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The ego is back...while a dream collabo gets in motion...

Published by Warren Dell under on Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Kanye West returns to bless us with more of his backpack ballin with the eagerly awaited College Dropout follow up, The Late Registration. Alongside Jay-Z, Kanye premiered the first single Diamonds on New York radio station Hot 97 last week.

Inspired by his time on the Blueprint Lounge Tour of 2001 and being part of the Roc-A-Fella movement Diamonds includes his usual array of punch lines: ‘I realized that I arrived/ Because it takes more than a magazine to kill my vibe" and "All I need is y'all to pronounce my name/ It's Kanye, but some of my plaques, they still say 'Kayne.'.

Kanye told radio host Angie Martinez that he had mixed the CD about 14 times until he had felt perfectly comfortable with the end product. In interviews at the time of the College Dropout album being released Kanye spoke about being unhappy that he didn’t have the time to mix the record enough.

This is a big year for Kanye and there is a lot of pressure on him to better the College Dropout, an album self-described as a classic. It's certainly one of the best albums released in the last couple of years but many critics will be waiting for him to slip up and dent his arrogance. I’m sure this won’t be the case though and look forward to the release, which although not confirmed, looks like being the 12th July.

Meanwhile the wheels have got in motion for many Hip Hop fans dream collaboration, Ghostface and MF Doom. Already six tracks have been recorded but as yet it’s undecided as to whether Def Jam or MF Doom's indie label Nature Sounds will be the ones to release the project.

This month Hip Hop Connection magazine carries an interview with Devin Horwitz who reveals what many have been hoping is more than just an Internet rumour.

Scheduled for release by the end of the year it will be one of possibly three albums to be expected from Ghostface. One is tentatively titled Rappers Delight and will feature some MF Doom production; the other is a follow up to the classic Only Built 4 Cuban Linx with Raekwon.

Common - Album Preview

Published by Warren Dell under on Thursday, April 21, 2005

Common - Be
Geffen Music


1. Be
2. The Corner Featuring The Last Poets
3. Go
4. Faithful Featuring John Legend and Bilal
5. Testify
6. Love Is
7. Chi City
8. The Food
9. Real People
10. They Say Featuring Kanye West and John Legend
11. It’s Your World/Pop’s Reprise Featuring Bilal

Production: Kanye West (9 out of 11) & Jay Dee (2 out of 11)

One of the most hotly anticipated albums of 2005 drops May 23rd. Yes people, forget the hysteria over recent releases from The Game and 50 Cent, I’m talking about Common. One of the most blessed MC’s to grace the mic, the release of Be is his sixth album and the follow up to the mixed received Electric Circus.

Already being hailed as his best work, the album has received the top rating in XXL magazine and other full marks are sure to follow.
The first single already picking up radio and video rotation is The Corner, produced by Kanye West who handles 9 out of the 11 tracks. Speaking to he said that “Common’s album will go down in history” and that it fully deserves the early reviews “I’m telling you right now it’s five mics, five stars across the board.”

The inclusion of West can help attract the larger audience that his own success has brought and give Common the mainstream success he deserves.

The other two tracks are produced by Jay Dee who did a lot of work on Like Water For Chocolate and it’s a shame that he didn't have more of a share of the production on Be. Some may not be happy with only 11 tracks but too many albums these days let themselves down with too much filler. Here we have only 11 of the best cuts.

The album has already leaked on many sites so those that download it make sure you get the release copy as this album will take Common above the realms of being deemed underground and it will be refreshing to hear material of such substance gaining such success.

I for one can’t wait for the release and I’m sure this will feature heavily in everyone’s end of year top tens. As soon as the album is released I will have a full review for you.

BIG DVD Review...

Published by Warren Dell under on Wednesday, April 20, 2005
The mixtape DVD scene has been blowing up on the underground in the UK now for a minute. It’s a great way for artists to get recognition and let their fans get to know them, while at the same time promoting their music and continuing the growth of the scene.

In recent months it’s the Grime scene that has been churning out the DVDs from releases such as the Lord Of The Mics and Risky Roads series. But the latest release available focuses on UK Hip Hop.

