Friday, 31 October 2008

P-Money: P-Money is Power Review

Being one of the few MCs that has consistently gone to radio this year, and in the aftermath of the well-received promo A Little Back Then With Now, P-Money should be regarded as one of the best MCs of 2008. As a result, P-Money Is Power had high expectations. Unfair or not, it didn't match up to them.

The mixtape was a fair attempt with some good concepts, and the refixing of various MCs' bars was successful initially in The Grime Scene Part 1, and followed up in the wide air-play of Sounds and Gimmicks and P Is a Rascal. However, on the mixtape itself, the idea of taking different lyrics and making them into a new form was one in which the novelty quickly wore off. The attempt to reference as many people as possible tends to lead to a lack of focus on the track, resulting in little being said. There was hype on occasions, but maybe a Sounds and Gimmicks-like track could have been much more effective as an interlude since the track, running to nearly four minutes, did get boring by the end.

New subject matter is appreciated in a scene where content is narrow, but all the same Watch Your Drinks was an odd track, even if the message was valid enough. The track's beat wasn't great either, which is a sentiment that can be said for a fair few tunes on the CD.

However there were exceptions, with Big Shot's contribution providing hype and impetus that was vital to the success of a track like P Is a Rascal, and the Dot Rotten beats were generally good even if he has made better. All the same, the beat for Talking To Trainers was one of the best there, along with Wonder Boy.

The Motive, Slammer, London Boy, and What Did He Say Remix were also good tracks, and Talking To Trainers is also memorable, even if the metaphors were used too much, an offence that Sounds and Gimmicks is also guilty of. However, the style of references worked well on the intro, which related to the tracks that followed in a clever way. The CD 'intro' is often a wasted attempt at introducing the listener to the CD and the world it tries to portray, but this happily wasn't the case here.

P-Money is currently one of the first MCs a grime fan would want to hear on a radio set or at a rave, and he's certainly one of the better MCs out there. He's raw and has an impeccable flow yet, on the evidence of this CD and as an artist, he's not quite the finished article.

'Hit 'Em Like a Lightning Bolt, 5000 Volt It's Your Own Fault'

It happens less these days, but still a beat that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up always results in replaying the beat at least ten times or something dumb that like that.

Dot Rotten Beat (Radio Rip)

It might be the strings, it might be the mini-drop, it might be the Dizzee Rascal sample that matches other Rotten beats such as Can't Test My Crew, the one with the Fugees' Ready Or Not excerpt, and Skepta's 'every time you see me wearing the glove' sample. Either way, the beat has an atmosphere to it that is a combination of all the individual elements and, even if it is a little old, the result is a joy to listen to.

The audio might not give justice to the clip from where I got this from, which was when Dot had a tantrum because Logan didn't deal him like one of them guys. So just listen to that if you like Youtube and Logan's mixing. And if you enjoy looking at comments from people who have the inability to think properly.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

'When I'm Saying Serial I Ain't Talking About Coco Pops'

Grime videos are a phenomenon that should be appreciated by all. They've got slicker over time, and this year has seen some good ones in Muhammad Ali,
Star In The Making, In A Coner, and Hustler.

The whole spectrum is there in grime videos, from the budget-ness of From Day, the polished slapstick of Pies, the comedy of Rolex Sweep, the dreads and mayhem on Message Is Love, the neon and erratic movements of Mr, and the hype of I Can C U. I appreciate the large majority of grime videos, but nothing comes close to Murkle Man.


Jammer - Murkle Man

Naturally, the latest contribution to grime's Youtube presence doesn't surpass the work of art of Murkle Man, but Tinchy Stryder's latest, Rollin', is a respectable video that's well shot. There's no real amateur moments here that make it a true grime classic, and the start gets off and running safely with a surely conscious nod to Jay-Z's Change Clothes. I still prefer the version with Dillusion, but this is a big track regardless.

Tinchy Stryder (Feat. Roachee) - Rollin'

The video has its moments, including Maniac's deserved cameo that follows in the vein of Mainstream Money and Kidulthood To Adulthood and, even more deservedly, he's spared the embarassment of being called a 'brainiac' this time around. Tinchy drops about two slices of probably Warburtons on the floor, and even 'Ricky from MTV' comes along for the 'Roachee's free!!' party. The dancing at the end, as well as the traditional cameos of various MCs, gives the video character and suits the nice vibe of the track.

