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

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