You feel good right now
It said it in your stars
Look at what you've got
Success and stacking bars
So tomorrow might feel different
Fighting petty feuds
Threading together textured moods
Ride out with me
I promise I'll hold on real tight
Failing, tripping, winning
I won't go amiss without a fight
You feel good right now
It's written on your face
You know this shits about you
Especially the odd word that's out of place
So tomorrow might feel different
Less blonde with a hint of brown
Be it red, black or grey
This girl will always be down
Ride out with me
I promise I'll hold on real tight
Failing, tripping, winning
I won't go amiss without a fight
You feel good right now
Able to laugh if all off
If the world fell down
Probably wouldn't give a toss
So tomorrow might feel different
Clouds of desire and chance blocking your vision
Storms and sun showers at war
Attacking any foresight you had with precision
Ride out with me
I promise I'll hold on real tight
Failing, tripping, winning
I won't go amiss without a fight
And when the time does arrive
Where we'll trace this journey way back
You'll look me deep in the eye and say
"But your poems were really and truly wack"
Wednesday, 30 March 2005
You feel good right now
I've been watching On Road DVD. Full props to the makers who've really grafted and got countless people on film. For someone like myself whose not as up on the youngers it provides an in interesting insight that I also, dare I say it, found slightly depressing.
I'm not talking about hardship or ghetto life (that's for another conversation with Logan Sama). I'm talking about the MC's. You see there aren't many 'youngers' that excite me. Maybe it's my age. I like to think otherwise, I know I know a good MC when I hear one. I was going to argue against the greatness of the youngers on the basis that the content was so, for want of a better word, samey. Gats, gash, war. Over and over and over. And over once more for luck.
Then I read something Martin Clark wrote on his blog and we bounced back and forth for a while. My conclusion. Yes, admittedly some of the most proven MC's, the elders, struggle to break these same thresholds. But what they do do, in varying degrees, is deliver with intelligence, maybe comedy, wit, better wordplay. So the future isn't doomed quite yet. Ears, Discarda and Manga were all worth rewinding even though they too haven't broken from the aforementioned subject matter.
I too get frustrated that people don't break more moulds and up the verbal game. But I do respect, admire and appreciate many of the unique characters showcasing their skills. Looking at Klashnekoff, D Double E and Bruza alone, it's quite clear to me that talent is present in many forms, all as worthy of one another. It's still early days and there's plenty of room for growth.
He's wondering If I know
I'm wondering if he knows I know
"I'm just cold" I say, shaking
It's not like I meant to see it
It's not like I even know what it means
But I'm still cold
Really fucking cold.
You believe there can be change
You, them it,
But you're still shivering
And not making any sense
Because you're kidding yourself
You knew this would happen
But there's still a lesson been learnt
Yeah, but while my heart is freezing over
"I'll find it", I think in desperation, "when this is all done"
I can't say I know
Because knowing doesn't exist
Not when you feel this lost
Locking that closing door on a tiresome quest for clarity
Shall I leave the key on the mat?
Without fear I know I must rise
Maybe he should know I know
What if it wasn't meant for him?
Don't kid yourself
That's why you can't shift this cold
Waiting for the end of a never changing season
Just turn off my life support
Or shall I smash you in your face?
My hand around your neck so warm
Tightening my grip like I mean it.
But I don't.
Or do I
I could do this
Yes, you're kidding yourself
I know more than you know
Sure you don't know that yet
If you're lucky you may never truly know
Yet you'll feel the changing front
Do you believe in karma?
Because it might happen to you
You'll be out there feeling the cold
And I certainly won't be there to turn the fucking heating on.