The single will feature on the anticipated mixtape Stryder Vs Maniac, which is due for release on November 10.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

'I'll Leave Your Head-Piece Open, On The Door-Step With The Front Door Open'

Lord of the Decks is a grime institution that needs reviving. It was consistent, and their soundtracks were some of the best ever and epitomised the sound. I always liked the first one, with Crazy Titch's Destruction vocal, Esco's version of Ice Rink 2, and N.A.S.T.Y's Take You Out. The first Lord of the Decks and its shameless imitation of The Lord Of The Rings is full of character, and 'The Fellowship Of The Mic' is poetry. It's refreshing to look back on something like that now, amidst the hygienic yet necessary professionalism that's needed to market yourself these days.

The fellowship of the mic was represented on the DVD for the third edition, which is one of the best bits of grime footage I've ever seen. They might lack quality control, but I love grime DVDs, and there's always priceless moments that have replay value.

The footage of Kano's, D Double's, Jammer's, and Lethal B's weekend in Berlin has a ridiculous amount of highlights, including Jammer getting into the car for the airport at 4 in the morning while still blazing, Kano in the recovery position on the plane and scared shitless while Jammer and Lethal do their best to drown out the public service announcement, and Jammer laughing at D Double E's bag because it was made by Hi-Tec.

Jammer is the centre of everything comic, but his tour-de-force is yet to come. The records are left in the hotel room with the keys, and Kano just stands there as Jammer tries to kick down the door. While yelling 'POOOOOWW'! 'POOOOOWWW'!

After numerous attempts, the Merkle Man flies in mid-air, both feet extended for the aerial dropkick, the camera going into slow-motion, and Jammer eventually breaks in, only to fall on the floor in the moment of victory.

Bizzle described it best, in probably the best monologue Germany has ever heard.
'It's all mad out here but, did you just see that shit? It's fucking nuts, Jammer fucking Superman Dread licking off fucking doors and shit, see me rudeboy, IT'S REAL, THE BIZZLE, WE'RE IN FUCKING GERMANY, you see me, man are late for the gig, man are on some BLACK PEOPLE'S TIME, YOU SEE MEEE'

A lively weekend with even livelier grime ambassadors. Over four years on, they've all done alright for themselves. Where have the characters gone?

Monday, 27 October 2008

'She's Wearing The Rolex I'll Be Like Pass Me The Watch'

I used to dislike Westwood but, through listening to his shows more often after becoming a self-appointed grime patron, I've come to accept he has comic value. That said I rarely tune in to his show on a Sunday night. Rinse FM had a promising line-up but technology fucked off when it was needed so, with some thoroughly legal BBC backing, Westwood passed over the airwaves. I locked in.

Asher D turned up with Swindle and Realist. I rate Asher highly; he's released a lot of material, he was one of my favourite MCs in the So Solid Crew, and Bullet Boy was one of the best urban UK films I've seen. Not that making a UK urban film that's better than the rest is that difficult, but it was a good film all the same. He seems to have a plan with his label AD82 as well, and his recent signing of Realist seems shrewd, even if it's too early to make any major conclusions about it all.

Swindle is also a part of the AD82 roster but, unfortunately, Westwood wasn't too clued up on his movements, so had to ask what he was about. Swindle replied he released his 140 Mixtape, surely grateful for any sort of plug, only for Westwood to ruin everything by piping up with 'what dawg, Kano's joint'?

I laughed.

Westwood covered his tracks by suggesting Kano might have had a bite on the title name. He did quite a good job of it. Realist also did a good job too, barring over Nocturnal's Stay Down The Road remix which was a good selection that matched the hype. The bars were grimey but he also came across as a courteous chap in bigging up his mum not once, but twice.

A quick detour. I finally got round to listening to 140 Grime Street recently. After a few listens, it's not bad. There's some pretty good tracks on there, although some did make me wince, such as Don't Come Around Here, on which I expected Lil' John to start growling at any moment, and the totally unforgettable Soldier. The accapellas are good lyrically, but they highlight the newish, Kano slur, and Missing Me concludes with 'I garaged it, hip-hopped it, ragga'ed it, now it's back to grime because they've been missing me like Madeleine'.


