As with every genre, hip hop has always had its tropes and trends; similar themes and subjects have been consistently explored and slapped on wax for the last forty years. But there are some rap songs that have materialised during that time, which have eschewed the more familiar themes and instead taken delight in the whimsical, the weird and the wonderful. See: Laundry by R.A.P. Ferreira, from his excellent Purple Moonlight Pages album, for a recent example.
But it’s Aesop Rock who has been the brains behind a number of my favourites that have emerged over the years, and so below I have outlined six of the best from the Rhymesayers artist. It provides some insight into why he has been one of my favourite rappers for the last 15 years, thanks in part to his ability to rap about any topic and deliver it with that unique command of language he brings to his lyricism. Continue reading “Why So Serious?”→
If you follow Lee Scott on Facebook, you might have noticed he’s recently started posting up some of his favourite classic rap albums and urging his younger fans to go and explore them if they’re not already familiar. Me and Lee have had a few little rap related chats of our own in the past and so I thought I’d use the current situation as an opportunity to pick his brains about his favourite rappers from back in the day, plus a few other little questions here and there. So via Twitter DMs, we delved into a whole bunch of original talent, including Redman, Likwit Crew, Company Flow and The Cenobites (the title of this piece is a reference to their track, How The Fuck You Get A Deal). To be honest we could have gone on a lot longer, so maybe we’ll try and squeeze another one out before normality returns. For now though, get stuck into this geeky conversation.
When it was first announced that King Kashmere and Joker Starr – two highly respected and established artists within UK hip hop – were joining forces to form GAWD Status, my interest was undoubtedly piqued. But I was not expecting it to reach the experimental, psychedelic heights it did. Firmamentum earned them a lot of much deserved critical praise from far and wide, including from the good people at BBC 6 Music. Not long ago, Joker Starr and King Kash announced they were doing a Q&A session on their Instagram stories, to which I jokingly replied that I might try to turn the opportunity into an interview. I say jokingly, but I had been speaking to Kash about doing an interview for ages and so when they both replied telling me to go for it, I couldn’t resist. So what follows is the result of a casual back and forth via Instagram DMs, over the last week or so. We discuss the old days, the 6 Music angle and how GAWD Status came to be, among other things. Their album is also available to stream at the end. Continue reading “GAWD Status: Interview”→
I recently had a chat with Muckaniks, a music producer from Ipswich in England. He has a propensity for dark, bass heavy production which has earned him credits on projects with the likes of Ocean Wisdom, Lunar C and Dizzee Rascal. We spoke about his production methods, his roots and how he came to work with those notable artists.
Lyza Jane is a London-based vocalist who has been blessing us with her own distinct style and sound for the past few years. She first came to my attention thanks to her affiliation with Blah Records, including a triumphant collaborative EP with Sniff last year. Lyza has also just released her debut solo album and so I thought now would be a good time to have a chat with her about the new project, her musical heritage and her plans for the future (spoiler: they might involve a lot of wine). Continue reading “Lyza Jane: Interview”→
Harleighblu is a singer from Nottingham, whose work draws on influences from hip hop, soul, electronica and beyond. Thanks to a string of superb releases, including her Futurespective series, she is already forging her own path in an increasingly saturated scene. I caught up with her recently to discuss a number of things including her new project with Bluestaeb, her musical roots and surviving the industry as a female artist. Continue reading “Harleighblu: Interview”→
Another great track from Mi Vida Local, as Atmosphere deliver a simple yet effective video for Delicate. If you’re not aware, Atmosphere are hitting London as part of their European tour, so you can catch them at The Electric Ballroom on 23 April. Also check out my in-depth interview with Slug over at Grown Up Rap if you haven’t done so already.
Last year I did a round-up of some of my favourite insults from jewel runner and indie rap pioneer, El-P. Not content with ending it there, I have now tackled the larger and perhaps more rewarding task of selecting my favourite guest verses that he’s blessed us with over the last two decades or so. Before I started actually writing this, I had a pretty good idea in my head of how this Top 5 would end up looking, but it’s not until you start researching this sort of thing that you realise just how many tracks El-P has guested on across his career. So here we go with MY five favourite guest verses from the man himself (capitals on the ‘MY’, don’t @ me!).
It’s been just over a year since Open Mike Eagle blessed the scene with his acclaimed Brick Body Kids Still Daydream album and now he returns with his latest project, What Happens When I Try To Relax. The EP is filled with all the humour, wordplay and social commentary that have made Mike one of the most important entities on the current wave of so-called Art Rap – a phrase he himself is credited with coining. What Happens When I Try To Relax is out now on Mike’s new label, AutoReverse and you can stream it below. Continue reading “Open Mike Eagle: What Happens When I Try To Relax (Stream)”→
On this day in 1994, an album was released that encapsulated what was known back then as “the Bristol Sound”. Trip hop was in its infancy and I don’t know if the term had even been coined at that stage – even though the main players all hated it when it was – but it existed and it drew on elements from multiple genres, including hip hop, funk, dub and sprinkle of psychedelia.
When Dummy was released I honestly didn’t know what to think of it. I was 14 and already well into hip hop, so there was plenty of stuff within the record that intrigued me, like the scratching on Mysterons or the beats on Strangers and Glory Box. But for the most part I was unsure. I think it probably took another year or so for me to fully appreciate its importance; then as with most things like that, I got obsessed with it. This was pre-internet so all my knowledge came from the liner notes and Geoff Barrow’s interviews.