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Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Is it cool to be smart?
RIP Dj Przm
PRZM was a well known artist in the Columbus, OH hip-hop scene, and he produced on several records for a handful of artist ssuch as Spitball, Copywrite, Illogic, S.A. Smash, Vast Aire, Greenhouse Effect, Jakki, Thirstin Howl III and with prominient indie labels like Definitive Jux, Rhymesayers, and Wieghtless Recordings. He was also a part of the Meta4ce Omega project, True Hollyhood Stories. R.I.P. DJ PRZM. - Pizzo
Monday, June 11, 2007
Help me Help You
HELPING THE DJ
If you inform the DJ that you are a DJ, the DJ will appreciate your
help with the next few tunes, or however long you can remain standing on
stage. Simply feel free to walk up on stage & join in. By the way, the
drunker you are, the better you sound.
Keep in mind that nothing assists the DJ more than
outrageous dancing, or a tambourine played out of tempo.
Try the congas, they love the challenge. The DJ always needs the help &
will take this as a compliment.
BONUS TIPAs a last resort, wait until the DJ takes a break and then get on stage
and start playing their records. They love this. Even if you are
ejected from the club, you can rest assured in the fact that you have
successfully completed your audition. The club owner will call you
Immediately the following day to offer you a position.
Talking to the Dj
TALKING WITH THE DJ
The best time to discuss anything with the DJ in any meaningful way is when
he is in the mix. Our hearing is so advanced that we can pick out your tiny
voice from the megawatt wall of sound blasting all around us. DJs are expert
lip readers too. If a DJ does not reply to your question or comment
during a tune, it's because they didn't get a good look at your mouth in
order to read your lips.
Simply continue to scream your request & be sure to over emphasize the
words with your lips. This helps immensely. Don’t be fooled.
DJs have the innate ability to answer questions & mix at the same
time. If the DJ doesn't answer your questions immediately, regardless
of how stupid the question may seem, it's because they are purposely
If this happens, immediately cop an attitude. We love this.
How to Request a song part two
something like this". Then hum a few bars! We have a chip implanted in our
heads with an unlimited database with the favorite tunes of every patron who
ever walked into a bar & all songs ever recorded, so feel free to be vague,
we love the challenge.
If we do not remember exactly what tune you want, we're only kidding.
DJs know every song ever recorded, so keep humming. Hum harder if need be
... it helps jog the memory.
If a DJ tells you they do not know a song you want to hear, they either
forgot that they know the tune or they are just putting you on. Try singing
a few words for the DJ. Any words.
It also helps to scream your request from across the room several times per
set followed by the phrases, "AW COME ON!" and, "YOU SUCK!" Exaggerated
hand gestures expressing disapproval from the dance floor are a big help as
well, such as the thumbs down or your middle finger. Put-downs are the best
way to jog a DJ’s memory. This instantly promotes you to the status of
"Personal Friend Of The DJ."
DJs are notorious fakers & jokesters and never really prepare for their
shows. They simply walk on stage with no prior thought to what they will do
once they arrive. A DJ's job is so easy, even a monkey could do it, so
don't let them off the hook easily. Your request is all that matters.
If a t****e DJ had played at the club a few weeks ago, the next DJ that
follows will automatically know every t****e tune the previous DJ ever
played, even if the current DJ is a house or jungle DJ. It's the law.
Feel free to yell Tupac or Biggie!! to a DJ that plays strictly house for
When an DJ leans over to hear you better, grab his or her head in
both hands and yell directly into their ear, while holding their head
securely so they cannot pull away. This will be taken as an invitation to a
friendly & playful game of tug of war between their head and your hands.
Don't give up! Hang on until the DJ submits.
DJs are protected by their equipment, & only play the game
when tricked into coming out from behind their turntables. Though difficult
to get them to play, it's not impossible, so keep trying. They're especially
vulnerable during mixing songs.
How to Request a Song
If you were/are a wannabe Dj and you think it fits into the set, tell the Dj the song and let th Dj do their job. If the song is not played, it probably means it did not fit the flow or you were wrong about the song. No problems. Maybe it will fit at a later time.
June 9th Party at the Piers
Check out the background info and donate if you can. Partyatthepiers.com.
When my daughter was thirteen, she woke up at 10:30 one morning, which was very late for her. By 11:00, she fell asleep again on the couch. I suspected mono. Our pediatrician sent us to the hospital for blood work. That very afternoon I got the worst news of my life: Karyn had leukemia.