140 Grime Street is a misleading title but it's a decent effort overall, with Hustler, Hunting We Will Go, These MCs, Anywhere We Go, and Seems Like Things Have Changed lighting the way. A journalist from the Guardian called the album 'tremendously heartening'. I think that's going a little far, but everyone is entitled to their opinion and, generally, I did enjoy the album. The Guardian article also claims that the album is a step 'back on the right path'. Hopefully Kano treads that path for a while yet.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

'Number 1 DJ Logan's Dutty, Sama's Dutty'

Nasty Jack's Logan Dub still makes me laugh. In a good way. The flattery may have some substance, wth the release of the new edition of The Best There Is At What I Do after a little delay. The series is already three episodes deep, and any potential slur on Logan Sama's tardiness is quickly brushed aside in what follows, which is a brilliant mix containing hype instrumentals and the newest vocals from the scene's finest.

The atmospheric start, which was ripped from a place I unfortunately don't know about, suggests art-form rather than gesture to needy fans. As far as I'm concerned, the highlight is the drop of Do You Hear Me/Arnie, produced by Footsie because, frankly, it wasn't expected and it's one of the better beats I've ever heard in my short life. Dropping it while Foots spits his verse over Newham Generals' recent track Just Know That was a nice touch.

Straight after is the latest Jammer track off Are You Dumb Volume 4. I forgot the name of it. It wasn't intentional because, despite the liberal use of Auto-Tune that he can't resist using yet again on the lastest Cemetary Warriors track it's one of the best Jammer vocals around. Holiday and Duppy Maker are also personal favourites, but his latest shows a maturer Jammer that has improved a lot.

The mixing was very good which, admittedly, is always a bonus on a mix. The linking of Silencer's World War 4 to Kano's Hunting We Will Go was a joy to listen to, and the selection was clearly thought about in advance. Tracks often flow into another, such as Skepta's instrumental for Killa P's Killa merging into the latest Cemetary Warriors vocal, and Ice Kid's Talk Of The Town coming before Wiley's now half-forgotten Kicked Out The Game, relating to Ice's 'I ain't got one tune to my name I'll walk out the game and walk back in it'.

These mixes are quite handy as well because you can listen to the newest vocals without having to wait the interminable amount of time for your average grime CD. Recent tunes that feature on the latest edition of The Best There Is At What I Do include Frisco's Ignorant Remix with Roadside G's, Roachee's Top 3 Selected and the Hunting We Will Go Remix with Ghetto. If Logan carries on the way he's going 'coming soon' may never have the same potency it once had ever again.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

'There's No Way On Earth You Can Hear Me And Say That You Don't Rate Man'

I'm painfully aware that Wiley has been the topic of the day for probably too many days, so surely one more won't hurt before I have a little rest and write about something else. On the other hand, there is interest in See Clear Now from places because I've been getting a ridiculous amount of hits recently. I thought I didn't care about that sort of thing but, apparently, it appears I do.

With it being Monday yesterday Logan Sama was on the radio, even though he's not next week. The tears were about to flow but he promised to do an old-school grime mix instead, so it's all good. For once I actually stayed up for the whole two hour grime extravagaza and, despite no set, the show was decent, which I can only put down to the host's inimitable style and slick radio broadcasting skills. Logan still wasn't finished, putting a caller's number on the internet after the show for saying racist things. Humble pie for the people who doubted the man's cameo appearance on Roll Deep's Racist People.

The show kicked off to a flippant start, with Logan saying that Wiley had a new album out, so 'might as well play some tracks'.

Fair enough.

I was eagerly waiting for the new offerings, until I was interrupted with a message from one of grime's few entrepeneurs, the internet tycoon Hij. Inexplicitly, Hij decided that it was no longer appropriate for me to be a 'Super Shower Moderator' on the grimeforum. Whether the power has gone to his head or not, I painfully accepted the decision against the backdrop of the new Wiley track Can't Stop Thinking which, bar for some elements of the production, was comprehensively deadout. The song has now been inherited with bad connotations, a personal soundtrack of failure, and the realisation that I've been dropped back into the pit of forum runts.

*waves at grimeforum users*

Generally though, the music wasn't conventional pop-music. It was quite bizarre really, and I don't know what to make of it. It wasn't straight pie which is what some may have expected, and there is barring rather than sparse, minimalistic vocals that have little to no worth. I might buy See Clear Now just out of intrigue. Intentional or not, intrigue isn't a bad marketing ploy.

Wiley - See Clear Now

The album being released on Asylum is a one-off, with Wiley leaving and going independent on Eskibeat Recordings. I said a while back what I thought about the label, but at least it has some releases now, if not much else.

