Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Gravediggaz - 6 Feet Deep

- 6 Feet Deep (Europe)/ Niggamortis (US) (1994)

Whiz back to '94, the year Wu Tang burst onto a scene that was never the same again. Wu producer and figurehead the RZA has been smoking alot of dope and staying up all night; wired by flickering TV light to gore-flecked, video-nasty marathons. He's gone a bit mad.

Fortunately for all the 'heads the result was a record that defies you to stop nodding; one for my personal top 3 hip-hop albums O.A.T, easy.

Gravediggaz were a 'supergroup' side-project who conceived the tongue-in-cheek horrorcore micro-genre over two albums; and 6 Feet Deep is their cult classic. Within: RZA and Native Tongues don Prince Paul adopt Mr Hyde alter-egos and enlist Poetic and Frukwan for a surreal rap blitz.

The wordplay is frequently hilarious, the rhyme schemes always ingenious. Our friend the RZArector takes a production backseat to spray demented over Prince Paul's eclectic and obscenely catchy beats (the producer of De La Soul's groundbreaking 3 Feet High and Rising seems possessed by an evil presence...)

Positive Energy Activates Constant Elevation

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Grime 02

Some mixtape cuts from the last four months for the hype-deficient.
A bit of everything, some pure aggy, some bashment skankers, skewed beats, 'the youngers'... sick productions this year. Track one is cheating (late 2007) but Skepta demands a rep. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeelll!!!!

>>Grime music in 2008 so far...<<
Tracklist -

1. I Spy - Skepta ft. Jammer
2. Rude Kid - Badness
3. Inside Looking Out - Trim
4. Switch - P Money
5. Skankin' Ting - Jammer ft. Skepta
6. Mayhem Freestyle - Griminal
7. Par (Sending for Griminal) - Tempa T
8. Sorry U Are? - Tinchy Stryder ft. Chipmunk
9. Mountain - Ghetto
10. Breathe - Frisco ft. Cookie, Chipmunk
11. Taliban - Eskiboy (Wiley)
12. Kill Off Killy Pt 2 - President T
13. Badman Ting - Doctor
14. Zumpi Hunter (Freestyle) - Double-S

Wiley's 'Wearing My Rolex' not included... Support the scene, get it off iTunes now are you stupes???

Monday, 21 April 2008

Ol' Dirty Bastard - Return to the 36 Chambers: the Dirty Version

Ol' Dirty Bastard - Return to the 36 Chambers (the Dirty Version)

For the next solo debut, ODB (so called because 'there ain't no father to his style') yanks us across the water to Brooklyn Zoo. Cousin of RZA and one of the Wu-founders, ODB is a one-off MC that needs little introduction - coming like a demented, drug-addled hybrid of rapper and soul singer.

RZA produces again, as he does for all the early solo projects, and the murky beats combine with the Drunken Master's off-the-wall, profoundly entertaining meanderings to produce a macabre banger. Tracks like the cautionary 'Snakes' and the minimal 'Cuttin' Headz' are haunting and almost prescient of events to come...

Russell Jones died in late 2004, after years of custodial sentences and eccentricities now bordering mental illness; an autopsy discovered a plastic bag full of coke and prescription painkillers in his stomach.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Method Man - Tical

When the Wu-Tang Clan signed their first recording contract for 36 Chambers in 1993 they made sure it covered the respective members as solo artists. This exemplifies the Clan's business-like approach and the creation of hip-hop's first franchise and dynasty...

This is real beats and bars, every verse saturated with the Clan's personal mythology; every beat, sample or malevolent instrumental touch riveted with Shaolin (Staten Island) and Brooklyn street corners. The heat bearing down, ever-vigilant, murky undergrounds, darkness begets dark deeds... All this permeated with the Clan manifesto - master yourself and enlighten the '85%' in darkness.

So, here is a whistle-stop tour of the Wu-Tang member solo albums that myself and generations of popstock believe to be essential mid-era hip-hop, in six parts. I will only be looking at the the first, universally acclaimed, slew of Wu albums unleashed on the industry; all pre-'Forever' (the Clan's 1997 sophomore double LP).

Turn it up and take heed.

Method Man - Tical (1994)

The first Wu solo album. The title? Let's say that 'tical' is to Meth as chronic is to Dre...
RZA is on the switches of course, steering Meth (the Clan's dynamic, versatile, substance-fuelled MC) through a dark and gritty soundscape that was responsible for kicking the Wu into commercial overdrive.
We're still in early Wu-Tang mode here, with 'Bring the Pain' being a classic example of the quickfire sampling and minimal beats; RZA still using relatively basic samplers and mixers to poisonous effect.

Friday, 29 February 2008

The Kinks - A Giant THING

Thirty-two jolly good reasons to love the Kinks, in their pomp:


Fine young dandies led by eternal pessimist and English storyteller Ray Davies. Davies steered them and their music away from the vapid celebrity of Carnaby Street and the hippies of Hyde Park; straight into dreamlike, parochial visions of a peaceful life in the countryside and a post-war England fast losing it's identity (whilst rocking the balls off many contemporaries).

