Embracing the roots of Hip Hop!

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Review: The Doctors Orders (@TheDocsOrders) Present DJ Jazzy Jeff Live @jazzcafe_mama

We gulped the last bit of alcohol and from across the road took the view in.
A Large ice blue neon sign hung high above the entrance and read SCALA. Bouncers huddled around below conducting the large and growing queue.
scala i am hip hop magazine
A couple of small separate rap cyphers were running parallel to each other.  Promoters swaggered around the rappers placing flyers into the hands of those waiting and witnessing. A guy with his hoody up followed behind them trying to sell last minute cheap tickets and weed.
I dug into my pockets searching and found some tickets that read ‘Spin Doctor 250th Anniversary with Jazzy Jeff’.
My friend put the camera back in it’s pouch and gave me an approving nod. We crossed the road towards the queue and into the warm noise it was emanating.
We climbed the stone staircase and the volume of the music climbed with us. People were sat on the steps and were stood by the walls. They laughed, talked and peered down from their vantage points attempting to recognise their friends from the ascending crowd. I held the metal railing it was trembling gently from the big bassline of the song that was playing. It was a familiar vibration but not entirely distinguishable. A door higher up somewhere opened and a melody originally recorded by the American funk band ‘Funkadelic’ flooded our hearing. A joyous roar ran down the staircase in a sort of domino effect.
Heads bounced to the snares of the Prince Paul production. The chorus was coming and together everyone sang ‘It’s just me myself and I’.
…I recognised that it was Mr Thing on stage. I had seen him perform at other ‘Doctor’s Orders’ events, he was a DJ I held in high regard and never felt uncertain recommending. He was playing a Funk-heavy set and the seamless transitions he blended between the records felt as confident as the tracks themselves. Leaning over the balcony I could see the dance floor filling up. Hips were swinging, knees were shaking and fingers were pointing at the man on the decks. We looked around- the balcony seemed more of a place where couples hung out. After listening to a few more tracks we drank our Red Stripes, took some photos and descended to the smoking area…
Emerging red eyed and dry mouthed we decided to refuel on beer. At the bar we discussed whether or not DJ Babu would play. Weeks before we had noticed flyers that read his name under Dj Jazzy Jeff’s but in the more recently printed flyers his name seemed to be absent. It was a shame we thought that for whatever reason he would not contribute to what was quickly becoming a memorable event. Someone more clued up than us overheard us talking and told us he had seen DJ Babu hours before the event in the surrounding area. A good sign we thought.
The speakers silenced for a second and the anxiety and anticipation of the crowd could be felt… then the host shouted ‘DJ Babu’!
Minutes that felt more like seconds filled with precise scratches and vinyl cuts pierced through the speaker and his set began.
He eased through a few records from his group Dilated Peoples, separating them with short raw and percussion-laden snippets of his individual releases.. Instrumentals and lesser-recognised but very complete efforts. We staggered through the crowd with our camera on and what was left of our senses as navigation, absorbed by the atmosphere.
Time continued to pass without the feeling it often leaves and the night appeared young. We had explored the floor, danced with and talked to strangers, found places to take photos from and people to take photos with.
Unaware of what was impending we stared out at the smoke that crept from machines on the stage. It sifted through and over the unconcerned dancing audience. Laser beam like lights began to streak across the dance floor painting the eager faces in large stripes of emerald green and dreamy purple. The stage lights dimmed and the audience chanted his name.
It was dark now and a single spotlight shone over the decks. Amidst the smoke a silhouette approached slowly moving towards the light. The crowd noise heightened. The silhouette was closer and larger until it was clear…Dj Jazzy Jeff was on the stage. A collective gasp and then a roar. A blinding white light flashed across the entire floor illuminating the star-struck faces, exposing the gaping mouths, the widened eyes and antennae-like arms that dangled upwards in the smoky air.
….He performed a few songs with the MC he had brought. The rapper did well to increase the momentum considering how energetic and demanding all the previous sets had been.
The music played and eventually the MC who’s time had ended on the stage exited to grateful whistles and shouts from the joyous crowd.
DJ Jazzy Jeff continued to play, a set diverse and unpredictable but methodical.  Gritty golden era New York Boom-bap joints like Mobb Deep’s ‘Shook ones’ were seamlessly followed by hypnotising neo-soul records reminiscent of tracks from his own solo release ‘The Magnificent’.
Into the depths of the night the crowd relentlessly danced and listened as the legendary Dj Jazzy Jeff guided them.
Written by A.A
Photography by Mozer Ilisia