Ice Kid was supposedly a member but, after finally making a track, it appears that he's 'Eskibeat Recordings... Director'. Really, you can't get away from why. Wiley can do what he wants, but the idea of giving something to someone for nothing makes no sense whatsoever. The camp has to make movements regardless for the title to mean anything so, as an Ice Kid fan, hopefully being the director of Eskibeat Recordings will get him out of bed in the morning to make some tunes.

The 'I'll melt ya igloo so retire' talk is over. Everyone's happy. They see clear now.

Monday, 20 October 2008

'Going On Dirtee Going On Stank, Robbing MCs Like Barclays' Bank'

The title to this has no relevance. Sorry about that. Firstly I just weant to say a few things about yesterday's post. Wiley made his own thoughts clear, saying:

air thats all air if i didnt make another song again i would still be happy trust me music is something that i live tho and thats why no blog or article can dictate my career watch i will do any music i want including grime nobody cant chat to me

I respect he can make any music he wants. If you have the opportunity to collaborate with artists of international recognition, like Mark Ronson, your name will get out there even further. You might not get the chance to do a project like that again. You have to seize opportunties when they float by.

Some things that were mentioned, such as Lily Allen appearing on the album, were taken from sources. Some of them could well have been wrong. Wiley says that Allen actually won't feature on the album.

I'm in the library and I've already been chucked out for getting hype to D Double E's vocal of Anger Management this year, so I can't hear it. The ITN Youtube channel doesn't mince its words though - the message is clear enough.

Talking of DEE, it seems Newham Generals tracks are finally doing the rounds. Spyro played a few tracks last Saturday, one of which could well have been the 'Head Get Mangled' vocal. The tune Just Know That was played on Logan Sama's show last week, and hopefully there will be some others tonight.

Wiley does get props however for finishing his album before the Gens, because they did have a bit of an unfair headstart. The tracklist was posted on the forum earlier today, so 'Randy Marsh' your time.


1. Ryder Intro
2. Wearing My Rolex
3. I Need To Be
4. Summertime
5. See Clear Now Feat. Kano & Scorcher
6. Cash In My Pocket Feat. Daniel Merriweather
7. 5AM Feat. Scorcher
8. Step By Step Feat. Hot Chip
9. Turn It Up
10. Cant Stop Thinking
11. I Am The Sea

5AM could be promising, and so could See Clear Now. The jury's out until the November 10.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

'Oi Oi It's The Paper Boy'

I checked my emails today. I thought I would get into some sort of regular habit, because the last few times I logged in I clocked 568 unread messages in my inbox, and 1,327,822 unread messages in the spam folder. And that's not the one.

I trawled through shit in abundance, but an Amazon flier for Wiley's latest album, See Clear Now, intrigued me enough to have a look. The title changed from the last time I heard it, which was 'I See Clear'. It's out in less than a month's time.

The title seems a bit odd, moving from the personal 'I' to instead some sort of larger statement, and could be seen as a bit of an insult to over-sensitive grime fans that catch feelings over not much. If anything I would argue that he's not seeing clearer now, and that he could have introduced a music that he's a pioneer of in a mellower form, and to a wider audience, on the back of Grime Wave.

I suppose we have to see what the tracklist is saying first. Wearing My Rolex was planned for Boy Better Know's album VIP, but it must be on See Clear Now, because otherwise that's a fail on massive proportions. Also, the planned trilogy of Rolex-like tunes to get a Boy Better Know album deal took a bit of a bashing, what with Skepta's Rolex Sweep debuting at #92 on the itunes digital download chart.

Summertime is probably on the album as well. The label rightly got slagged off for the October release date of a track named SUMMERTIME but, given the album should be available approximately 3 weeks after the Daft Punk tribute, it seems to make a bit more sense. A third single could be something along the lines of She Glows, which is planned for release on November 24, a week after See Clear Now hits the stores.

The only definite track is the Mark Ronson collaboration Cash In My Pocket. It's ironic that the song title just about sums up this whole 'See Clear Now' business. The heart skips a further beat with NME reporting that Lily Allen and Hot Chip will also come along for the pop-orgy.

The article gets even more disturbing, with Wiley apparently being quoted as saying that 'it's pop all the way from here'. The affirmation hides behind an honourable guise of wanting 'to push boundaries', but he could have done that by making grime music over his current beats, with good lyricism and musicality that others would undoubtedly have appreciated while pushing the genre on its own terms.

Wiley's served his time, and has every right to make some of that mainstream money, but I wonder about the consequences of this album. Wearing My Rolex showed that the scene has a fair amount of followers and if this album sells well, which on the evidence it probably will, then it could set a benchmark and even a blueprint for others to follow.

