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news, reviews and banter on r'n'b, hiphop, garage, grime, bassline, soul, electro and house. standard.

A tad over hyped...

Published by Warren Dell under on Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Gnarls Barkley - St.Elsewhere

Thanks to that idiot Zane Lowe and his Radio 1 adverts every five minutes Crazy got more than its fair share of exposure and is still number one for like the 8th week or something. Now it’s a good song but this is exactly what happens when some alternative DJ gets behind a black music track and claims it to be some new wave, amazing orgasm on record.

Cee-Lo’s been doing his thing for a while now and you’re either a lover or hater of his nasal flow. Dangermouse is another who has been around for a while but has been getting on radar more the last few years. The two are quite eccentric characters and have been posing as various super/comic book heroes in their photo shoots and it’s reflected in the album.

Highlights of the album are: the next single Smiley faces, Feng Shui and Transformer. The rest isn’t as groundbreaking as the broadsheets and indie magazines would like to tell you, but it’s a pretty decent album.

In America the music critics at Pitchfork were going gaga over Crazy last Autumn (or Fall for you yanks reading) when the track was leaked, but overall they haven’t fallen for the hype as much as over here. I guess the guys owe Zane Lowe one. Without the advert I don’t think the single and album would have done as well as it has done.
I wonder what the rest of Goodie Mob think now Cee-Lo is lapping it up on Top Of The Pops?

Quick Reviews...

Published by Warren Dell under on Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Spank Rock - YoYoYo

When you discuss the current state of Hip-Hop down the pub over a few Stella’s, you usually establish the following:

Southern Hip-Hop is actually rubbish
New York Hip-Hop is dead
Being a weed carrier is a dangerous job
When is that Clipse album coming?
Stella will make you angry

Then you’ll long for something to come along that’s brand new and fresh.

Well in Spank Rock that brand new ish is here.

Hailing from Baltimore these four party boys are signed to Big Dada over here and have created a lot of anticipation on the Internet. Their debut album YoYoYo has lyrics that your girlfriend or parents will give disapproving looks to as standards in looking at woman as sexual objects goes back 20 years, while the inner b-boy in you will crave those funky beats.

Spank Rock consist of deejays Chris Rockswell and Ron Darko, producer Armani XXXchange and MC Naeem Juwan. Together they have put together an album that’s creativity blends elements of Dizzee Rascal, Missy Elliott and the Beastie Boys with lyrics that pay homage to 2 Live Crews Luke.

The opener Back Yard Betty is about an ass-shaking competition, Sweet Talk is anything but and the track Touch Me leaves little to the imagination. The standard 16 bar, verse, 16 bar formula goes out the window with tracks like IMC and the underground hit Rick Rubin changing styles constantly.

While the South are currently recycling the same old style and a bunch of average emcees fight out who is New York’s best, a group from Baltimore are running with the original Hip-Hop aesthetic of originality and while combining styles from their influences have given hope to this genre which has been stale for months.
This month’s essential purchase and a soundtrack to the summer (when it eventually, if ever, starts)

Duplate Drama Series 2...

Published by Warren Dell under on Monday, May 22, 2006
Fresh from the inbox...

Dubplate Drama is proud to announce that the second series of the smash hit show is now in development. We’d like to thank everyone who’s supported us so far ­ please keep it coming. As you’d expect, series 2 is gonna be bigger and better, tackling an even wider range of issues. But we need YOUR help. As series one showed ­ life’s complicated out there. There are choices, decisions and dilemmas everywhere you turn. But here's where your choices can make a difference.We need YOU to help with our storylines. We’ve teamed up with the UK’s biggest information web site ­ ­ to bring together young people from across the UK to discuss and shape our storylines. It’s another world first ­ taking interactivity to the next level. To get involved NOW, just follow this link: And watch out for more news about series 2, coming real soon!

Dubplate Drama

The Streets with Sway & Professor Green @ The Guildhall, Southampton...

