Tuesday, November 28, 2006

boo hoo

Why does no one comment?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Sunday, November 26, 2006

base.ad this week


Mercury Prize nominee, Sway made history this week when he picked up the first ever BET Hip Hop Award for Best UK Artist. He told BBC's 1Xtra: “I'm over the moon; it's a massive opportunity for me and hip-hop in the UK in general." The Hornsey-bred rapper was voted in by MTV Base and 1Xtra fans, beating out fellow Brits, Dizzee Rascal, Plan B, Kano and Blak Twang. The hip hop focused awards show, which aired Wednesday (15.11.06), is the first of its kind for the popular black entertainment network.

The R&B world lost a legend this week as American crooner Gerald Levert died suddenly on Friday from a heart attack at his home in Cleveland, Ohio. The Grammy-nominated performer, who has been likened to Luther Vandross, came from a long line of musicians including his father, Eddie, a member of the O'Jay's. Levert was 40 years old and is survived by four children.


Fed up with the corporate world's thievery of hip hop and all the “plastic players with false values and arid imaginations” who represent it these days, Akala is out to change the pace. And if you don't know whose brother he is by now, it's time to wake up.

Born Kingslee Daley, this North London MC has, by the age of 22, played some serious football, got straight A's in college, and opened his own jerk spot in Cyprus, that is, until he couldn't silence the call to music he's felt since day one.

With its insightful words, heavy electric guitar samples and anthemic tunes Akala's latest, It Ain't A Rumour (launched on his own label, Illastate Records) has been lauded by everyone from Mixmag to The Sun. Couple that with this year's MOBO for Best Hip Hop Act, a gracious and energetic live performance, some frenetic lyric spitting and you have a true innovator of UK hip hop today.

Blog `em down

Check here for weekly reports on the hottest in hip hop bloggery

Head on down to http://beerandrap.com where Mr. Serg Dun lives up to his excellent site's name by letting loose about respectable rap music and constructing “empires of drunk.” Decorated with the requisite youtube vids, photos and links - Beer and Rap's draw lies in Sergio's eloquent street prose which is nothing short of brilliant.

The San Francisco dweller admits he knew nothing about blogging when he started Beer and Rap in 2004, a site originally intended to house a record label that never came to be. “I just threw it up on the web for anyone to read,” he says via email from Cali. Adding: “Then I ran with it, using it as a place to express my thoughts on music, culture, politics, race, beers, or just what ever the hell I felt like,” which is exactly what he does. With four to five hundred hits a day - it's clear he's doing something right.

For less about Serg, and more about hip hop, check his group ting at: http://somanyshrimp.com

Non-stop videos

He-man is wicked

Public Access TV is wicked

Afro-Ninja is wicked

Drunk burglar is wicked

Sunday, November 19, 2006

base.ad reviews

In spite of rain beating down and a queue around the block – the Friday night crowd at Fabric was buzzing in anticipation of Beatdown, an evening assembled by veteran turntablist collective, Scratch Perverts. Dodging the masses of 18-year-old suburban imports we headed straight for Room One where, Joe Ransom introduced the night with classic 90s hip hop.

By eleven the crowd was bumping to an Obie Trice/White Stripes mash-up, while Beatdown’s logo is projected on a screen behind the decks. Ransom keeps ‘em coming with Esthero and then Beastie Boys’ Sure Shot, as the vibe gets increasingly fervent. When MC Jojo climbs aboard to introduce the evening’s first performer – the hall was packed and fuelled for UK hip hop’s favourite baby brother, Akala.

Jumping on stage this North London boy launched immediately into ‘Stand Up’ with a heavy electric guitar inflected beat. He said he’s “sick of all the Rolls Royce talk,” which the audience is definitely feeling as the beat to ‘Roll Wid Us,’ thudded from the speakers. Akala rhymes with a certain twinkle in his eye that says fuck you to those who deserve it, while keeping the joke with those who get him. Shutting it down with his societal critique, ‘Bullshit,’ Akala certainly readied the crowd to go from North to East with fellow bling opponent, Plan B who was next on the roster.

Strutting on, acoustic guitar in hand, hooded and angry, Plan B’s got haters – there was a smattering of boos amongst the roar. He sounds a like a kid talking shit on the bus – but with mad substance…get me? He opens with ‘Kidz’, which with raw and dirty, but honest lyrics, he politics about the problems of today’s yoot. There’s no denying Plan B’s seriousness – from songs about his “friends who died from heroin and crack,” to the one about the girl who got clipped in “Harvey Nicks,” the music is heavy and emotional, but no doubt being felt.

