Skandal - A Quick Snack EP out now

Sarf London rapper Skandal's sizzling A Quick Snack EP is available via itunes here.

And Skandal's Home Economics single from the EP is available for free download here.

I'm a firm fan. Here's a couple of scribblings, I penned towards the back end of 2009 around his Hunger Pains mixtape (definitely cop a copy of that-ish). Personally I'm pleased to see 'UK rap' and grime moving closer together - whether it's rap or grime it's all lyrical expression to me. The fact he's got Klashnekoff and P Money on his is proof that Skandal's a rapper to be reckoned with. Here be it:

Metro review:

Skandal: Hunger Pains
Halal Beats

South London rapper Skandal’s rapidly making his mark on home-grown hip-hop and Hunger Pains reveals why: he’s a versatile, fluent lyricist whose stock in trade is smart, punchy rap. Stand out track 72 Bars sees Skandal reference Van Gogh and Salvador Dali and effortlessly connect roast dinners, boxing, football, Greek mythology and Kenyan long distance runners. Home Economics breaks down the art of rapping into a cookery lesson, and reflects Skandal’s unusual ability to explore the abstract in an accessible, witty manner. Fast-rising grime MCs P Money and Little Dee also appear, suggesting the hip hop and grime scenes are slowly but surely coming together and we’re witnessing the formation of a powerful coalition of varied, British MC culture. Exciting times. Roll on 2010.

Independent Review (which resulted in nuff messages from Skandal - that's another reason to like him, he's a polite, gracious soul too)

Skandal: Hunger Pains
Halal Beats

Brit-hop has been left in the shade by grime’s blossoming. However south Londoner Skandal’s Hunger Pains mixtape shows there’s plenty of life in the old dog: his busy, calm flow brims with intricate wordplay, quirky references (Van Gogh, Kenyan athletes), humour and melancholy moments too. Grime pin up Little Dee guests, suggesting that grime and hip-hop are converging and building a bullish, feisty, homegrown rap scene.


Nas & Damian Marley - Not so distant relatives?

Nas & Damian 'Junior Gong' Marley's debut LP Distant Relatives is out on May 17th. And it's sounding HEAVY.


3D Disco 360 TM

So 3D Disco TM do 3D raves, where you're surrounded - immersed - by 3D visuals tumbling towards you as you dance. This is one of those very embarrassing things when you've known someone for six/seven years as a mate and they tell you about what they've been doing (3D Disco) and you're only half interested. Then two years later you check it out and you're like OMG it's amazing and I've been ignoring it for tiiiiiiiime. Doh.

And here's how it goes down at Glastonbury

To make up for being an eejit, I'll be supporting from here on in. BIG TIME.

3Disco appear at this event on April 10th. Here's a link to 3D Disco


Rusko - Woo Boost vid and tour dates

Rusko's Woo Boost. I've listened to the LP OMG, out on Mad Decent, which is a huge look for Rusko. OMG's party music which fits the Mad Decent blueprint, and from what I can remember is pretty ravey, electro-ey and dubstep-ey. The headz will probably hate it but I can't complain, it's decent shock out music. Here's his LIVE dates, and oh yeah he's produced most of MIA's new album too.

27th – Ultra fest – Miami, USA
28th – Masquerade – Atlanta, USA [Major Lazer tour]
29th – Valarium – Knoxville, USA [Major Lazer tour]
30th – Cat’s Cradle – Carrabaro, USA [Major Lazer tour]
31st – Bourbon St – Baltimore, USA [Major Lazer tour]
2nd – Starlight Ballroom – Philadelphia, USA [Major Lazer tour]
4th – Middle East – Boston, USA [Major Lazer tour]
11th – First Ave – Minneapolis, USA [Major Lazer tour]
13th – Cervantes – Denver, USA [Major Lazer tour]
15th – Knitting Factory – Reno, USA
16th – Mezzanine – San Fran, USA
17th – Coachella fest – Indio, USA
14th – Fabric - London, UK
14th – Thekla – Bristol, UK
15th – Nuits Botanique – Brussels, Belgium
19th – Audio – Brighton, UK
20th – Pad – Bedford, UK
21st – Vega – Copenhagen, Denmark
22nd – Bates Mill – Huddersfield, UK
22nd – The Pad – Preston, UK
24th – Cabaret Voltaire – Edinburgh, UK
27th – Clwb Ifor Bach – Cardiff, UK
28th – Hush Hush – Aberdeen, UK
29th – The Plug – Sheffield, UK
30th – Evolution – Newcastle, UK
30th – Bugged Out – London, UK