BIG is the official UK Hip Hop music lifestyle DVD from MadDog Productions that features interviews and freestyles from the hottest acts that are making moves on the UK scene right now.

Everyone from Sway, Baby Blue and Kyza to the lesser known acts such as Arms Length, B-Sharp and The Execution Squad are on this DVD giving a nice snapshot of the developing scene we have here.

The DVD opens up with the man of the hour Sway who is joined by Biggs at The Max Power show checking out the rides and fooling around with the talent on display. Baby Blue let’s you know where she gets her kicks from and takes us on a tour of Deal Real Records store while Kyza drops knowledge inside a London takeaway!

Other artists featured include Blak Twang protégé K9, Street Politiks, Slim Dutty and many more who drop knowledge on how they started and lace the camera with a freestyle.

It’s not just the artists that get to shine though. Key players in the scene from Rewind editor Matt Mason to your favourite clothing shop Dark’n’Cold are featured. For those unaware of the two you’ll get an understanding of how they began and how they are supporting the scene develop.

Luke Biggins is a name you may not be familiar with but he is responsible for some of the freshest videos of the moment from Blak Twang to Estelle and he talks about how he got started, his company and future plans including his first feature film. Another outlet that is supporting the artists is The Lyrical Pad night down in Camden and the DVD includes a performance of Up Your Speed from Sway and Pyrelli on a recent night.

Releases like the BIG DVD are important for artists not signed to a major to get the attention of the people and get their message across. The DVD highlights the work that is going on independently on the scene and proving that you don’t need a major backing you to get on in this industry. If you put the grind in then you can move units and make a living like the featured artists.

The BIG team have put together a decent package and even throw in some Essex girls playing up to the camera for good measure! But seriously get to the independent stores to pick this one up as it’s a valuable and enjoyable two hours of UK artists repping the UK scene to the fullest.

Former Source editor speaks out...

Published by Warren Dell under on Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Revealing interview with former Source editor and XXL creator Reginald Dennis on Hip Hop DX site at the moment. He speaks about the early days of the magazine through to the current troubles and gives an interesting insight into some of the goings on between Dave May and Benzino.

Urban Music Festival Update...

Published by Warren Dell under on Thursday, April 14, 2005
There are still tickets left for The Urban Music Festival at Earls Court this Saturday. As you may already know the Sunday has been cancelled and Will Smith is now headlining in place of Lil Jon. If your quick you may be able to pick up some of the special Nokia tickets priced at £10. Although not so sure those that paid full price will be so happy.

Although it was always going to be hard to follow up last years success of Jay-Z, Beyonce and Alicia Keys there are still enough reasons to go especially with the amount of UK talent there. Unfortunately an event this big will always need to have the big name US acts on board to sell tickets. Hopefully the cancellation of Sunday won't put the organisers off organising the event next year.

The Line Up: Will Smith and Jazzy Jeff, Xzibit, De La Soul, Common, Craig David, Akon, Jon B, Floetry, Faith Evans, Blak Twang, Estelle, Killa Kela, Jay Sean, Kano, Nate James, Sway, Mitchell Brothers, Keisha White, Jamie Scott, Kevin Mark Trail, Javine and Lady Sovereign

Glastonbury goes urban...

Published by Warren Dell under on Thursday, April 14, 2005
Continuing in the growth and popularity of urban music a combination of R’n’B, Hip Hop and Grime acts have made it on the bill for this years Glastonbury Festival. Already sold out and taking place on the 24th,25th and 26th June you can catch Terri Walker, Roots Manuva, Tyler James, Skinnyman, DJ Flip, DJ Format with Abdominal & D-Sisive, Plantlife, Wiley, Crazy Titch and J2K all performing. This is going to be great exposure for these artists and hopefully the crowd will be receptive to them. I doubt anyone a couple of years ago would have expected any Grime artists to be booked at Glastonbury and it just shows how much waves the scene is making. Also a big hats off must go to the organisers for recognising and booking the mentioned artists.

Sway - This Is My Promo Vol.2 review...

