme.  The real selling point of this track however is the lyrics.  The Last Emperor tells the story of a battle between some Hip Hop's best lyricists and Superheroes with vocal impersonations of both the rappers and the heroes.  Its a fun track and the Last Emperor shows off his lyrical skill.  There is only a radio version an instrumental.  Onto the B-Side this features two joints and an instrumental.  The first track is called Bums and has a slightly more interesting beat than the A-Side.  Lyrically he tells the story of his life as a bum awaiting a record deal with a humorous slant.  There is an instrumental for the track Bums included.  The final joint is Monumental which has a nice mellow beat allowing the listener to focus on the considerable talents of the emcee.  Although musically these joints are pretty much standard beats for the indie scene in '97 the differentiating factor that sets them apart is The Last emperor's lyrics.  He is a skilled lyricist who deserved better beats but nonetheless drops original concepts and rhymes on all three track.  Check the link below for the rip.
Monumental



Monday, 21 April 2014

Crate Digging 3 - Hip Hop Remixes Live from New York feat. Mobb Deep, Busta Rhymes....

Back in the summer of 1996 (which is almost twenty years ago, damn I feel old) there were all sorts of dodgy remixes and bootlegs floating around.  This here piece of vinyl is a perfect example of this sub-genre.  Someone has managed to get hold of a few a capellas and have made up their own beats for these tracks that were everywhere that year.  I probably picked these up in Uptown Records where I bought a lot bootlegs that year.  Although there were plenty of these bootlegs around at that time the cheap music creation apps like Garageband and Fruity loops had not yet come into existence and making tracks like this actually required access to high end music software like Q-Base and some actual hardware.
All of the tracks on this EP are produced by a dude called Funkmaster Frankenstein who soon after dropped the Funkmaster and went onto produced some nice underground head nodders throughout the 90s and well into the 2000s.  The first track is Frankenstein's Woo-Hah remix which is as you would expect a bouncy track with a nice off kilter organ riff for the Busta Rhymes a cappella to blend into.  Not really an improvement on the original but a slightly different more mellow version.  The Masta I.C. remix is again a more mellow version than the original. With a soulful organ sample and a sporadic xylophone in the background this remix is more for the sunday afternoon in the park rather than the saturday night in the club.  The Danger remix is based around a sparse piano loop and features the same scratches as the original for the chorus, not a bad remix but really not a patch on the original.
Lastly we have Shook Ones part 3 which is my favourite track on this little EP.  It has more depth to it than the other three.  A simple track with nice piano loops providing what could almost be a Havoc produced track if it wasn't so upbeat musically.  Check the link below for the rip.
Straight up Shook Ones.