Published by Warren Dell under on Thursday, May 11, 2006
Mike Skinner stopped off at the Southampton Guildhall with his brand of booze, birds and more booze as part of his national tour to promote his third album, The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living. The Streets are a marketing guys wet dream, as geezers draped in Fred Perry shared floor space with chavs, young girls and hipsters, while a couple of people went as far as to pay homage to Skinners Miami Vice look.

Before he could take the stage though you couldn't have asked for a better two artists to warm the crowd. Jump Off legend and newly signed to The Beats label, Professor Green came out to 'R They Rappin like Pro' and ran through a couple of numbers. Unbeknown to many in the crowd he managed to win them over with his version of the familiar When You Wasn't Famous, while the raw funk of the Skinner produced Stereotypical man ended his short but very professional set. You can expect to see a lot of the guy in the future and under Skinners wing, he'll have the perfect tutor.

If Skinner is a marketing mans dream, then Sway is a one man marketing machine. Even after the mixtape hustle he hasn't rested on his laurels now his long player is out. In between songs and at the end of his performance he was passing out album samplers, keen to catch the attention of new fans and those that may have slept on This Is My Demo.

And if they had, then they would surely be picking up a copy after a professional 40 minute set. It's evident that the man Sway has been touring for a while now and his stage presence and chemistry between DJ Turkish had that of a veteran. After his own countrywide tour and being the main support act for The Streets tour and soon to be supporting indie darlings Hard-Fi there is plenty of opportunity to pick up some more fans.

The feel good celebration of city life on Products and the comical tales of credit woe Flo Fashion had hands waving. Then when MC Hammers Can't Touch This kicked in Sway had the Guildhall doing their best karaoke rendition. Between tracks we were treated to a freestyle with inspiration thrown from the crowd and an acapella of Download. To end a set that flew by so quickly we had the anthemic Up Your Speed, complete with its own Southampton recognition. I doubt it will be long until Sway is headlining his own shows in buildings as big as the Guildhall.

With two well received warm-up acts it was onto the main event. With mug of tea in hand the former Burberry clad image was replaced with his Miami Vice chic look. The contrast in look is the same as the focus on material output now. From reciting nights down the boozer to chasing girls on his first album Original Pirate Material to the present day of life in the fast lane the response has been mixed.

Some of the newer material like Prangin Out, tonight's opener, complain about the new life in the public eye but sits well alongside earlier and well received material. The rousing Don't Mug Yourself had Skinner and the crowd running on the spot while the ska tinged Let's Push Things Forward had Skinner claiming Leo The Lion to be the 2nd best soul singer in the UK. Number 2 behind the locally born Craig David, who had performed only a few nights previously and was on the end of some banter from Skinner.

The first single from the new album When You Wasn't Famous brags about finding it hard to pull a famous girl, but he clearly enjoys the ease in which he can now pull the non-celebs with and was constantly getting his roadie to pass drinks to the girls and the crowd. By the end of the show he had enough of a collection of girls tops to start his own shop. The gig took a turn in pace with the father dedicated, new single Never Went To Church before getting back into the more appreciated Blinded By The Lights.

At the end the crowd turned in unison to the chorus of the slow Radio 2 play listed Dry your Eyes, not much of a favourite but responsible for the move from style mag exclusiveness to tabloid fodder. He ended on a high with the holiday anthem Fit But You Know It and strutted off to mass screams and shouts. His stock has risen and is now more popular than ever, but he's always been an artist who've either loved or hate. His style hasn't changed but the material has. His next move will be to see if he can maintain peoples interest in him as he moves onto future albums. On evidence of tonight, he shouldn't find it too hard finding an audience, but to what type it will be is an interesting one.

Hip-Hop Kemp...

Published by Warren Dell under on Wednesday, May 10, 2006
The Czech Republic isn't all about stag-dos and cheap booze. It's also about Hip-Hop and cheap booze. Hip-Hop Kemp to be precise. Now in its 4th year the festival combines local talent from the Czech Republic with acts from the rest of Europe, the US and from these shores. Set across 3 days the festival takes place on an old airport with a campsite nearby. The full line up is here but topping the bill are Little Brother, Guru, DJ A-Trak, Klashnekoff, Sway and Pyrelli. Those that have been to the Czech before know how dirt cheap it is and with camping and three days admission to the festival costing not much more than £30, there will be plenty of strong Czech beer flowing.


