Monthly Archives: October 2008

BIG BOSS MAN – New album update

The release of mod funkers Big Boss Man’s as-yet-untitled third full-length studio LP Beat Breakfast (Take me to PRESS RELEASE for Big Boss Man – Full English Beat Breakfast LP) on the Blow Pop label has been put back until early late summer/ early autumn 2009, due to delays caused by clearance issues to do with a sample. The album contains 13 tracks though the band haven’t yet finalised track names or an album title. The album and continues to mine the rich seam of Hammond funk and boogaloo that characterised the band’s first two LPs Humanize and Winner. Having been lucky enough to hear the LP, Monkeyboxing has only this to say – it’s another classic. BBM are about to embark on a short tour of Spain.

Big Boss Man – Myspace

Blow Up

GHETTO MULLET – Sunday Morning Hangover EP – Review

Rating: ★★★★☆

The fact that here is an electronica outfit with a comedy name who use breakbeats and hail from Thundersley, Essex might raise the spectre of that point in the mid-nineties when ‘trip-hop’ ditched the dope and loaded up on ‘E’s and speed to become ‘big beat’. Thankfully, Sunday Morning Hangover has more in common with RJD2 than polished turds like Bentley Rhythm Ace because the Mullet’s squelchy, bleeping breaks could just as easily have been produced in Vancouver, Sydney or Paris. Opener Rampant Thought manages to be both chilled and have buzzsaw percussion, Arriving In Obscurity features a crisp old school break, tight scratches and the sort of synth washes associated with French electronica while Nervious Acid delves into DJ Shadow-esque piano-led introspection. Eternal Hold’s gentle lo-fi piss-takery of helpline hell might actually make you less inclined to tear supercilious phone operators a new arsehole if it actually was ‘hold’ music but it’s the crashing reverbed percussion and chilled synth melodies of Feel It that stand out on this. Press release claims that Ghetto Mullet have developed “their own totally original sound”, are a bit of a porky, you have heard this sort of thing before but not always this competently and not in a while. They might be all ‘party’ at the back but on the strength of this it’s clear Ghetto Mullet are ‘business’ at the front too.
Out now on Big Teeth Records

Ghetto Mullet – Myspace

Big Teeth Records

KENAN BELL – Good Day EP – Review

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Well, that’s a first. ‘Indie’ hip-hop that actually sounds like ‘indie’ rock partnered with a bit of rapping. It’s an arranged marriage that will go down well if you like both Radiohead and Santogold but want to show those hard-looking, weed-dealing students who live next door in your halls of residence that you keep it a bit real too. You won’t convince them of course but you might convince yourself. Kenan Bell seems to be the bedwetting indie/emo member of the current crop of ‘hipster’ hip-hop-related acts and laid the groundwork for these credentials by remixing archetypal indie-miserablists The Smiths a while back. If you can restrain yourself from reaching for the razor blades you’ll find not only that Bell can rap but that the production and arrangements on this are harbingers of sizeable future success. Personally, I’m just thankful I use a safety razor.
Released 17 November 2008 on Cutlass Recordings

Kenan Bell – Myspace

GHETTO MULLET – Sunday Morning Hangover EP – Released 3 November 2008

Essex duo Ghetto Mullet are just about to release their first EP ‘Sunday Morning Hangover’ on a small independent label called Big Teeth. An electronica outfit formed from the discontentment of run-of-the-mill sounds of today’s ‘tinned music’ culture, their influences draw from eighties to mid-nineties hip-hop though Ghetto Mullet have veered off at a tangent into the obscurity of something more glitchy and experimental.

‘Sunday Morning Hangover’ was produced virtually, in that the two artists didn’t work in each other’s presence to produce the EP but collaborated instead via email and Skype, sending files and sharing ideas to create the EP. This way of producing music was totally unnecessary since the artists live very close to each, but perhaps this anti-logic helps us to understand something of Ghetto Mullet.

‘Sunday Morning Hangover’ drops on 3 November 2008.

Ghetto Mullet – Myspace

Big Teeth Records

DOOM – Born Into This – Album release update – Indefinite delay

READ DOOM – Born Like This – LP review HERE
Long-suffering MF Doom fans will be unsurprised to learn that his latest solo LP Born Into This, originally due for release on 21 October on Lex Records, then delayed until 28 October has now been shelved with no revised release date. MF Doom a.k.a Daniel Dumile, Zev Love X, Viktor Vaughn and King Geedorah has apparently also had a “just call me Doom” moment because the MF/’Metal Face’ prefix has been dropped – wonder if that’s a delayed reaction to Grimm swapping the Mad Flows for Grand Master?

Doom’s album Born Into This was set to feature production from J Dilla (presumably done a while ago and not from beyond the grave), Dangermouse and appearances from guest MCs including Ghostface and Raekwon. Ah well – you’ll just have to console yourself with the second Madvillain LP. Oh – hang on – no you can’t. It’s not ready yet.