A few days later, we learned that she had Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML), whose only cure was a bone marrow transplant. “Well then, that’s what we’ll do,” I thought. From that day forward, my husband David, my daughter Yael, and I put every bit of energy into saving Karyn. Nothing else mattered.
The odds unfortunately were against her. She was diagnosed in the “blast” crisis stage, which is the most deadly. To date, no one has survived CML in this stage. We still honestly thought she had a chance. Karyn suffered through chemotherapy, radiation and finally a bone marrow transplant. She fought valiantly and with dignity even at such a young age
When the Make-a-Wish Foundation approached Karyn to ask her for a special wish, she smiled and told the woman, “Give my wish to someone who really needs it. I don’t have it so bad.” This brought tears to all of our eyes, because we all knew, as Karyn did, that her life would soon be over. She was truly an old soul in a child’s body.
On March 18th, 1996, just eleven months after her diagnosis, Karyn died. She left behind a devastated community of family and friends. Yael had promised Karyn that she would never be forgotten. The Karyn Research Fund is the result of that promise.
The Fund supports and encourages new research into controlling and halting the spread of cancer cells without the terrible side effects of today’s treatments. It is our hope that this research will one day save the lives of children with cancer and eliminate the health risks associated with its treatment.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping keep Karyn’s memory alive.
M.I.A. plays with the BOYZ
Check the video at Pitchforkmedia.com. Tell me what you think?
Stack Bundles killed
Check out Fader Magazine and Allhiphop.com for more news on his death. Apparently, he was shot early this morning after an incident free club night. Known as a lyrical slang master for Dj Clue and later for the Byrd Gang, he became an mc on the scene that was giving Ny their title back through DIY moves and relentless work. He was definitely one of the best mc's in the city. RIP.
Friday, June 8, 2007
Status ain't hood.
Graduation season is already well underway, but Kanye West's Graduation suddenly feels just a little bit closer. Two weeks after we showed you West's newest video, something purporting to be the new, Daft Punk-sampling song from the rapper's upcoming third album has hit YouTube. "Bow in the presence of greatness," West proclaims on "Stronger", which he previewed on his recently leaked Can't Tell Me Nothing mixtape.
As Pitchfork's Tom Breihan recently observed on his "Status Ain't Hood" blog for The Village Voice, West's turn toward French house music is surprising given the tantrum he threw at last year's MTV Europe Video Awards when he was beaten by Justice vs. Simian's "We Are Your Friends". At first blush, "Stronger" may not be using Daft Punk's "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" to its full advantage, though at least it's not another "Young Folks". Wait, what exactly did he just rhyme with "Klondike"?
Tell me your thoughts and check the link to Tom Breihan blog.
Thursday, June 7, 2007
If Plan A Fails, There is always Plan B
Tell me your thoughts after you watch the videos!!!
The Game is Not Common
R. Kelly isn't the only performer comparing himself to a modern-day Muhammad Ali. Common intends to compete for the honor through the final round, as the video for "The Game", from his forthcoming Finding Forever, reminds us. "I never kissed the ass of the masses," the Chicago rapper asserts with an intense but steady flow. "They tried to box me in like Cassius/ Clay, hey, I'm like Muhammad when he fasted/ Opposing the fascists." I love that line so much i want to repeat for myself when i am in the booth. Again, DJ Premier wrecks havoc on the track with his signature sound and scratches from OC and some of Common's last LP-i said it LP. Common(vetern to several Premier tracks-6th Sense) calmly illuminates the gymnasium full of hip hop fans of all colors with his presences, gifted lyricism and good looks. The vegetarian GQ man of the year as the game sewed and stitched to perfection. This video was made for purists so you may never see it on BET but with the Robort Rock inspired K.West behind him, Common is sure to cash in or cash out? Go over to PitchforkMedia to check the video.
Email me your thoughts on the video!!!
Small School Bus
Class war or bad dream? Busdriver's "Sun Shower" is more obvious than usual for the virtuoso-flowed Los Angeles MC-- though still way less radical than M.I.A.'s "Sunshowers". The video for this second single from Busdriver's Epitaph debut RoadKillOvercoat "Sun Shower" throws on some new light. Warm rays dance on the camera lens, mimicking the way the sun looks through half-closed eyelids.
In a pinched, distinctive voice, the rapper born Regan Farquhar takes aim at "well-pruned yuppie scum" and other members of the "bourgeoisie." (As Lil Wayne might say, "Can ya tell me how good my French is?") Wait a tick, now it looks like Busdriver is asleep. Another minute, he's on TV hectoring rappers and DJs who wear matching pants. When he wakes up, it's out for a bike ride on a snowy winter sidewalk. So this probably isn't Los Angeles, or, um, Sri Lanka. Check out this video. !!!!!!
