If there are two obstacles that white boys in hip-hop who haven’t had an especially hard life must surmount it’s that they are white boys in hip-hop who haven’t had an especially hard life. Consequently, if they are to make any credible impact in hip-hop they’d better be both witty and good. As luck would have it, Elemental and Tom Caruana are very witty and very good and I have no hesitation whatsoever in pronouncing Rebel Without Applause flames.
Stylistically, it gives a nod to De La, or perhaps more accurately The Pharcyde (rather than the P.E. you might be expecting from the title), in it’s ‘fonk’iness, sample-packed production and the way it’s dotted with skits that are actually funny – a quality of humour that, indeed, pervades the whole album. At the same time there’s a ‘knowing’-ness that brings this bang up to date and the humour is unmistakeably British. Cup Of Brown Joy is a hilarious illustration of exactly what I’m talking about. When I first heard it I thought Edan had teamed up with Noel Coward. Consider for a minute that only a UK hip hop crew would ever make a track about tea and then piss yourself as Elemental delivers lines like, “Using a teapot and mug of fine china/ Been hooked up to IV for constant supplies/ I know a drip for my urges might verge on perverted/ But for earthy brown tea, I’m certain it’s worth it.” A stand-out moment of psychedelic neo-Victorian rap genius. Fuck me – there’s a soundbite! But while this is perhaps the most overtly comedic track on the album, don’t even think about mistaking the pair as some sort of comedy-rap novelty act – the beats and cuts on offer are top-notch and the rhyming superb. The track that immediately precedes it, What’s/ Where’s The Action rests on a dusty funk break and makes use of an early Jurassic 5 soundbite, showing Caruana’s knack for dancefloor bump. Elsewhere, this dynamic duo get a heavyweight seal of approval in the form of the presence of Count Bass D on Pay Me A Visit. When I saw he was featured I was expecting some sort of ten second phoned-in couplet but, no, the man is very much in effect over large swathes of a beat that Doom would have been glad to have on his latest LP. Used To Say’s chilled vibe demonstrates Caruana’s ear for a fine sampled vocal hook which in this case sounds like it was plundered from sixties psychedelia. Elsewhere, Town Called Nowhere is an acknowledgment of the Elemental’s small town origins, referencing rural drug use, poverty and crime, Livin’ In The 90s gently takes the piss out of 90s hip-hop while downbeat gem 0800 Sickie provides textbook guidance for bunking off work.
Rebel Without Applause is a rarity in these latter days where the facility to download individual tracks is seeing off the dominance of the album as the punter no longer needs to tolerate filler or indeed anything that fails to cut the mustard properly. This is a hip hop album that you’ll still be listening to as an album long after other LPs have been reduced to a couple of tracks on an iTunes playlist. Procure yourself a copy without delay!
Out now on Tea Sea Records
Listen to Elemental & Tom Caruana – Rebel Without A Pause
Tom Caruana – Myspace
Elemental – Myspace
Tea Sea Records
(PRESS RELEASE) After his first album The Groove Collage the time has finally come for Ed Royal to present us with his second masterpiece Live Your Dreams. The title reflects the luck and ambition he has had in once again turning his hobby into a job. Ed has been crisscrossing his way through Europe and in 2008 he went so far as to manage a mind boggling 147 gigs. Through his tour of America he was invited to the Thievery Corporation’s “18th Street Lounge”. His mix of Nufunk, Disco, HipHop-Beats, Latin, Breakbeat and Electro brought the dance floors repeatedly to boiling point. His aim was to bring this colourful palate of beats together into his next album.
Freestyle is the name of the game and on the latest LP it becomes clear to the listener that Ed Royal is pushing the boundaries after the first few tracks. The first track Suck It To Ya is a lay-back-and-enjoy track but the second Mission with its fat beats, bass and rapping shakes us right back to reality. For this and Hiphop To Funk he managed to win over USA-born rapper Badkat (a.k.a Kathryn Roberts) with her ingenious lyrics and raps that always manage to fascinate the listener. Coisa Boa arouses that holiday feeling. Micheline Cardosa (Brasil) sings about “that nice sweet thing” and the holiday just cannot come quickly enough. Ed tears onto the dance floor with his collaboration of drums, wah-wah guitars and rich brass instrumentals taking us from disco to funk, broken beat to electro. We lose control of our own feet but then in the next minute are beamed back onto the couch listening to the jazzy groove track Tweak Da Jazz. The final track of the album and the one in which Ed Royal shows us the direction he is planning to go in is Right Now.