Not long afterwards, the Scratch Perverts came on and demonstrated their international rep is well deserved with party hip-hop to crazy mash-ups featuring everything from Rage to Blur to MIA to Missy. By the time they launch into an hour long D&B session, the room is so charged, it doesn’t mattered what they put on.

Winding down around 3.30, the hard clubbers sought the heavy bass, while others headed home with their ears ringing. The Scratch Perverts and Fabric have done it again – proving that there’s nothing wrong with leaving it up the professionals.

Islington Academy looked extra polished on a chilly November evening as vintage-clad gig goers sauntered in and slowly filled the room. As the kids took their seats cross legged on the floor, rolling Drum and chatting over tall cans of shitty lager, we wondered to what extent the stylish, yet self conscious American program, The OC, has affected this crowd.

We wondered because it’s been three years since South’s ‘Paint the Silence’ was included on the first OC Mix – the definitive soundtrack to the American teen drama – a ticket to the top for many indie acts. Chatting with fans at this homecoming gig gave confirmation when they were asked, ‘how did you discover South?’ “From the OC,” said Jack, a student from Oxford without hesitation.

Openers, The Brian Jacket Letdown quietly took the stage, “Hello?” asked lead man, Will Harper. Equipped with a ukulele and harmonica he launches into ‘Too Late’, a sweepingly sunny tune, romantic, in that riding-a-carousel-in-a-park-in-the-summer kinda way. They carried on, with tight and well rehearsed music, but don’t embrace the crowd in any way other than with their skilled music making – which, we suppose is what it’s all about, but still…

By the time South hit it, the Academy was comfortably full. They were clearly home with fans and friends lovingly chanting, “South! South! South!” Commencing the first tune, the audience was immediately seduced by Jamie MacDonald’s vocals over this emotive and energetic acoustic rock. Joel Cadbury, responsible for lead vocals, guitar and bass, then embarked on ‘Up Close and Personal,’ with a pulsating, intense guitar, this sexy song sent an undeniable energy through the room. There was no warming up – the audience was already feeling it.

From ‘Loosen your Hold’ (once featured as Zoe Ball’s Record of the Week), to ‘Safety in Numbers,’ South keep their stature by playing with a maturity that can be attributed to their substantial live experience. This gig follows a tour in the States during which they supported The Strokes with Scouse psychedelic rocker Pop Levi.

When Cadbury introduced ‘Paint the Silence,’ the response is so great that by the time they played ‘Colours with Waves,’ little groups of dancing devotees popped up throughout the venue. They exited in a wave of cheers, only to encore explosively with ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ before finally shutting down with ‘Run on Time.’

The next evening South played to in Barcelona, continuing with an extensive tour of the UK and Tokyo. Meanwhile, we wait eagerly for the next time they come home.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Breakin Bread Review

South London hip hop collective, Breaking Bread brought the pain to Camden on Saturday as they shifted their legendary club night to the Jazz Café for the first time. The successful night’s been running eight years strong and the recent move was made to accommodate the incorporation of more live music.

Base was a little tardy due to mix ups and unfortunately missed hearing funk man Robert Moore – who crossed the pond from Miami to perform. But everyone said the live acts were sick - which also included Speed Meter and The Haggis Horns.

We weren’t too late however, to see UK b-boy rivals, Bad Taste Cru and Soul Mavericks battle it out on the floor. Meeting for the first time in nine months, these crews haven’t banged it out since BTC took the title at the UK qualifier for the world champs. Breakin Bread co-founder Rob Life provided the breaks while Mr Dylan Sage kept the crowd aroused on the mic, occasionally adding to the rabble rousing by spitting a lyric. Heads couldn’t tear themselves away as the Soul Mavericks fought to put BTC in their place. In the end the crowd went with the reigning champs, although it was pretty hard to tell with both sides throwing down so heavily.

Coop Dog, of Soul Mavericks – tells us his crew has beat BTC three times, but there was some mysterious judging at the UK qualifier. And what distinguishes them from their rivals? “We jam, we disco, and we like to party, those guys will dance to any old crap.” “But it’s all good,” he adds, in spite of the chatter, “all the drama is peaceful.”

Speaking with P from the Bad Taste Cru confirms this. “We have a lot of respect for each other,” he says, cooling down at the end of the night, adding, “Tonight was a good confidence builder, especially after our World Championship defeat.”

