Sunday, December 28, 2008

Protect Ya Neck! Its Mr Shaodow!

This dude doesnt just talk the talk; a martial arts expert and lyrical wordsmith the kid is nice over any beat he chooses to rip into. Couple this with a dude who has rediculous work ethic and knack for having fresh videos is second to none and you can tell theres some quality. I saw him live a few months ago and he ripped it down; Check the 'Grime' single here, a track that has drawn attention through Channel U and Choice FM spins.

Mr Shaodow is an emcee not afraid to rock over a wide variety of beats produced by Offkey, and its good to know that part of the mission statement is to encourage "MC's to stop taking the easy route when it comes to their music as it ends up hurting their art." In terms of creativity these guys are on point and its well worth checking for more gems. I'll leave you with this one though - what would you do when you see "A Black man coming"?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Kano - Layer Cake

This is one of my favourite tracks ever from a mixtape; the film was incredible, making a household name of Danial Craig. Then Kano comes along and brutalises the track with hypnotic sample and the classic line "Im in the industry man. In Eng-a-land, where I'll never sell more than an indy band" unfortunatly too true!

So Solid Crew

To be honest I never really checked for So Solid back in the day but just stumbled across this and it made me realise preconceptions were wrong; as they invariably are...was checkin some new Asher D recently; boy got rhymes for days!

I hate Jeremy Clarkeson

Yo this is some bullshit; its friday night and I'm stuck at home...I was going to watch the old favourite Have I Got News For You but ol' Daddio decides his hatred for Clarkeson runs so deep no body in the house is gonna watch it! Now I hate that smug basterd as well but come on! Anyways Im like...shiiiit what shall I do with myself; started working on some album artwork but then remembered Im wack at all that so I decided to enjoy some Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy...check this shit! (Literally!)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Nine - Whatcha Want

Now this is what I call that old boom bap, classic hip hop shit! Been a big fan of Nine for ages, but his stuff's mad hard to get hold of! If anyone knows where I can grab some get at me!

Gangsta Rap is a Fraud!

Sabac Red talks real sense with "Commitment". Ill Bill creates a powerfull plea to his uncle to clean up his heroin addiction with a brilliant animated video, plus Saigon speaks some wise words about the influence of Hip Hop on the next generation.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Big Boi recieves award from Dr. Cornel West

As a long time fan of OutKast, a group whose vision and creativity has influenced me and many others, it was great to stmble over this clip of Big Boi recieving the 2008 Renaissence Award. Dr West is an incredibly eloquent and cerebral intellectual; as demonstrated briefly here - whose work on race, religion and culture have been influential accross America and the world...also, any film buffs may be impressed that he was a central force in the development of the "Matrix" storylines and played a cameo in the last two films...

Friday, December 12, 2008

360 Got all your Ska Funk Punk Reggae and Rock needs sorted!

I've just been reliably informed that immensely talented and very friendly 360 folk have got there website up and running...go check for the goodness; including the video for "Not Staying" an amazing slice of acustic vocals! Who says I'm only interested in hip hop!!? Although I do have extra love for the guys after a fair few jamming sessions where they tolerated my mashed up freestlye stylings; love shows love innit!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Baby J, Baron and Biggie

Just a day after I cancelled my cinema pass, (I'm getting sick of cloned CGI/Infant comedy bullshit on repeat whilst the Baader Meinhof complex and Waltz with Bashir aint shown) I find out that a film about Biggie; 'Notorious' is coming out in Feburary, then a 2 part film about general badman Che around the same time....Ah well at least it gives me an excuse to miss Giant Kung Fu Adorable Squid 57!

Anyhow, check this Baby J banger taken from his latest set "Baby Food" featuring Million Dan, another quality slice from the midlands Man, Ive been a fan since his mixtape featuring 50 different emcees rapping over his beats, always about the lyrics!....

And if that wasn't enough for you, check Baron Von Alias here showing that UK heads can produce some nice stuff without taking themselves too seriously! Nice one.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Lost Generation Interview

If you don't know already, you need to get to know the work of TLG, a collective from Birmingham whose consistently quality output has won them respect and appreciation from a growing fan base. Heavily grounded in reality, able to showcase great examples of penmanship, production and cutting skills TLG provide essential listening and evidence that there are still uncompromising, truthful voices out there. Check it!

Safe boys, hope your good, just before we start can you layout the basic outline of the TLG crew cos I know you boys run fairly deep….
Well as far as the music goes TLG consists of myself (Devas),Luke, Eyebs, Konn, Mikee Lazy and Essar.

