Friday, 30 January 2009

"Money, Cars, Fame, Pop Champagne, No More Chilling On The Block Was The Aim"

Grime visuals have changed with the times, and for the better given a more professional and commerically-minded scene. Independent artists are now releasing videos with a visual quality that, a few years ago, was only associated with grime's big-wigs with label backing.

Newham Generals - Head Get Mangled

Combined YouTube hits: 9,215

Chipmunk - Chip Diddy Chip

Combined YouTube hits: 37,170

Skepta - Sunglasses At Night

Combined YouTube and Myspace hits: 49,500

However, videos aren't just about visuals. Chipmunk's is the best of the lot. He didn't say much and, with content that a general listener can't relate to in any way, the director has done a great job in creating some kind of narrative that carries the viewer along. The talent show theme, even if it's cliche, does a job, and the snapshot of a successful, future Chipmunk gives a tried-and-tested sense of closure.

The only story of Head Get Mangled is Adam Deacon getting terrorised; fitting retribution for dashing beer bottles at the shopkeeper in 'Kidulthood'. Videos reflect lyrical content, and the indistinct vocals don't help. Maybe it's all a reflection of Deacon's mangled mind, yet this video is still as plotless as Rise Of The Footsoldier. DEE and Footsie growl a bit like the Turks in that film, while Deacon is the scapegoat for the botched heroin deal.

I don't have much to say about Skepta's really.

Narratives are as important as visuals. Maybe a reason for the improvement of visuals, besides money, is that there's no room for messing them up, since there's no other element, like narrative, to fall back on.

Videos are essentially something to look at, and all of these support single and album products that should be released soon. Yet none of them are a Merkle Man. Its token cameos and comedy rest on the foundation of a simple but strong narrative; from the inciting incident of the phone call, to the total resolution of the story for all three characters. It's laughs and cameos add to it, but they would lose their power without the central, driving vehicle of the narrative. It could well be the reason why it's the best grime video ever.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

"I'm A Start Lynching Rappers With Money In Their Pockets"

The Kiss FM adverts during the Logan Sama Show are hard to bear. The worst of the lot is the strangled voice of an innocent little child, who isn't scared of the dark, but is actually scared of her mummy smoking. You know, because she might die.

I staged my own triumphant protest, and smoked three cigarettes at the same time. I coughed quite a bit, spluttered a bit more, and then I felt my chest seizing up. Almost like I was dying.

I was glad when the adverts fucked off and the music started.

Ghetts - Autopsy Freestyle (Radio Rip)

Ghetts (Feat. Mercston) - Set You Free (Radio Rip)

Ghetts is trawling through the archives with these freestyles and, with Mercston's recent release from the bing, the two combine on Set You Free. It's the stuff of fairytales. Seriously though it's good to hear him again, and if The Movement start working as a unit again then I'll be more than happy.

Durrty Goodz turned up to plug his new CD, 'Ultrasound', which is out now. Despite the female's man-fingers sprawling all over the front cover, I plan to buy it soon. Poor old Logan was tight for time and, reluctantly ending the interview, politely allowed Goodz to bid a fond farewell with a few last words. Goodz then launched into a stream of extra bars and, despite Logan frantically pointing towards the door, Goodz grinned, carried on and drew for an up middle finger. Goodz was dragged from the studio, his heels scraping the floor while still spitting about 'lynching rappers'.*

Durrty Goodz Freestyling Over Saxon

Jendor was the last guest, along with Tommy Bones. They have a rap promo, 'Blue Wave Volume 1' coming out soon, and from the Car Park track I'm looking forward to it. Jendor's 'Grandmaster' is also out soon, and from the tunes I've heard I'm a bit disappointed; the beats just don't match the energetic, reload bars.

The set was decent though, so have a listen here.



Thursday, 22 January 2009

"From Day One I Said I Was Serious"

January 22. Two years ago today, the ruthless heard-hearts of the RWD Forum splashed their keyboards with salty tears in wake of the news that Wiley was going to hang up the mic. Poor old Cameo was close to tears.

Time has proved cruel; RWD is now stuttering like an asthmatic 80 year-old crawling to his top-floor flat, and Cameo's admirable emotion in the moment has been undermined by Wiley's retractable towel.

