Tuesday, 18 March 2008

DJ Tubby & D Double E in Amsterdam

Its a great flyer but also, being very much aware of fullygrown grime's European audience (large up), I felt obliged to post this.

DJ Tubby. D Double E.


Sunday, 16 March 2008

'Over Proof, I'm The Truth, My Bars Are So Cold That My Tongue Gets Stuck To My Tooth'

‘OG Season’ has finally landed, and it has been well-received from what I hear. I’m yet to cop thanks to my lack of funds, but it will only be a matter of time. I’ve been impressed with OGs – they started out from something that broke down, making moves late last year, and featuring on pirate station Rinse FM with Boy Better Know and building up a hype that seems to now be justified with their debut release.

Despite being unable to avoid the delays that have affected Wiley’s ‘Umbrella’ and Bless Beats’ ‘Hard Day’s Graft’ to name a couple, the CD has been completed for a long time now. Melanin confirms that, in terms of the mixtape’s completion, ‘it didn’t take that long to be honest, it was done over summer and winter 2007’. The delays have partly contributed to the hype, and it is credit to the general consensus of the final product that ‘OG Season’ has gone down well with what can be a sometimes unforgiving grime community. According to Mela, ‘pre-orders and sales have gone quite well’ and, given the initial good reaction as well as things moving quickly in the scene, people are always looking ahead. ‘Tracks have been done for the new CD but we’ll wait later this year to see how the feedback is, because Part 2 will be more of a song-based CD, and not as hardcore…’

Such a view implies the movements of a ‘crew’ coming together and showing versatility and experimentation with the sound. The good songs, partly the result of the good bars of the individual members who are mostly see themselves as solo artists, raises the question of whether the OGs are a crew or a larger movement. A ‘movement’ is apparent in the origins of OGs, taking the majority of their members from the best of what South London has to offer and creating a new, exciting name for themselves in the aftermath of the breakdown of South London’s former premier grime crew ‘Essentials’. However, the way OGs have come together suggests they have the unity and shared ideas to be a successful collective in the long-term, despite having solo artists in their ranks. ‘Its a cross between both really’, says Mela, ‘but it is not just a crew. Its something that was built to push the individuals that bit more and create more exposure for the genre’. This wider ‘exposure’ can be seen from the GPP YouTube channel, as well as videos being planned for ‘More Money More Obstacles’ as well as for individual members such as Little Dee.

OGs are emerging from South London in a big way, and Melanin is confident that there’s more to come. From the content on OG Season, ‘if they liked that as songs, well they have a lot more quantity and quality coming’. Features for the second CD? ‘There will be on Part 2 possibly. You’ll have to wait and see’. Keep your eyes (and ears) peeled.

’OG Season’ is now available from Uptown Records , and members of the crew will be in store on Saturday 22 March for a live set and signing CDs. Go and cop.

Uptown Records
3 D`arblay St
Tel: 0207 434 3639

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Grime Kings in Nike-Town

This is what happens when the grime scene is unleashed on Nike Town – custom designed creps to be cherished back in the bits intermingled with prolonged, engaging debate on who is the 'King of Grime'.

This is actually an interesting discussion, but it's been a bit overdone recently and is in grave danger of becoming quite boring. We even have ‘KOG’ acronyms now, which doesn’t particularly bode well for the future.

In a scene that revolves around MCs, ‘all-rounders’ aren’t kings. Is anyone 'King'? What does the term 'King of Grime' even mean?

'Heard Some Man Wanna Take My Style'

What’s going on with ‘Eskibeat Recordings’? It all looked so promising. The recruitment of the best young MCs, top producers still learning their craft, Wiley securing his legacy when the inevitable time comes.

MCs joined, spat bars in the middle of the road for an esteemed video podcast, and then left. Currently, ‘Eskibeat’ is a byword for confusion; a label that seemingly has no MCs in a scene that is held together by their dominance, but does have a very good (yet obsolete) graphic designer, and a talented DJ who has no-one to wheel tunes for. The label had signs of artificialness; North, East, South, and West all represented, one MC from each area of London to fully encapsulate grime’s hub and reign in the best super-group since…

However, there have been signs of moves to revitalise Eskibeat recently, which is welcome, since it gives some slight opportunity try and make sense of things. The first move was to sell T-Shirts with ‘Eskibeat’ on them, but in a ‘Run DMC’ style in an attempt to garner some sort of retro-credibility. Apparently, no-one wants retro-credibility for £25, so the next move involved Wiley asking RWD Forum whether he should embark on an album project with Eskibeat.

*EDIT* Now £19.99!