Posted by Marc Hogan on Tue: 06-05-07: 10:23 AM CDT
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
So I'm a Flirt
More than any other R. Kelly release, Live! The Light It Up Tour encapsulates the man, the myth, and the freak in all his singular insanity. Like an unholy cross between Marvin Gaye and Peter Sellers, the r&b architect plays several roles throughout the performance, from booty-ogling King Dong to Patrón-popping master of ceremonies, but none is more indelible than R. Kelly: Singing Comedian.
On an extended version of "In the Kitchen", Kells dry humps an imaginary cooking buddy with the vigor of five Emerils before bringing out a chubby dude with an Abe Lincoln beard and sleeve tats to launch some R. Kelly apparel into the cheap seats with a t-shirt bazooka. (He does all this while wearing an R. Kelly t-shirt himself.) After singing the lines, "I gotcha so wet, it's like a rainforest/ Like Jurassic Parkexcept I'm your sexasaurus baby," in the middle of an a cappella version of new song "The Zoo", he's greeted with a mix of incredulous screams and laughs. "There's such a thing as a sexasaurus," deadpans Kelly. "The Zoo" is only one of several out-and-out joke tracks on the controversial star's ninth LP, Double Up, which puts his stand-up routine to the fore; against next-level metaphorical ridiculousness like "Sweet Tooth", the jeep-sexing "Ignition (Remix)" seems Ben Stein-straight.
Hardly a stranger to absurdity, Kells has been studying the art of crazed hilarity for more than a decade. Years before "Trapped in the Closet" cast its spell, he was yodeling randomly on "Get Up on a Room" and puncturing Pavarotti with "The Opera", both off of 1998's R. But 21 counts of child pornography derailed his ribald candor in 2002, resulting in the spiritually minded Chocolate Factory (2003) and Happy People/U Saved Me (2004). Then people started to forget about that tape and R. Kelly started to embrace his flightier fancies with force. Now, five years after he was first arrested on those infamous charges and with no trial date in sight, Double Up aims for the funny bone. Instead of going up against the likes of Dave Chappelle ("Piss on U") and "Weird Al" Yankovic ("Trapped in the Drive Thru"), Kells attempts to join them-- and top them.
In a sense, it seems more apropos to judge Double Up as a comedy record than as a pop record. To wit, "Sex Planet", with its middle school Uranus-isms, is a tad amateur night. Kells fares better when he attempts to conflate his "Closet"-style soap opera mastery with his still-peerless way with an r&b hook. Atop a featherweight beat on "Best Friend", Kelly acts out a nightmare scenario where all he can do is worry about his wife's fidelity and bitch about toilet paper while holed up in prison due to some vague crime. And though that may not sound like much fun on paper, the songwriter uses his keen, Seinfeld-like observational skills to find punchlines in strange places. Plus, the track's underlying sadness gives it a perverted confessional quality.
Now 40 and facing a difficult divorce, Kelly sometimes sounds like a man too old for the club but too stubborn and horny to turn away. Thankfully, he's somewhat aware of this predicament; the singer mines humor as a hapless rube to Usher's young turk in the love triangle saga "Same Girl" and a stumbling, regretful drunk on "Leave Your Name". (What's mid-life-crisis without the R.?) But while the album contains enough "Did ya hear that?!" couplets to keep even the worst Technorati slut stocked with catchphrases for weeks, such one-off bits and scenes, lack the repeatability of more traditional pop smashes. Luckily, Kells provides a couple of those, too; "I'm a Flirt" (Remix) and "Hook It Up" are relatively light on guffaws, but they're both equipped with warm, forever-bounce beats that defy gimmicky plot twists, age, dubious morality, and shameless fuckaphores.
When talking about the impetus behind "Trapped in the Closet" in a November 2005 appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!", Kelly said, "Sometimes you can go through so much that you can't do nothin' but laugh." In 2007, he still faces multiple counts of child pornography that could put him in jail for up to 15 years. His daughters, currently ages 9 and 7, will soon be old enough to comprehend their father's legal troubles (and his songs). On Double Up's opening salvo, "The Champ", he claims, "I've confessed my sins and still didn't find peace." His moment of reckoning is moving closer, however slowly. But, until then, he's chuckling; comedy, after all, is just tragedy plus time.