TLG are well respected around the midlands scene; what sort of promotional work have you had to do to get to this sort of level?

Devas: Well our first release was a DVD showcasing local talents from around Brum, that was like an introduction to the scene for us-putting our faces out there and making links with other artists in the city. As far as promotional work goes we've had to let the music do the talking. We don't have money to invest in PR/marketing etc, so when we came to release our mixtape we pressed up 3k cd's ourself in my living room and gave them out for free.That was our promotion.

Your tunes reflect a typical state of mind of regular guys living in fairly desolate urban conditions. How far has your environment and personal experiences affected what you rhyme about?

Devas: My environment is probably the main reason why I rap.For me personally I don't really rap about things for the sake of it if you know what i mean.I talk about things that I see going on, both in my life and the lives of people around me.

Leading from that, you are very critical of the current political
 establishment. What for you are your major concerns with this government and what would you envision as an alternative?

Devas: haha How long we got?I've got alot of negative views on the way this country is run, number one probably being the amount of tax payers money spent on illegal wars. As far as an alternative goes tho, I don't know, I'm not a politician.

Mikee Lazy: I think the major problems with this goverment is that they have told too many lies .They took us to a war when they didnt need too ,and look at what has happened there. They need to get to the root of the major problems and issues we have in our culture and tackle them before they get out of hand ... There are so many people suffering and living hard lives when this doesnt need to happen . We need a "peoples goverment" , a leader who we can all relate to.
Luke: I'd like to see a transparant government. A real democracy.

The tracks you choose to rap on provide perfect backdrops to your themes. Tell us a bit more about the production side of things and how a beat goes from sitting in the lab to becoming a heavyweight track on a mix cd or album….

Eyebs: Sometimes when your makin the beat and your zoned out
, its like you can allready see the scene or the track, i can imagine how how them mans are going to spit it.Sometimes though its just about finding the right beat for something thats already been written, and when you hear it you just know.

Mikee Lazy: The whole of The lost generation are sick producers and everyone brings there own flavour. Its all about digging for the right sample and creating some magic by putting your own twist on that original piece of music.

Konn: The thing is with 4 producers in the camp, theres new beats coming in every other day it. Alot of the time there’s no real set plan to how beats get laced. We stay spotaneous!

…and for the emcees, what sort of processes do you go through when writing lyrics? I know I’m always impressed by the craft that goes into them, especially when revolving round a particular concept…

Devas: It depends, I write lyrics anywhere and everywhere, i write in my phone and mostly late at nite.Sometimes we will sit in the lab together, come up with a concept, write it there and then and lace it straight away but most times theres not enough hours in the day to work like that.

Luke:Yeah sometimes we might agree on a concept, then take the beat away to write and do it the next week.Sometimes we might end up not doin it for months but sometimes it takes that long to be in the right mindstate to write it.

You bring a load of good vibes and energy to your live shows. How much time do you spend practicing your routines and making sure the show goes down well?

Devas: Ha.I gotta be honest, we don't practice our sets at all.90% of the time we don't know what tunes we are doing untill an hour before, we'll burn a cd of the set and listen to it in the car on the way...

What is your view of the music industry at the moment, and in particular the hip hop scene – do you think the public’s perception will always generally be either negative or misinformed?
Devas: I think it'll be a hardjob to change it.I'm also not sure if the public's perception is misinformed.Granted they may not know the genre in depth but it's not really like their feelings on it aren't justified.Most of the Hip Hop heard on mainstream radio and alot of the underground is undoubtetdly spreading a negative message that arguably has a detrimental effect on the youth.That combined with the powers of Murdochs media machine leave people's minds imprinted with this negative image of the culture and really it is hard to blame them.They don't understand it.The state of the music industires a differnet story though,I probably ain't the best man to answer that.

Eyebs: Hip Hop might be viewed negatively but it hasn't stopped it from becoming one of the biggest selling genres in the world.Hip Hop is Pop so obviously not everyone sees it negatively.

Mikee Lazy: I think to the average person when they think of hip hop they associate with rappers like 50cent,who lets be honest,aint given out the most positive attitude and is hardly a role model to our younger generation.
The music scene on a whole has changed massively in the past few years with the rise of mp3 and demise of vinyl /cd. Alot of people are downloading illegally so record sales have dipped massively. This has had a crazy effect where by artists/groups are giving music away free or having to get music out so quickly that people have the option of buying it legally straight away in the hope this will discourage illegal downloading. Im not sure what the music scene will be like in 5 years but i hope that The lost generation are still contributing towards it.

How important do you think it is for artists to be socially aware or conscious?