URBAN EAST 2005, STRATFORD CIRCUS, THEATRE SQUARE, LONDON E15
Thursday March 31st 2005
£8 /£5 concessions. Doors: 7.00pm
MPHO SKEEF live, SWAY, RANDOLPH MATTHEWS live
Friday April 1st 2005 / Circus 1
£8 / £5 concessions. Doors: 7.00pm
BLACKTRONICA and BURNT PROGRESS present, MARK DE CLIVE LOWE FREESOUL SESSIONS, MITCHELL BROTHERS, EAR DIS (WUNNADEMWUNS RECORDS), SHADOWS OF THE MIST DANCE COLLECTIVE, DJs: BLACKTRONICA / BURNT PROGRESS
Saturday April 2nd 2005
£8 / £5 concessions. Doors: 7.00pm
ROLL DEEP CREW Exclusive set with live band, LETHAL B, DURRTY GOODZ, CRAZY TITCH, J2K
AFTERSHOCK RECORDS with special guest SHOLA AMA featuring Bruza, Sadie Ama, Triple Threat, Elrae, Manassa, Mehnaz, The Lordz. Host: Terror Danjah. PAPERCHASE RECORDINGS with K.T. Pearl & Essentials, G-FORCE, FAITH SFX, FUMIN, PURPLE
TOR, STATIC FEAT. ALL-STAR PRODUCERS, E.C. live band set, SINCERE, DJs: CRISIS, TWIN B (SplitMics), BABY BLU Host: PEACHES & TWIN B
Infoline: 0208 536 0630 All tickets £8 /£5 concessions. Credit card bookings www.ticketweb.co.uk Door: cash payments only on the night. Transport: Stratford station (Central / Jubilee / DLR / North London lines)
Friday, 25 March 2005
Shout out to everyone who came down to i-D Live at Cargo last night, performers, producers, photographers and of course the crowd. Party vibe throughout. Missed most of it due to door duties and general running about but overall reports have been great. For a first attempt Ms Collins and I are more than happy. Thanks to i-D Magazine, especially Dean Langley and Ben Reardon, without whom it wouldn't have been possible also Ross Allen and Riko. Really feel opened eyes of lots of punters who were losing their grime virginity. Also the Cargo staff who were alright on the night. Many a surprise too. Riko got the event underway, hyping the crowd as he does so well. Wiley arrived with JME, Skepta and DJ Cheeky who kindly did an impromptu mini set. Room already ram. Crazy Titch and J2K hotted up anyone who'd have it, another surprise guest No Lay murked Unorthodox Daughter (nice reloads Hats), Sovereign, ill on more than one account, dropped some fresh shit, Roll Deep set it off with When Im Ere and Let It Out, Klashnekoff, boy what can I say? Legend. Goodz has been quiet on live circuit so great to hear some new rhymes from him. Special guest was Jammer who smashed the Fire Hydrant Riddim with Ears and Riko (again). Murkle Man. Essentials definitely know Jenny and the rest, Katie Pearl, she's sweet, we love her, we know all the words. Nice work from Bossman. Late arrivals but Kano, Ghetto and Demon were the icing on the cake. Biggle. Unfortunate that the mics got turned off for Logans set as Wiley, Bruza and Jammer were lined up but curfews and all that... Anyway. Hopefully you get the picture. And thanks again to everyone who came down.
On Wednesday night I got a call saying Sov was in hospital with suspected appendicitis. Wanted to cry but didn't. Then at 5.00pm on Thursday I'm told she's discharged herself, feels fine and would like to perform. So hats off to Ess-Oh-Vee. True soldier. Good job she came really or would have been some disappointed punters, many of whom appeared to have come to witness her onslaught. She PA'ed Random, Blah, Blah and for the first time, Adidas Hoodie. She was suffering after so got her in a cab sharp but thanks and much love to you my girl x
Tuesday, 22 March 2005
Sunday, 20 March 2005
A Manchester school have sparked national debate after a teenager was sent home after the headteacher ruled she was the wrong race to have a braided hairstyle.
An article by Deborah Haile reads...
Olivia Acton, 13, was told she could not join her classmates at Middleton Technology College because her tightly plaited hair was too "extreme" for the strict uniform policy.
However, two other pupils at the school who have an Afro-Caribbean background are allowed to attend the school with similar hairstyles because it reflects their cultural heritage.
The teenager usually has her hair brushed straight but had it braided during a family holiday. She was stunned to be turned away when she returned to school. She was told she can only go back to the classroom if she unpicks the plaits.
Olivia's father, Michael, says the school's rule is discriminatory and should be changed. But the school insists the uniform policy is an important way of maintaining standards and ensuring all youngsters are a part of the school community.
Mr Acton said: "The headteacher is saying it's extreme for my girl to have braids. I'm disgusted by the decision."
Middleton Technology College headteacher Allison Crompton confirmed that braided hairstyles were generally banned in the school but she would make exceptions for hairstyles which are a reflection of cultural heritage rather than a fashion statement.
Ms Crompton said: "We don't allow any extreme hairstyles of any description at the school. We are a high-achieving school with high standards and we don't allow any street culture into school.
"We are very strict on appearance. Wearing a school uniform signals that children are ready and willing to be a part of the school community. We have smart children who work in a purposeful way because that's the ethos of the school.
"If we didn't allow some leeway for their cultural and ethnic background I think it would probably be discriminatory."
The row began when Olivia, from Alcrington, was excluded in February for a day for her failure to comply with the school's rule.
She told the school the braids could not be removed for two weeks, and was told that during that time she could return to school but would be taught in the learning support unit. Olivia chose to study at home and has not returned to school since while both parties refuse to give way over the hairstyle.
Rochdale MP Jim Dobbin is now trying to negotiate a compromise, but he admits he doesn't believe the school has reasonable grounds to keep Olivia away.
He said: "The family visited my surgery recently and I have asked the LEA to mediate with the school. I personally do not consider the hairstyle in any way outrageous and I hope Olivia can return to full time education immediately. I do not consider this to be a reasonable exclusion."
Coun Colin Lambert, Rochdale Council's spokesman for education, said: "The school should concentrate on what goes into the students' heads and not what is on their heads."
