Saturday, 29 November 2008

"I Write Bars On Showerman Rooftops"

Better late than never. Radio is really picking up after the summer months when everyone was in Ayia Napa having fun and I was sitting indoors, with no holiday fun, trying to avoid the rain, gales and all other sorts of meteorological fuckery. Perhaps unfairly I looked to the grime scene for some sort of relief, but nothing was forthcoming.

The outlook has now brightened up, and Vectra was on Rinse last night, with Jammer making a surprise appearance. However, maybe it was more of a surprise that Blacks wasn't there, given his regular appearances on the pirates in the second half of this year. Nevertheless a track of his was played, which I'll just call Grime Kid after the name of the Maniac production and Wiley vocal. Divshare seems to be down yet again so I've popped my zSHARE cherry. Listen to the track here.

The hook is a bit weak but, regardless of recorded output, it's the radio performances alone that have catapulted him up the list as one of the best MCs in 2008, representing the sound in one of its most natural and rawest mediums.

At the moment, grime needs more MCs like Blacks.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Maniac Vs Stryder Review

In the unlikely event that you didn't clock, Tinchy Stryder Vs Maniac does indeed feature the Bow residents, with the MC and producer coming together to unite yet also compete against each other in the CD's central concept.

The idea of the two going against each other is interesting, and one that surely intends to raise levels. I remember Skepta on JME's 1Xtra producer Takeover Show saying that when he hears a good beat it makes him want to fight against it. Maniac was also on that show, and it was the first showcase of his beats Star In The Making Remix and Warzone. Both feature on this mixtape.

Competition is also reflected in the structure of the CD, with six vocals comprising the first section, six instrumentals the second, and two bonus tracks which I'll generously call a bonus section. It may sound simple, but in the context of the grime mixtape such a format is innovative, and further adds to the dimensions of the grime CD, which in itself has vastly changed in a relatively short space of time into a slick and more widely marketable product.

Nevertheless, Stryder Vs Maniac is firmly rooted in the underground, and the hype beats don't allow scope for 'sweetboy' tunes which Tinchy can actually make respectably, and intense spitting is required to keep up with the beats. Tinchy generally doesn't fall behind but No Cape, featuring Fuda Guy, has a bad hook and isn't as good as previous collaborations such as 16 Writers. Fly Away is well-produced, but the vocal slips at points leading to disinterest.

Excuses are given on the Warm Up but Stryder is in decent voice, which flows into the second track Wait Till The Moon Comes Out. The chorus, like most in grime of late, doesn't escape the autotune but it doesn't sound too forced. The hook and its content of the black cape, evoking super-hero connotations under the romantic image of the moon coming out, is soon dashed with references to the black star nine. Maybe I read too much into these things. Regardless Big Seac pops out of nowhere for a rare cameo appearance which almost made me fall off my chair.

Familiarity is gained again in the banger Rollin', the highlight of the vocals that still has integrity after being battered by Logan Sama and every other DJ on the underground. The Bow theme here continues, with Delusion booming over the original track and carrying momentum which perfectly complements the production, and Roachee features on the bonus remix. God's Gift makes it three's a crowd for features on the bonus E3 Shank Shank.

Some things have been said about the quality of the instrumentals, but in truth it says more about the producer, who consistently makes great grime tracks. The beats here are decent at worst, and finally having Star In Da Making Remix and What Da Rass is surely enough for any fan. Warzone and Mandem are also good beats.

Despite the different sections, the mixtape does have a unity of sound, resulting in a good final product that is comfortably one of the better releases this year. More importantly, the producer is rightly thrown back into the spotlight, a trend that is hopefully developed for the benefit of the scene.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Logan Sama Show - Track Rips

Just a few rips from Logan's show last night.