-Ryan Dombal, June 05, 2007
I Have been listening to alot of Disco/Techno
[Ghostly International; 2007]
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But while six of Backstroke's eight tracks featured vocals (as did "Dog Days") and fell into the occasional verse/chorus structure, the record failed to deliver Dear a wider audience. His voice, even with its odd pitch, put its shoulder to the wheel in the service of pop, but the tires were worn from burning rubber behind a disco stoplight; its tracks felt like retreads-- cracked, wobbly, a little thin. I still enjoy the record, but compared to the staggeringly confident tracks Dear released as Audion in just the last year -- "Mouth to Mouth", "I Gave You Away", remixes for Claude VonStroke, Hot Chip, and Black Strobe, anthems all-- it's difficult to hear Backstroke as the work of the same individual.
With his new album, Asa Breed, Dear finally makes good on his long-awaited metamorphosis. It's not that the record is a straightforward pop romp: It's still anchored in Dear's lumbering beats, its rhythms cobbled together from misfiring drum machines and colored with barely-in-tune keyboards and yellowing room tone. Still, Dear pulls together his widest array of elements yet, not just in terms of instrumentation-- electric and acoustic guitars, live drums, and haphazard percussion all play strong roles-- but also style: Hints of new wave, indie rock, Afropop, and even country enliven Asa Breed. Dear's mercurial approach to genre, however, feels less like dabbling than a kind of shambling dandyism, trying on mismatched styles with a sidelong wink in the mirror.
The most immediate change is that Dear's voice now sits front-and-center in every track. Actually, make that front-and-center and side-to-side: Virtually every song features two- or three-part, multitracked vocals, encompassing his natural baritone, a more idiosyncratic midrange, and finally a warbly falsetto, generally digitally smeared as a sort of pitch-correction. It's not the greatest voice in the world, but he uses it well, sliding into the notes, lingering on his vowels, and greasing the mechanistic clutter of his backing tracks. It's a suggestive and evocative voice, though exactly what's being suggested is often left ambiguous. On the downcast "Deserter" it's impossible to miss the influence of Joy Division's Ian Curtis; on the ruminative "Fleece on Brain", his backing Ooh-oohs sound like a scrap of 1960s pop that's wafted in on some errant, psychedelic gust. Sometimes, the vocals themselves mutate into something approaching pure musicality, more sensibility than sense: On "Will Gravity Win Tonight?" it might take you dozens of listens to realize that the background babble is really the mantra-like repetition, "More work to be done."
Asa Breed is a moody record, thanks in no small part to its affirmational lyrics and plaintive guitars. Some critics have found fault with Dear's way with words, and he does occasionally misstep, but more often than not, his slightly cryptic character sketches work well, allowing ambiguous narratives to sprout from the cracked pavement of his productions. The lyrics invite all manner of questions. Who are "Don and Sherri"? If love is "such a tricky thing/ Can include diamond rings," is that a good or a bad thing? (Dear is married.) And in a record so filled with self-doubt, how much is pure literary invention, and how much points to a crack in the artist's own psyche? It's so rare to get any sense of dance artists' personae that Dear's ambiguous, occasionally confessional lyrics take on extra weight. Part of the pleasure of Asa Breed is its introduction of a character we've never met before; Dear's reluctance to reveal only sends you back into the music looking for answers. (Some of those answers will surprise you: the closing country dirge "Vine to Vine", featuring a Johnny Cash-like spoken word drawl, is about a paternal ancestor of Dear's that was allegedly gunned down by Texas Rangers over a century ago.)
The other thing that keeps me returning to Asa Breed again and again, beyond its individual songs' inventive, engrossing composition and production, is the pacing of the album. It's moody, yes-- even a jaunty track like "Fleece on Brain" feels haunted and fraught with anxiety-- but the record's sequence pinballs from brassy electric bumpers to pensive pits and suspenseful pauses. The first four songs seem to circle a common mood as if poking and prodding from every angle, shining a Maglite in the recesses of a deep funk. (The way he wields phrases suggests the minimalist he's always been, twisting and spinning a few sinewy strands into a rope as tough as woven steel; you can hear Audion's druggy abandon throughout, in slow, grinding synthesizers and tones that change color as gradually as a darkening, stormbound sky.) With "Elementary Lover", Dear abruptly changes course, channeling the Tom Tom Club. "Don and Sherri" plunges back into the murk of a humid dance floor. "Will Gravity Win Tonight?" is bitter black tea as a sort of palate cleanser; "Pom Pom" is a bizarre, Beach Boys-influenced miniature (at 2:39, it's the shortest song on the album, by two seconds); "Death to Feelers" is a kindergarten tale of unrequited love for toy piano and tambourine. And the last four songs usher us out in a kind of extended dream sequence of organs, acoustic guitars, country yelps, the Sea and Cake lounge jazz, and the totally unexpected American Gothic of "Vine to Vine".
