it's the shiznit

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

Mark Ronson in the studio...

Published by Warren Dell under on Tuesday, January 30, 2007

From what I've heard so far I'm looking forward to his Version album. Here Comes The Fuzz was more like a mixtape but Version should give him the credit warranted as a producer. The Toxic version with God Put A Smile B-side is out now.

Disco D R.I.P...

Published by Warren Dell under on Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Another one of Detroit’s music men has passed away, with producer Disco D committing suicide yesterday. Although not in the same category as J Dilla or Proof he had produced for 50 Cent, Spank Rock and Trick Daddy while also forming his own label Detroit Ghettotech. The up and coming producer, who was only 27, had recently been diagnosed as bi-polar and was also suffering from depression.

Wiley retires...

Published by Warren Dell under on Monday, January 22, 2007

So the godfather bows out. For those that haven’t heard the news Wiley today spoke to RWD magazine to announce his retirement from the grime scene. While not a full retirement as such, he will continue to produce, it looks as though Playtime Is Over will be the last time we hear the Eskiboy in a while. Here is the link for the interview excerpt, which will be featured in full in the new RWD issue. Just as the final Tunnel Vision dropped today as well.

Immediately I thought this was some marketing ploy a la Jay-Z, but it looks as though outside interferences that have nothing to do with music have played his hand. Not a month goes by when a message board forum is speculating Wiley getting rushed, now finally it’s gotten to him and he feels he can no longer continue. If that’s the case then it’s a big blow for a music scene that will never grow if road politics dictate. The guy has pretty much carried the scene on his back without achieving anywhere near the success of Dizzee or even Kano, and however the scene develops, if at all – he’ll be remembered for his part. It’s true there is some young talents coming through as he goes on to mention in RWD, but a grime scene with no Wiley bars? Hard to believe. I hope and am sure Playtime Is Over will be a great send off, but after all the strive and hustle, has he bowed out at a time when on Big Dada he could have got that Dizzee success?

I finally got my copy of Rules & Regulations today, early thoughts are that it has matched what Prancehall and Rap News have said, it’s a gem of a mixtape/album. Full review to follow.

New Hip-Hop Soul out now...

Published by Warren Dell under on Thursday, January 18, 2007

Usher is needed for 2007, no offence Justin. Some good work on Amerie, Mya and our very own Corinne Bailey Rae.

Stretch Armstrong...

Published by Warren Dell under on Thursday, January 18, 2007

Those people fed up of snap, hyphy and in need of an old school hip-hop fix need to check the blog of DJ Stretch Armstrong as he is posting up his old shows from his WBLS Rap Attack radio spots and other classic gems. Peep a hungry Mobb Deep from 1994...

Example - You Can't Rap Video...

Published by Warren Dell under on Thursday, January 18, 2007

Always expect the unexpected, well that's what I've been told before and it's one of those old famous sayings. Whoever said it probably didn't have The Beats label in mind, but it seems so apt with their latest music video for Example. Go to his myspace blog for the making of it after.

New music 2007...

Published by Warren Dell under on Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Back for 2007 with new music

I have recently written a piece for Rap News on the years forthcoming new music to watch out for. Artists include Sway, Roll Deep, Mr Hudson and many more. Go check it out and if you're not familiar with the site have a butchers as there is plenty of good stuff on there. I'm also going to be writing some things for the site so keep an eye out.

Nerdcore Rising...

Published by Warren Dell under on Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Remember when you were at school and you had the crowd of geeks you would laugh at? Well now while you’re stuck in you 9-5 job they’re off doing PHD’s and finding cures for diseases. It’s ok because you’ve got your Hip-Hop. But wait, because now they’re trying to take that away from you. Nerdcore Rising is the movie documentary that follows MC Frontalot –that’s right Frontalot as he embarks on his national tour. According to the fans interviewed these nerdcore rappers, as the genre is called, rap about issues that relate to them – like online RPG games or Internet porn addiction.

The White Rapper Show...

Published by Warren Dell under on Tuesday, January 16, 2007

There have been so many reality shows surrounding Hip-Hop these days that not a week goes by when you can see DMX skipping studio time to buy donuts, or Flavour Flav looking for a female to hold his clock (That's CLOCK dirty minded readers). Now VH1 in the states have rolled out the search for the next Eminem with The White Rapper Show - in conjunction with MR Serch of 3rd Bass fame. He and the VH1 team go about finding the next great white hope across the country and if it comes to the UK could prove a similar ratings puller. If only they would bring the search to the UK so we could see more attempts at emceeing like this...