Ed Royal – Myspace
Talking of dirty funk (like I was in the Cookin on 3 Burners: This Girl 7” review) – here’s The Buttshakers. You can tell they’re dirty because they’re named after shaking your ass and have a sassy hot front-woman in the raw-vocal-powered Ciara – no not that one. Talk Too Much is heavy funky-soul that’s a dead-ringer for early Ike & Tina Turner, whereas Gamblin’ Man is – er – well – actually it’s more of the same. For those who only know of Ike as a wife-beating maniac and Tina as someone with a weird feathered haircut and a shit toy crossbow in Mad Max 3 (Beyond Thunderdome), let me clarify for you that this means The Buttshakers deliver a double helping of bicep-building percussion, classic riffage, full-horn section assault and throaty sister-soul vocals. And where’s the harm in that?
Out now on Copase Disques Germany
Listen to The Buttshakers – Talk Too Much/ Gamblin’ Man
The Buttshakers – Myspace
“Shimmering horns ride over this laid back, deep soul classic which has BIG HIT written all over it. Watch out Amy, Duffy and Co…” ends the press release for this promo 7” off the forthcoming Burners LP. Perhaps they should have called it ‘Chasing Amy’ instead as a lot of people seem to be doing just that these days. And that includes The Bamboos – who share guitarist Lance Ferguson and singer Kylie Auldist with this lot. So does it sound like Wino? Nope – but it does resemble similar Auldist-featuring tracks on the last two Bamboos LPs and if it doesn’t get them Amy-sized success it might, at least, guarantee them inclusion on the next ‘Chilled Ibiza’ compilation and a reputation as the NEW Brand New Heavies – if they’re not careful. Almost certainly one to put the ladies in a good mood but doesn’t really show off the more raucous turns at the mic that make Auldist such a star vocal turn. Can we have some dirty funk now please?
Out 22 June on Freestyle
Listen to Cookin On 3 Burners (feat. Kylie Auldist) – This Girl
Cookin On 3 Burners – Myspace
Everyone knows that bodyboaders are more hardcore than stand-up plankers – after all – who always surfs those breaks that ‘can’t be surfed’ first? You’d have thought the tee-shirt buying public would much rather be associated with such a gnarly sport and spend less of their money on Sillybong and Richcurl products. Maybe they just aren’t aware of the good shit that’s out there – talking of which – here is some of the latest fruity goodness to drop from the bountiful design tree of Discipull Clothing – four hot t-shirt designs, ‘core dvd Brushed Aside and – um – a picture of the boys hard at work.
(PRESS RELEASE) End of the Line is proud to host the London ‘Meeting of Styles’, showcasing the best of freehand Graffiti that the UK has to offer. We have invited a selection of the strongest painters from across the globe to collaborate with the Best of British in a live painting exhibition of epic proportions. The two-day event is an open air graffiti jam with dj’s and beats on Friday and live music and bands on Saturday. Rodney P and Skitz, Lazy Habits, No1 Station and a host of London’s finest will be pumping out Ska, Hip Hop, DubStep, Roots, Beats and Pieces for your ears. This is a free event, open to all ages and brought to you by EndoftheLine in partnership with Nizim and supported by Red Bull, G-shock, Montana, Carhartt, Last fm and Graphotism.
Painters will be painting on hoarding, walls and specially built panels on Bacon, Cygnet & Sclater Street, at the beigel end of Brick lane. Artist registration on Friday 5th June starts at 9.00 am and finshes at 9.45 – arrive early to avoid disappointment. If your name’s not down – get to the back of the queue.
London : 5th & 6th June 2009
Sclater Street E1 6HR (off Brick Lane)
Nearest tube: Liverpool Street/ Central Line
Facebook event link
End Of The Line – images
The Killer Meters don’t do Meters’ covers anymore. Well, they probably do, but they’re more interested in stuff like this now. By ‘stuff like this’ read filthy and super-heavy Betty Davis’ style funk with a few later seventies frills’ like pitch bending synths on the aptly named Freak and super heavy northern soul in the form of Stomp with a few gritty edges like an almost garage-rock guitar. In fact whatever they’re doing, it’s probably super heavy. “I can’t take my eyes off the beat/ And he can’t take his eyes off of me,” sings Karime Kendra. I have no doubts about that whatsoever.
Out 1 June on Breakin Bread
Listen to The Killer Meters – Freak/ Stomp
The Killer Meters – Myspace