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Crown - Pieces to the Puzzle album review by Esh

Crown – Pieces to the Puzzle             album review by Esh (ibmcs.org)

Here comes Crown of the Grim Reaperz with one of the better Hip Hop albums of 2014. A lot of French producers are putting out dope releases right now and perhaps what makes Pieces to the Puzzle stand out above the rest is Crown’s diverse and international selection of features. Where many European producers these days prefer to only feature American emcees, here we have UK’s Caxton Press on What the World Needs Now, some of France’s best emcees like Dadoo from KDD and ATK, Belgium’s Scylla and even Paloalto from Korea!

Of course there’s also the great US features that Grim Reaperz have become known for over a series of EPs and releases, including PMD, Main Flow, Reks, El Da Sensei, Grand Agent, Rasco and many more. When first playing the record I was struck by the high quality of the sound, particularly the bass, as there’s something happening here which (although I am no ‘sound expert’) I can hear the mixing and mastering is a cut above many of the records I have bought recently and this usually makes me turn it up really loud.

This is not an album you will listen to only once. Linguistically there is a lot happening here and it will take multiple listens to (fully?) understand everything that’s going on. Luckily Crown has created more than just ‘beats with raps on them’ and musically the whole thing seems to come together, a little bit like each track is a piece of a large and complex puzzle….

I highly recommend you grab the wax now before it’s too late.

http://grimreaperz.bandcamp.com/album/pieces-to-the-puzzle-lp-2014

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Interview: Get To Know Coops (@CoopsOfficial) !

Who is Coops? And what does music mean to you?

I’m 23, I’m a hip hop artist from north London and my lyrics are a way of self-reflecting and expressing my thoughts.

Your video for your song “Chillin’” has a 90′s vibe to it crossed with a modern lifestyle. Are you inspired by the “golden era” of hip-hop when making your music or was it a coincidence?

No it wasn’t a coincidence, I used to listen to music from that era growing up and still do. That’s the style of rap I like. The video had some film Noir elements to it which was a popular style for video directors of 90s hip hop, this is what I believe brought that 90s look (asides the track). Back room poker games, the seeping light catching the smoke through the blinds and seductive women (although not overplayed) were all noir references.

“Chillin’” is the introduction to your mixtape Lost Soul, what does the name Lost Soul mean to you? Why this name?

The systematic consumerist values that mainstream media promote piss me off, so “Lost Soul” is my perception of the world today. It’s what I see on the streets around me, it’s what I hear in the topics of peoples conversations and it’s in the music people are listening to, however it’s also about surviving outside of the system, needing to be outside of the system because it was designed to work against you in so many ways for some, that’s not just how I feel that’s how it is. Lost soul is a reference to histories of lost generations in a world that never seems to learn from past mistakes.

“Chillin” has soulful beat, who is behind the production of the beat? Do you do everything or do you have a collective who works with Coops’?

My friend Talos is behind the beat production I’ve worked with him for about 3 years now and he has had a large part to play in the jazzy boom bap direction the music has taken through his sampling selections and our growth together as musicians. Then there’s my niggas that I’ve been around and rapping with from way back who also feature on the tape, we all drive and inspire each other.

When you created Lost Soul did you draw any inspiration from any other artist or anything in pop culture?