What do you think of the school's policy? Have your say over at www.manchesteronline.co.uk.
I was going to give my thoughts on the matter but instead am leaving you with this posted on the news forum by howardki, Port Deposit, Md US. "The most distressing aspect of this is head teacher's view that the hairstyle ITSELF is extreme and disruptive, implying that it is undesirable and wrong. If that is her view then she should be consistent. She is being condescending by permitting two Afro-Caribbean students, for she is expecting less from them. The head teacher denigrates them by doing so. Would she send the two Afro-Caribbean students home had they worn their hair straight in a European style? I believe not. Straight haired Black students would be embracing a higher civilization, but a braided hair White student would be emulating the characteristics of a lesser civilization. That is the message the head teacher is sending. She has taken a step back from most progressive people's view that differences in the races are only superficial and the true measure of a person is the content of his/her character."
1st April 2005 SHORTEE V STEPZ Box - Shortee V Stepz Bar - Ronnie Herel, Swerve, Chippie, Mc Klarkie. 8TH APRIL 2005 EZ UNCUT / RETURN OF MATT WHITE Box - EZ 3 hour Special Hosts Kofi B & Manic B, B Live & Viper, PSG, DT & Creed, Kie & Sparks Bar - Shortee Blitz, Matt White. 15th April 2005 WESTWOOD INVADES SMOOVE Box - Tim Westwood Bar - Shortee Blitz, Nick Smood, Ricky Chilli Source, MC Klarkie. 22nd APRIL LADIEEZ NIGHT Box - Masterstepz, Rampage Bar - Shortee Blitz, MDK, Dodge, Davy Diamond, Mc Klarkie 29th April 2005 UPTOWN MEETS SMOOVE Box - Shortee Blitz, Masterstepz, Firin Squad Bar - Stylez, Lonyo, Running Man, Sweet P.
Saturday, 19 March 2005
Friday, 18 March 2005
Saturday 7-9pm www.bbc.co.uk/1xtra.
By KELEFA SANNEH
March 14, 2005
Grime is a booming London-based genre related to hip-hop - the raw materials are jagged beats and rapid-fire rhymes. And for American listeners who have been trying to keep up with grime, there was something shocking about the seemingly ordinary performance that took place at the Lower East Side club Rothko on Friday night.
With the exception of Dizzee Rascal, grime's first breakout star, the music has reached New York not through concerts and rare vinyl singles, but through the Internet. Thanks to grime-obsessed magazines (like RWD, online at rwdmag.com) and blogs (like silverdollarcircle.blogspot.com) and even radio station Web sites (like www.bbc.co.uk/1xtra/garage/), the curious and the obsessed can eavesdrop as connoisseurs debate new tracks, rehash complicated feuds and identify emerging trends. In London, grime may seem inseparable from the rowdy clubs and fly-by-night pirate radio stations that nurture it. But in New York, grime is computer music - that is, music you listen to on your computer.
At Rothko on Friday night, the MP3's suddenly came alive. Names that had existed as glowing text on well-stocked iPods were transformed into real live performers with microphones and turntables. There were three: the veteran rapper D Double E; his promising young protégé Ears; and the producer Jammer, a brilliant grime pioneer who may have seen one Lil Jon video too many. Together, they put on a messy but entertaining show for an admiring crowd.
The concert celebrated the release of something American listeners have long been waiting for (whether they knew it or not): a thrilling, smartly curated, widely available grime compilation, "Run the Road" (Vice/Atlantic). There's something to love about every track, from Terror Danjah's hyper-belligerent posse cut, "Cock Back V1.2," to Kano's slick, swaggering "P's and Q's," to "Cha Ching," a mischievous, sing-song track by Lady Sovereign, a playful white rapper who is emerging as one of grime's biggest stars. Here's hoping "Run the Road" is just a start: if American listeners are ever going to get up to speed on grime, we may need a new "Run the Road" every few months or so.
Part of what makes grime so exciting (besides the wild, angular electronic beats and the tricky, meter-shifting rhymes) is the sense that even its stars are still trying to figure out how the music works. On Friday night, Jammer often interrupted the tracks before they were done, shouting "Rewind!" or "Next one, next one!" (This is a grime tradition borrowed from
dance hall reggae.)
And while D Double E reeled off some of his best-known rhymes ("Them bulletscan fly/Like birds in the sky/Do you want your bredren to die?," he rapped), Ears was even more impressive. "How old do you think this boy is?," Jammer asked, smiling proudly when someone correctly shouted the answer: 17. And Ears (who appears on "Run the Road" with a bittersweet nostalgic track called "Happy Dayz") responded with yet another nimble verse, fearlessly darting in and out of the beat.
British grime concerts often unfold like contests, with rhymers angling to settle scores and establish hierarchies, but this one was cheerful and slightly slack. It wasn't a grudge match, just a friendly demonstration for listeners who are still learning how to love what they're hearing.
