Matt Oliver never rhymes for the sake of riddlin’…
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Rapture & Verse will never question what side KRS-One’s bread is buttered. The Blastmaster has added new, high-horsed spin to the commercial-underground divide, by saying he’d sue any radio station that played his music. Cue everyone reading up on their past Billboard charts.
After Eazy-E became the latest rap hologram to ‘take the stage’, Souls Of Mischief are ready for a 20-year-anniversary special edition of the revered ‘93 ‘Til Infinity’, and Clash favourites Run The Jewels are releasing an upgrade of their eponymous sledgehammer, bumped up with unreleased goodies ahead of passing through Brixton in November.
Also looking for extra petrol receipts are Dilated Peoples, who have dates in Brighton, Liverpool and London with Brother Ali at the end of the month (tickets). The Doctor’s Orders’ November jam at The Scala is rather large, bringing together Afrika Bambaataa, The Alchemist, Black Milk and Tall Black Guy (details). DJ Format, meanwhile, has made plans from ‘Statement Of Intent’ and plumped for a new full-length with Phill Most Chill; ‘The Foremost’ will be coming to a roll of lino near you soon.
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Single syllables: BB guns, all praise to Justice Allah
Pause and record buttons at the ready for Stig, whose ‘Piff Rhys Jones’ blows vapours rather than a gasket to smother opposition across six tracks. J-Live takes over Candy Panther’s funk shunt of RJD2, then freestyles over recent BoB and Jay Z with ever admirable incisiveness.
Off the back of a recent endorsement from Chuck D, Caxton Press come swashbuckling through with two new point-making bangers, while Latyrx mark their return and tell the rain to go away with a smooth detailing of personal punctuation on ‘Exclamation Point’.
Benji Boko takes out his toolkit and patches up Jigga’s ‘99 Problems’ with twangs from the shack porch, covers Roots Manuva’s ‘Witness (1 Hope)’ in blues gloop and fires Missy Elliott’s ‘Lick Shots’ into space. Free to download at benjiboko.com, and perfect for pepping up a hoedown.
Dudley Perkins’ ‘Foot Surgery’, thanks to Kankick’s phat drum spread, will have you tapping your toes all the way to market, Cage emerges Crow-like and dares you to ‘Watch Me’, and Mayhem Lauren’s ‘Jalapeno Popcorn’ gets its head down to give Heston Blumenthal something to think about.
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ReaLPolitiks: Mother’s pride, brotherly love and daylight rubbery
A glut of albums this month begins with Fulgeance’s ‘Cubes’ shaking up star-struck synth instrumentals, chip music boosts and head-nodders lifting the bonnet and twiddling a screwdriver; beats for when you haven’t taken the lunar buggy out for a while. Effectively stationing themselves on your player with typical Midwest determination are Literati, speaking out in a bid to claim indie cult status with the ‘Fait Accompli’ LP.
What rhymes with orange? Nope? Okay, different question: who rhymes with North Cali producer L’Orange? And are his beats smooth, or is ‘The City Under the City’ made up of pulp and mulch? The answers are provided by the lyrics of curt wise man from Kansas Stik Figa, who presides over L’Orange banging out fleet-fingered MPC activation that’s soulful but with thorns sticking out and vengeance sweeping forth. Get your sat-nav to find where these two are at.
Termanology’s ‘G.O.Y.A.’ tips the scales, and this is before NORE, Chris Rivers, Lil Fame, Action Bronson and Inspectah Deck have jumped on. Thanks to producer Shortfyuz, there’s a lightness of Latin touch that turns on the hard street clenches. ‘Cocaine Eyes’ for example has traces of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Everywhere’ in its system, and ‘100 More Jewelz’ impressively stacks bars of heated protestation while the mood is drowsy, closing a set already soaked to its skin by Term’s lyrical sprays.
On his new album ‘Look On The Blight Side’, Louis Logic defines the lucid outsider and sarcastic depressant, compared to his previous brilliance of multi-persona, slightly sloshed loudmouth. Though there are traces of obnoxiousness and the losses of control of old, LL’s look is more songwritten, with imbued folk sympathies and emo-rap observations, and less about bars that exterminate anyone/thing in range.