Good music continues to inspire everybody and I do continue to listen to and appreciate classic albums like Illmatic, Infinite, Beats Rhymes & Life, Hell On Earth and many more which hopefully comes through in my work. Still Lost Soul is a move away from overt influences from current pop culture as I am trying to break the mould not fit in to it.

You opened up for Nas in 2013 after winning the competition with Choice FM, what did that mean to you?

My first ever live rap performance, on the main stage at the O2 supporting the Hip-Hop legend Nas. It meant a lot and was a crazy first experience. I hope to have more like it.

 Do you have any more live performances coming up this year to accompany Lost Soul?

I haven’t really been a live performer as yet my focus has been on creating material that I want to perform. I think I’ve done that now so I’m looking forward to getting out there and getting involved in the live scene

Who are your top 5 rappers dead or alive?

I don’t have a top 5 but I’d probably have to pick in no particular order

Tupac, Nas, Eminem, prodigy, Q Tip

What does 2014 look like for Coops?

Well the mixtape comes out on June 2nd so I’m just hoping to stay busy, start gigging, keep writing and maybe even earn some money

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 Aaron3000

@Aaron3000_

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Interview: Iron Braydz’s (@braydz) Waging War With Words

Q. Your EP Verbal SWARdz comes out on 14/04/14, how has it been received so far?
My best review so far has come from Black Sheep Magazine, also in Ger­many I have quite a big fan base. All the pos­it­ive responses have made me look for­ward to put­ting out more mater­ial in the future.

Q. Any neg­at­ive responses, would you like to address them?
Some people have cri­ti­cised me for put­ting Rambo on the EP twice, but it’s obvi­ous that they are not listen­ing to the whole song. After the third verse there are two more MC’s. In fact that’s actu­ally the ori­ginal ver­sion .As a pro­du­cer and a fan before I became an artist myself, I can under­stand after 3 minutes hear­ing a loop it can some­what be per­ceived as repet­it­ive. How­ever I really like Rambo, so any­one who is a fan make sure you listen to Rambo Relapse and check out the two added verses. Take your time, sit back and unwind.

Q. What dir­ec­tion do you see for the future of Brit­ish Hip Hop?
I see Brit­ish Hip hop scene get­ting big­ger, tak­ing the world by storm. It can poten­tially, but the segreg­a­tion in the UK ain’t help­ing the hip hop scene. I hate to use the words fans because I think it is a very egot­ist­ical term, so I’ll say sup­port­ers because without sup­port­ers I wouldn’t be able to buy nice things or sup­port my two kids. I think we need a lot more sup­port from the sup­port­ers. Not neces­sar­ily fin­an­cial, but listen­er­ship; a lot more pro­mo­tion; talk­ing about their favour­ite hip hop artists on social media. The more con­fid­ence and the more con­struct­ive cri­ti­cism you give an artist will pro­voke some­thing within the artist and allow them to speak to a higher power and pro­ject some­thing to your taste and support.

Q. Why do you think hip-hop is not as pop­u­lar as in the US?
Firstly there are less people in the UK. The size of the UK is the size of a state in Amer­ica. The amount of people who do hip hop in this coun­try is prob­ably the size of a bor­ough in New York. So pop­u­la­tion size is a key factor. Secondly I believe segreg­a­tion is a key issue still to this day. Hip Hop still has its umbrella communities

Q. What do you think could help ease this segreg­a­tion and ten­sion in Brit­ish hip hop?
Well, I’m involved in at least 3 crews– I’m involved in North West Con­fid­en­tial, Fufu Gang, Double Edge, Joe K STAR, K Nine. 2 crews in Amer­ica– Rap Alli­ance and All Ele­ments. The reason why I am is involved, not because I have an unlim­ited source of rhymes but rather to prove a point. All the crews I’m involved with have their own dis­tinct style and I appre­ci­ate all styles and forms of hip hop so by being in such dis­tinct crews I feel like I’m bridging the gap between all the dif­fer­ent sub-genres of hip hop. Fufu Gang is def­in­itely a lot more Black Power, All Ele­ment & Rap Alli­ance is straight hip draw­ing influ­ences from the Golden Era of rap to the newer stuff of today. I feel hon­oured that all these great artists are will­ing to col­lab­or­ate and be asso­ci­ated with me.