Chipmunk - Beast Remix (Feat. Wretch 32 & Bashy)

Jammer - Duppy Know (Feat. Skepta & Diesel)

Liquid E - Take Notice (Feat. Wiley)

Monday, 24 November 2008

"You're Not On A Beef Ting You're Cabbage"

Grime content is narrow. If you're bothered by this sort of thing, don't despair. It happens to all of us, but P-Money may well go down in the grime annals for realising a breakthrough in the war against writer's block: fruit and veg bars.

P-Money Bars on Midnight Request Line

I haven't listened to Midnight Request Line for time. I almost forgot how good it is. Anyway I'm finding it very difficult to refrain from a five-a-day pun so I'll quickly move on. Opening with the claim that some of "these man are fruity", what followed was a wringing of the towel to try and squeeze out as much as possible from the topic.

I have no intentions to cast aspersions on the fruity discourse, because I don't want to get "clapped in the mango", and think of the mess if "grapes are gonna fly like British Airways". Nevertheless, I was sceptical about the over-use of word-play on tracks such as Talking To Trainers and a few others on P Money Is Power, since it did get a little tedious but, like all good fruit, the bars are fresh here so the novelty value remains for the meantime at least.

I still don't really know what to make of the lyrics, yet I appreciate trying to do something new and the bars did say something generally, even if I didn't really follow the veg section. Still, I don't care too much for logic, and the vegetable chat did wake me up a little at 2:30 AM which is a worthy achievement in itself.

P-Money was on Rinse FM with DJ JJ, Blacks, Drifter and Amazer. The set was good as usual, and if you want to hear more then you can download the full thing here.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

"I'm A Big Sound Man Like My Dad"

I'm still pissed that I spent my hard-earned on Best Of Newham Generals Volume 1. I think I was unemployed at the time but still, it's money.

There was 20 tracks on there, but 7 of them were less than a minute long. A slap in the jaw really. Something that's less than a minute isn't a track, is it. One was a radio rip from Rinse FM as well. I just accepted that I got bumped.

However, I've stumbled on a slept-on tune that's been getting played for most of the day. Stay Fly is a DJ Semtex exclusive, which seems ironic given he asked the Newham Generals whether they were South Londoners or something a while back (it's on the start of Prancehall's mixtape I think). I accept that London is a big place, but the clue's in the name still.

"Stay Fly" isn't really Gens diction, yet the track is a Double and Foots back-to-back enterprise that's a near grime staple, and the content places itself back in the day; so far back in the day that Double wasn't blazing, Footsie was twining man with the ball at school and got signed. Visualising Footsie going on a 30 yard dribble is nearly as epic as It's War, Do You Hear Me and Scars combined, which says a lot really, especially given the fact that Scars is one of my favourite grime instrumentals ever.

Scars Clip - (Radio Rip)

I used to twiddle my fingers in anticipation for Generally Speaking. I don't bother now. And there was me thinking September was going to be album season. What happened?

Saturday, 22 November 2008

"I'm Going Hard"

I rate Dot Rotten highly not just because he's a talented musician, but also for his output that is generally consistent. I've had a few sly clocks of the myspace and, despite a couple of computer crashes, he seems to be keeping busy.

I'm Going Hard isn't brand new, but its recent make-over by Tenchuassassin is. I don't look out for anime, I've never watched those type of programmes, and I basically have no interest in it. It can only be because of my indifference that I was a bit sceptical about these videos, but an MC having a bar about food, consequently being matched by the obligatory clip of an ageing Oriental chap cooking some fried rice or something along those lines, just seemed to have little point.

However, I have come to appreciate them more and more over time, since they are artistic, and do add to the grime video generally. Even as a half-cynic, the scope of anime is something to admire, and fans of that genre could be drawn to grime music if more of these videos are made. Tenchuassassin seems to put his creations together well, and I did discover things I didn't necessarily see at first. Also, the lyrics are highlighted on a greater scale.