Maybe it's because Dear has worked on the album, off and on, for the past three years that its stylistic drift is so wide; what's remarkable is how well all the pieces sit together, and how convincingly they lay out a series of stepping stones. Ultimately, the path leads back inside the album itself, breeding as many questions as certainties. One thing remains clear, though: As producer, songwriter and persona, Dear has come into his own with Asa Breed, a bootstrapping album that not only reveals the miles walked, but an ambitious road map ahead.
-Philip Sherburne, June 05, 2007
New Single "Aunt Jackie"
Video: UGK f. Outkast, "International Player's Anthem"
VIDEO OF THE CENTURY. Typical outkast fashion. Great colors, changing the face of pimping to the highest of pimposcrasfy along with the legendary UGK laying down the big sized Texas slap. Still waiting on the new Outkast album? i am sure the way the year has gone so far with Andre 3000 verses on remixes of Lloyd and Richboy as well as the lyrical purple dripping from the neck of Big Boi, their new album will bring so new elements to the game.
Speaker Junk Bassbin Remix
Trevor and Joshua of Speaker Junk suck all the Coldplay out of this Bloc Party single and replace it with RAVE JUICE. Whomp whomp, buzz buzz, breakdown! Courtesy of Fader Mag Blog. This remix brings the bounce and the bees to the clubs and ears. Is it good? You tell me?
Monday, June 4, 2007
Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival-June 23rd
Known as one-half of the group Heltah Skeltah, the self-proclaimed "Brokest Rapper You Know" has much to smile about these days, receiving critical acclaim for his recent solo album releases, Monkey Barz and Jesus Price Supastar. From Heltah Skeltah's own Noctural to Smif-n-Wessun's Dah Shinin' Sean Price is amongst one of the most classic MCs. He is currently gearing up for the release of his Master P mixtape in stores this Summer.
"I'm exuberantly thrilled to put my incredible god given talents on display for all of Brooklyn to see," stated Sean Price about his upcoming performance. "I will get busy. With the success of my latest album Jesus Price I'm not the brokest rapper you know anymore but with the Festival being in BK I'm just a $2 metro card away. If you see me on the train you know my name. SEAN P." More Brooklyn artist announcements are expected this week.
Sean Price joins a stellar lineup for June 23rd, and will be performing along side Ghostface, Skillz, Consequence, Dres, Emily King, El Michels Affair, Tanya Morgan, Large Professor, and J.Period. The event will be hosted by Uncle Ralph McDaniels.
The Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival is a free, 5-day event throughout the month of June. Festivities include a Stax 50th Anniversary Celebration on June 7th, Magnum Festival photo exhibit on June 14th, Hip Hop Under The Bridge with Ralph McDaniels on June 21st, Wild Style screening on June 22nd and a full day of performances and festivities on June 23rd. (Tickets are required for June 21st and June 23rd only.)The 3rd Annual Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival is produced by Brooklyn Bodega, The Room Service Group, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy and in conjunction with powerHouse Books. Please visit www.brooklynbodega.com for info including lineup details, full programming calendar, tickets and more. (Press Release) from hiphopsite.com
"'Shadowcasting' is everything dubstep can and should be. It's gorgeous," recently exclaimed Joe Nice of Martyn's recent Revolv:R release on his awesome monthly Gourmet Beats radio show. "Beautiful isn't it? Supermodel pretty."
It's a powerful and poignant compliment from Joe, a DJ who consistently has his ears open to quality new music. Initially however, "supermodel pretty" might not be the first accolade you want as a dubstep producer yet it has a profound resonance. Dubstep has its roots in 2step garage and early dubstep, sounds that managed to balance their gender references-- low masculine bass with high feminine vocals-- to create a delicious blend. In many of 2007's mainstream sets in dubstep that blend, that balance is becoming lost. It takes someone strong to be gentle in an era of audio aggression. Martyn, also a Dutch drum & bass producer now relocated to the U.S., is one such guy.
"It's a classic comment and I'm really, really happy with that!" admits Martyn. "If people choose words outside of the music vocabulary then you know you have done something right."
