Wednesday, 27 February 2008

'At First They Were Doubting The Name But We Spat Fire They Weren't Outing Our Flame'

North London’s Calibar has joined up with SK Vibemakers for a new, free download mixtape, ‘The Name Explains It All’. Free downloads are definitely a good look, as well as being much appreciated by grime fans, so its good to see an impressive amount of tracks on this effort despite it being done in a relatively short space of time.

The production is especially good with the beats, despite a few of them having been heard before, still providing hype and impact, which come coutesy of producers such as Maniac, Terra Danjah, and Lewi White. Furthermore, with beats that sound familiar to grime fans, it is easier to concentrate on Calibar’s rhyming and style on the mixtape’s numerous freestyles, as well as his ever improving lyrical skill on the microphone.

Calibar calls upon other respected artists in the scene, including Ghetto, Wretch 32, and Cel22, meaning that good quality features, in addition to large production and direct bars, makes Calibar's latest efforts a straight download.

How does the new mixtape compare to 'Not In My Calibar'? Can you compare them?

You can’t really compare them, simply because they both had different purposes. ‘Not In My Calibar’ was my intro into the game and it was also more experimental, so it came across as more on an album vibe. ‘The Name Explains It All’ was more of a straight mixtape, with a host and that (F.X from SK Vibemakers). The idea behind this mixtape was to showcase big bars and flows. True, I don’t go radio as much as I used to, unless its for an interview or something. Generally I just want to show how much harder I’m spitting since my last mixtape.

There are some good features on the mixtape, including GH and Cell double. How did that come about? Are you gonna be on 'Slang Wid Grammar'?

They’re both my dargs still, and we respect each other’s music, just like most spitters and singers that feature on my tracks. And I think I’m on ‘Slang Wid Grammar’ as far as I know.

The mixtape is diverse, with real grime tracks but also hip hop as well, which is sometimes criticised by grime fans. What do you say to that?

If you noticed the new ting has more grime than rap. I’m often asked like am I a grime MC, or a rapper, or how come I’m always spitting on rap. Why don’t I do more grime? So I did, but that doesn’t mean I’m not gonna stop doing rap. I’ll never stop rapping, that’s part of who I am, its what I grew up on and its what influenced me to start spitting.

What are your plans for this year?

Well this year I’ve got a second retail mixtape dropping, I’m half way through it and its sounding like a work of art so far. I might have a video landing on your TV screens soon as well, but I’m just waiting until the mixtape is complete, so I can use that as a tool to promote my mixtape and the single.

What's going on with Combination Camp?

Combination Camp are back in full effect. Nearo came out the bing this year and we’re now putting in the work as a collective to bang out a fire mixtape. I had a track on ‘The Name Explains It All’ called ‘The Team Is Back’, which was a little taster of the new Combination Camp mixtape.

Lastly you haven’t been spittting seriously for that long, so are you pleased with the progress you’re making?

I am quite pleased with how far I’ve taken it, but there is still a long way to go and I haven’t reached half way where I wanna be. So I guess I’ll keep putting in the work as always… *laughs*

C.A.L.I.B.A 2 DA R

Thanks to Calibar, check out the myspace -

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

'I Can Even Watch A Butterz Girl Grinding'

Sending out to Elijah, with what looks like a very tidy line-up of top-a-top DJs. Skilliam will keep the ravers on their toes with grime and everything in between, and Kiss FM's Logan can finally be a part of the grimeforum tree as he's always wanted (don't deny it Sama). Vectra will be playing the classics, J.J. will be in the mix, and master-chopper Spyro is also reaching, so make sure you catch this. If you still need a little more convincing, Rinse FM DJ Tootsi who will be presiding over a hype grime v dubstep set, and J-SWEET, producer of Lethal's 'You'll Get Wrapped', 'The Come Up' and JME's 'Deadout', will be running all the exclusives fresh from the hard disc.

It should all be kicking off at aroyund 9, and you can email butterzparty@gmail.come for more details.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Nokia Meets London: 'Bell Dem Bell Dem'!

The Newham Generals can now enjoy many privileges since being signed to Dizzee Rascal's label Dirtee Stank, such as performing with the man himself, being given a platform to promote their music further, and obviously having e-larks with the kind people at Nokia footing the bill.

Tubbstar must have been asleep while the shenanigans were popping off, but D Double and Foots represent, as does some next guy who goes by the name of 'Father Wazir', who admittedly seems to be, generally speaking, a bit of a skengman still. Big up Desta, who satisfies Double's inevitable munchies after puffing the magical lemon with the mandem from E7.

This Cage character seems to be a little wacky, and looks a bit like the geezer from the Super Furry Animals, yet I think he talks sense in saying that Footsie has considerably upped the levels on mic. 'Generally Speaking' really can't come soon enough - roll on April, and some deeper hits from the bong.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Dirty Canvas, 29 February

The line-up is looking ridiculous. Its £8 for entry, but I think I would pay that just for the Double jungle set (no hype). Plastician's dubstep with some grime thrown in should prove a good contrast, and Vectra should duppy the place nicely.

Great to see God's Gift on a flyer again, and with P-Money and Fris reaching it should be more than live...

