Monday, 28 April 2008


'She loves me cos I'm smooth like Bugsy Malone
Don't need the cologne it's past that,
Linked her when I had a black star tat
Late one night it was cold like Spartak... Moscow.'

Floating Thruda Sky. Roll Deep; 'Rules + Regulations', 2007.

One of the best four bars I've ever heard.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Chipmunk, Double S & Shalo - Let's Change

Always Recordings are certainly putting across a big impression, with its good organisation and a roster of promising, upcoming artists grabbing attention in a scene that sometimes lacks professionalism.

This song is called Let’s Change, featuring Chipmunk, Double S, Shalo Kid and vocalist Anisa. The track is a fair effort, and it holds the line quite well given the sensitive subject matter and the MCs, while at moments coming close to being ‘preachy’, just about avoid it.

The track is a slower tempo to what the artists featured would usually jump on, with no trademark skippy flows from Double S here. The song could feature on a forthcoming project, perhaps 'Money's The Motive', but I can't really see it. Chipmunk's album? Time will tell.

Let’s Change is dedicated to the teenager Adam Regis, who was killed amongst a spate of teenage murders in London that got attention in the national media last year. Rest in Peace.

Friday, 4 April 2008

Skepta Freestyle - Tim and Barry TV

Skepta Freestyle

It really wasn’t that long ago when people were saying Skepta needed more bars. These aren’t particularly ‘new’, but by the same point its rarer to hear that Skepta is in the ‘top four crews’ these days.

I remember a set with Flow Dan from last year, and his more recent bars over Silencer’s World War 4 really did the beat justice. Even on the JME producer takeover on Cameo’s 1xtra show, his role as ‘the stig’ was a good idea and he seemingly had ‘bars for days’, whether on Plastician’s laid-back Clouds or Maniac’s more intense Star in the Making Remix.

It seems a bit of a shame that, in my opinion, the one-line flows don’t adapt particularly well to songs. Nokia Charger Wire and Skankin’ Ting are OK, but not really an In A Corner or even a Blood, Sweat and Tears. With songs like that, ‘Greatest Hits’ did things right, and just a bit more of that could have given the album a much better reception. ‘Microphone Champion’ awaits.

Devilman Freestyle

I assume Skepta is busy enough with his album project, busy enough to ignore Devilman sending for him and his brother. It was a great clash on ‘Lord of the Mics’, but Skepta won it despite credit coming for Devilman, so its best to leave it at that. It seems a bit ironic that, while riding his own 4x4 production, he says that ‘you and your brother make shit beats, that’s why you’ll never hear Devilman flow on them’.

He’s not fooling anyone, despite his ever-increasing comic value:

'You bitch, you think I won't hit you because you're a woman?
Huh? Huh?
Look at me when I'm talking to yooouuuuuuu...'

If it was her that put 'the dirty poison' in the 'fried rice', she deserved it.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Ghetto: Freedom of Speech Review

‘I’ve heard more than a couple riddims all seven Tunnel Visions, and I would just like to say, you can take three of the best from each, put ‘em together and I bet it’s not better than Freedom of Speech…’

If Wiley did this, there probably wouldn’t be a lot between them.

The Tunnel Vision compilation is now available, but that’s what it is - a compilation, a gathering of certain tracks that don’t have the collective unity of a particular mixtape, unlike Ghetto’s third solo release, ‘Freedom of Speech’. Such unity is characterised by a Ghetto that is far cry from the mellower J. Clarke on ‘Ghetto Gospel’, with a gritty content allied with beats only provided by Lewi White and Smasher. In such conditions, as well as Ghetto being in his arguably best persona, Ghetto stays true to his mixtape title and what follows is very much an example of ‘Freedom of Speech’.

The CD gets off to a familiar start in ‘Commandments’, a track that has enjoyed much airplay from Logan Sama’s Kiss show and pirate radio stations. On this tune, ‘Lewi is cold’, a trend that continues as the mixtape progresses, and this relatively laid back track serves as a contrast to a GH that is truly all-out in the dark, gritty, and graphic tracks that shortly follow, such as ‘Darkside Freestyle’, ‘Threats’, and ‘Buss 1’. Ghetto holds it up on the freestyle, even if the bars may be familiar, and he calls upon MCs Griminal and Brutal for ‘Threats’ whose token contributions, while still contributing well enough to the track, don’t quite match Ghetto breathlessly going back to back on microphone with Devlin in what could be seen as the mixtape’s highlight. Even Mercston manages to wriggle his way into proceedings via his Orange connection at the end of one of the most played hits from the mixtape, ‘Mountain’. The excerpts from phone calls emphasise the CD’s stress on freedom of speech, and they can also be heard on one of the most praised songs on the mixtape, ‘Convo with a Cabby’, as well as on ‘Threats’.

The ‘angry’ Ghetto certainly takes centre stage, but it would be wrong to suggest that there is a lack of versatility on this release. The dubstep-like beat of ‘What It Takes’ proves welcome after the intensity of the more hype tracks, and the ‘I’m Ghetts Remix’ (featuring Chipmunk) is a slower track, taking the focus away from the roads. There is hip hop too, but its done well by a more mature Ghetto from ‘2000 and Life’, giving the CD another aspect to it, as well as bringing out a different side to Ghetto’s style of spitting. The contrast is also lyrical; the Ghetto who has something to say also comprises the conscious, with good concepts and, towards the end, tracks such as ‘Brothers with Arms’ and ‘How It Is’ bring into focus wider problems that contribute to Ghetto’s fundamental identity on ‘Freedom of Speech’.

For a release that has been widely pushed in commercial stores, and one that followed ‘Ghetto Gospel’, it is admirable that Ghetto has said everything he wants to say, and more in a true instance of ‘real talk’, creating a grime mixtape that is diverse yet of high quality, and portraying the genre’s energy as well as the undeniable talent that it can call its own.

The ‘skippy-flow man’ has thrown down the gauntlet, and put more than a decent claim to the throne with a release that is one of the best to emerge from the grime scene. Go and support.

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