Published by Warren Dell under on Wednesday, April 13, 2005

A little later than expected Sway returns with the second instalment of This Is My Promo and it’s well worth the wait.

Fresh from the success of Volume 1 Sway has set himself up nicely for the release of his debut set This is my demo now due for release this coming September.

Sway picks up where he left of with brand new tracks, remixes and guest appearances that highlight him being a massive star on the UK scene.

The key to an artist mixtape has to be the right balance with new material alongside using other artist’s beats and Sway has done that, letting his serious side come across alongside the more humorous lyrics.

Sway touches on subjects such as downloading, stalking celebrities and even Michael Jackson’s nose on a freestyle excerpt from his supporting duties on the Dizzie Rascal tour. “Gotta keep him on his toes/I like his music but I don’t like his nose”

From sampling the Magic Roundabout theme tune, (not as annoying as you would think) to the story of slapping A & R’s over the Lean Back beat Sway will definitely raise a smile at some of his lyrics. But Sway does have sensitive side too as reflected on Love Story 05 with Baby Blue and the inspiring tale of One Day, where he chats about a day in his life and his dreams.

Amongst the radio segments are Destiny Child mentioning Sways name to Snoop Dogg dropping not the greatest of bars over the Up Your Speed instrumental. He even makes an appearence on TRL, something only the more established acts get when they are releasing an official album.

It’s refreshing to hear an artist like Sway who can switch up topics from following celebrities to the more serious issue of downloading. A subject hot on everyone’s lips where Sway questions the down loaders mentality on stealing tracks to chasing Kazaa.

Sway is the name on everyone’s lips at the moment and his guest appearances from Terri Walkers Whoopsie Daisy remix and The Mitchell Brothers next single Harvey Nicks are included. In fact just before the latter there is a radio clip from Semtex chatting to Mike Skinner who speaks highly of Sway, maybe the next signing to The Beats label?

With UK Hip Hop getting more and more recognition it’s great to hear a track like London. Using the instrumental to Ja Rules recent New York single Sway flips the script with Baby Blue and Bruza as they proudly rep where they are from.

Standard out tracks have to be the aforementioned London, Download and One Day. The production on the mix CD could be a little better in places but like the man says on the TRL clip, he is trying to carve out his style and by bringing out these two releases he more than wets the appetite for his debut. Already showing great potential Sway’s official release should gain the support of the TRL crowd while still satisfying the Hip Hop heads.

Hit up for the purchase.

The Source controversy Part.lost count...

Published by Warren Dell under on Tuesday, April 12, 2005
The once great magazine we knew as The Source is again involved in more drama with the recent resignation and then reinstatement of co-owner Benzino. A press release was issued Friday announcing he would be stepping down and it looked like it would be the first step in turning the magazine around after their declining popularity. But just a couple of days later he has revealed that he is now back in his original position. spoke to Benzino on his latest move and are featuring their two part interview with him at the moment and it’s interesting reading. He alleges that Jimmy Iovine, head of Interscope Records would be involved with the firing of Def Jam president L.A Reid unless the record label pulled its adverts from the magazine. As we know Benzino isn’t the biggest fan of Interscope and has channelled these feelings through the magazines editorial content. He also talks of disregard towards former editor Kim Osorio and the haters who are knocking the magazines output.

The rap magazine everyone regarded as a bible to the scene has been in controversy over the last couple of years with Benzinos beef with Eminem and their war on anything Interscope related. With sales dropping, bills unpaid and the recent lawsuit against the company from former editor Kim Osorio the magazine is in a whole lot of trouble.

After the all out bias against the Interscope label it seems that this could be another stunt to try and boost the sales of the magazine and Benzinos records. Have a read for yourself and see what you think.

I personally think that if Benzino keeps his vendetta up there will be no Source magazine on our shelves soon. The content itself has started to pick up recently but they have lost a lot of readers and credibility forever over their attacks towards Eminem and Interscope, arguably the hottest artist and label around at the moment.

Top ten tracks at the moment...