Devas: To me it is not just important for an artist to be socially aware, it is important for everyone.
If we are not aware of our society then how are we expected to integrate into it and live as a community?

What new projects are you currently working on and what are your ambitions for the future?

We've been working on our album over the past year or so, set to be released at the beginning of '09. It features guest spots from I.R.S, Ras Supa, Sonny Jim & Kosyne, Reggiimental & more,with production from Eyebs, Kelakovski, Konn, Lazy, Essar, Archimage and Doc Mini.Thats coming out as a joint venture between Rusty Jukebox & Eat Good Records so keep em peeled!!! We're ft on a Rusty Jukebox Compilation and an Eat Good compilation both due in the new year. Also Mikee Lazy' will be droppin an EP ft:Sonny Jim, Kyza, Dubbledge +more...
Our ambition for the future is just to release music that people enjoy.

An ambition already achieved I reckon! Check to keep up with the latest good stuff from TLG.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Barack Obama becomes President

The world watched and waited expectedly, and I felt waves of relief as I sat glued to the TV in Ipswich at 3.30 this morning with my Dad. The hope that Americans might finally see some way out of the shambolic past 8 years and that Obama could become president was slowly realised as more and more swing states became democratic, in the true sense of the word. This has been a great and historic day and I sincerly hope that the sort of grassroots, community activism that helped propel the Senetor to his forthcoming new post will help to engage a generation around the world. I sincerly hope that Obama will be able to deliver as much as he has promised, but I already think he has given the world a chink of optimism...let's hope the 'change' agenda fully applies to foreign policy as much as domestic concerns...Its a good day!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Breakthrough - Latest GTA goodness

Gotta say big Brrrrap to them GTA boys once again! Check out the dope video for the live tune "Breakthrough", another great production from the land of dons and scholars. Look closely and you might even catch a glimpse of your favourite rapping blogmeister!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Flobots - No Handlebars

If you haven't heard this tune yet I strongly advise you to check the video below. One of the few times that mainstream media actually promote music that has some sort of relevence and political content. Mind you, my happiness of this was pissed on a bit after reading Youtube posts and hearing of listeners attitudes to the song..."ooh its so dark and political, I don't like it" "I liked the song before I watched the video and realized what it was about" wonder lyricists so often resort to chattin' about lolipops, money and biatches when this is the sort of response inteligence provokes! Even my friend wrote the song off with "ah I dont really like that sort of thing, you know it reminds me of beign young listening to Linkin Park"...mind you, he loves Mika.

This is the first video created for the song, I reckon its more powerfull than the subsequent one they made when they got signed to Universal, but that one is also good, go check it here...

Monday, September 08, 2008

Modulok & Bare Beats - Two Cities

One of the things I have always loved about hip hop is its ability to pull you into a parallel world that presents you with elements of your own with a distorted, edgy flavour. The visual and aural world created on Two Cities is a perfect example of what I'm on about. An array of beautifully produced music lays out a lush platform from which canadian emcee Modulok delivers intense flows that city dwellers around the world can relate to. The format of intricate yet alternatingly jazzy and punchy beats, accompanied by straight up visual, cerebral rapping is perfectly finished with some great scratching from Jabba the Kut. Standouts for me were the manifesto like 'Intro' over some dope beat boxing takes it back to what makes Hip Hop such a vital phenomenom. 'Trouble' is a lively posse cut, showing dope skills from Modulok and gritty british guests Perry Scaramanga, Karl Sereousz and Smokey with a great cut up of a Jehst sample on the hook. The album is full of dope quotables and observations, and its good to know your not the only one who likes drinking "A pint of Guiness with a shot of whiskey in it". The haunting 'City' provides great paranoid headphone fodder for those late night excursions along train tracks looking for dope pieces; however the standout track for me is 'Origin' a beautifully crafted piece of music documenting a poignoint biography of Modulok, I had that shit on repeat about 8 times when I first heard it. The cover art is intriguing and fascinating; the only real complaint would be a lack of detail in the liner notes, one of the side elements that bring an album to life. That aside, this album demonstrates an immense creativity, heart and dedication to hip hop, self expression and life. Go cop it!

P.S. If you want a taste of what's good these kind people present a free mini-album available to download from the myspace page, go support.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Q Bert @ Scratch Club

Check one two for all you Hip Hop fiends; if your anywhere near the Midlands on Saturday the 13th, make sure you get yo asses down to the Rainbow Warehouse in Digbeth, Brum to get down to the legendary sounds of the worlds greatest turntablist - Q Bert! Supported by a great selection of Scratch Club regulars, the night promises to be a proper treat! For tickets check and for more information! 