Tanya Morgan continue to handle grown man business, outsourcing production to 6th Sense for third album ‘Rubber Souls’ that provides a ATCQ/Roots-themed summer’s day picnic of soul food and fine funk nourishment. More of the same if you enjoyed ‘Brooklynati’, it’ll get your cockles glowing golden.
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Tanya Morgan, ‘Never Too Much’
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Jonwayne (pictured) was touted for big things way back in Rapture & Verse #6. After a trio of excellently packaged mixtapes, ‘Rap Album One’ is the Stones Throw signing doing scaly DIY sound-offs. Boxing himself in with a hermetic ‘bawse’ persona, JW ekes out some mean low-rider crawls, logic rebalanced from off-centre, and underground shit-kickers like ‘Find Me In The Future’. Kept real by keeping it simple, he ends up commanding the room with no mess, no fuss.
Dirtbags Deadline & Pete Cannon are a right pair of Broken Britain icons. ‘My Mum’s Favourite Rapper’ runs to a chav’s charter of booze, birds, drugs, the hangover that comes with it, and not so much blue humour as azure-coloured guarantees that they’re gonna burn in hell. Cannon’s drum kicks throughout are treated to similar excess while slipping in funk from under the counter, and Deadline drags the mic all over the shop without missing an ankle-tagged step, as the pair of tearaways from the Tactical Thinking crew spew out an hour’s worth of colourful calamity.
The Step Brothers are Evidence and Alchemist, and ‘Lord Steppington’ is their joint heir cocking back a supernatural blaxploitation score coated in cold sweat and adrenaline, paranoia and fearlessness, and high living done as a skewed flashback. Naturally, there’s no half-steppin’, particularly when they declare Dire Straits fandom on ‘Dr Kimble’, and is basically that brand of underground fire that the pair seem able to knock out in their sleep and dismantle competition with.
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Random ad break – here’s Edan wigging out, cross-promotionally
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Rocking a Gang Starr-like, DJ-MC look, Luke Sick and Brycon as Grand Killa Con announce the ‘Year Of The Tre Bag’. From bread and butter beats and chops to the drawl that runs somewhere between Guru and Prodigy, it’s effective in pulling up its hood and walking the talk. Just as boom-bap-happy, as usual, is Marco Polo’s latest invitational ‘PA2: The Director’s Cut’. Rah Digga and The Last Emperor jump out from a 19-track guestbook bound to send crowds bobble-headed, with a lil’ soul rubbed in.
Poking up from the underground is the power of Grayskul’s ‘Zenith’, and the mix-and-matched deliveries of Onry Ozzborn and JFK. Sculpting a concrete stance part powered by the production of Aesop Rock – ‘Apollo 11’ is great vision from beyond the astronaut’s helmet – they gift the accessible from their boiler room HQ, trading during witching hour.
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Guilty Simpson and Small Professor play out the last days of Detroit as ‘Highway Robbery’ rustles and hustles with gruff funk and get-out-the-ways. Square Guilty fare, and a good introduction to the wee Prof. CJ Fly convincingly eases through ‘Thee Way Eye See It’ and preserves the good name of Pro Era.
Flatbush Zombies’ ‘Better Off Dead’ fans the flames of rapture and decay, yet tells you to strap yourself in and smoke your way out with boisterousness and blissful ignorance. New Cash Money signing The Game is OK on ‘OKE’, occasionally reaching grimy highs and trap backing from Queen, from a set of bark/bite management.
Get your gander on and try to keep up with Homeboy Sandman (1), see how Black Milk’s weekend unfolds (2), but do not adjust your set for Illaman, Dabbla and Dubbledge aka Problem Child (3). Or for Tyler, The Creator, either (4).
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(1) Homeboy Sandman, ‘Men Are Mortal’
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(2) Black Milk, ‘Sunday’s Best / Monday’s Worst’
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(3) Problem Child, ‘Quickting’
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(4) Tyler, The Creator, ‘Tamale’
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Words: Matt Oliver
Clash’s Pop Issue is out now. It is totally boss.