Dot Rotten - I'm Going Hard (By Tenchassassin)

Not that this latest Rotten tune is introspective at all, but a statement of intent over a Faith SFX production which is good with some big bass. The track collectively is decent, with no signs of the monotonous delivery which reared its head in places on R.I.P Young Dot, yet the verses comprise bars heard before that could give the impression that the tune was done quickly.

However, it's hard to guage when a tune was made rather than when it's first heard, so the bars may not necessarily be that old. Either way, it's irrelevant because the final product is good, yet Dot is arguably the best song-maker in the scene who is capable of better. Hopefully that's shown on his double disc and album which are due to drop in 2009.

Dot Rotten - I'm Just Being Me

I imagine quite a few of you have heard this track already, but it deserves a post regardless. It also sounds quickly made, but the trademark Rotten chorus jumps out and is further defined by the beat variations. The a cappella for the first 40 seconds is really quite a simple idea, but it emphasises the beat that is to come and, more importantly, adds variety to grime's structure of production which can be similar at times.

Lyrically, the track is a message to the "haters" yet the clever, melancholic twist in portraying himself as a victim adds atmosphere that contrasts to the stark message of intent on I'm Going Hard.

The "biological father of grime" or not, there's enough happening at the moment that shows promise and anticipation for the blank canvas of 2009.

Friday, 21 November 2008

"Sly, Look Into My Eye"

People have been doubting my credentials recently. My blogs aren't good enough in the highly competitive world of the blogosphere, and you should know about it son. Shaken and stirred, I tried to escape the accusations by wallowing in some Lauryn Hill, but it was no good. Not even Jon E. Cash. The shuffle went onto Swindle's 140 Mixtape.

Maybe it was the melodic synths, but still it proved better than the others, and stopped the cries of "boring" ringing in my ears. I listened to it all again, and concluded that someone needs to find Fuji, drag him to a studio and make him record some tracks.

He could well be doing stuff currently, but I'm unfortunately unaware of these things. I also spontaneously decided that Battersea needs a higher profile in grime and, with a lack of options available, it seemed fitting that Fuji would be the man to step to the plate.

Fuji spitting for about 15 seconds while walking through a tunnel

The hype verses of South Side Allstars Riddim and the Ska Riddim show grime at its most chaotic on tracks, and a time when MCs actually weren't doing their own thing and did decide to reply to sends.

I enjoy that sort of thing, but still appreciate tunes such as Don't Quit, which removes itself from the sometimes gimmicky world of the 8-bar track. The song has a decent concept, and promotes a message creatively while not sounding preachy or disingenuous. Fugi's enunciation isn't always great, but the comedy in being a "black Bruce Lee" more than makes up for it, and his distinct voice isn't overplayed on. There's elements of rawness, yet there's nothing wrong with that and he has talent that probably hasn't been fully realised.

The product is completed by a video that I didn't know existed until not that long ago. The best grime videos are the cheap ones with comedy gold, and Don't Quit is up there.

Don't Quit

Bring back Fuji.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

'If You Ever Saw What The Skeng Did To The Tree'

I was planning to have a little analysis of Skepta's latest foray into this electro business, Sunglasses At Night. However, the forum people have their eyes on the ball and I was too late. Like Skepta on the Cypher video.

He wasn't the only one, and I rate Skepta highly still. But Sunglasses, as well as the collaboration with Ribz, doesn't really inspire any sort of confidence. Artists do have to show versatility these days, but you still have to do yourself justice. Skepta is better than this.

Skepta - Sunglasses At Night (Radio Rip)

The track was featured on Logan's show last Monday, along with a couple of other tunes that caught my ears. Bring Your Click should feature on Rapid's album, and the sooner that comes the better.

Rapid & Ruff Sqwad - Bring Your Click (Radio Rip)

I only deal in threes.