Uffie is ready to f...

Published by Warren Dell under on Tuesday, January 16, 2007

If her mum caught Uffie reciting her lyrics and seeing what frenzy she has been sending young lads at club performances Mother Uffie could only be disgusted. Telling you she is ready to do the nasty and urging you to pop the glock may not be what your regular 18-year old Miami born and now Paris based girl is talking about, but this hipster favourite is causing a right stir at the moment. Backed by Mr Oizo (of Flat Eric fame) and signed to label of the moment Ed Banger (Daft Punks manager) she can be heard from Fabric to any Shoreditch bar right now, but that shouldn’t put you off as the electro beats of Ready To Uff are as Hip-Hop as below the waistline jeans. The lyrics are fun and although I can’t actually imagine she has ever popped said glock, can we really say half the American artists that rap about it have? With danceable beats and irresistibly catchy hooks only the biggest purists can front on Uffie.

Uffie on Myspace

Thirty's the new twenty...

Published by Warren Dell under on Thursday, January 11, 2007

...but Hawaiian was the new Kangol

Published by Warren Dell under on Thursday, January 11, 2007
Jaz-O & Jay-Z - Hawaiian Sophie

Interscope told me I was going to be the Next Big Thing and whisked me off to the US to record an album. Then they heard Thanks For All the Aids...

Published by Warren Dell under on Thursday, January 11, 2007
This has been on the Guardian website for a week now but if you haven't seen it is a funny account from Akira The Don on his Interscope tenure. Worth a read.

Some moving images...

Published by Warren Dell under on Monday, January 08, 2007
Just Jack - Stars In Their Eyes

This reminds me of some of the people you see on a night out in Southampton. Forget the lazy comparisons to Mike Skinner this track is a tune and he's got others too in his catalogue.

Hadouken - That Boy That Girl

May not be liked too much by the grime crowd and may be seen as too much of a gimmick but I think this song is alright - the video takes it a step further. Colourful.

Free Talib Kweli Download...

Published by Warren Dell under on Monday, January 08, 2007

One man who has embraced the whole myspace and mixtape outlet ahead of his new album is Talib Kweli. Since he dropped the below par by his standards Beautiful Struggle in 2004 he has been hard at work with his craft dropping the Right About Now and Kweli Confidential mixtapes. If you ever wondered like I have what his new years resolution is then you can check out his video on his myspace and he's even put himself in that Second Life online world - surely taking the promotion of a new album to the extreme. Back to more standard ways of promotion you can for a limited time only download a nine track ep he has worked on with Madlib. Entitled Liberation the CD gives you a bit of a preview to what the album Eardrum may pan out like, the rhymes are as thoughtful as ever while Madlib keeps churning out another batch of twisted soul beats. We thought 2004 would be the year he broke through on a commercial level but like Common later found out - having Kanye West on the boards doesn't guarantee sales. (Although Be was and still is a classic). Eardrum is tentatively due 12th February and will be an interesting listen.

Download link on his myspace page

Lupe takes on the downloaders...

Published by Warren Dell under on Monday, January 08, 2007

In a firm stance against the bootleggers and downloaders who by his estimation cost him a large amount of sales, Lupe Fiasco won't record his second album The Cool until three weeks before its summer release date. The beats and rhymes will be worked on and closely guarded until such time where marathon studio sessions will be taking place, and surely a hurried mastering/shipping process. Putting aside the question of making a better album in such a short space of time, has he or anyone thought about how they are going to promote that material? Radio and TV want material at least 6 weeks in advance of release and any promotional appearances are surely not realistic if he is recording at a time when an artist would be expected to do the marketing push. There will be no record reviews and any magazines will not likely run any features. Only the loyalist of fans will buy the album on the basis of no material being heard and if it was harsh first time round for his sales figures through downloading, it looks like Lupe will have no one to blame expect himself if he wonders why sales are poor second time around.

Review of the year - Final Thoughts...

Published by Warren Dell under on Tuesday, January 02, 2007
While there are plenty of round-ups covering more depth else where, I’ll just throw a few comments your way on the year 2006 as 07 gets under way and my NYE hangover finally clears.