Q. So unity?
Yes, I guess that’s what need more of in the UK, I don’t want to say unity because I think it’s a very corny word. It’s not a word that is exer­cised very well, so I would say coöper­a­tion, we need a lot more of it. We can just be like oh we only roll with them guys over there. For example I roll with Apex Zero, next week you will see me with Melanin 9. Hip Hop is not about what side of the spec­trum your com­plex­ion is. It’s about cul­ture. I don’t think the UK has embraced that fully yet. This is why com­mer­cial Amer­ican hip hop artists such as Migos can come out with one track and make mil­lions. Equally so more con­scious rap­pers such Talib Kweli can drop his album and make mil­lions too.

Q. Do you think the hip hop or the whole music industry is still racist?
Some aspects of the music industry even in hip hop is racist. I don’t care what any­one says. I’m happy when an artist like Devlin speaks about issues that we as the people regard­less of whether you are black or white go through, he’s tak­ing it to a higher plat­form. How­ever I feel as if he speaks of cer­tain topic or says the same things I would say in a song or another black artist would say, Devlin or another white coun­ter­part gets all the shine, atten­tion, crit­ical acclaim for it because of who is– as a white man, unfor­tu­nately. How­ever it’s not his fault. It doesn’t take away from his tal­ent.
I remem­ber say­ing to my cousin Dizzee (Ras­cal) after he put out Boy in the Corner– you are an anom­aly there is no one as dark as you are and as suc­cess­ful as you are. Dizzee and Wiley basic­ally cre­ated a new genre of music and suc­cess­fully trans­ferred Grime from the under­ground and exposed it to the masses. Then you get artists like Pro Green and Example doing what Dizzee and Wiley do and they receive a lot more crit­ical acclaim and shine. Yet they didn’t put out half as many mix­tapes and albums as artists like Dizzee and Wiley in order to get that shine or play out big shows and fest­ivals such as T4 on the Beach. Some people will argue my opin­ion, but I feel what I say and say what I feel.

Q. Hip-hop has always been per­ceived neg­at­ively by the main­stream media for glor­i­fy­ing mater­i­al­ism and pro­mot­ing illegal activ­it­ies. Do you think this is correct?
When I look at a magazine I don’t want to just see con­scious rap­pers. I want to see rap­pers that talk about the streets– selling drugs. It sounds bad– but it’s all a part of life, some people’s life. It’s a story at the end of the day, albeit a sad one but that’s what hip hops all about, telling a story.
Argu­ably the best MC of our time– Rakim he was a right­eous teacher but he was also a rich one. He was always embroidered in gold, you don’t have to be a con­scious and broke. Shabazz the Dis­ciple one time said that he ‘wears so much gold because it reflects the gold that’s inside me’. Some people argue that’s like wear­ing the shackles from slavery, good luck to you, but no! I just need to dir­ect you to Africa where we covered head to toe in gold.

Q. How import­ant do you think it is in the hip hop industry to have your own indi­vidual sense of style?
My cousin (fel­low rap­per) Tymatic from when we were kids he always looked fly. He’s like a fash­ion con­nois­seur, he can outdo A$AP Rocky any day. His swag­gers always on been on point, so that’s influ­enced me greatly. It’s import­ant to me to look good. It’s cool to be a pro right­eous teacher but it’s even bet­ter to be a rich right­eous teacher. I’ve been around people who cri­ti­cise MC’s for wear­ing gold chains and teeth and watches. Why must you look like a tramp in order to be respec­ted? Why not look respect­able and like you care about your appear­ance? Someone more intel­lec­tual may come along and decon­struct my argu­ment. I do under­stand there is excess of mater­i­al­ism in hip hop. How­ever isn’t that what hip hops about– excess. That’s why it got the atten­tion it did. You need to be cap­tiv­at­ing and con­tro­ver­sial. There needs to be a drama, a rise and a fall.