Having lost a media-contrived 'battle' was with the Beatles, record sales plummeted and the Kinks never hit their 60's peak again, bar the odd hit.

The 'Village Green Preservation Society' however, lived on through Blur in 'Modern Life Is Rubbish'. One of the most affecting indie albums of the 90's which mourned the state of an Americanized, 'Chemical World' in which everything (except the rent) is cheap. Record of the decade.

If Blur thought they had it bad, pastoral dreamers the Young Knives may as well be fighting a lost cause... But they try, bless them. The Knives have been written off as new-wave suits despite being one of the few to swim against the unrelenting tide of bullshit from our Great Capital.

But don't worry - as long as we have all the online validation and instant ecstasy we can cram into our eyes sockets, nothing useful will get in the way of the photo albums depicting our budding alcoholism and 'wild' toga/school uniform parties on Facebook. Drink up, Johnny.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Hip-Hop Mix 01

'Red Jackson in the Harlem Gang Story' 1948.

Gordon Parks,
photographer. He later directed Shaft, in 1971.

Coffy may be exploitation of all the basest, most idiotic things we have been conditioned to find entertaining - violence, guns, armies of destitute 70's dope zombies and the black struggle - but it escapes it's 'being a racist piece of shit' tag but taking YOU for a sucker, the classic theme music by Roy Ayers and of course Pam Grier shooting men in the crotch.

Anyway, on to hip-hop, you can thank the headlining photo for that de-tour.
One thing's for sure though... if only the Last Poets could see Fitty in action, ha, he'd get a spankin'...

It was ALOT. Hip hop was not birthed from the Panther-sects of black nationalism (although there's no shortage of Gods and Earths on the East coast), it came from the heart and soul of people that couldn't afford guitars, the exploited. It was making do. And so a half-hearted post follows, no time!! This mix is not new, but it's tru speak.
Seedz!!! (tracks below)

1.Travelling at the Speed of Thought - Ultramagnetic MC's
2. The Choice Is Yours (Revisited) - Black Sheep
3. What You Want This Time? - Gang Starr
4. Check the Rhime - A Tribe Called Quest
5. Passing Me By - The Pharcyde
6. Big Brother Beat - De La Soul
7. Shame On A Nigga - Wu-Tang Clan
8. How Many MC's... - Black Moon
9. Cuttin' Headz - Ol' Dirty Bastard/RZA
10. Living In The World Today - Genius/GZA
11. Snakes - Ol' Dirty Bastard ft. Wu
12. Dedicated To The Right Wingers - Ed Og & Da Bulldogs
13. Just To Get A Rep - Gang Starr
14. Arrest The President - Intelligent Hoodlum
15. Life's A Bitch - NaS Feat. A.Z.
16. Crossover - EPMD
17. Nobody Knows Kelli - Young Black Teenagers
18. Night of the Living Baseheads - Public Enemy

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Pixies - Complete 'B' Sides

The fat man yipped dirty words at my ears and the guitars screeched a cavity into a 15-year old brain. It was visions, drugs and hysterical laughter I had never experienced in my own short life. There were songs with names like The Thing, Wave of Mutilation and Dancing the Manta Ray. As long as I had my Walkman in hand this CD would never leave it...

One of the first records (okay, CD's) I ever bought (link) was based on a magazine review. I neither knew who the Pixies were or what a B-side was...
On this CD is a song called 'In Heaven Everything Is Fine', which was poached from the Lady in the Radiator scene of this 'dream of dark and troubled things'...

...Which in turn was directed by video artist-turned-filmmaker Dave 'Happy Meal' Lynch.
Here's David Lynch talking about the manifold benefits of a handy-dandy iPhone:

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Grime 01

Each Grime posting will include a set of classic radio merkage (see below, virgins) and all manner of glittering shit.
Grime, despite mainstream air, is very much alive.
If you're at all curious, please visit the rather magnificent >>Grimepedia

Eedyat's Guide to Grime Slanguage~

if an MC's bars get air, he's not doing his job properly
badman: a skilled MC
shoddy, below-par. 'That tune was bait hip hop, not grime areyaMAD?'
bare: in excess, alot: 'Bare MCs wanna chat shit'
or war; a feud between MC's or crews usually precipitated by musical differences or disagreements. Some MC's are magnets for it: Wiley's position at the top of the pile (the eldest grime MC at 29 and 'Father of Grime') has singled him out for every ambitious younga ; though many feel no need to usurp their fellow MC's. Few have ever carried out their threats and despite being an aggressive sound grime is not intrinsically violent. There are exceptions, once-prolific MC Crazy Titch is currently serving time for murder
blud: term of affection, mate, brother. Fam is used to refer to close friends or is just used when being friendly