Wednesday, 16 March 2005
Just to warn you there appears to be a slight glitch about ten minutes on (two tracks playing at same time perhaps), but the problem should be rectified soon so hold tight and just skip past that bit for a hot one.
Tuesday, 15 March 2005
Well that's what it says over at rwdmag.com. And judging by the evidence it looks baiter than the shit on the end of a hook. The story reads "The question is: Did they like our January cover so much, that the out of ideas team at Vibe decided to steal it? Or was it just a coincidence that they shot 50 Cent as Tony Montana on the cover of their April issue, only a few weeks after RWDs editor Matt Mason went to meet them and showed them what we did with Kano, in a bid to try and (unsuccessfully) convince them they needed to come to the UK and write about grime? We know Scarface has long been an icon in the urban music world, but does lightning really strike twice like that? You decide. We'll let you know Vibe's answer, if we get one"
Sunday, 13 March 2005
I did make it to Brixton Academy on Thursday night for The Streets 10 rounds tour. Unfortunately missed Kano and the boys but caught The Mitchell Brothers who were quite amusing. All about Skinner though really. I think I lasted five songs before cutting out. Love Brixton Academy, love The Streets, felt ill.
Apparently it went off at Ally Pally last night. After party wasn't bad either. Not that I'd know, I was in bed.
I have missed many important dates in the diary this week and slacked on many counts (apologies to all concerned). But don't hate me, hate the cold. Colds have a habit of making you feel sorry for yourself, you look in the mirror as your skin starts drying out, then there's the blotches, oh tired eyes.
Yet this year I've discovered lots of things that are good about colds and actually give them an element of enjoyment and some renewed appreciation. You just got to be looking at these things the right way, right?
Things that have been making me happy:
Lemon and ginger teabags (not twinnings or any of those botanical brands go for the caribbean stuff)
Woebot's articles in Fact
Banana Cake from no-one
Shopping on Brick Lane
Listening to KT Tunstall, Truth Hurts and Un-Cut
Cadburys Spiral thingy
Getting loads of new Danny Weed instrumentals
Jean Grae's introduction to the local dealer
The DVD of Jammers B'day Bash time ago
Freshly squeezed apple juice from Premise
kris ex (he may have been slacking on his blog but when you re-read his stuff you get something new each time, well I do, and what?)
Writing an article for The Ave
Reading 10,000 dreams interpreted
Things that would make me happier:
That now I've appreciated things the cold would just go away, leave me alone, I hate you. And what is snot, sorry but if you know where it comes from, how it got there and where it would go if you were born with no nostrils, please let me know. Thankyou please.
i-D Live @ Cargo. In Celebration of London street music, i-D magazine presents the next installment from i-D Live. DJ Ross Allen and MC Riko will be helping us through the proceedings, mixing up a selection of party classics, grime, bashment, dirty south rap, west coast funk and the rest. From Madonna to Wiley, Run DMC to Vybz Kartel we've got it covered - along with many more surprises on the night.
Back to the celebrations, we'll be cheering, clapping, saluting and dancing to...
Our favourite alternative grime shortie will be taking a break from the studio to perform new single 'Random' and the forthcoming 'Blah Blah.'
Kano, Demon & Ghetto
Fresh from supporting The Streets, 679 Recordings latest hotshot, Kano will be bringing along co-d's Demon and Ghetto to show you exactly how they do.
They're celebrating signing to Relentless Records and so are we, as the full Roll Deep Entourage including Trim, Breeze, Scratchy and Riko prepare to reveal a range of musical genius during their set.
If there's a first man of hip hop right now it's Klashnekoff. Currently laying down his next album, he's taking the night off, literally, to join us in our celebrations and to perform classic 'Murda' (we hope).
Titch will be downing the Crazy pills, supplying you in turn with underground anthems 'I Can C U' and 'Singalong'.
One of the hottest and most slept-on crews working the circuit, Essentials make their Cargo debut at i-D Live. We promise you, with DJ Bossman and MC's Remerdee, K Dot, NE and Jendor it's unlikely you've seen anything like it.
One of the first ladies of the R&B/grime fusion that they be calling R&G, Katie Pearl gives us a first hand taste of why she's got the thugs on lock with 'Mr DJ' and 'Leave Me Alone'.
Meridian Crew's JME (who also pars alongside Roll Deep) unleashes his debut 'Serious.' Listen carefully and you'll hear one of grime's future flag-flyers.
Putting the b into bashment, Stush brings her grimey-dancehall fusion into the mix at Cargo, performing the classic 'Dollar Signs.'
Logan Sama & Guests
Rounding off the evening will be Rinse 100.3FM's Logan Sama. For one night only he'll be taking the heat from the streets to Cargo with a grand finale bonanza set to end all sets. Keep the cab waiting.
7pm-1am, Â£5 adv. Â£7 on door. Advance tix from
www.cargo-london.com and log onto www.i-dmagazine.com soon to hear the Logan Sama Bonus Mix.