Rhythm Factory, Whitechapel Road, East London
£7 before 11, £8 after
10PM - 4AM

Friday, 8 February 2008

'Man In Meridian, I Know Man From All Kind Of Zones That Worship Man In Meridian'

I've been listening to a lot of President T recently, and especially his mixtape 'Back Inna My Face', which you can download from here if you're late. I did a review for the mixtape and, while listening it, I was thinking about Meridan Crew, and that some of the best tracks included features from them.

The days of Meridian are most likely over, with JME and Skepta having moved from Meridian Walk, and most of the remaining Meridian members forming the rap collective 'Bloodline'. At a time in the scene where the crew seems to be losing its importance, it seems even more of a shame because Meridian were a massive crew. There were a few members but not too many, and they had so much variety, with JME's comic bars, Big-H contrasting that with straight greaze, and Skepta's solid flow almost serving as an opposite to President T's stop-start style on mic.

Here is a decent set from probably the crew's heyday, during their regular shows on Deja Vu 92.3 FM. You can catch Big Fris on that, and also this is a video from the first part of the first Practice Hours DVD. You won't see Boy Better Know T-Shirts like that nowadays...

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Grime + Dubstep = The Way FWD>>

With the start of a new year for grime, it is hard to know what to expect. However, one of the strengths of this music is the diverse range of influences from which it draws upon, and perhaps the influence of dubstep is one that will colour grime to a great extent in 2008.

Indeed, the similarity of the two has been stressed. Both genres originate in the London area, and both around the turn of the millennium. Dubstep has even been cited as the ‘cousin’ of grime, with its predominance of minimalist, spaced-out beats harking back to the early days of the development of grime and Wiley’s ‘Eski’ sound.

In the last year the two have certainly shown correlation. Durrty Goodz widely-acclaimed ‘Axiom’ EP undeniably drew upon dubstep influences,Roll Deep’s Flow Dan and Killa P have fearured on Kode 9 productions and even the Newham Generals, containing grime stalwarts D Double E and Footsie, have increasingly drawn upon the sound, announcing a unique and exciting approach that may well be seen on their debut album, ‘Generally Speaking’. Such dubstep influences can be heard on their weekly radio sets on Rinse FM, with the Generals’ DJ Tubby regularly dropping tracks by dubstep heavyweights Skream, Benga, and Coki. One of dubstep’s biggest hits of 2007, Benga and Coki’s ‘Night’, has been played by Logan Sama on the only total grime show on legal radio in the world.

The importance of radio in the grime scene cannot be underestimated, and the decision by Rinse FM to ban grime being played by its DJs in late 2007 arguably had wider ramifications, urging the need for artists to explore other sounds yet still preside over engaging sets. However there is the problem of the aesthetics of grime and dubstep which, while having similarities and even crossovers, are different. The aesthetics aren't always compatible - in the aftermath of Rinse prohibiting grime being played on the station, Rinse FM’s DJ Tootsi was

‘contemplating on doing a show just playing dubstep’.

Despite this, he adds

‘I don’t think I could, I do like dubstep but if I'm honest a lot of it bores me. If I couldn’t play grime on my show I’d probably be playing 4x4 bassline instead of dubstep’.

Again related to the music’s different aesthetics is the matter of production. The hype an MC can give to a track is reflected in seemingly more simple grime production in relation to dubstep, which is generally marked by an 8/16 bar intro with no bass, straight into a 16 bar verse, followed by a looped 8-bar chorus. The more linear approach to grime production allows MCs to add energy to a track with gradual emphasis, which is in contrast to the largely instrumental nature of dubstep which allows its producers to explore with more complex song structures. Such a clear distinction is fundamentally tied to the different aesthetics of both genres, which again can be seen in Tootsi’s views in that

‘a lot of the tunes are more complex but that don’t make them better at all… if there was a boring tune that sounded great or a hype track which could sound better I would be playing the hype track every time’.

The scenes have had some contact for some time now, most conspicuously from Skream and his crossover hit ‘Midnight Request Line’. Skepta vocalled the tune and Wiley showed interest, so the influence has stayed, though now in a form that suggests the grime scene has taken the sound as its own. Examples of this hybrid can be heard in Footsie’s new productions, which provide hype yet maintain a similar sound. The approach of grime artists drawing from dubstep relates to the views of Tootsi's views:

‘I always find that grime fans and DJs are a lot more open to dubstep music than the dubstep fans and DJs are open to grime. You will hear grime DJs playing all the biggest dubstep tracks but you will never hear a dubstep DJ playing a big grime tune - I’ve got no clue why this is though’.

Perhaps it is just the nature of grime music. A journalist once famously coined the phrase that grime was ‘the bastard’ of hip hop and garage. The term has derogatory connotations, but also reflects the music’s energy and grittiness, as well its ability to linger in the UK underground. As a music with so many influences, perhaps this latest trend is just another example of grime doing what it does best, in turn proving itself to be the most exciting and innovative music on the underground.

Thanks to DJ Tootsi, catch his show on Rinse FM every Satuday night from 1-3 AM

Saturday, 2 February 2008

'On Friday Night Man Are Merking FWD...'

That is the biggest line-up I have seen on a flyer for a very long time. £11 for advance tickets, £12 on the door and £8 for all the students who give air to their assignments.

The End, 18 Central West Street, Friday 22 February 2008.