sound made in approval of a heavy tune or MC, used to big someone up. Usually accompanies 'gun fingers'
Jamaican derogatory, meaning arsewipe
cheddar: money. 'P' is also used, standing for paper: 'I'm makin P like Diddy'

an MC stand off over beats. Like a hip hop 'battle' on speed. Only recently, it has been thought that some clashes are rigged in order to gain publicity for the participants, others are deeply personal and heated.
not strictly a grime term but referring to an exclusive, never-before-heard tune usually played out at the beginning of a set that distinguishes the DJ
neighbourhood, East End etc. most are distinguished by postal codes. Bow E3 is the most notorious starting point for most of the best East MC's since 'grime' began in 2001.
in hip-hop this is the oft-referred-to pussy and refers to women in general
raw, real
a hype MC or tune gets people moving, and is fast and intense
man dem:
group of friends or homies
gun, 'draw for the mash'; strap and tool is also commonly used (though few MC's actually own one)
to kill, to beat somebody in a clash, an MC can merk a tune with his/her rhyming ability
term for an independently produced and released album used in underground music since the 90's. There are few grime albums proper, and in 2005 mixtapes became a popular format on which MC's released music. Mixtapes have been accused of shifting the focus away from DJ's and raves to producers and 'studio rats'. Typically comprising 20+ tracks, quality control is not always on the agenda, but they retail around the £6 mark on specialist sites, such as uptownrecords.com, avalanchemusichut.com and the swag UKRecordshop (however bootlegging is commonplace so there is strong emphasis on supporting the scene whilst not pandering to mainstream standards)
'no long ting':
no hassle, no fuss, no bullshit
see gash
riddim: Jamaican, rhythm or beat
the streets, the ghetto, residential areas
weed smoking, hood-wearing bloke
to send for an MC on a track or on radio is to challenge them to a clash
a crude, homemade knife carried to make pincushion out of / defend from enemies; to stab.
another term for a grime/dancehall/dubstep rave
shower: as in showerman; meaning of superior skill, quality MCing; 'Tinch was shower on Rinse last night'

skeng / skengman:
dangerous/hardcore, see badman
similar to merk, to cut somebody down in their prime with lyrical prowess
to rap, an MC spits or sprays bars over beats
another type of grime music, also known as 8 bar or mucktion, 'accompanied by grinding basslines and electro clap noises'
swag: poor quality. Can refer to fake MC's and swag tunes alike

from dancehall, refers to slower tempos and female vocals in tunes. This is the opposite to hype and is considered by many not to be proper grime, and is more reminiscent of chart-friendly hip hop.
diss meaning a slacker, somebody who wastes their and others people's time
greeting, 'what's going on / what's happening?'
not original grime slang, old term meaning Jamaican. In grime refers to a yardie flow - stylised ragga-esque vocals. MC's notorious for their yardie flows in grime include Riko Dan (a raggamuffin since his jungle days), Flow Dan, God's Gift, Badness, etc
a young MC. The grime youts, especially in the last year, have become very prolific and dominant in the scene as anybody under 18 on London estates has grown up surrounded by it.
16's, 32's, 64 bars: number of bars spat over a beat. In a regulated clash (such as those on live-video webcast Axe FM) each MC is given a limited number of bars to spit.

Anything I have left out is either because
a) I'm being a mug
or b) the phrase is an affected catchphrase of a particular MC, more on these later possibly

Classic set:

Meridian Crew ripped off the Logan Sama show (Kiss FM) 29/07/2005

Featuring, in order of initial appearance: President T, JME, Big H, Skepta
Set is fucked. Each of these MC's have unique flows, classic bars and great hooks.
A history lesson on the late, great Meridian can be found here


'Kill of killy!' - Prez T

Henry's Phonograph - Standing In the Way of Progess

Art by Freddie Tyson-Brown (LOOK)

Disbanded (temporarily?) and much missed.

These chaps released one 10-track mini-album during their 4-year unsigned tenure on the Dorset scene: 'Standing in the Way of Progress' - a 4-track tape recording bursting at the seams.

Prodigious, idiosyncratic and political, they would have thrived in a post-industrial, Cold War-comedown psych-scape.

The curious, questioning and experimental heart of pop music lives on through records like this.

Henry's Phonograph -
Standing In the Way of Progress(mediafire link)
1 She Said: 'Live In the Now!''
2 The BBC Took My Baby Away
3 U.S. Empire
4 Purchase, Purchase, Die
5 Interlude
6 Untitled Anthem
7 I Meant To Kill Him
8 Meier's Trumpets
9 Bullet Wound Blues
10 So I Went Home And Listened To Led Zeppelin

'Girl I Want You, Dead' (Unfortunately I was so baked when I saw this
amazing set I couldn't stand up, luckily for posterity someone filmed)

'Sex, We've Got You Now' at the Overtoom 301, Amsterdam


I'll share what inspires me and what grinds me down, via as much free music as possible.

Easy now...