Was reading over at http://sashafrerejones.com/ that he'd heard word from Pitbull that he's looking to put out his version of the Forward Riddim. If you haven't heard it check the DJ Sextex archives or ask nicely and I might just oblige with a clip.
Anyway, spoke to Dexplicit, the producer of Forward's, manager who told me it's in Relentless' hands. Will be interesting to watch this space.
Drowning in a pool of wet rags, known in a former life as tissues, I stared at my phone and watched the texts arrive. I was missing the Dirtee Stank Air 180 Launch Party. Yep, Dizzee Rascal and Nike have a collaborated on a trainer. Gutted that I missed DEE, Dizzee, Fury and the rest murking but here's what RWD reported on events... www.rwdmag.com
Bombshells were dropped a night ago as Raskit held a lil party to celebrate the launch of his very own line of Nike trainers. The sneakers (excuse the Americanism) are Nike Air 180s and many have seen them re-launched by Nike earlier this year, (watch for six new colourways later this year too) but Dizzees are a very very limited version. His 180s consist of a red on white version with red laces, red Swoosh (Nike tick), the Dirtee Stank logo on the tongue and DR logo stamped on the rear of the each pair.There is also a red on brown version in the Dirtee Stank colours, and they come in a specially designed box featuring some grimy Dizzee-fied E3 artwork. Only 96 pairs have been made and it's unlikely they'll ever be released, so start fiending for them on ebay now.
The launch party itself consisted of live-O performances from the boy himself (who is no longer in the corner), Semtex who killed it 'pun the decks and with D Double and the Newham Generals also smashing it. The crew from the Midlands, Klass A, the first signings to Dizzees label Dirtee Stank Recordings broke down the mic and it was all basically a live version of the limited mix CD (presented by Dizzee and mixed by Sem) you get with the trainers.
The night was heavy but the best part was when Dizzee told RWD exclusively HE IS NEAR TO SIGNING D Double E and his crew the Newham Generals. The likes of Footsie, Monkey and D Double will be coming through on his label later on this year and all as long as the dotted line gets signed, hell is gonna break loose. Everyone has been waiting for the MC (famous for his MEEE MEEE lyric) to be signed to a label for time and now its happened. With D and Foots on a label hell is set to break loose more often instead of just on hectic compilations like Run the Roads and big mix CDs like Aim High.
Not ONLY that but RWD are gonna hit you with another HEX-KLOOO-SIVE, Dizzee is working on a world tour and will be with DJ Wonder, the DJ and producer behind many a big riddim. The last was the remix of SLKs overly nang Hype Hype which featured Lethal B and a few more members of SLK.
From the Eye Weekly. Got some nice quotes in there boy. Go and drop a message at www.eye.net.
"Sorry, I've got like five phones ringing in front of me. Bloody hell, I'm in an interview. I'll call you back in a second."
If an artist's success can be measured by cellular activity, grime lord Jammer is living large -- in London, anyway.
So far, Dizzee Rascal is the only member of the grime nation to really blow up beyond the British Isles, but with the new major-label-backed (and Vice-approved) compilation/primer Run the Road -- and its accompanying tour with DJ/MC/producer Jammer, his protegÃ©, Ears, and former junglist D Double E -- the innovative genre is arriving to set up a beachhead.
"Music comes around and goes back and gets recycled but grime is a whole new thing, innit?" Jammer says from his ringtone-riddled home, eager to bring the noise to North America. "I think they will be blown away by the way we express our music. It's not something you hear one day and forget the next."
Grime has been around for a few years now, longer than it's had a genre-name anyway (it still boasts alternative titles like sublow and eski-beat, the latter after Wiley's pioneering "Eskimo" track). Emerging from the UK garage scene -- though its purveyors prefer to trace roots further back to drum 'n' bass and Jamaican dancehall -- grime mashed a number of musical sources to put its own spin on American hip-hop.
"It's got some similarities in feeling but the energy of grime is much more uptempo and dancey, more similar to crunk and maybe Miami bass," Jammer says. "I've listened to reggae, hip-hop, R&B, soul and everything's incorporated. It's more of a fusion of all types of music but it's something new that's never been fusioned before."
It's likely that these protestations derive from the fact that Brit-hop (Roots Manuva notwithstanding) has generally been a pale imitation of the real thing, and what makes grime such an artistic leap forward is its localized sound and lack of adherence to established presets.
"We just done what we thought sounded good and that's what we liked," Jammer says, "and then the MCs, they started to formulate their own way without using Yankee words, straight English."
But grime's basic structure of DJ, MC and hypeman holds more connections to hip-hop than anything else, just not necessarily to today's big-business version. The current state of grime is like the early days of rap, when hungry kids from violence-prone housing projects made music for the sheer rush of it rather than the bling-buying opportunities it might provide.
