Thursday, 19 June 2008

'Made A New Tune On My Laptop, Found A New Bass Sound And It's Called Hybrid'

Grindie. A merciless manipulation of grime's elements, creating a Frankensteinein hybrid that mocks and taunts an original, firm fan-base, while in the interim catering for a new audience and the NME as a recent claim to originality and innovation. A view that must have it's own proponents given opinions voiced on the forums.

The problem is, it all seems a little contradictory. Grime, especially a few years ago, consisted of myriad musical influences, resulting in a musical type that had never been heard before or since; a harsh, guttural, and raw style whose breadth, in itself, was staggering while simultaneously suggesting limitless possibilities.

Hadouken! are a band that typify 'grindie', and in the process get lambasted for their use of grimey influences. Why? The situation takes an even more ludicrous turn given the fact that their lead singer, a chap called James as it transpires, was formally known as Dr. Venom, making beats under the True Tiger name.

Grime is an insular culture, which is undoubtedly part of its appeal. However, it has to grow and adapt in order to ensure its health. Aren't artists that use grime as part of their sound paying the highest compliment? Is the hostility that is directed at a band such as Hadouken! indicative of a prevailing narrow-mindedness that holds the scene back?

Just some questions.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

‘I Ain’t A Yank, I Grew Up Around Ballies And Shanks’

Black the Ripper did a Chipmunk by making consecutive appearances on Tim Westwood’s 1Xtra Rap Show last week. Not needing much excuse to play a bit of hip hop, Westwood obliged after Dexplicit’s opening gambit that ‘he’s not just a grime guy, not at all bruv’, with a classic instrumental that I don’t know the name of, and for which I can only apologise.

Black the Ripper Freestyle

Grime MCs that choose to dabble with the dark side and indulge in hip hop, whether Bashy or Wretch 32, tend to get criticised by a generally unforgiving, grimey fanbase that doesn't approve of spitting like 'Dipset, D-Block and G-Unit'. On occasions the criticism is justified but, when Black the Ripper does it, he seems to miraculously avoid the inevitable outcry of ‘bait hip hop’.

I actually rate Black on hip hop, to the extent that I would willingly buy a CD of him riding solely hip hop beats. The beats are slower, and an MC has to improvise with energy from other sources. However, Black seems to do hip hop in his own way, with his confrontational, in-your-face delivery being very much ‘grime’, in a style which was honed on Axe that left many an MC reeling. Despite the change of tempo his bars are still raw enough to keep people happy, doing hip hop in a fashion that is natural to him and faithful to his style around mic.

'Black is Beautiful' had very good moments; hip hop moments. It may be old, but nonetheless allows a glimpse at an era in which mixtapes were mixtapes, assembled quickly with little song structure and straight barring, which is welcome now in an age when MCs put 4-6 months' effort on a mixtape in a vain attempt to blow. Expect 100 BPM in places on Summer Madness, which is in stock at grimestore from 20 June so go cop that.

Waiting For My Day To Come

Thursday, 12 June 2008

'I Duppy Careers Don't Tempt Me... I Only Emcee 'Cos Certain MCs Can't Emcee'

I'm still sceptical as to whether '10% Effort' was really deployed but, despite the misnomer, this is a solid collection of tunes from emerging East London MC Brutal. The beats have been drawn from the hard-drives of Rude Kid, Skeamz, Silencer, and Dot Rotten, resulting in a big and bold production which suits Brutal's simple style and content, including numerous sends for Chipmunk and his 'Rental Flows'.

10% Effort is now available for free download, forming a new section to Brutal's ever-expanding archives of freeness and complementing his School Days series. While downloads without charge convey a good message, as well as being appreciated by fans, they arguably lend to a disposable music culture which has a limited life span. Listening to this, it's something that would have been worth the cash and it's a shame that Dot Rotten didn't release his half since, bearing in mind what he is capable of, 10% Effort could have been one of the best releases of the year.

However, Dot is moving in a determined direction, leaving Young Dot in the dust. RIP Young Dot is the title of his forthcoming release, and it has shot straight to the summit in the mental list of 'must-buys' in regard to projects that are due to land in 2008. He shone on OG Season, whether on the buttons or around mic, and he surely made a weighty contribution to a CD that was full of good songs with decent hooks. Expectations are high and, if This is the Beginning was the finest hour for Young Dot, there is no reason to suggest why RIP Young Dot can't be Rotten's defining moment.

RIP Young Dot Freestyle

RIP Young Dot is available from July 14, exclusively from UK Recordshop. Grimestore should also be stocking limited copies so pre-order now.