JME said on the last Logan Sama Show that he wants to make the music he likes and, on Westwood last year, claimed that he never wants to go over-ground. Most interestingly, and related to all of this, is that he thought someone needs to stay underground for the benefit of grime. Skepta, Scorcher, and even JME himself were touted as possible replacements for the irreplaceable position that Wiley had scarpered from two years ago.

Not as far as I'm aware

Why? Why does grime need a leader, a general to marshall the kids running around making music? In the days of the artist people still follow, as the electro trend sadly proved, yet there is greater autonomy for individuals now in pursuing their own musical journies. The decline of the crew has highlighted the MCs personal path.

MCs have a better idea of what they're doing now, but still JME saying he's happy to stay around can only be good. He's seen the genre develop, has one of the best business-brains in the scene, and he's a competent musician that can pass on good advice.

This is assuming that JME takes up this position in the future. However, like him or loathe him, just JME's philosophy in itself, especially in the current context of craving for cross-over hits, is something that I give him huge credit for.


Logan Sama (Feat. JME, Trim, God's Gift, Riko, Footsie, Syer B & Flow Dan - Rinse FM, January 2005

Just a set I found from the dark and murky archives of my shit computer.

Stream on zSHARE

Download from Megaupload

Skip to three minutes, and bask in the glorious Rapid production and JME's 'I'll beat you up' badinage. He's not a bad MC you know.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

"You Best Say A Prayer To Your White Gold Chain And Cross"

There was never any plan for fullygrown grime. Just fling stuff on. However, Logan keeps on dutifully turning up for his radio show and, with my lack of updates, I'm starting to see the outlines of an ever-growing, incognito Sama-homage that was never initially intended.

Oh well.

Dot Rotten - Sugar And Coke (Radio Rip)

I rate Dot highly, but I've heard better from him. Still, this tune would walk onto most mixtapes, and the unprovoked sendage for the 'fools' that went to the other side of the earth, spat next to Styles P and didn't rep England shows a warmonger trying to keep himself under control. Remixing various bars is easy enough for a good MC, which Dot is. But you haven't mastered barring yet mate.

Wiley - They Can't Handle It (Radio Rip)

He's mastered barring. A little masterclass here if you haven't heard it.

The ditties, JME and Tempz features, and a Tinchy Stryder cameo of about fifty seconds finally made way for the set; a Cold Blooded reunion. I rate Cold Blooded simply because they have one of the best names in grime. Allied with a crew full of individuals yet no-nonsense spitters, and you can't go wrong.

One quick thing though. If you've been quiet for a year, you're no-one; a Simply The Best 2 can tarnish your reputation beyond repair. Duppy, Autopsy, Fuckin' Widda Team, Deeper, Stupid, Tingles, DTI, Meridian Walk and Missing are swiftly undermined by Sunglasses At Night and outlandish fashion. Maybe it's frustration, and the need to make more profitbale music isn't always credible, but it isn't right is it? Past work should always hold at least some weight.

Scorcher is a top MC. Probably just better than Terminator.

A provisional tracklist here, any help is appreciated.


Tuesday, 13 January 2009

"Mic Wars I'll Never Retreat One"

The koalas have gorged on their eucalyptus for the day, and a kangaroo nonchalantly hops by in the evening heat. I assume Wiley is enjoying his time in Oz, spreading the grime sound to the other side of the world (for a small fee), but Durrty Goodz is still calling. A few things first.

Ghetto & Brutal - Go On Den (Radio Rip)

Ghetts is so comfortable right now that he can afford to fling out freestyles. With the album completed, it could have been easy to draw for the pipe and slippers, but spitting on a Maniac beat is appreciated by me at least. As is the inclusion of Brutal. He's a good MC and one that I've always rated.

Ruff Sqwad - Superman (Radio Rip)

Ruff Sqwad raise a musically defiant fist, ready to launch into the wider consciousness against the people who want to put them 'in a box'. I tried to take Rapid's plea seriously, but the autotune chorus detracts from it in truth. Nevertheless, the tune is peversely catchy.

Desperado - 'Natural' Vocal (Radio Rip)

Dot Rotten's original, uncompromising vocal on this beat was the Dirty South Salute, and here Desperado's effort, complete with talk of 'swag game' and Ed Hardy, emphasises the difference.

Perhaps the uniting force of Hardy explains one of the most bizarre line-ups I've heard of in recent grime history. Despa joins Skepta and Roachee on the release of '99 Stars', which will hopefully land soon. I have no idea what to expect.