Bullet Ah Go Fly (Frisco Remix) Feat. Badness, Riko, Flow Dan & Killa P (Radio Rip)

Voltage was Logan's guest, and the MC was on the set with Realist and Scruface. The set was very good, with a top-notch selection that kept me from nodding off. Realist again proved why he's a name to be reckoned with, and was allowed more freedom than his appearance on Westwood a few weeks back, which involved being paraded by Asher D and only being able to spit on one beat. Voltage came with his trademark bars, and Scruface's skippy flow cut through the hype beats on offer.

Download Realist, Voltage and Scruface set from


Wiley // Before This
Maniac // Salt Fish
Rapid // License
Skepta // Skankin' Ting
Wiley // Club 8
DJ Oddz // Champion VIP
Rapid // Knightrider
JME // Napa Prince
Maniac // Headshot
Nocturnal // Don't Phone Me
Davinche // What Is Mine
Maniac // What The Rass
Joker // Holy Brook Park
Maniac // Thug
Rude Kid // UFO VIP
Wiley // 5.27 AM
Skeamz // Greengate Guys
Maniac // Rollin'
Rapid // F'in Riddim
TNT // Nissi
Maniac // Grime Kid
Macabre Unit // Take Time
Lewi White // Mountain
Footsie // Do You Hear Me (Arnie)

Sunday, 16 November 2008

"It's 2000 And Nasty"

I had a crisis of confidence earlier today. What do I do for the scene? It's not enough to be a fan these days you know. I vainly searched for an answer against the backdrop of Nasty Jack, Stormin and Meshack Nasty on Axe FM.

The set is no-nonsense, with Jack spitting about being the "Hackney Kid" and bringing back welcome memories of the Sidewinder clash. Thinking that no-one goes to radio these days, I remembered quite quickly afterwards that Nasty Jack has a mixtape dropping on 1 December, entitled Shotta Music. Logan Sama is hosting the CD, probably because NJ has made a couple of spectacular dubs for the man in question.

Hosting a CD is a thankless task really, because it's not going to drastically improve the final product yet still maintains a massive scope for pissing off the listeners. Nevertheless, Nasty Jack has found a niche for himself within the last year and his new style tunes seem to be creating demand, so I look forward to hearing it.

A radio appearance to promote Shotta Music seems a bit cynical given that Nasty Crew are attempting some sort of revival at the minute. Griminal and Little Nasty firmly stuck to the Nasty name despite it being a shadow of its glorious past, and the brothers have done enough to get it into a position where something more substantial can be established. Crews are arguably not in trend at this moment in time, but Nasty is an exception.

Things look quite promising at the moment, with solo material being released and MCs going to radio. DJ Spyro presided over a great set recently with Little Nasty, Griminal, Stormin, Badness and Sharkey Major. Yep; Sharkey Major, resurrecting like a grimey Lazarus back onto the airwaves with Jesus nowhere to be seen. Something is happening, surely?

The original line-up is firmly consigned to the past, but time moves on. Emerging talent is apparent in the likes of Younga and DJ Meshack Nasty, and Stormin's words on the Axe set said a lot: "no old bars allowed". It's the best policy and, despite their heritage, and a heritage that includes Marcus Nasty and Stormin's appearances on Big Brother's Big Mouth, relying on past success won't achieve things in the future. All the same, it says so much that their past firmly informs their status now.

For the nostalgic fans that have been living under rocks for the last 6 months, Nasty sets are up for download on

Tuesday, 11 November 2008


I still hope for a Scratchy mixtape. Probably naive, but I thought there's not much wrong in hoping, so I just carried on.

Grime is arguably losing some of the many elements it once had, and one of those is definitely the use of a 'cockney' voice. Wiley has used it, along with the likes of Bruza, Dogzilla, and Scratchy himself amongst others, and it did chuck in something different to the melting-pot. Nevertheless, I can't say I'm kept awake at night pondering over the whereabouts of the Milkymans, even if they did play a part on the glorious, and triumphantly localist, personal favourite Southside Allstars Riddim.