The music itself is a dystopian futurescape of harsh digital beats, hip-cracking bass, gun-blast riddims and videogame bleeps with agro MCs tossing tense, often indecipherable rhymes overtop. It sounds squeezed out of broken technology and not-quite-broken dreams, reflecting the claustrophobic feelings these anxious artists developed over years of living in rough-hewn East London council estates.
"You can get killed," Jammer says. "Our culture is not to wear ice all the time because you can get shanked for it. Shanked," he pauses to explain, "is when someone pulls out a long object and pushes it into a part of your body. People are still hungry out here; you can't go pushing diamonds and gold in their face. But it's not that bad. You won't just come out your house and get shot in the face. I don't think it's as bad as the grimiest places in New York."
Jammer also notes that while there are some beefs, or as he calls them "rows" -- and he himself became involved in one after splitting from N.A.S.T.Y. Crew -- generally grime has become the biggest thing in British urban music through collaborations, an assertion backed up by all the "featuring" notes and posse cuts on Road's tracklist.
Jammer himself has worked with many in the scene, including Wiley, D Double E, Lethal and Kano, and launched a series of DVDs dubbed Lord of the Mic, which capture the impromptu battles going down in his basement studio, The Dungeon.
It's through digital video, dubplates, mixtapes and, most notably, pirate radio stations that the music has begun its slow climb out of the underground.
There's a danger to this rise, as evidenced by the failure of UK garage to maintain its identity in the hands of major labels and mainstream acceptance. But Dizzee Rascal's 2004 sophomore LP, Showtime, only sounds more accessible when compared to his first record (2003's The Boy in da Corner) and the gritty working-class MCs nipping at his heels seem hungrier for street fame than bank
"It's this generation's punk music," Dizzee told me last week, the day before he got arrested for having pepper spray in his pocket. "It's not really a black thing no more. It is, but the whole youth are into it over here. It's never been like this before. People were influenced by [American hip-hop], that was our culture. Now grime is all they know.
"It's good to be around to see it and be a major part of it. It's a big step in history, innit?"
Words: Joshua Ostroff
From the Now Toronto. www.nowtoronto.com. They tell us UK grime does pay. Words by Jason Richards.
While Queen West hipsters smugly enjoy G-Unit and Dipset records on the ironic tip, in East London, UKMCs are passing around a mic in smoky high-rise flats, spitting cockney fire through pirate radio transmitters like their lives depend on it.
Of course, the grime scene (the hyper love baby of UK garage, jungle and hiphop) is no longer a secret. Recently, the unanimously overhyped M.I.A. won it some attention; Mike Skinner, aka the Streets, has been called the UK Eminem for years; and Mercury Prize winner Dizzee Rascal became grime's poster boy with his debut, Boy In Da Corner (Matador/XL). But they're just the tip of the iceberg.
"Dizzee and Streets, they're good representatives for England, yeah?" says MC D Double E from his crib in Forest Gate, East London. "But there's a lot of fire where that come from."
A prominent member of the second, more underground wave of grime stars (including Wiley and Kano), D Double E understands North Americans are still in the dark about grime, so the genre's international success will depend on who represents it first.
"Some shit artists that have got through," he says. "Then Americans look at them like they're the big ones.
"We need real people at the front to show them what's goin' on. Grime is representing the road, and it will grow."
Vice is banking on it. The trend-conscious mag's boutique label has been a long-time grime/garage supporter. It's now introducing the scene's up-and-comers to North American audiences through the Run the Road comp (originally distributed in the UK by 679).
The various producers put their own spins on grime's syncopated sequencing of electro kicks, snares and off-kilter synth lines, providing some shit-hot beats for the blaring energy of the album's posse cuts, including the Streets' gutter-ass Fit But You Know It remix featuring Kano, Donae'o, Lady Sovereign and Tinchy Stryder. D Double E himself is a standout on tracks Destruction VIP and Cock Back.
So how does it feel to be a pioneer?
"Oy, man, it's strange still when I think back to when I first started until now, how things have changed, like, going from just a normal guy sitting in my room to someone that's big across the world. But it's a big step. We're part of the new music. In the future, people will look at people like me and Wiley as the beginners."
Tuesday, 8 March 2005
Nigel McCune from the Musicians' Union said the unfair visa system meant that British performers are "disadvantaged" compared to their US counterparts: "The US is the world's biggest music market, which means something has to be done about the creaky bureaucracy. The current situation is preventing British acts from maintaining momentum and developing in the US".
James Seller of the Music Managers' Forum added: "Imagine if you were an orchestra from the Orkneys? Every member would have to travel to London to have their visas processed." (*Dread to think what NASTY and Roll Deep will do). Commenting on the music community's concern regarding the US visa process a spokesman for the Department for Media, Culture and Sport told reporters: "We're aware that people are experiencing problems, and are working with the US embassy and record industry to see what we can do about it."
For their part, the US embassy said: "We are aware that entertainers require visas for time-specific projects and are doing everything we can to process those applications speedily. We are aware of the importance of cultural exchange and we will do our best to facilitate that".
