Damn you writer’s block, stifling any attempt at a memorable introduction to get things under way. Another piece of paper screwed up and headed towards the bin…what’s that though…Grand Slam grunter Serena Williams has released a hip-hop track? And subsequently has shown true rapper heritage by getting annoyed at having it leaked online? You couldn’t make it up, and that, ladies and gentleman, is this month’s introduction written. Keep on with those volleys and chop-shots Serena.
Wanna watch a mid 80s hip-hop documentary overseen by an impossibly-named, Dutch Jarvis Cocker-lookalike? Of course you do. All jokes aside, Bram van Splunteren’s ‘Big Fun in the Big Town’ has been stumbled upon having been presumed AWOL for decades, and brought back to the masses with some fantastic Q&A footage of LL Cool J, Schooly D, Russell Simmons and Run DMC. Getting the absolute feel of hip-hop preparing to take over the world while still breeding from a crack-gripped concrete jungle and with a nice nascent naivety to it as well (the hopefuls freestyling outside of the Def Jam offices, just on the off chance), it’s essential viewing for nostalgics or those with just time to kill.
Now with extra dubstep tear-ups involving True Tiger, Sukh Knight, Bok Bok and Rack n Ruin, and Baobinga and Zed Bias bringing jump-up bass, Riz MC’s ‘MICroscope’ nips back into a deluxe format and stays provocative. Still showing there’s room for the funkiest of funk breaks to get the job done (that means it’s ‘Apache’ time), the reliable and widely respected pro Marc Mac follows ‘Dirty Old Hip-Hop’ with ‘Hipology’, his Visioneers project a head-smoothing masterclass with added jazz suaveness and lazy day beats and rhymes. Jehst jumps on Seb Rochford’s ‘Seven Nine Zulu’, a grim banger with a tribal remix posing the ominous threat of wearing “the Elmer Fudd hat, cooking rabbit stew”, and Just P’s ‘Just Call Me P’ is 60 minutes of free show-n-prove and unceremonious life lessons in a cloudy gravel of North London discontent.
Punchline king and former Megahertz/Eastern Conference battler Copywrite is back. Though the amount of hook-ups throughout ‘God Save the King’ is like he’s only discovered Instant Messenger until recently – Royce da 5’9” Killah Priest, Evidence are for the Stars and Stripes, Iron Braydz, Genesis Elijah, Melanin 9, Akala and Jaguar Skillz are on the UK end of the collect call – it packs more punch than a suitcase full of seaside puppets, if done as a patchwork-network. Copy torches all and sundry as soon as the mic’s switched on but with presence of mind to keep his open, and covering Dire Straits’ ‘Money for Nothing’ doesn’t bring the horrific reaction you’re expecting.
Rumour is Raekwon and Nas are planning a double-up that could well make heads explode if it ever sees light of day, but with nothing in concrete for now, enjoy the Chef’s teaming with LEP Bogus Boys for a coke cookery show instead. Never forget that Wu-Tang is for the children, and Young Dirty Bastard is doing his best to show that the apple doesn’t fall from the tree. The supreme title of ‘Women Are the New Dogs’ is not the latest Jeremy Kyle special, but Saigon’s case for gender equality. Talib Kweli and Res are Idle Warship, doing a hip-hop-soul-pop thing with this vid directed by RA the Rugged Man – surprises all round then.
LA’s Radioinactive embarks on a cultural criss-cross with ‘The Akashic Record’, a bubbly excursion with the bumpiness of a camper van hitting desert speed bumps, topped up with a doo-wop diss record coming straight out the playground. Seattle’s social media favourite Grieves, the assured rhymer putting fingers to lips, is one of the Rhymesayers breed handling themselves with dignity and confidence while covering a cracked, complex soul. Slug and Ant fans should probably find space on their playlist for ‘Together/Apart’. Rhymesayers also have Brother Ali prepping a new full-length – get a heads-up here, while over in the D, House Shoes’ ‘The Time’ EP is eight tracks of Detroit kick-backs and dusty drum beatings in the area’s best traditions, ahead of LP ‘Let It Go’.
Mouse-clickers and joint rollers, you may think all your munchies attacks have come at once; the LRG-sponsored ‘4:20 The Classics’ has Statik Selektah spinning an hour’s worth of THC treats, lit up by Luniz, Jay-Z, Red & Meth, Cypress Hill, Pharcyde and stacks more Mary Jane puff-puff-passers. Rubbish concept, great mix. Showbiz and AG, with DJ Premier in tow, fire off ‘Mugshot Music: Preloaded’, a freebie before the album main event and a creditable set from the DITC veterans getting by with plenty of strong armed tactics not exactly playing poster boys for the grown man movement, with a well done twist on the whole history of hip-hop thing on ‘The Bond’. Just time as well to mention Roach Gigz’ piping hot mixtape giveaway ‘Hot Air Balloons and Cinnamon Sticks’, and Sixo’s woozily tidy left-fielder ‘Free Floating Rationales’.
Finally, the death of Beastie Boys’ Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch was met with a slew of deserving musical tributes, many of which you can YouTube, from Coldplay to Jay-Z. Just prior, the trio were inducted to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, with a commemorative Mick Boogie ‘Grand Royal’ mixtape showing MCA at the apex of his artistry. Hunt it down post haste.
Words by Matt Oliver