Q. Would you like to ven­ture into the fash­ion industry?
Yeah I had my own cloth­ing line Iron Armour but unfor­tu­nately it got dis­con­tin­ued for vari­ous reas­ons– per­sonal spe­cific­ally. Yeah I would like to start it up again in the future.

Q. Do you think hip-hop has become a busi­ness, do you think this is a neg­at­ive or pos­it­ive?
Hip hop has become a tool for artists to get a bet­ter life. Many hip hop artists before they made it were hust­ling on the streets. I know Busta Rhymes after he dropped ‘The Com­ing, his mother inves­ted major­ity of the pro­ceeds into prop­erty. Now look at Busta (Rhymes) he don’t even need to drop an album no more, a single will suf­fice every once in a while because he’s got so many profit mak­ing side ven­tures. Hip hop has fed a lot of mouths, it’s a multi-billion dol­lar industry. It has lit­er­ally saved lives. I remem­ber Tretch from Naughty by Nature was on this doc­u­ment­ary and when asked what would you be doing if you weren’t doing hip hop. He said I would have you tied up in your home and I would be rum­ma­ging through your belong­ings and that’s the end of you.

Q. As a res­ult of hip hop becom­ing a multi-billion dol­lar industry, do you think this is ruin­ing the artistry of hip-hop? Do you think bud­ding artists are anti­cip­at­ing what will sell, rather than what they feel pas­sion­ate about?
Music is about your­self. It’s not like oh so and so would like this! Maybe, if I say this she would start cry­ing. Thus she would listen more to music and buy more of my songs. No! It don’t work like that. For me it’s a voice from The Most High Power. I know I had to work hard to become a lyr­i­cist or a writer. I don’t think I’m any­one spe­cial in this music industry. I pray to God I remain humble through the rest of my career and write what I like to hear. If someone likes it it’s beau­ti­ful, It’s great to feel that you can relate to someone out there or cap­tiv­ate someone’s ima­gin­a­tion and just have them say this guy is tal­en­ted. I have people who are the age of fifty who have mes­saged me say­ing you are one tal­en­ted indi­vidual. It’s amaz­ing to have someone who is many gen­er­a­tions apart from you, yet they can still relate to you. It comes from just let­ting go, not think­ing about it, not being cal­cu­lat­ing of it.

Q. What is the mean­ing behind the EP’s name Verbal SWARdz?
Verbal Swardz. It’s war­fare. My tongue is my sharpest sword– so it’s verbal war­fare. It’s relent­less lyr­i­cism, I don’t hold back. I didn’t water down the EP so I could be played on BBC Radio 1 extra. I’m inten­tion­ally being aggress­ive on this EP. I’ve got this song Crow­bar Head Top­per, it’s me dir­ectly address­ing racism. At the end of the day if I catch you being out­right racist whether black, white or Asian I will knock your block off. That’s how pas­sion­ately I feel about it. We’ve all taken the back­seat about it and are so cas­ual about racism that it’s almost being nor­m­al­ised in soci­ety.
Stephen Lawrence, may his soul rest peace. His killers and the police force got away scot free. I feel they all deserved to be beaten up severely and I know a lot of people feel the same. So why are we too scared to say it? RIP Ricky Bishop, I remem­ber going on a march for that brother. All the par­ents wanted to know why he died? How did he die in your cus­tody? How can you deny someone the cour­tesy of that? I feel the police officers involved deserve to get beaten up the same way he did! 2012 a young gen­tle­man was executed in broad day­light in front of onlook­ers, and the police still get away with it. The lady on the tram who was going off on blacks and Asi­ans demand­ing they get out of ‘her coun­try’. She deserved a slap, if I was there GBH. I feel we’re just allow­ing people to get away with this too much– this whole free­dom of speech act is allow­ing people to preach hate