Martyn's most definitely doing something right. Instead of mid range wobble overload, his beats take a deep groove approach, recalling dubstep's early percussive intricacies, ones often lost in the halfstep era, yet also aligning themselves with Mala DMZ's current "broken dub house" approach. There's depth without slipping into deep house tepidness or liquid d&b formula's. No wonder Kode9 was quick to cut Martyn's "Broken" last year. "I think my music is music for a warm but rainy day," explains Martyn. "Melancholic but uplifting."
Martyn began DJ and promoting d&b nights in Holland as far back as 1996, but it was as recent as three years ago that his production began to be recognised. He had releases on Marcus Intalex's Revolv:R, both d&b and dubstep-- fitting since Marcus Intalex released one of the first deep house inspired dubstep-esque singles "Taking Over Me" as far back as 2000. But while Martyn bought into early Wookie material, it wasn't until Kode9's "Sine of the Dub" that Martyn took notice of dubstep. "I heard that record and it fitted right into some of the music I was hunting down at that time such as the reggae/techno from Berlin like Rhythm & Sound, Main Street and Basic Channel," he explains.
You can still hear the dub-via-Berlin influence in his sound today; yet it's dub used as a methodology, as sonic process, not as a source of cheap reggae samples. "Broken", for example, is a glorious dubbed out skank, a skank that writhes and mutates organically. "When I'm making music I like to set the equipment free and have it do its own thing, like how a delay machine works," explains Martyn. "You feed it with a little sound and it makes something else out of it, transforming it until the point where it has a different sound colour. It's a dub principle… explored by the Basic Channel crew in techno but also earlier in history by King Tubby. It makes the music more organic for me and leaves parts of it to coincidence, which is how you get the music to breathe more and less flat sounding."
While Martyn is Basic Channel-inspired, as have been many of the dubstep pioneers from Kode9 to El-B, there's currently a more direct dialog going on between Bristol and Berlin. In the UK you have Appleblim and Shackleton from Skull Disco, plus Pinch and the Peverelist. In Berlin you have T++ from the Basic Channel camp alongside the Hardwax crew.
For years there was little more than distant mutual appreciation, at first coming from the UK towards Berlin but increasingly returned, as the Hardwax shop began to champion not just Skull Disco but more and more dubstep. But just recently there has been very definite deepening in the exchange of ideas. Pole commissioned Appleblim, Shackleton and Peverelist remixes for his label ~Scape. Appleblim has been playing a T++ (Resilience, Erosion, Various Artists) track "Allied" in his sets. "It was a bit mental meeting them, people who have been such shadowy heroes for so long," explains Appleblim.
"I've been a fan since his releases as Resilence and Various Artists on Chain Reaction. "Hardwax and Basic Channel were very good to me and Shack when we went out to Berlin, they treated us like family, let us use the shop as our own, we hung out there all day, I cut dubs at dubplates and mastering next door, we met Mark Ernestus, and Torsten [T++], and he gave me some tunes he wanted my opinion on. ‘Allied' was on there and straight away I was like: ‘that's amazing.' I cut it and was the first to play it out."
While "Allied" might amaze Appleblim, it's his own productions and DJ sets that have been amazing crowds of late. He's rocked Forward>> several times of late (see the Fwd>> podcast on iTunes), while his recent DMZ set was a masterclass of depth and rhythm, combining Basic Channel delay with rolling early dubstep percussion (aka "oingy boingy"). He's been asked to complete a mix for Mary Anne Hobbes' Radio 1 show, which is highly anticipated. The climax of many of his sets is his own production "Vansan", an excursion in decay that envelopes you like a warm spring mist and is undoubtedly one of singles of the year to date. Rumour has it that T++ and Pinch remixes are on the way.
Any discussion on the overlap between Berlin and Bristol, should not leave out longtime Basic Channel fan, Pinch. He too has been pursuing the techy dubstep route, though perhaps with less emphasis on delay. He's signed 2562 to Tectonic, while busy working on his own debut album. Currently on dubplate, two tracks - the broken-2steppy "Whirl" and Sinodub "One Blood" - are well worth attending Pinch sets to hear live… be it in Bristol or Berlin.
Are grime DJs staging a revolt? Let's consider the evidence. Ever since Dizzee and Wiley became "artists" and not rave hosts, the power and kudos in grime has shifted from the DJ to the MC. The arrival of the mixtape era two years ago, where every MC or crew released a mixtape might have helped redress the balance, you would have thought. But the term "mixtape" is a misleading misnomer: They're not actually mixed-tapes but lengthy segued artist-albums in disguise. Two-nil to the MC, time for the DJ-- relegated to ever decreasing numbers of club sets-- to revolt.