Published by Warren Dell under on Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Mediawhore – adjective (pl. mediawhores or whores)
A subject with no dignity or shame that will stop at nothing to gain the attention of the public. Can normally be seen staggering out of clubs, sleeping or arguing with other media whores and if need be toss off a pig. May have some reality TV experience.

No.1 Jade Goody

It really is something in this world where you can become a millionaire just by being watched by other people do what you normally do on a day-to-day basis. Even if that means acting like an idiot. People who act hard to earn a decent living must despise the fact that these days as long as you’re prepared to put yourself out to the public you can make a nice earner. This is what Big Brother does to you. It’s been four years since Jade Goody didn’t even win Big Brother and somehow she has managed to keep herself in the limelight and make a wage from this Heat Generation. What exactly has does she do? At least that Lawler dollsnatch went out with a footballer for a bit which at least gives magazines and papers something to put next to her name. I’m sure Goody even had a fly on the wall show on five or something. That makes as much sense as filming a local housewife doing her daily errands; they both have no interest to the viewing public. Mediawhores will stop at nothing to share column inches with you over your breakfast, even if this means running the London marathon with little training in advance.

Wiley on Westwood...

Published by Warren Dell under on Monday, May 08, 2006
In promotion for the 2nd Phaze album Wiley dropped by Tim 'yes I'm older than your Dad' Westwood accompanied by Skepta and JME the friday before last. The half hour slot is available on Wiley's Murdochspace for your downloading pleasure. Check out the dis by Wiley to Timothy for his slackness on grime. Now it's good to see (or rather hear) him playing grime on his show but why hasn't he been playing more UK music the last few years anyway? Not that I'd have thought a lot of Hip-Hop heads genuinely listen to his show. Here's a thought though, do the US artists take him seriously when he's shouting holla and asking Dan to drop bombs? Who is Dan and does Timothy ask his Mum to kiss the king? The people more likely to listen to his show anyway are those whose claim of their love for Hip-Hop is evident by their purchase of one of his many compilations released. Those CD's are Def Jam UK's biggest sellers, (although that in itself isn't very hard, remember Aaron Soul anyone?) brought by the people who think Akon is good and frequent Yates and other such fun pubs on a friday. Ten stella's and a kicking while the same 10 Hip-Hop tracks provide the backdrop. You go big dog!!

Hot 97 gets evicted...

Published by Warren Dell under on Wednesday, May 03, 2006
The landlords of New York based Hip-Hop radio station Hot 97 have filed a lawsuit fighting for the eviction of the company. The lawsuit comes after last weeks episode with the rapper Jamol 'Gravy' Wollard being the last straw of years worth of infamous incidents involving rap stars.

First it was the scene of the 2001 incident which led to Lil Kim going on an iron vacation for covering up what she saw of the shooting where a friend of the rapper Capone got hit.

It also played host to the beginnings of 2005's feud between The Game and 50 Cent when while on air Fiddy mentioned The Game was out of G-Unit. A member of the LA rappers entourage was shot at when they tried to get inside the studio to Fiddy.

Other incidents have included P.Diddy, Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes, Cam'ron and DMX. The latter called a security guard an "$8.50 an hour f**wit" after his refusal of entry to the building. The current lease with the landlord ends in 2012. This is another blow for the station who has been involved in a ratings war with Power 105, home to Marley Marl and Tony Touch.

Thank god this doesn't happen at 1Xtra!

Southport Weekender 38...

Published by Warren Dell under on Tuesday, May 02, 2006
The times of your favourite DJ's and the live PA's performances have been announced ahead of the 38th weekender taking place this weekend. As always it's big, if you're going, good on you. If not, check 1Xtra who will be providing some live coverage.
Southport Weekender 38 Line Up

Statik - Grindie Vol.1...