Published by Warren Dell under on Monday, April 11, 2005
  1. Amerie - 1 Thing
  2. Snoop Dogg - Signs
  3. Black Twang - The Rotton Club
  4. Mariah Carey - It's like that
  5. Gwen Stefani - Hollaback girl
  6. The Stix - Young & Foolish
  7. The Mitchell Brothers - Routine Check
  8. Nate James - Set the tone
  9. 50 Cent feat. Olivia - Candy Shop
  10. Ciara feat. Missy - 1,2 Step

Latest music...

Published by Warren Dell under on Monday, April 11, 2005
Straight into this months shiznit and we have the return of Amerie with the excellent single 1 Thing. Many criminally slept on her first album but with this return it will open up many who missed her first time around. Produced by Rich Harrison (this guy doesn’t get enough credit) of Crazy in love fame this stripped down drumbeat will defy you not to move. This should bring the commercial success she deserves. Can’t wait for that album.

Gwen Stefani's last single Rich Girl got mixed reactions from some quarters but I think it was still a decent cut. After going with Dre on that one (or putting his name on it) Gwen enlists the help of The Neptunes for Hollaback Girl. Take it from me this is Gwen’s Milkshake as she rides the heavy hip-hop beat which will surely be the prelude to many emcees laying down their own versions.

The third single from Snoops successful Rhythm and Gangsta album sees three generations of talent line up to create a feel good track that will be just as successful as the previous two releases. Signs is one of the highlights of the album and fully deserved of its release. The Neptunes handle production and it’s one of their best pieces of work to date creating the perfect setting for Snoops laid back rhymes and the vocal talents of Timberlake and Wilson. Expect heavy play on radio and in the clubs for this one.

Whether you enjoyed how experimental the new Mos Def album was or not, there is no denying what a sublime track Sunshine is. Well Geffen have acted on its acclaim and done the right thing in releasing this one. With the appeal of Kanye West onboard as producer the track utilises a great sample and the beat can be likened to I try by Talib Kweli. Mos has again delivered a refreshing slice of Hip-Hop in this day an age of gangster rapper popularity. The real Hip-Hop is over here.

No one has had as many ups and downs as Mariah Carey but it seems that is all behind her now as she returns with It’s like that from her new The Emancipation of Mimi album. Defiantly singing ‘no stress, no fights, I’m leaving it all behind’ it’s safe to say that she is finally letting the music do the talking. Jermaine Dupri is behind the boards and has really been producing some of his best work the last couple of years. This is another one which only let down is the inclusion of Fatman Scoop. He does serve a purpose in hyping the crowd as shown on his singles but here he only takes the gloss off what is a slick return for Mariah. There is also a remix produced by Scott Storch that features Fat Joe and is one to keep an eye out for.

Following on from the politically charged Why, Jadakiss comes with a more commercial orientated single called U Make Me Wanna. Featuring the vocal talents of Mariah Carey U Make Me Wanna sounds very similar to Tweets Call Me track with the Indian influenced production. Nothing new in the way of subject matter as Jadakiss chats about a special someone but it still serves it’s purpose as the ‘radio tailored track’ like so many Hip-Hop albums tend to have these days.

Although bizarre coming two years after it’s initial US release Marques Houston's That Girl looks set to be released. This was one of the first cuts we heard on promo from his underrated album and is a very soulful mid tempo track. From the same management guy Chris Stokes comes Omarion, now on the solo tip after the break up of B2K. His track I’m tryin is big in the US right now and could go on to do big things here as we await his debut album.

Bobby Valentino is the first r’n’b act signed to the Disturbing The Peace camp and his track Slow Down is touching all the right nerves at the moment. The ladies are gonna feel him and the men will be able to appreciate the lyrics. This slow jam shows a lot of promise for his debut set.

The second single from The Game’s album is Love it or hate it and features 50 Cent again. Fiddy has been calling the album his EP but I suppose if it aint broke don’t fix it. A story of the underdog this isn’t club material but is still a decent single. Keep an eye out for a Mary J. Blige version, which is floating about on the underground at the moment, heavy stuff.

Other material worth checking out at the moment is Doc Browns album Documentary, Akala’s single Roll wit us and the new DJ Format album If you can't join em' beat em'.

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