An Ode to Music For The Mature B-Boy

I hadn’t listened to Music for the Mature B-Boy in a minute, but as soon as I put it on earlier today, I remembered exactly why it was in heavy rotation in my house for years after it dropped. It was my first encounter with DJ Format and I think it was sold to me on the J5 feature on We Know Something You Don’t Know, but that turned out to be just one of the high points.
It was also the album that first introduced me to Abdominal, who is still one of the most technically gifted MCs I have ever heard. The Hit Song and Vicious Battle Raps are fine examples of why, with both tracks packed full of precision wordplay. He is also genuinely funny. The whole concept in Vicious Battle Raps, where he raps from the POV of a doctor stitching up his battle rap victims is hysterical. The album also featured hometown heroes Aspects, with Charity Shop Sound Clash remaining one of my favourite tracks from the Bristol trio to this day. I don’t think I ever heard anything else by Fatski, but his verses on B-Boy Code Pt.2 were gold. Everything about him screamed old skool, which was in keeping with Format’s overall sound.
Then there are the instrumentals, which are all impeccable. There was Little Bit of Soul, which used the sample from another of my favourites from a few years before – Shattered Soul by The Herbaliser, Here Comes the Fuzz with its organ stabs and distorted bassline and the remix of one of Format’s own tunes, Last Bongo in Brighton, which gave a new lease of life to Davie Allan & The Arrows’ excellent, Bay City Boys .
As I said at the start, this album was on heavy rotation for a long time and is probably the album of Format’s I revisit most often, although its successors are all strong in their own right. I actually got so obsessed with the album, that I remember bugging the manager of the now defunct Imperial Music shop in Bristol to let me keep the giant promo cardboard cut-out of the two mature B-Boys from the cover, which he had in his window. He let me have it in the end and I think I must have kept it for a good five or six years before one of my girlfriends finally persuaded me to part with it. But I digress. My point was this is a classic album and one that should be celebrated and spun on regular occasions. Go and seek it out if you haven’t heard it in a while.

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