Published by Warren Dell under on Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Indie kids with their drainpipe jeans and new era hoodrats unite!!! Grindie is here!!! It's like the ska movement all over again.

One thing I've noticed about the grime scene is that there can be too much hate from within when there is alot of love from people outside it. There is more chance of a gig in Manhatten than there is anywhere else other than London but with a new project from top producer Statik he's aiming to unite scenes and bring the music to a much wider scene. Grindie volume 1 is a mixtape with his remixes and snippets of the latest indie and grime tracks. At 65 tracks long it can be frustrating when you hear something good and it ends so quickly, but there is no doubting the idea is a good one. Already the music press have taken note with even the indie bible NME running a feature this week on the mixtape. It seems to have gone down well with promoters too with Lethal B and The Mitchell Brothers sharing space on the bill at the traditionally indie only Camden Crawl. Statik too has his own Indie Loves Grime night coming up at the Koko, Camden in the nearest future. Whether this will be just a short term faze or it will leave a legacy like Ska music is uncertain at the moment, but with people in both scenes embracing one another the next few months promise some interesting sounds to come out. Hit up the linkage below for places to download this much sought after collection and keep an eye out for grindie tracks and remixes from The Rakes, Fire Camp & Pete Doherty and The Holloways soon come...

Statiks Murdochspace
Prancehalls Blog

The Streets - The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living...

Published by Warren Dell under on Monday, May 01, 2006
Mike Skinner’s a bit like a son to us. We’ve seen him grow from the everyman around the way guy to his face been plastered on every billboard and bus going. The journeys been an emotional one, but is it coming to an end with his third album? The chronicles of life in the public eye that is The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living.

Gone are the tales of boozy nights down the pub, late night kebabs and urban decay, the tales, which we enjoyed so much and were so different to the high life the modern US rapper told us about on a daily MTV basis.

In come the dilemmas faced with running your own record label on the title track, and the which girl on CD:UK was it? lead single When You Wasn’t Famous. The latter still applies his usual comedic street poet delivery to the episode of trying to pull and similar to the holiday anthem that was Fit But You Know It. If you feel that the rest of the album lacks more of these witty numbers, it’s something that was going to happen eventually.

Although you want to hear more of it, eventually you’re going to get bored if Original Pirate Material was just re-packaged over and over again. The Hardest Way…is equivalent to an artist’s sophomore set, where they have to deal with the task of producing an album over a year or two to better the album that took their whole life to put together. The second album merely delayed this crossroads. The concept narrative of A Grand Don’t Come For Free had the likes of Blinded By The Lights and Fit But You Know It, but it was the massive radio hit Dry Your Eyes that opened Skinner up to a new audience and his underground appeal would be lost forever. We perhaps should have seen it coming and not been so surprised.

But if this all sounds too negative it’s not meant to be, as The Hardest Way… is still a very enjoyable album. The style hasn’t changed, but our protagonist’s surroundings have. Now living the life many crave, from getting girls on tap to living the rock star life (the funky Hotel Expressionalism) all’s not content with his surroundings. Complaining as much about spending money on a promo video (title track), as he would having insufficient funds.

Something that Skinner doesn’t get much credit with is his production skill. His under-rated beats still contain a raw sound with his own blend of funk, none more so than on Can’t Con An Honest John. Not a particularly favourite moment but one we come to expect since Dry Your Eyes is the slow grime ballad of All Goes Out The Window, a little better is Two Nations. Another slow moment is the reflective Never Went To Church that is about his father who passed away last year.

The opener Prangin Out and the last number Fake Streets Hats give you the idea that Skinner doesn’t like the idea of this fame lark too much, and it will have many wondering how one can complain about the price of fame when they’re listening to this album after a hard day at the office or building site, easily willing to change places at a flash. But then if he were complaining about sitting in queues or scrapping money together for a pint we’d all be mentioning that old Hip-Hop adage of not keeping it real.

At first listen you may feel a little disappointed, but give it time and you’ll realise this is still another great Streets album, you’ve just got to realise that the kids moved on now and you have to grow with him.

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