So where should a revolting grime DJ head to? On one side there's the lure of funky house, the choice of many an urban raver of late: danceable, mixable and DJ-focused. Rinse FMs Geeneus plus Roll Deeps Target and Danny Weed are all said to be fans. Target's also a fan of funky house's northern cousins, bassline house and bassline 4/4 aka Niche, as his excellent weekly 1Xtra show attests. His BBC colleague DJ Cameo recently undertook an interesting rebranding, deciding to call his style "dirty pop." No wonder Logan Sama's Kiss show remains the only must-hear grime show on radio.
On the other side revolting grime DJs could head towards the genre's cousin, dubstep. Again it too is danceable, mixable and DJ-focused. Certainly Plastician, one of the most technically gifted of grime DJs and longstanding champion of engaging grime production, has gravitated towards dubstep's allure. Check his new mix for evidence, which contains very little grime: telling since his spent much of his early career clearly demarking the distance between himself and his fellow south London dubstep friends such as Benga and Skream. Even the end of Tubby's set back to back with Roll Deep's Maximum at JME's Forward>> birthday party seemed to feature mostly Coki riddims-- from both DJs!
"Of late, my sets are lacking a bit of instrumental grime due to a lot of producers forgetting to put enough weight in their basslines," Plastician explains. To him the issue is not with grime's MC culture it seems, but with the producers.
"A lot of [grime] producers seem to be making tracks with a bit of a lacklustre attitude towards structure," he continues. "It seems like all the tracks of late fit into a blueprint which is basically an 8 / 16 bar intro with no bass, straight into a 16 bar verse, followed by an 8 bar chorus which is then looped every 24 bars for 4 minutes. This is not necessarily a bad thing-- but it is when there are literally no changes whatsoever to the melodic elements of the production for the duration of the track."
These arrangements show the influence of the mixtape era. Laced with a vocal, even the most simple of one bar loops can give a sense of progression (essential to avoid boring the listener). Yet they're useless to the grime DJ, which doesn't bode well for the live grime experience.
"Also the structural issue comes into play again-- how can I play a track for three minutes if its basically 45 seconds of production looped around? Producers need to open the tracks up - look at the old garage stuff which used to kill the dancefloors and you'll see why it worked-- all of the tracks had a build up…a drop...a bridge...a breakdown...a second drop-- you can let those tracks play for 4/5 minutes and people are still happily moving to them. With grime at the moment you get the initial hype when the tune drops in the mix, but it quickly dies down once all of the track's "parts" have been played out."
Nonetheless, Plastician, who's amazing album "Beg to Differ" is out June 18th, is still excited about grime production, where it's done well. "I like Joker-- his productions remind me of stuff I used to build-- he has a kind of 'fuck it' attitude. The tracks have so much going on, changing all the way through. Some tracks will have a split second that make you think 'that was sick' and then you'll never hear it again for the duration of the tune. His tracks are weighty as well without losing the grime tag which is something very hard to do, and his use of synths is really clever. I'm also feeling Footsie for the individuality of his sound, and Rapid for the energy levels-- something a lot of grime production is lacking as more and more producers are opting for a hip hop friendly tempo."
The advent of mixtapes in grime hasn't been all negative, however. One grime producer who's found fame through the movement, is Grime Reaper, who's production name injected new life in the seemingly exhausted grime-pun cannon (grime time, grime report, griminal etc…).
Grime Reaper rose to fame when it became clear he'd produced the best tunes on JME's amazing Derkhead mixtape, namely ""96 Bars of JME" and "Hyping". The former featured a lopsided off-4x4 kick and the wonkiest techno synths this side of Kraftwerk's "Tour de France". "Hyping" saw JME in upbeat storytelling mode, describing all the chaos and distractions he had to circumvent to get to the "shoobs" aka a rave on time. Since then a third and equally breathtaking Grime Reaper/JME production has emerged called "Go on My Own", which sees the Boy Betta Know CEO singing, yes singing over deliciously sparse synths. JME continues his mission to fly in the face of grime narrative clichés (see also: suggesting major labels might not want to sign armed badmen) by singing the virtues of not being dependent on a crew. In this kind of form, bring on the fourth JME mixtape, especially if it features more Grime Reaper beats.