Monday, September 01, 2008

Mr FX Bad Boy Show

Evening Ladies and Gents (or Nifty, my only known reader!) Just a note to give props to my man Mr FX bustin' out the tunes on his weekly broadcast every Monday from 10 till midnight on, playing an eclectic mix of goodness, just heard the DnB remix of Adele's hometown so you know its BIG! Keep it locked to ruffradio also if your a junglist souljah cause they be streamin' that shit 24/7 - Word!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

GTA the Oxford sure shots

I have to say props to Chima for inviting me down to Oxford to make a cameo appearence during the video shoot for the slamming single "The Way". It was a great evening showcasing some wicked production from a local outfit, dancers and of course the ever energetic and enigmatic duo of Chima and Ineff. Check the photo to see if you can spot yours truly looking thugged out then check the video for more GTA goodness.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Classic Material

If you think the state of hip hop is fairly poor at the moment, you could try digging around as there is some very dope stuff about, its just hard to find. I picked up Truth and Jimmy Green's "Rapsploitation Sessions" excellent mix cd the other day and trust me its been in constant rotation, a great example of high calibre UK spitters. There's loads of great stuff from Sonnyjim, Kosyne and Kashmere circulating so watch out for that. Broadsheet's favourite poster boy Roots Manuva is supposedly on usual top form with a new LP so keep ya head up and ya ears open.

If that's not going to sate your appetite, I recommend heading to your local library and searching out "Classic Material - A guide to Hip Hop Albums" edited by Oliver Wang. It's a great guide to some timeless albums that will either have you pulling out dusty favourites or scrambling around amazon to find that dope shit to get your love of hip hop reinvigorated! Go cop dat.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Scratch Club Residence!

New Freshness every month! Props to Tom the big man for keeping it always superdope!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

US Rap Blog with nice DLs

Just found this site, looks pretty gangsta for all you knuckleheads! Got a Jadakiss mixtape that looks intersting for DL...

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Vocalswords A Reflective Review

So I don't forget in my old age, I'm using this page to document the origins and history of Vocalswords, and more specifically the role of Solocypher... not the most riviting of stories but someone might be interested!

Started rhyming with ADK (Now DJ Nifty), DJ Flare & Archer, founded the Vocalswords Collective. Made first EP/Demo 'First Daze' over commercial beats with a mixer and MiniDisc player! Took part in first emcee competition @ Ipswich Town Hall...lost to a bunch of Garage heads as it was starting to be the most influential style and would lead into the stomping movement that was to become known as Grime.


Studying in Birmingham joined Dominion Beats (Kid Anime, Chima, Swain, Ade the Mad African and Toshi) recording some crazy underground flavour joints! Featured on a couple of songs from Chima Anya's "Time Destroys All" E.P. Appeared on the Dominion Beats radio show on Burn FM. Helped with setting up the infamous 'Fat Gold Chain' hip hop and battle night as part of the Beatz and Pieces crew alongside Serious, Eliza, DJ Menthol and many hardworking others.


Heard on 1xtra in an accapella competition to meet Common. Got through despite Rodney P not understanding a line about the River Seine! Went to London for an emcee masterclass with Rodney P, Skitz and Common

Released home produced debut album "Citizen Framed" featuring Chima Anya (GTA), Kid Anime (Dominion Beats), Serious, Concept, the vocals of Kaf & Eliza with beats from DJ Nifty, JBC, Nasty and Taharka

Performed at Cotswold Bamboo festival and Drop Beats Not Bombs in the Medicine Bar, Birmingham...can currently be founded ciphering at Fat Gold Chain, Soul Thump and the UK Rising around Birmingham City!

A fairly quiet year in hip hop terms as real life has got in the way more than I would have liked! I am doing a PGCE training to be a primary school teacher which is knackering and has meant a lower rap profile.

I did manage to host the Festivale Fight against Aids Festival in the summer, hosted a couple of fat gold chains, freestyled at Fat Gold Chain and Soulthump, did a show @ Birmingham uni with Chima and appeared on Newstyle FM's DJ Cro Main Ingredient Show freestyling with the likes of Kosyne, Juice Aleem, GTA and I'm Hal....all great fun and an honour!

I havn't had a recording set up at all this year so output has been very low; Santa should be bringing me some gear soon though so watch out for some raw ish in the 07....Ive got bare rhymes backed up, a major collaboration set with DJ Nifty planned and should be also making an appearance on a track with Hedphoniks....Hustlin fo sho!! Laters