Q. Do you think that blacks and Asi­ans in the UK have become pass­ive about issues such as racism?
Yes, well not the Asian com­munity. They aint stand­ing for shit. You can go to Alp­er­ton or Southall and see that it belongs to the Asian com­munity. I have so much respect for that. They came, they worked hard and they stuck to their plan. They man­aged to retain their cul­ture and their teach­ings. Blacks on the other hand, we helped build back the coun­try but we haven’t as whole man­aged to bene­fit from it entirely, and that’s shame on us. I do hope that the people who read this and are offen­ded by it come and approach me about it. I want to cre­ate a con­ver­sa­tion and have people talk­ing about ser­i­ous issues that affects us all, it’s lot bet­ter than just sit­ting in your shell meekly.
I was on the bus passing through Eal­ing the other day when an Asian man was in deep con­ver­sa­tion on the phone speak­ing in either Gujar­ati or Hindi. Then this Jamaican man said ‘I’m fed up with these people com­ing over to my coun­try’. I turned to him and said you for­got Windrush already, just remem­ber what the white people were say­ing about you fifty, sixty years ago. If you want to lash out at any­body, lash out at your oppress­ors; not the people who came to this coun­try to be oppressed as well.

Q. What did you aim to achieve through this EP? Rebellion?
I am rebel­li­ous by nature. I am try­ing to incite a rebel­lion. Again on my song Crow­bar Head Top­per, I don’t know of any other UK MC’s who would have gone about that sub­ject mat­ter in that way. I wanted to open the door to some­thing, I don’t want all my hard work that I put into this EP to be forgotten.

Q. Could you see a repeat of the 2011 Lon­don Riots?
I poten­tially do, because they are going to keep killing us. One day we will riot for the right reas­ons and one day we will fol­low it through to the right places, right places. The 2011 riots were mis­guided. I was so sur­prised that Haringey Coun­cil was still intact, the amount of hurt and neg­lect its caused it’s res­id­ents, yet there was not even a win­dow was smashed. We as a people are so mis­guided. There is spec­u­la­tion that under­cover police officers sparked the riots. I’m not sur­prised, when there is black people involved there is no such thing as a peace­ful protest.

To holla at Braydz:
Fol­low Braydz on twit­ter @braydz,
like his Face­book page https://www.facebook.com/HollaATBraydz

Have a read of our review of Iron Braydz ‘Verbal SWARdz’ by click­ing here!

  Maya Rattrey

Maya Rat­trey

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NAS (@Nas) Illmatic XX: 20 Years of Greatness

April 19th 1994, the day hip-hop changed and this week marks the 20th anniversary of the hip-hop clas­sic album Ill­matic by Nas. April 15th, Nas released Ill­matic XX, the reis­sue of his ground break­ing album.

The reis­sue fea­tures the ori­ginal 10 great tracks plus, rare remixes, unre­leased demos, and freestyles.

The fact that the album is cel­eb­rated 20 years on speaks volumes of the qual­ity of Ilmatic and Nas. No spe­cial fea­tures, 10 fant­astic tracks, great pro­du­cers and a young New York rapper’s first album. Ill­matic made his­tory in the hip-hop game. One of the only few albums to be cel­eb­rated and remembered sev­eral years after it’s release.

“My first album had no fam­ous guest appear­ances the out­come, I’m was crowned the best lyricist”

Although it wasn’t a com­mer­cial suc­cess, the cre­ation of Ill­matic changed the hip-hop scene, through how albums were pro­duced, how stor­ies were cre­ated, rap­pers flows and even through the album art­work cre­ated by rap­pers in the future. In USA today Nas was quoted saying:

“I think I was a real ser­i­ous guy at a young age,” says Nas. “I was a kid who came up in the ‘80s, and I was into always writ­ing, and then rap came into my life. So when I look back now, it all makes sense – this is what I was sup­posed to do.”