Southside Allstars Riddim

Times change, yet Scratchy has made a seeming solo return on the microphone which could signal new intent. Mixtape? Logan played a new track called Rampage last Monday, which I made a hash of ripping:

Scratchy - Rampage (Radio Rip)

His quantity of output can't be described as immense, but there are some classic vocals in the archives, including the Ice Rink vocal which is one of my favourite versions. The Pied Piper vocal, Trim N' Scratch, and B.U.N were all memorable too.

Maybe one could feature on a belated mixtape. Nothing wrong with hoping.

Monday, 10 November 2008

'The King's Sat In His Throne My Head's Too Big For A Crown'

Unoriginal post today. I'm tired.

Chipmunk is obviously keeping himself busy, and the video has appeared for his single Beast. Featuring vocals from Louick Essien, the final product is very slick, especially placed within the context of his previous material. League Of My Own was only released just over a year ago, but the difference is huge.

Chipmunk (Feat. Louick Essien) - Beast

Good video, good production. The inevitable 'is it grime'? queries will pop out out of the woodwork, yet there's a fair amount of bass and, even if the hook has an R&B approach to it, Chipmunk's spitting very much suggests grime.

The subject matter also suggests grime and, more particularly, Chipmunk, sticking to the tried-and-tested 'I'm the best, I've worked hard and look where I am now'. There's nothing wrong with belief, and a little arrogance can take you far, yet starting the tune with 'can you please get down from the top of the scene' did make me cringe a bit. Every artist will indulge in their own ego, and a statement of intent is needed in a scene in which reputation carries too much weight, but making these type of songs repeatedly goes against the idea of versatility being needed for longevity.

He deserves respect for making grime music and not changing his style to suit a new audience, for moving on the pirate radio circuit, featuring on the mixtapes of numerous MCs, and being in memorable clashes on Rinse FM and during the Fuck Radio series. I rate Brutal, but Chip's 'you've got problems pronouncing words' did make me laugh.

The one-line flows also show an adherence to grime's heritage but, in Chipmunk's case, the over-used repetition of Fire Alie and Mandem seems to fit in with a currently superficial content, with little originality and insight. Beast continues the trend.

This Life, from his early days being 'Fresh Out The Oven', and Let's Change prove he can move from his favoured topic of 'going on sho'. It would just be nice if he did it a bit more.

The new single, Beast, is due for release on 1 Decemeber '08.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Dizzee Rascal on Newsnight

I haven't seen Jeremy Paxman speechless before but, you know what, I think he actually was after his little chat to Dizzee Rascal. How he got onto the Barack Obama-aftermath debate is questionable, but the result was pretty hilarious.

Baroness Amos, the first black woman to have a seat in the Cabinet, and with a growing high-top that with love, care and nurturing could be as epic as Tempa T's, looked on in disbelief in the face of the Raskit whirlwind.

Dizzee Rascal talks about Obama, political parties, and Martian-man

The role of hip hop in Obama's victory is pushing the boat out a bit too far but, nevertheless, everything else he said seemed valid, and came with a complementary cheeky grin. Asked whether he believed in political parties, the literal reply in 'yeah, they exist, I believe in them' was a masterstroke.

One of the faceless Youtube masses doesn't think so, coming with

"Yeah they exsist"


You can see that education shining through.

Preaching about education and then spelling 'exist' incorrectly doesn't reflect well. Someone fling that guy a copy of Boy In Da Corner.

'What Is Wrong With People Tim Though'?

A very unoriginal post today. Never mind.

Tim Westwood telephone interview with Wiley

I've been neglecting Westwood TV recently. Time, lack of inspiring artists, that sort of thing. However, here, Westwood talks to Wiley about his supposed death in a Hackney alleyway. The subject is quashed pretty quickly, and Wiley has 'learned' not to loiter down alleyways in recent times. No advantages of hanging around in alleyways currently come to mind, so it can only be a good thing that he doesn't engage in such antics now.