Amazingly, Grime Reaper is only 16 and is at school in Croydon. He made contact with JME through MySpace-- where else-- and has since, ahem, reaped the benefits. To hear him describe his production technique, it's a highly organic process. "When I want to make a tune, I have to have the right mindstate," he explains. "When I make a tune, I've probably been at school thinking of a tune in my head then on a sly and recorded it into my phone… I find I never really remember making the tune, I'm sort of in a trance, it's weird. But I think I've found what I love doing now, its cool, music's like a drug to me, it calms me down, and has no side effects."
Another positive aspect of the mixtape era is that female artists can easier get a look in, once the gladiatorial angle of the male-dominated grime rave is sidestepped. Take for example Tanya, a new singer featured recently on Richie Vibe Vee's recent show. Like some of the gems off Ny's still-amazing mixtape, Tanya treads a delicious line between raw street production and gentle female vocals. The head turning riddim is "I Know I Love You", that-- again like Ny-- were it by Ashanti or Rhianna, it would be a global smash.
Instead the 21 year old from north west London's journey in the music business is just beginning. She's working with Starz Beatz who produced "I Know I Luv U". She's also currently working on an EP with SEM who produces for Plan B, and Mike Skinners label. She's also featured on a track with Ruff Sqwad's Fudaguy. "I like grime music," she insists. "I think that there's a lot of talented artists/vocalists out here in the UK … It's about time UK music is moving as there's a lot of talent here!" She's not wrong.
For more of Martin Clark's writing, including a full Digital Mystikz and Loefah interview, go to www.blackdownsoundboy.blogspot.com.
Summer Rain Jam 07
You guys only care about who brought out who, right? Ever since Jay-Z's famed unveiling of Michael Jackson (and Prodigy in dance school sequins), the entire concert has become one long succession of "top that" cameos, ranging from the compulsory (of course Mims is going to bring out Junior Reid and Cham for the "This Is Why I'm Hot" remix, otherwise it's just Mims on stage) to the genuinely surprising. This year we'll give the OH SNAP! crown to Swizz Beats. After running through an extended version of his SXSW set, he went off on a "I AM THE BEST AT THIS SHIT! NO PRODUCER BETTER THAN ME!" tirade. Then Kanye West walked onstage. They battled it out, dropping intros of songs they produced: "Takeover" vs "Banned From TV", "Stand Up" vs "Ruff Ryders Anthem", "Encore" vs "Jigga My Nigga," "Gold Digger" vs "It's Me Bitches." It was an extremely clever take on the Summer Jam status quo, and a high point in the evening's energy - too bad it came less than halfway through the show.
Swizz also brought out Lil Wayne to do his voulez-vous verse on the "It's Me Bitches" remix, and once he was through, Weezy F launched his microphone into the crowd. He closed out his guest spot during Chris Brown's set a few hours later by mumbling something about how he had to leave, otherwise he would just stay on stage all night long. Then his DJ played Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" as Wayne strutted offstage doing some kind of hop skip. The man is touched.
Diddy hit the stage third from last, but acted as if he was the headliner. Spectacle to spare - though most of it just hammered home how limp his Press Play singles were. He kicked off with a wildly long intro video (interspersing Gladiator clips with Puff n Hype classics...and lots of shots of doves, clouds and ponies) that segued into "Victory," reunited with the Lox and Lil Kim for "Benjamins," freaked girls in the audience alongside Elephant Man, brought TI out to do three completely Diddy-less songs, and shot off thousands of fireworks. He even had a leather Sergeant Pepper jacket and those things that set James Hetfield on fire. "Take those fucking ponchos off! It's my party!"
By this point, the rain was coming down in pure sheets of water and people were leaving the stadium in droves, but our man Akon did not disappoint, running through his hits like a pro (precise but never workmanlike) and bringing out FADER cover stars Bone Thugs and Cham for two consecutive jams. He ended the set by inviting everyone from DJ Khaled's "We Takin Over" to the stage (including Wayne, screaming into two mics LL Cool J-style). The whole crew was smiling, and Akon and TI running around giving hugs to all their overweight bros (RAWWWSSSS!) made for one of the most unexpectedly adorable concert moments in some time.
Credit: Fader Blog
Lil wayne is doing it!!!!
I want to say "ok he has to slip up" but he does not. His simplicity is addictive. His rhymes clever. Even when he boasts about the mula that he actually has aquired, you think he is talking the same mess but it still works. I think he has stolen the rap mojo, put in the work and wants that crown from every region, county, town and village in the world. Weeezy. Make it rain.