Icicle - Dreadnaught w/SP MC

BIG CHOON, killing it on d&b floors right about now. Good to see the rolling, sludgy funk back. Sounds remarkably like a late 1990s/early 2000s Ed Rush/Optical production....


Judging the UKAMAs

So I'm a judge on the UKAMA (the UK Asian Music Awards), which take place on March 10 at The Roundhouse, and have been on the judging panel for a few years. It's nominations time at the moment which is always a fun opportunity to get on Youtube and check out some AMAZING music.

It makes you realize how caught up in your own little music world we can be and how weird and wonderful music can be. It's good to have your eyes and ears opened to what else is out there.

Here are some of the delights I've come across today:

Punjabi West Coast gangsta rap, about white people - Gora = white person.

This is Hard Kaur, Brummie rapper, who's absolutely smashing it in India.

UK Asian girl band action

Not much to say about this apart from WOW

Context MC - Off With Their Heads

Check this track from Context MC. I had the pleasure of meeting Context last week, as I'm making my music video debut in the promo for this track. **Cringe**

2011 should be a big year for Context MC, the year he makes his mark on the underground, solidifies his status as white-hot homegrown hip hop talent and moves onto the next level.

This will be out in early February, and available for FREE Download via http://contextmc.bandcamp.com

Keep your ears peeled for his The Cadmean Victory EP, and your eyes open for that music vidyo (as my missus says).


Metro Music Extra round up today

Riz MC - Get On It from Sam Pilling on Vimeo.

My round up of current indie hip hop which ran in in Metro today. You can access a PDF here, it's page 38.

For any journalism students, there's a worthwhile exercise in comparing this copy below (which is what I filed) with what actually appeared in print - it's not a million miles apart but will give you an insight into the editing process.


Homegrown Hip Hop

Ghostpoet: Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam

Riz MC: MICroscope

Rewd Adams: Rewd Awakenings
Halal Beats/Kilimanjaro

Wariko: Natural Born Poet

The remarkable mainstream success of homegrown urban music in 2010 shows no sign of slowing in 2011. However away from the rarefied air of the Top 10, innovating, edgy Brit-hop is also blossoming as this selection demonstrates. Ghostpoet’s absorbing debut LP Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam evokes what it’s like to be up all night, thinking, and anxiously flitting between home truths, worry and self-doubt.
Self-spun, lo-fi soundscapes capture the half-asleep/half-awake state, as Ghostpoet murmurs and sleep-talks through the lonely twilight hours. He contemplates relationship breakdown through no job and little money versus surviving anything with his partner’s support, running away versus battling, and getting drunk versus fretting. Ghostpoet’s an everyday kind of guy, references including A-levels, biscuits, lemonade, pork pies, ‘Primarni’ (Primark), Rocky and James Bond, roll from the tongue like water thanks to his fluid, even flow. PBB&MJ is far from all doom and despair, Ghostpoet bluesy rap swell into rousing songs (Run Run Run, Us Against Whatever Ever, Liiines) as birdsong signals the end of a particularly dark night.

Late twentysomething Londoner Rizwan Ahmed splits his time between acting (Four Lions, Shifty, BAFTA 2011Rising Star nominee) and rapping (Riz MC). Independently-released debut LP MICroscope is a stiff examination of contemporary society – opener Radar notes the necessity to pigeon-hole, brand and box all and sundry in this age of information-overload, and is fittingly set to a racing heartbeat rhythm, that’s a racing, panicked heartbeat. Both People Like People, which observes style over substance, posing, and hipsters, and All In The Ghetto’s break down of gentrification (latt├ęs, bikes, and nice bread invading ‘rawthentic’ neighbourhoods), are witty and impish. The stripped back Sour Times sees Riz offer an impassioned, poignant defence of Islam in the face of against crass demonization. His somersaulting wordplay leaves you pondering and unpicking torrents of keen couplets, consequently MICroscope rewards investing time with depth, humour and coruscating commentary.

Skandal’s Hunger Pains mixtape was a highlight of 2010, however 2011 sees him operating under more personal guise Rewd Adams (Rewd is an anagram, and Adams is part, of his actual name). Album Rewd Awakening (free from www.rewdadams.com) is intimate, openly talking about time in young offenders institute and contemplating ending it all, as well as sleights as a rapper struggling against the odds. Rewd’s interested in the wider world whether ‘on road’ realities ‘or mperialism. Although melancholy, emotion and honesty are stand out themes - this is hip-hop as therapy. At times it’s uncomfortable yet compelling, and whets the appetite for an LP proper later this year.

Nottingham’s Wariko is a well-known name in Brit-hop, grime (Ghetts hosts his current mixtape) and spoken word (he performed at Charlie Dark’s Book Slam last year) scenes. His forthcoming LP Natural Born Poet (available from www.wariko.co.uk), eases between all three styles, as well as bashment: Lies plays out boyfriend and girlfriend arguing about infidelity, The Way I Am 2 ruminates the nature or nurture question, and Out of My Window distills the intrigue of people-watching and paints a vivid picture of every day people. It’s heartening and refreshing to see MCs outside of London, and particularly the long established, rap-crazy city of Nottingham, making their mark.