Ill­matic is seen as the bench­mark for rap­pers if they want to be a great.“It’s not an ill­matic” will be a phrase which will haunt many rap­pers, includ­ing Nas. This album will con­tinue grow and influ­ence musi­cians and will remain immor­tal as an undeni­able classic.

For hip-hop, we salute you Nas! And if you’ve always wanted your own Ill­matic art­work, go to Nas’ Ill­matic XX web­site to cre­ate your own Ill­matic cover:

http://illmaticxx.nasirjones.com/

Ill­matic XX Tracklist:

Disc 1: Remastered ori­ginal album
01. The Gen­esis
02. N.Y. State Of Mind
03. Life’s A Bitch
04. The World Is Yours
05. Half­time
06. Memory Lane (Sit­tin’ In Da Park)
07. One Love
08. One Time 4 Your Mind
09. Rep­res­ent
10. It Ain’t Hard To Tell

Disc 2: Demos, Remixes & Live Radio
01. I’m A Vil­lain (pre­vi­ously unre­leased)
02. The Stretch Arm­strong and Bob­bito Show on WKCR Octo­ber 28, 1993 (pre­vi­ously unre­leased free­style)
03. Half­time (Butcher Remix)
04. It Ain’t Hard To Tell (Remix) (promo single)
05. One Love (LG Main Mix)
06. Life’s A Bitch (Arsenal Mix) (promo single)
07. One Love (One L Main Mix)
08. The World Is Yours (Tip Mix)
09. It Ain’t Hard To Tell (The Stink Mix) (UK single)
10. It Ain’t Hard To Tell (The Laid­back Remix) (UK single)

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 Aaron3000

@Aaron3000_

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Westside TV (@westsidefm) Interviews EPMD’s Parrish Smith (@PMDofEPMD)!

West­side TV back stage at the EPMD con­cert in Kentish Town Forum and talks to the legend Par­rish Smith from EPMD! 

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www.thisiswestside.com 

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Video: I Am Hip Hop Meet Ugly Duckling (@UglyDuckling)

I Am Hip Hop’s Aaron 3000 caught up with Cali­for­nian Hip Hop group Ugly Duck­ling (Andy Cooper, Dizzy Dustin and Young Ein­stein) dur­ing their recent per­form­ance at Jazz Café in Lon­don. Ugly Duck­ling dis­cuss the his­tory and dir­ec­tion of the group, their exper­i­ences, musical influ­ences, life and views on Hip Hop today!

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Cam­era man : Liam Lucien

Aaron3000

@Aaron3000_

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Video: I Am Hip Hop Have A Chat With Lazarus (@Yorke_Lazarus)

Lon­don based rap­per Laz­arus invites us into his home for a chat about life, his jour­ney so far as an artist and the release of his debut album “Come Forth”.

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Inter­view by Liam Lucien 

New Post has been published on I Am Hip-Hop Magazine

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Review: Versus (@VsOfficialMusic) - SunBathe

The super wavy sum­mery synths that start off Sun­Bathe announce a pro­gress­ively expans­ive yet mel­low hip-hop pro­duc­tion cre­ated by mys­ter­i­ous East Lon­don pro­du­cer Versus. And it’s debut on Boutique Groove is a sign of his sound devel­op­ing into an exper­i­ence which cre­ates vibes without the need for vocals.

An over­whelm­ing feel­ing of fun exudes from this tune and cre­ates men­tal images of head bop­ping and two step­ping around a BBQ whilst sip­ping cold ones in the midst of a cool pool party some­where in Miami; the vibe of Versus’ music is always mood set­ting, whether that be a more dra­matic the­at­rical sound or in this case he’s cre­ated an ambi­ent instru­mental that lends itself to being enjoyed as a soundtrack for a hot day.