=========THE WAR REPORT (ROUND II)=========

No bicycle kicks like Guile, because the war has gone into attrition; Rinse and Jeeday have gone AWOL, but Wiley and Goodz are in too deep to bow out now, waiting in their trenches for the decisive knockout that will probably never come.

Wiley replied to Cokey The Snowman with the End Of The World Freestyle. Goodz's fire back was Panty, Bras, Coke and Cameras.

There's not much to say really. In the desperate attempt to land blows by saying something original, well, it's all got a bit personal. The dirty washing in public of course provides me with much entertainment, but it does show that this war has become a bit ludicrous now. Will's repartee, "I've done a lot in my life to feel prouder, but I didn't like it shottin' your mum powder", and "your mum hates you brother, all because of you the mother lost a lover" is surely void, since Wiley's apparently a "cross-dresser".

The desperate attempt to find a resolution to the clash is symbolically represnted through DJ JJ, who Goodz was pally with on the Rinse FM Christmas Show, and he even got a few reloads. Now, however, Scratcha's homely hosting has evaporated in the grit of the war, and the need to pack a punch has resulted in poor old JJ's mention in the Goodz dub against his Eskibeat member. "JJ, he knows". And what's that then?

I'm still enjoying the war, and its moments of anticipation before the next installment. But it's just a spectacle. Nothing decisive has been said; they're two MCs at the top of their game negating each other. I can't even remember how this all started. We can all pick sides, but what's the point? Enjoy it for what it is.

If no knockout comes out soon, I hope they call it quits. Wiley and Goodz deserve better than a farce.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

"I'm Lawless, But You Owe Logan's Mum A Mortgage"

The curtain was raised, and the expectant crowd of warmongering philistines was made to wait. Logan started the show last night with a few bits of light-entertainment before the main event.

New Jammer Tune (Radio Rip)

Jammer's shrill tones delievered and the next one, which I assume is called Dark given it was mentioned abouty fifty times, had this comic-transylvanian beat that was sheer comedy.

Diesel & Flow Dan - Dark (Radio Rip)

Maverick, Double S & Dot Rotten - Grime Scene Warning (Radio Rip)

Faith SFX's beatboxing seemed like a bit of a novelty, but in producing the two come together well, and in a way that makes his beats unique from the rest. Dot also vocalled another SFX beat, and by the sounds of it there's more to come. Get used to hearing it, because I reckon there's some life in this vocal.

============== THE WAR REPORT ==================

So yeah, there might have been a couple fanfares, but I didn't hear them since I acted like a twelve year old and got shamelessly excited before it all kicked off. Logan graciously put the War Report into context by spinning the Jeeday Jawz dub for Rinse first. The chirpy, Loudmouth production matches the content, which is punchy and to the point, and Rinse had to come with a decent reply.

I thought it was OK. The beat selection was a good one, and Nocturnal's Stop is one of the best instrumentals in recent times. On another production I would have made less of Rinse's reply, but the beat adds intensity, and Rinse's tone is different to the sometimes flippant Jawz on the first dub. The spitting and flow are excellent, and he doesn't stumble over his words which I've sometimes heard before. Nevertheless, I thought Rinse spat for too long without hitting hard, and content is the most important thing for me. Jawz wins round one. Just.

Rinse's reference to the Wiley and Goodz tiff was a painful reminder of what his clash truly was; the undercard, two unprovens trying to get a name in the game; the prologue that foregrounds the real deal.

Wiley threw a couple of dubs out there, and Doogz replied by dropping about thirty words a second and, with Cokey The Snowman racking in at an impressive seven and a half minutes, he must have been swarmed with paper after he wrote the Wiley bars.

The Doogz dub was so long that, really, it entered the realms of the epic; a grime-like Paradise Lost with Milton squirming in his grave, all too aware that the content was just as graphic. It was long, but I think he kept on track throughout. It doesn't drag to me as a listener, and there's some serious pars in there. I heard it and I was like:

I try not to be biased, but we all prefer certain MCs, and these clashes result in people picking sides. Wiley's probably penning his reply already. I'm a Wiley fan; I always have been, and I prefer him to Goodz, yet I can't deny that Wiley got charred. He's in the best form he's been in for a long time and, given his hunger for the war, I'm a expecting a big reply but, to be honest, Will got bombed harder than Dresden. You know it's true.

Some people may complain from time to time, including myself, but recent events have reminded me why grime is the king of music. Long may it continue.