An intro to Eglo Recs

So Eglo Recs is the label of Alexander Nut a young man who's been joining the dots between electronic soul music from J Dilla to Flying Lotus via Sa Ra and Amp Fiddler. This is a label to watch as it's stepping up with releases from the likes of soulstress Fatima. Enjoy


Metro - Make A Date For... Shank

A short I did with interview with Mo - director of Shank - that's in today's Metro. Watch the film and support UK. You won't be disappointed, well you might be if you're over 25.


‘I’ve tried to give the audience new ingredients, different from standard urban films. Hopefully Shank’s fun and a drama too - people have described it as satire, futuristic drama, even comic book,’ explains Mo Ali, the director of Shank.

Shank, starring Bashy, Adam Deacon (Kidulthood, Adulthood), Kaya Scodelario (Effie from Skins) and 15 year old newcomer and show stealer Kedar Williams Stirling, is all of the above, and more: It’s a fast paced ‘ultra fantasy’ set in London 2015. The Olympics have gone, the economy has flat-lined and security and food are in short supply in the divided capital. The streets are ruled by barbaric gangs of kids who will do anything for ‘munchies’ (food), apart from the PaperchaserZ crew who use stealth and smarts to fill their bellies and stash enough paper (money) to escape the big bad city.

Mo, the go-to director for urban music videos (Tinchy Stryder, Chipmunk, Plan B, Skepta, Natty, Bizzle, amongst many others), uses this parable to explore the moral dilemmas, faced by some young people in inner city Britain, today, in what is his debut feature film.

The use of news reportage, animation and video game graphics stands out. ‘I’ve watched news reports from third world countries, Afghanistan, Iraq and East Africa, and wanted to flip it present London in that way. We did workshops with young people and the feedback was we want to see animation and video games, that’s what we’re into,’ he explains.

The use of music is startling with dubstep, grime and rap contributing to atmosphere and pace: ‘I’m a music video director so music is really important to me and I know this music really well. Every artist gave their tracks with no hassle, and I’m grateful for their support of the film,’ explains the in-demand director.

‘British urban film is a new genre, and everyone’s excited by what’s been happening in urban music, it’s been a great year and there’s that same sense of excitement in film – it’s our time’ concludes Mo.

Shank is out March 26


Metro - Hip hop mixtape round up

A round up of hip hop mixtapes for Metro that ran in March. Jay Electronica is heavy, the heavy-iest rapper since Biggie Smalls - ho ho ho. Seriously I've not been excited by a US rapper since Illmatic-era Nas. Sway's mixtape is a must too. As for Wu Tang, it's a lame, limp cash in, but we're not really allowed to say such things in Metro.

If you're into hip hop you need Jay Electronica in your life and Sway too for that matter.


Jay Electronica: The Victory Mixtape

Sway: The Delivery
D Cypha

Wu Tang Clan: Return Of The Wu
Gold Dust

DJ Drama & DJ Ames – International Hustle UK Edition 2
Gangsta Grillz

On both sides of the Atlantic it seems the further hip-hop has ventured into the mainstream, the more vital the humble mixtape has become: it’s a medium unconstrained by commercial considerations where creativity and passion runs free. Whereas hip-pop can seem formulaic and diluted, mixtapes keep the flame of hip hop’s original ideals burning brightly as this selection of big-hitting, current UK & US mixtapes, highlights.