*Taken from todays CMU Daily*
Monday, 7 March 2005
Sunday, 6 March 2005
Queues, queues, queues. Roadblock. Rammed. Yes, Run The Road at Fabric last night was messy, not quite sure how many people didn't get in but sure those that did had a good time, hasn't been a big dance for a while. Fabric's not the usual haunt for this of course, say grime, London and rave you'd think Oceans, Rex or something. Of course this meant that Run The Road attracted a more varied crowd, most of which seemed very up for it. Lots of Kano and Roll Deep fans noted. I missed a fair bit due to other duties but Bruza started things off nicely. The crowd loved the rowdy No Lay's set with Unorthodox. Big future. Riko's 'Chosen One' further reminded us of why we were at Fabric (the Run The Road comp duh). There was a ruck when Kano came on with Demon and Ghetto to perform P's & Q's. Think the eight or so ladies were fighting over KA himself, liked his response 'Typical You'. Fresh from Westwood's Radio 1 show, Roll Deep were on for about 5 minutes before they were joined by the entire Ruff Squad for a set of madness. Cameo rounded off the night accompanied by Essentials, Purple and Dynasty, the last of the revellers dispersing about 4.30. I still haven't worked out quite how those students manage to pass out in pools of beer and possibly piss on the stairs leading to the exit. Enlighten me someone, please?
Shouts to the dancing and singalong crew... Katie Pearl (know you read it now), DaVinChe, Essentials, Bossman, all 15 or so in the Roll Deep entourage, Sovereign and people, Capo, Ratty, Sam, Martin Clark, Logan, Cameo, Purple, Dynasty, Racey Stace, Tim & Barry, Sam White, Bradley (nice to meet you), Shottie Collins, Kano and co... you know who you are.
Eski - A name of a style of music which Wiley refers to as Eski. From seminal record Eskimo the temperature's continued to drop, now we're bopping to Colder. Eskimo Dance was born, eski girls and soldiers, then there's the razor-sharp icicles like Igloo, Icerink series, Ice Cream man... Some people argue that Wiley's sound is so unique it refers to this sound in particular but WIley has argued he would have liked the scene to be called that but that it was naturally out of his control.
Grime - When tunes like 'I Luv U', 'Pulse X', 'Woah', 'Know We' were played, asked to describe the sound in relation to the usual UK garage records, grimes mother in-law if you will, the most apt response seemed to be 'it sounds grimy'. And that's literally where the term began. It was picked up on by the media and for a long while fought against stiff sub-lo and eski competition before sealing itself around the grime scene investigation. I say grime, but it's meaning's changed for me. It previously represented a sound, now it's a cultural movement (if such things still exist).
Sub-lo - Never a fan of this one. In fact it sucks like someone going down. 'Sub-lo what?' I'd ask. Still don't know. But it was born from and championed by Jon E Cash and his Black Ops camp. West London seemed to back them to a point and they apparently trade marked it. Again could argue Sub-lo relates more specifically to the Jon E Cash sound. Each to their own of course.
8 Bar/8 Bar Garage - Another stupid buzz phrase the media hooked onto and wrongly interpreted. It simply referred to garage tracks made with loops that changed every 8 bars. Suddenly though anything that was to later become labelled grime was been cited in reviews and such as 8 bar garage. Swaggle, use this now and you'll get laughed out of the youth club (correct context allowed).
G Hop - A buzz term at the moment. G Hop supposedly represents the theory that grime is now a culture. With grime no longer relating to one specific sound, G Hop apparently embraces that and allows for the inclusion of untraditional grime artists, like Klashnekoff & Sway, who in the past have been associated with UK hip hop but are about a whole lot more. The G comes from garage/grime and the hop from the hip hop influence on the music/way of life. Check the G Hop mixtape series for more discussion.
R&G - Another new one, championed by the likes of Terror Danjah, R&G describes the influx of the R&B influenced grime otherwise known as the girls tunes, stuff by Sadie Ama, Katie Pearl etc... Some of Target & Danny Weed's, Wiley's, Kano's and of course DaVinChe would fall into this category. Rhythm and grime not rhythm and gangsta.
Dubstep - Some people think this is still part of grime, or like grimes cousin, I'm not so sure. I used to like dubstep in small doses but now I find it hard to listen to, too hooked by MC's that dominate grime instrumentals, something dubstep doesn't embrace in the same way. A lot of grime heads don't like dubstep for this reason. It's also why I didn't get Rephlex calling their compilation Grime when to me it was 'dubstep', garage/breakbeat/dub/grime mash-ups? A lot of what I hear makes me think of techno but I don't actually know what techno is, yeah, you get what I mean? Don't think they meant any harm and I don't like to criticise the music though because there isn't actually anything wrong with the production values, quite the opposite, but with music you either like it or you don't right? Now watch Martin Clark come and flame my ass.