Wiley has built his own legacy through making ground-breaking music, and being at the forefront of the scene he had a vital part in establishing. It's a real shame that, in the space of a few months, he could damage his musical legacy beyond repair.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

'I Bounce My Tunes From Logic They Get Turned Straight Into Profit You Don't Do Shit'

This is the best beat I've heard in ages.

I don't know how late I am, but it can't be that old. Dot again proves that you can make sophisticated-sounding music while still keeping true to grime. If someone over the fence or the 'mainstream' doesn't appreciate this then they can just go and sit in a silent corner and think about their actions.

If Rotten Riddims Volume 7 had this beat, Wildlife, the instrumental for That's How Life Goes, the I Know About You beat on Hungry Season, and the Money instrumental, it would be one of the best CDs of 2008. Probably 2009 as well.

Someone make it happen please.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

'Spray Bars Shower, I've Got A Different Sort Of Power Yeah...

Shorty Smalls is one of my favourite MCs. I don't really know why. His delivery isn't perfect, his bars could be constructed better, and his workrate isn't great. In the current climate maybe that's part of the appeal; an MC who makes no pretensions and with no yearning for wider acclaim. Just like every other grime MC he may have weaknesses, but with a good flow when the bars are on-point, and the anthemic S.H.O.R.T.Y S.M.A.L.L.S that still gets wheels in the gaff, he has enough about him that warrants more attention than he gets.

Generally you won't be high in the grime conscience if you release next to nothing, and the situation takes a tragically comic edge given the 'Non Stop Working' mantra which, even more unfortunately, had to be printed on numerous T-Shirts. I'm not going to slag off the tees because, like most in grime, they're not laughable. Anyway I hope something is coming soon but sometimes hoping is all a bit pointless. I'm not necessarily old enough, but I am wise enough to realise that it's more likely that Ronald McDonald will turn up to Rinse next week to spray a couple bars sending for The Colonel and the Crispy Twister.

Mixtapes seem to be a standard for anyone in the scene who wants to be taken seriously, and Chipmunk thinks you can't be taken seriously if you don't have several tunes to your name. I respect the young man's output and it's propelled him where he is now, but with six promos and three mixtapes saying anything else would seem a bit silly. Nobody wants a punch in the face and Chip stuck to the script, yet Esco and Ice Kid to name a few prove happy exceptions to the rule. Silence has led to intrigue, with fans hyping in the expectation of something, and an over-indulgence on the few freestyles or features they can call their own.

I'm not sure what Esco and Ice Kid have lined up, though I think I do know. Chipmunk's debut album 'I Am Chipmunk' is due for release soon. I wish him every success but, whatever the measure of his future success, I'll always rate Shorty Smalls higher. I don't really know why.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

'We Roll Deep Regular'

'it's an epic situation once again...'

J2K probably jumped about three guns on this one but I'll allow an MC his hyperbole and, in truth, Roll Deep with Karnage and Logan on deck is one of the better sets I've heard this year. Not that there's been a lot, but still. Better than being one of the shittier sets of the year.

Boy Better Know set trends and, with the release of the Microphone Champion studio set, they've given legitimacy to the medium and, in the process, half-established something that's well worth keeping. BBK get props for that, yet here Manga's not so sly references to Ed Hardy did cause mild alarm and, in the aftermath, the hope that the contagious disease of Ed Hardy and associated lyrical vacuousness doesn't spread like MRSA to other innocents in the scene who, really, I would like to think know better.

However I can't deny Manga a mention of cliche fashion if he so wishes, and the admission is easier given his performance here, amply proving he's a good MC and potentially a real asset to a crew with, in relation to the scene, frighteningly aging members. Flow Dan still has life in him since he provides energy in abundance on this set, and his impeccable flow still gets wheels, showing Manga the right path by bomming 'SKENG' down the mic and getting a straight reload. I've always rated Scratchy and it was good to hear him for the first time in too long. J2K fits in well into the crew, giving the impression he's been around for longer than he has been, and Killa P delivers characteristic hype.

Wiley of course wasn't present but Logan's selection was a nice touch, at one point dropping Sidewinder, Terrible and Flat Derek in succession, Scratchy's Shut Your Mouth, and bangers Eastern Jam and Gridlock. Karnage played newer beats from Maniac and Bless Beats, giving a good contrast between the two DJs.

Hopefully the set provides some good promotion for their new album release, Return of the Big Money Sound, which is available from 13 October 2008.