DJ Dub and DJ Furious Styles’ The Victory Mixtape gather the output of major new rap talent, Jay Electronica. A civil rights speech and talk of ‘real rap’ nails the New Orleans producer turned rapper’s colours to the mast. However Jay, who has a daughter with partner Erykah Badu, isn’t a drawling Southern rapper - his husky flow is easy, poised and assertive: Suckas sees Jay condemn bling and he evokes conscious hip-hop history by reworking A Tribe Called Quest’s Scenario, and Nas’ Who’s World Is This? (Jay produced on Nas latest album). Collabs with thinking hip-hop dandies Talib Kweli and Mos Def show he’s been blessed by rap’s great and good (Jigga’s a fan too). Thirtysomething Jay’s debut LP is due this year, and The Victory suggests he’s a worthy torchbearer for breezy-on-the-ear, challenging hip hop.

The Delivery is Sway’s first mixtape since 2008’s LP Signature and it seems this format suits the quick-witted rapper bursting with canny ideas. The 80minute free download is punctuated with Sway’s trademark sharp humour and quirky observations. The Delivery develops narratives introduced in earlier material including the notion that he’s the king of homegrown hip hop, and also reveals the fate of African immigrant Charlie Boy. Sway’s versatility shines in particular his ease in switching between a clipped staccato and double-time rapping, enabling him to ride multiple backdrops (Eurythmics, LL Cool J, David Guetta, Kaiser Chiefs, hip-life). The standard of guests including Akon, Giggs (who’s menacing slo-mo flow contrasts Sway’s sprightly style) and Detroit soulster Dwele - indicate Sway will reign UK rap sooner rather than later.

DJ Drama is US hip-hop’s mixtape king (Young Jeezy, Lil Wayne) and he’s joined forces with Britain’s DJ Ames for the International Hustle Vol 2. The 100minute free download opens with Mystro’s 09 UK Rap Up running through the high-and-low lights of 2009 (Twitter, the word ‘par’) and celebrates the success of Dizzee, N Dubz, and Tinchy. Femcee Nia Jai’s (Rio Ferdinand’s protégé) gets grimey on Hustle Hustle, Fredi Kruga casts himself as the big bad wolf prowling for prey (little MCs and haters), while Tippa Irie and Money Mayhem’s focus on teenage violent crime, offers a reggae-tinged moment of solemnity. An 11-minute version of classic I Wanna Rock (recently covered by Snoop) featuring 13 MCs closes out this upbeat showcase of growing British hip hop talent.

Return Of The Wu, mixed by Mathematics, brings together up front exclusives, never released material from the vaults, solo spots and classics in a dynamic hour. Wu Tang’s USP has always been the dynamism and dizzying variety of voices, multiple rappers bring to a track – and that remains the stand out element of Return… The taut drama of Masta Killa-led It’s What It Is doubles then trebles as Raekwon and Ghostface jump in, while Steppin 2 Me’s bounce and swagger grows as GZA, Masta Killa and Inspectah Deck trade verses. Although Return… doesn’t bring anything original or groundbreaking to the Wu table, it’s a reminder of what made hip-hop’s first boy band so great.

Excuses excuses

So I'm really, really behind on posting various pieces I've written over the last month - mainly because I've been working flat out on the redbull music academy's paper The Daily Note. It's been a killer, killer month of 12 hour days, often for six days a week but worth it, mainly because The Daily Note is a brilliant, brilliant paper and even better read, with genuinely interesting, engaging writing. If you missed it you can can download here. I'm really really sad to see it go. Come on Torsten and Manny, make it permanent, please.


Thunderclaps- Put 'Em In Their Place- freestyle 1 - P MONEY & BLACKS

Suck your mum straight. Nice. That's Blacks and P Money's words. Not mine.

I can't believe it's been three weeks since I last posted - that's freelancing for you and three weeks of 12 hour days/six days a week. Thankfully it's all calmed down for now, so I will catch up on posting the many, many writings I've been beavering away on from dawn til dusk.