Since when have kings been democratic? You can’t blame Richard for kicking up a bit of hype, but it seems as if the saga of Eskibeat Recordings just needs to be put to an end. Does anyone actually know who is in Eskibeat? Does anyone actually know if Wiley actually knows who is in Eskibeat? The MCs have claimed they have nothing to do with the label anymore, and even if they did Little Dee has commitments with OGs’ second mixtape in addition to Roll Deep work, Chipmunk has an album due to drop, and Ice Kid… well, I don’t even know, perhaps some Hoodstars work, but having a dislike for someone who has tried to help further your career implies you can’t do much else to establish some sort of musical relationship.

It all seems like a bit of a failure, even if, in a sense, Eskibeat has worked from the perspective of production, with Bless Beats providing the beat for ‘Wearing My Rolex’ and the first stepping stone to a nice little deal with Atlantic Records. Even if the song doesn’t sound anything like ‘Eski’.

Wiley couldn't be persuaded to wear an Eskibeat Recordings tee

I’m not too cynical very often, but I can’t see any sort of Eskibeat project happening, at least not for a while. As a grime fan, I don’t think I would be alone in preferring a good Little Dee mixtape, in addition to good features on Roll Deep and Organised Grime projects, a decent debut album from Chipmunk, and really for Ice Kid just to put some work in. Oh, and for ‘Grime Wave’ and ‘Race Against Time’ to deliver. If you don’t mind Will. Safe.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Jammer Launch Party

The line-ups for recent grime raves have been impressive, and this one is no exception. Some Cameo 'dirty pop' will be fizzled out by Boy Better Know and the Newham Generals, whom I assume can afford to take jaunts down to Brighton since 'Generally Speaking' must be near completion, if not finished, by the time this event comes around. Tempz, Neckle Camp, and Ny should also be inside, along with a special guest, who admittedly will have to be special enough to take the shine from the acts booked for this.

The flyer states this is for Jammer's album, but I haven't heard anything about 'Top Producer' being near completion, so it may be for 'Are You Dumb Volume 3'. Answers on a postcard please. Regardless, its a rave with a very good line-up, so head on down there if you can.

Friday 21 March 2008
Arc Club, Brighton
10.30 - 4
£5 before 12, more after

Saturday, 1 March 2008

‘See The Scene Right Now Its In A State And It Ain’t Been The Same Since Titch Has Been Away’

So says Ghetto, and he arguably has more than enough right to say it since he's been around from day.

Titch certainly has his legacy. Mr Slash has been particularly vocal, as has Griminal, who has claimed that Titch is the kind of MC that he aspires to be. Titch certainly had a larger than life character, and his hype on sets had an energy that isn't so apparent in the scene now. As grime fans today, GH’s lyrics do raise interesting questions, mostly by implication. What does the scene now lack that it didn’t once lack?

Crazy Titch’s style is compatible with and harks back to the guttural and minimalist type of grime when he was around, which is in stark contrast to a growing number of ‘sweet boy’ tunes and more vocals in the scene, as well as a more evident hip hop influences in place of other traces of music that were more predominant in grime’s early stages, such as electronica. Titch was certainly a unique MC, but isn’t the ‘state’ of the scene at the moment more related to grime and its evolution?

Music in deprived communities is now being seen as a ‘way out’ of the system, and artists are now coming into the scene with the conscious objective of being signed, while Titch, along with other MCs such as Dizzee, God’s Gift, and D Double E used music and emceeing as a means to let off energy. MCs still do this now, but with the greater abundance of recorded material, as well as better technology that makes it easier than ever for artists to get their music heard, the possibility of making a career from music is much more possible given you have the talent. Such an increase in recorded material is related to a rave scene that, despite showing signs of recent revitalisation, is still mostly in decline. MCs are now obliged to display artistic diversity in a scene that is even now progressing from the mixtape to EPs and albums, rather than writing bars to get reloads.

Such progression in the grime scene can be bought back to Ghetto who, despite not having released an EP or album, has successfully maintained ‘road’ elements in his music, being true to his origins yet still being able to garner wider attention through more experimental sounds, such as on his mellower, second CD, ‘Ghetto Gospel’. As one of the most recognised grime MCs, being at the top maybe he can look below him and describe the current scene as ‘in a state’. The brutal fact that grime can offer a chance to many who don’t have many other opportunities means that ‘fans’ are themselves spitters, and it is easier to identify the top artists in comparison to an undistinguished mass trying ‘to make it’.

The scene is still young, and so development and change will be more prominent. In the ensuing mix-up, maybe there will be confusion and disillusionment. However, the scene isn’t ‘in a state’ – its growing and changing with the times.