UK wise there were great albums from Braintax, Yungun & Mr thing and Kyza. Dubstep broke through to more listeners as grime took a bit of a back seat. The Sunday broadsheets were soon dispatched to report on the many aspects of the scene with Skream leading the way with his debut through Tempa –‘Midnight Request Line’ still came strong as the year went on.

There may have been no major releases from Dizzee, Kano, Lethal B, Wiley or Roll Deep but emerging talent was the theme of the year with JME taking poll position with his Boy Better Know Series. His brother Skepta dropped Duppy and a few other hot tracks to shape up nicely for ‘Greatest Hits’ in 07. Wiley released 2nd Phaze with a cover paying more homage to the Fresh Prince high top fade days that included some bangers. With a 2pac like catalogue he then released four versions of Tunnel Vision after early leaks. In truth you could have put the best tracks from the series onto one CD but you couldn’t knock his effort and it paid off with Big Dada signing him to a solo deal. His XL deal may not have gone according to plan but now home to a label with such talented artists as Roots Manuva, Ty and Spank Rock he should reap the credit and sales deserved.

Dizzee rascal and Kano will both have albums dropping in springtime with the latter apparently working with Damon Albarn on a track.

Plastician, Logan Sama, Jammer, Lethal B, Tinchy Stryder are just some of the names who will be releasing an album or mixtape of some sort over the coming months. Regardless of whether it’s Uptown or HMV where you can buy them there should be plenty of choice in 2007 for the grime connoisseur.

I’m predicting a more successful year in output but am still reserved as whether enough support from all areas will get into it. It would be nice to see more live outlets, but we need people to take a chance and cut the stereotypical attitude held towards the scene from those outside.

If Lethal B can play gigs with The Rakes in Camden and groups like Hadouken can throw in grime influences into predominantly indie sounding music aesthetics, then lets hope more promoters and labels will want to invest in putting some more nights on. JME paved the way with a do it yourself attitude and a level head to work, Sway the year before. If more follow then it may just need a major distributor or two to catch the bug and let the artists handle material, while they get the music to a wider level. We know people are listening/wanting somewhere.
It wouldn’t be a bad thing to hear more traditional garage being played either.

On the whole it is clear there is talent in the UK scene, but we are far behind say the indie scene at the moment to be able to have tours and more mainstream radio play. It is a topic worth exploring and there just isn’t the words here at the moment to look into why it hasn’t and what we can do, from the obvious to the not so - but it’s something I will try and put together in the coming weeks from my own opinion.

If you were looking in from the outside it would seem a disaster as far as Hip-Hop is concerned with sales numbers dwindling, although in these Limewire sharing times are constant reports on first week sales really necessary from bloggers?

Although it wasn’t the most stellar year with some disappointments, Pharrel, Lupe Fiasco and Jay-Z my biggest let downs after so much hype – the last two were decent but felt lacking in areas – there were some highlights if you dug deep enough.

If the scene seemed stale then Spank Rock took advantage progressing forward light years with their brand of electro beats, booty bass lines and x-rated lyrics delivered with sick flows. Easily my favourite album of the year.

Late summer and under the radar for a lot of publications were not your average Texans Strange Fruit Project. While the single with Erykah Badu ‘Get Live’ added weight to the name the album evoke memories of back in the day Tribe and new school cats Little Brother.

Staying on the independent tip newly reformed Rawkus released the early acclaimed Kidz in the Hall album, of which a full review will grace these pages soon.

Nas, Ghostface and The Clipse all dropped material to the standards we come to expect from them.

On a more soulful tip John Legend, Donell Jones, Amp Fiddler, Justin Timberlake and Ne-Yo had my speakers on lock for a long time. Although personally that Justin Timberlake album wasn’t as good as the first one.

Terri Walker put behind her label trying to make her another Jamelia by releasing an acclaimed independent outing, while Sadie Ama and Estelle head into 07 ready to drop long players.

Don-E, Omar and Lemar repped the men with different styles, but all still sounding very soulful. Nathan will wonder how big he could have been if major labels and MTV stopped pushing weak pop fodder like Upper Street et al. But then again that could be said for a lot of black music artists in any year. One day the mainstream will wake up, one day.

There is much more I could talk about and even more that I have forgotten, that all said I wish fans, artists, bloggers, writers, ravers and all in between a happy and successful 2007.

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