The link to the original, false 'story' has been taken down, but Bluntwun came with some evidence that was pretty irrefutable:

'So I heard about this news story happening and if they... didn't use Thames Valley Police statement for a Hackney based murder (lol), this could've been somewhat more believeable'

In the name of a certain Wiley instrumental - Bang Bang.

Westwood is a bit insincere in this telephone interview, contrasting to the approach of Ras 'hate is entrenched in our society' Kwame, but the mood lifted the morbid talk into something a bit more fruitful. Westwood's question regarding Eskibeat Recordings revealed that there's a project in the pipeline. I'll believe it when I see it.

Another good question was asked amidst the talk of Hummers, which was the albeit slightly cliche what do you want to be best known for. Just so that we all know when you actually do die. He's done so much in his career, but his pride in Where's My Brother is revealing. It still puts a smile on my face when I hear it played by Logan and other DJs, and it's definitely one of the best Wiley tracks I've heard.
Part of the track's appeal is the issue of who's Wiley's brother. All will be revealed on the video to Where's My Brother, which should be landing in early 2009.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

'This Weren't Made In Taiwan It's A UK Brand'

I can't lie. I'm a fan of free downloads, and Wiley - Mixtape Master, mixed by DJ Furious, is one of the latest that's doing the rounds now, adding to his archives which include the 2 Fast 2 Furious and Rhythm and Grime collections.

Mixtape Master is a good summary of the Tunnel Vision series, which admittedly I haven't listened to in a while. In the unlikely event that you care, the mix consists of 48 tracks and beats, running to a total of 72:27. The mix is comprehensive enough given the 6 volume output of the Tunnel Vision series and, despite quite a few of the Tunnel Visions being disappointing, this mix shows that there was good material on there. He's Too Much is a slept-on banger, and the numerous war dubs provide comedy in the way only Wiley can provide it.

The mix is decent, with an emphasis on selection that was generally good. Flying was a huge tune to drop at the end, the mix going out on a high, and providing pure vibes against Wiley not slewing Stormin's face but being a 'defender' of it. There's so many beats and vocals to choose from, but my wait to hear Dragon Stout for the first time in ages unfortunately continues.

Still, the instrumentals were the highlight, and it was nice to hear some relative rarities in Snowman, the When I'm 'Ere Remix, and Ice Cream Man Remix. In Eskimo, Ice Rink, and Igloo, the mix has the Eskibeat classics that arguably represent the pinnacle of any producer's achievement in this genre.

Download on Rapidshare
Download on Sendspace

Saturday, 1 November 2008

'If You Haven't Got A Vision Then Fam Where You Goin'

He may have been ruthlessly upstaged by the old guy with the loafers on the Movement Documentary, but Semtex's blog isn't bad and I might just have a look at it sometimes. I had a brief look earlier, and saw that Wiley's forthcoming album, See Clear Now, has been delayed until January 2009. Bravely ignoring the fact that Semtex was probably right, what with his contacts in the scene and all, I looked on and the worst of nightmares was confirmed.

Unlucky if you pre-ordered.

It's not that long to wait, but all the same I was eager to hear what the final product would sound like. With January and a new year not being far away, it's unlikely the CD will be changed, so hopefully lots of people will buy the tracks and download them onto their new and shiny ipods, and that youngsters will get the CD with the tenner they got from their auntie Sally. And so on.

I don't know if there will be any repercussions, since the delay isn't that long, added to the fact I'm not sure of the anticipation for See Clear Now, but it doesn't sit that well in the process that's led up to the album's release. Surely someone could have had a eureka-moment and realised that yeah, Christmas isn't long after November 10, maybe we should take this into account, rather than giving a date and not sticking to it.

I'm not that fussed really. Even if the title track is ridiculously catchy. As long it doesnt affect Race Against Time, which it shouldn't, then I'll be happy.