Both uplift­ing, cha­ris­matic and a bass banger all in one, Sun­Bathe is cer­tain to help push Versus’ name out into the hip-hop sphere even more. He is cur­rently work­ing with refresh­ing Lon­don rap­ping Trip­ster Che-Lingo so be sure to stay locked for their col­lab­or­a­tion com­ing real soon. The sounds com­ing out of West­wood Hill Stu­dios, Vs Music’s own pro­duc­tion house, range from hip hop to soul and indie and he has more tracks to come over the course of this year with artists such as Geor­gia Cope­land and Tom Gren­nan that’ll show off the extent of the tal­ent this young pro­du­cer has.

So enjoy Sun Bathe and be sure to stay locked to Boutique Groove for more sweet beats for your sum­mer selection!

Ranako

Ranako 

New Post has been published on I Am Hip-Hop Magazine

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Review: Iron Braydz (@braydz) “Verbal sWARdz” EP Unorthostract Records

“Verbal sWARdz” marks Iron Braydz return after announ­cing that he was quit­ting in the sum­mer of 2012. Tak­ing heavy influ­ence from Wu-Tang Clan and the mar­tial arts films that they intro­duced to the world of Hip Hop, the EP kicks off with a skit taken from the 1980s Hong Kong film “The Thun­der­ing Mantis”. Using Bryan Leung’s out­burst to relay his feel­ings about the way black people are treated in this coun­try, he makes a state­ment that “Verbal sWARdz” is an “out­burst of facts, feel­ings, per­spect­ives and opinions.”

“Scor­pion Sting”, a nod to “The House Of Fly­ing Dag­gers” on Raekwon’s OB4CL 2, declares the war he is waging with the com­mer­cial rap industry. Res­ist­ing against white suprem­acy “Crow­bar Head Top­per” is a mes­sage to the white man that he’s “sick of turn­ing the other cheek” and a retell­ing of an encounter he had long ago. The most com­plex and lyr­ic­ally intric­ate offer­ing on the pro­ject comes in the form of “Mil­lenium”. Mak­ing sure that his bars were a match for Prince Po of Organ­ized Con­fu­sion, Braydz and Prince Po tell a story of slaughter­ing demons while provid­ing social com­ment­ary to the prison indus­trial com­plex, islamo­pho­bia and a pleth­ora of demons that exist in the system.

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Remain­ing on the theme of social prob­lems, “Dredd” laments about the con­di­tions of people at the “bot­tom of the pile”: “crack­heads, deal­ers, scum and skeez­ers, bot­tom of the pile and they all want to be us”. The entire EP is a lyr­ical onslaught and this is only rein­forced with “Rambo”. While the repet­iv­ity of the vocal sample can tire the ears, the vivid imagery of Iron Braydz, Skrib­lah and Kyza eas­ily com­pensates. The next track fea­tures the one and only Sean Price. “Fiery Red”, released in 2011 with its eerie piano keys, brings more of the heavy artil­lery: “choke your throat when you feel the cobra grip/ mak­ing me flip/ swing of the fist/ mak­ing you flip/ flick of the wrist/ bust in your lip…”.

Exper­i­ment­ing with synths, Iron Braydz and Detroit legend Phat Kat team up to stress their import­ance in the game with cuts from DJ Shortee Blitz to com­ple­ment. “Rambo Relapse” uses a dif­fer­ent skit from the ori­ginal track, sig­nalling the fero­city of the verses to come with added verses from Black Cripton and Solar Black. Lastly, the title track “Verbal sWARdz”, sum­mons Triple Dark­ness Gen­eral Cyrus Mala­chi to join him in a verbal assault pet­ri­fy­ing “fake guys who try and step here” over a looped angelic vocal. “Verbal sWARdz” is pre­par­ing us for what he’ll be releas­ing in the future and I can’t wait to hear what he has in store.

I’m pleased Iron Braydz is back and excited to see these new tracks per­formed live. With most of the EP being self-produced and not a weak verse on the entire pro­ject I encour­age you all to get “Verbal sWARdz” from his band­camp page on the 14.4.14.

This pro­ject is ded­ic­ated to Natty and Ricky Bishop who both passed away due to police brutality.

Dhruv Shah
Dhruv Shah