MF Doom – Myspace

Lex Records


Attracting fans across the water from every demographic, Kenan Bell (pronounced ken’an) is no ordinary US rapper; in fact, he cringes at the title.

“In so many places there’s a negative connotation with the word,” the 25-year-old says, agreeing that, yes, one of those places might be the private school in Montrose where he teaches fourth through sixth-graders. “But even with the negative persona rap music has, I think I can make music that embodies better things.”

Born and raised in the suburbs of Los Angeles, Kenan Bell grew up as your archetypal teenage hip-hop fanatic, but with a diverse group of friends ranging from Goths, Skaters, Indie Kids and Ravers it was evident early on that he was far from conventional. It was during these early stages of school that Kenan met long-time comrade/producer Jason Burkhart.

For several years, Kenan and Jason produced hip-hop beats and rap demos, eventually discovering that Kenan was ready to step out from behind the mixing console and display his talents as an artist. Jason reached out to hometown friend/musician/producer Jon Siebels (Eve6 and Monsters Are Waiting) and after one studio session, the three decided that it was time to begin working on a record.

Fresh from supporting homegrown chart topping talent Dizzee Rascal overseas, Kenan Bell is causing waves across the board. Gaining recognition on numerous trend setting blogs for his exceptional remixes of The Smiths’ “This Night Has Opened My Eyes” and MGMT’s “Weekend Wars”, Bell manages to blend pop sensibilities, indie-rock edge and hip-hop attitude with ease.

August 2008 saw this remarkable talent hit the road with his 5-10 piece band “The Music Industry” (including the likes of guitarist Josh Klinghoffer and drummer Eric Gardner) with stops that included San Francisco, New York, and London (with none other than the almighty Diplo turning up to DJ at the YoYo gig at Notting Hill Arts Club!). But do not fret if you missed him this time around, he’ll be hitting our shores once more in November with some seriously impressive venues lining up as we speak.

“Good Day” – Kenan Bell’s debut release by Cutlass Recordings – is a four track hip hop EP with a sonic foundation consisting of programmed beats and live instrumentation, coupled with Kenan’s original and intelligent lyrics. Among the tracks featured are “Qwerty” featuring Tom Pritchard, and the topical “Celebrity” featuring Annalee Fery. His first full-length record – tentatively titled “Sounds Awesome” – is scheduled to be released early 2009.

Kenan Bell – Myspace

THE MIGHTY UNDERDOGS – Droppin’ Science Fiction – 2008 – Album review

Rating: ★★★☆☆

The Mighty Underdogs project finds MCs Gift of Gab (Blackalicious) and Lateef The Truthspeaker (Latyrx) teaming up with producer Headnodic of Crown City Rockers. Not dissimilar to previous Quannum-related stuff and more interesting than (for example) the last Blackalicious LP or Gift Of Gab’s solo LP by dint of the fact that some of the tracks on here are actually memorable, this nevertheless alternates between ‘back-packer hip-hop’ by numbers and soul-hop blandness by numbers a lot of the time. Bear with me till I get to the good stuff though as this isn’t exclusively the case.
So what’s the problem? Well, perhaps it’s familiarity that breeds contempt, but then again maybe it’s just something as minor (no pun intended) as the kids’ voices that kick this LP off. Kids’ voices on a record are never big or clever so why the fuck do I need some kids book-ending a song? Don’t get me wrong – kids are great – but I don’t want to them in my face while I’m trying to enjoy a beer either. Anyway despite the fact that Monster has some of the best cuts and one of the best b-lines on the LP, it’s hard to shake the idea that this first track was an also-ran hip-hop contender for the theme tune to some animated Pixar film. It might be called Hands In The Air but the second track is a crappy lightweight slice of RnB tinged, kettle-drum-fringed cack which would be better titled ‘hands on the skip button’ notwithstanding lyrical queries about does “anyone remember when music still was relevant”. So Sad continues in an RnB-ish vein but fares a lot better, not because it features both Julian and Damien Marley but because DJ/Producer Headnodic has a keen ear for a good break. The lumbering Gunfight will be familiar to many as the video was making internet rounds a while back though, and despite featuring MF Doom, it really does sound like Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer. Nevertheless its ‘high noon’ scenario is also the first time the LP has any memorable lyrical impact “I stepped out the saloon at a quarter to noon/ Might as well have been a quarter to doom”. Lyrics Born pops by to do his comedy ‘speed-muttering thing on Ill Vacation but that shit is old now and while it was clever the first time it has become rapidly wearing ever since. Science Fiction is an attempt at cyber hip-hop but Deltron 3030 put that to bed a long time ago and this is a pale shadow (no pun intended no. 2) of the DJ Shadow/ Divine Styler collab. on Quannum’s classic Spectrum LP. Hiero stalwart Casual has been spreading his love widely of late but he’s wasted over the backdrop of Laughing At You, the break of which seems to be compiled from chopped up beatboxing and yelping. Quite unusual but also quite shit. Akrobat and Mr Lif drop by for Escape but make little impact, Folks is an unremarkable slice of hip-hop soul which leaves it to DJ Shadow to be the first guest to light a fire under this LP’s ass with his cuts on the UFC remix…but then it’s back to soul-lite dullness with Want You Back. Surprisingly for an LP it’s the rear-end (normally the album equivalent of the graveyard shift) that provides the quality on Dropping Science Fiction. Aye’s minimal bongo-fuelled beat brings some well-needed head-nod(ic) hip-hop pressure and Lateef and Gift of Gab finally sound like they’ve woken up which is just as well because they’re in time for posse-cut Warwalk which is next up. This is the point where The Mighty Underdogs finally seem to arrive at where they’ve threatened to be heading all LP – i.e. a genuine piece of quality hip-hop. Headnodic lines up a fairly sizeable dancehall reggae bassline and break and some fuzzed up guitars – it’s one of the few occasions where the guests Raashan Ahmad, Tash, Zion and especially Chali 2na sound like they’re more than decoration. Closer Victorious is an upbeat oddity to end the LP on but it’s string-fired loops work and Lateef and Gab still sound awake. In summary – this is a patchy – claims otherwise are fiction – but when it’s good they do drop science.
Out now on Definitive Jux.
Buy Droppin’ Science Fiction @