I only deal with original written,
that's why man like me's getting bitten,
pure MC's wanna be in my position,
well listen rudeboy you're on a long mission,
been a lyrically-dan since when I was christened,
from 13 I had a lyrically-vision,
spent time in the studio just like prison,
now i'm armed to the teeth with the lyric ammunition,
and I represent E7 which is in Newham,
any MC wanna tes' gonna do 'em,
whether it's inside or outside Newham,
bet you any money I'll go straight through 'em,
strap my bars and all your crew heard your lyrics,
you're going to have to re-do 'em,
nobody cares nobody knew 'em,
nobody cares nobody knew 'em,
that's very original,
I've never heard that from another individual,
to come across something like that was a miracle,
ooooohhhh the D Double signal,
can't be critical about my lyrical,
cause my old bars will murk your new lyrical,
each one of my bars dem-a-classical,
you're known in the hood and I'm known international,
soon gonna make p's like Abbey National,
oooohhhh was experimental,
now it's standard on instrumental,
i do it in the rave and everybody goes mental,
the raving crew turn far from gentle,
so MC's don't get me mental,
mouth get bus' get sent to the dental,
about you wanna jack my lyrical,
jack my written,
where that's gonna go it's never gonna fit 'em,
lyrically fist in the mouth im'a give 'em,
when next time a bigger man-a-chat upon the riddim,
better hold it down you don't wanna be missing,
might get found by somebody fishing,
might get found by somebody pissing,
nar that couldn't be my bars your spitting,
hold it down you don't wanna be kissing,
tip of the gun cause it's got a full clip in,
tip of the gun cause the safety's missing,
I bet that will have your pants full up of shitting...
D Double E 'Signal' (*give or take the odd word of course)
Saturday, 5 March 2005
I believe in America. In being judged by the content of your character, your lyrics, your flow. But it’s time for truth and consequences: American hip hop’s in some lousy state. Sure, there are great tracks getting out there -- from indie backpackers to budget-blowing crunkers and Grammy winners. But if hip hop’s music is about the damning, the reversing, and ultimately the exploitation of capitalism by those the system has vilified, right now it seems that the hunter has been captured by the game.
So, as happens from time to time, America needs to replenish from outside sources: Brazilian baile-funk and Latin reggaeton, Hispanic gangsta-mariachi rap, and that most fruitful international pop-exchange program, the redeye from London Heathrow.
Check Run the Road, Vice Records’ bid to break the sounds of the U.K.’s “grime” movement on these shores. Grime was incubated in the U.K.-garage clubs and housing projects of London, and birthed in a gang culture epitomized by So Solid Crew’s thug mentality. (Imagine Wu-Tang dressed for a soccer riot.) But grime has been raised on the kind of creative one-upmanship that bling and Bentley have paralyzed within America’s mainstream hip-hop studios. So, for example, Roll Deep’s “Let It Out” has all the moody dark atmosphere and electro-poly-rhythm of an obscure backpacker, and all the chant-along pop of a crunked-up chart hook. Lady Sovereign’s “Cha Ching” is 2005’s answer to Missy and Timba’s groundbreaking, spacious jerk-pop. And on “Unorthodox Daughter,” No Lay comes as hard as any mumbling American new-gangsta counterparts, but over a violently syncopated two-step beat.
Run the Road might be doubly important a testament to U.K. hip hop as the first and last megalith erected by grimeists collectively looking in from the outside. Since Dizzee Rascal’s PR explosion, all of Britain’s “Yankee managers” are tuning in to London pirate radio looking for scores. But on Run the Road, there’s a fierce honesty when Wylie admits, “I done a few bad things / but now I gotta put it all behind me / stay away from trouble cuz people wanna sign me.” There’s a chance, a hope, for the big time. But at time of recording, nothing’s definite.
More than its lyrics, its characters, its Cockney slang, Run the Road will succeed in winning American ears because of its sounds. When Terror Danjah builds beats out of Glock-cocking “chks,” it’s recognizable, if more Jamaican digital dancehall and dubbed drum-and-bass than dirty south. But try on “Let It Out,” with the Roll Deep crew’s hyper-syncopated electro-jazz beats. Or Dizzee’s Playstation-inspired glitch and blurp bass lines on “Give U More.” Not to mention Ears’ bizarre “Happy Dayz”: dripping-faucet rhythm, schizophrenic multi-layered vocals, random synth warbles. It’s all a throwback to hip hop’s originators: Simple, readily available tools used to make brashly new and complex music, and that desperate need to make a name with a unique sound and an original boast.
Thursday, 3 March 2005
Mr Mills found fame with his debut album Boy in Da Corner, which won the prestigious Mercury Music Prize in 2003, becoming the first rapper to win the award. On winning the award, he thanked his music teacher for inspiring him, rescuing him from a downward spiral that had seen him expelled from four schools. Next he hopes to make his mark on US audiences, with a tour in April taking him to major cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago. The rapper is due to perform in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 8 April, the day he has been told to report to a London police station to answer bail.