Listen to The Mighty Underdogs – Droppin’ Science Fiction

The Mighty Underdogs – Myspace

MOS DEF – Ecstatic LP update/ New single ‘Life In Marvellous Times’ released 11 November 2008

New York rapper Mos Def releases new single Life In Marvellous Times via iTunes on 11 November. It will be the first single release from new LP The Ecstatic and you can hear Black Dante spit flames over its synth-backed boom-clapness on Mos’ myspace. Rumours abound that (among others) Kanye West, Chad Hugo, Madlib and Oh No had a hand in production and that Slick Rick, Talib Kweli and Q Tip will guest. New label Downtown Records are also home to Spank Rock, Santogold and – er – The Eagles of Death Metal. Let’s hope Downtown can go one better than Geffen did with True Magic and actually give The Ecstatic it a proper cover…

Mos Def – Myspace

Downtown Records

RUP – Video: Something That You Like (feat. Naim)/ New LP update

Lyrical London legend Rup has a new video out – straight up! Featuring Danish beatmaker Naim, Something That You Like was directed by Richard Clements (the man behind Rup’s crazy wicked 2006 LP Rup On Zebra) and it’s like – all arty and shit. The track will appear on Rup’s forthcoming second LP, due out on Hear Today Records soon. Ish. Alright – at some point then and not soon enough by half. Anyway – here’s that vid:

Rup – Myspace

Naim – Myspace

Hear Today Records

PUMA & SANTA CRUZ reboot the ‘Screaming Hand’!

(Ok so the Monkey was a bit late on the uptake with this but still…who knows where this could go? The return of the Powell Ripper perhaps? Or the new rise of Jason Jesse’s Sun God…)

PUMA has teamed up with cult skate brand Santa Cruz Skateboards to produce the Screaming Hand First Round Hi and the Screaming Hand Tee. Both items feature the most iconic graphic that has emerged from the skateboarding culture in the last 30 years, the Screaming Hand.

The Screaming Hand was created by Jim Phillips, legendary rock poster artist and art director for Santa Cruz skateboards from 1975–1990. PUMA applied this graphic to one of its most classic silhouettes, the First Round Hi, as a tribute to Jim, friends from Santa Cruz Skateboards and all the skaters that rocked PUMA’s back in the day. To compliment the sneaker, PUMA also designed a Screaming Hand Tee with the graphic printed on the front left side of the shirt.

Unleashed in 1987, the Screaming Hand graphic became an instant classic within the skate community and counter culture in general. During the same year, the PUMA First Round Hi made the cover of THRASHER skateboard magazine. Today in honor of Santa Cruz Skateboards and Jim Phillips who, together, created perhaps the most credible skate brand of the 1980’s and modern day, PUMA pays homage to all the skaters who wore the PUMA brand during that unforgettable era.

Featuring a blue nubuk upper with a glossy 3D screen-print highlighting the black line-work found on the Screaming Hand graphic, the First Round Hi is designed for those who appreciate the graphic’s history and what it represents. The heel has a molded silicon Screaming Hand graphic and the sock liner sports an enlarged version of the graphic.

Other features include a pearlized patent form-strip and collar, blood and veins leather lining, embroidered Santa Cruz logo on the tongue and four different lace options.

The Screaming Hand First Round Hi and Screaming Hand Tee drop in stores during August 2008.