Around half twelve, Skeg (BB’s other founder) set the dance floor on fire, with a funky remix to Amy Winehouse’s latest, Rehab and then took it back with Public Enemy classic Fight the Power. The crowd, kept it moving up till almost 2 am when the Jazz Café finally called it a night.

If you like funk and grade A hip hop then the Breakin Beats’ nights are worth a peek. The Jazz Café provides an excellent space for this unique melange of live music, DJs and break dancing and will be host to similar events scheduled four nights a year. Look out for BB’s small monthly jams featuring pretty picks from the crates and skilled MCs to entertain.

www.breakinbread.org, www.badtastecru.org

Ty feature

Ty is getting closer. Closer, he says, to being a leader in the hip hop race - rather than chasing behind the rest to catch up. Speaking over the phone from New York City, where he’s been invited to perform in the CMJ Independent Music Marathon, the Vauxhall based MC tells Base: “I started rapping when rapping with a UK accent was not appreciated, when people in my country were so brainwashed that they weren’t happy to see you on stage or to have you rapping.”

At this moment, however, he thinks that he and his are slowly becoming more than a novelty, which is why he’s titled his third album Closer. “People are starting to understand, they’re thinking ‘I need to create a new section on my shelf for Ty, and the UK and then Germany, and then Switzerland and maybe then for Tanzania.”

Born in the UK and brought up by his Nigerian parents in South London, Ty’s youth in the predominantly black 1980s Brixton helped shape his music today. He’s since spent the last ten years developing his sound as an MC and producer. In 2000 he signed with Big Dada, (home to belowground big boys Roots Manuva and Diplo), releasing the LPs Awkward (2001), and Upwards (2003). With these releases Ty strayed from the rule by avoiding the bravado inherent to so many hip hop artists.

With UK artists making blips on the US radar, we wonder if Ty attributes this to a growing fascination with Grime? “No not really,” he replies “I’ve noticed that every now and then, people pick up on whatever is pushed at them. Which is exactly what’s happening with Lady Sovereign in the US,” he claims. “Because she’s signed by one of the greatest tastemakers of the moment – Def Jam and Jay-Z - you can see that the interest is spearheaded by record companies who think this is gonna be the next thing.”

Ty prefers any awareness of his music to develop organically. “I’m more interested in the gradual, but solid infiltration, and I think it’s happening,” he says excitedly. The excitement is due: Ty spent the previous evening jamming at Rich Medina’s Rib Shack night in the Meatpacking District’s APT where he watched the crowd go crazy to Inner Love, an instrumental joint from Upwards, a tune he had no idea was remotely successful. “It felt good,” he says, “because sometimes you make music and you don’t know where it’s going or why you’re doing it. It’s just one of those things – nice to see a record you’ve made be appreciated four years later.”

This growing appreciation to Ty’s work is further demonstrated by the collabs on Closer with De La Soul and Arrested Development’s Speech. Working with De La, evidently, was one of the high points of his career. “De La Soul have been in my midst for years,” he says, “Obviously they are legends and I know nearly all their lines, so it was good to see how they work. And nice to see that my way of getting a song done is just as professional.”

In terms of getting songs done, Ty’s approach has changed over the years, he no longer puts value on being the illest MC – an outlook he perceives as being slightly juvenile. “If I was to just focus on the rapping I’d be a lot more vicious.” he says. “I’d rather make a song that works than show an MC that he should respect me – impressing people has nothing to do with you fixing up your house and feeling happy inside of it.”

On return from NY Ty’s UK/European tour commences in Bristol and will continue for the next month and a half. And after that? “Babies,” he announces, “I’m ready to grow up, it’s time for real life.”

The single ‘Closer’ featuring Maceo from De La Soul is out now on Big Dada and can be heard live at The Jazz Café in London on November 9th.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

it's a million o clock in the morning and i think i'm drum and bass' newest fan. Suddenly I understand what all of those retards at bluedog were on about when we used to stumble around like the drunken hobags we were. i went to fabric tonight on presslist which is so much better than guestlist and chilled to akala, plan b, scratch pervs and dilinja to name a few. it was f#cking ill. i'm now sitting here stinking up my tiny room with disgusting cigarette smoke while my homegirl sleeps in preparation to work for weekend tabloid hell at ten AM. my other girl stayed at the club eating mdma with some mediocre indie dude who said: "may as well stay till it's over...you know?" no i didn't know. It was 4.30 AM and dudes with sporatic gold teeth were hitting on me. it was time to go! but seriously - check plan b and akala. these boys are doing it for rap team england.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

an evening on the coast

I’d meant to tell this story a week ago – but I’ve just been so busy at work I haven’t had time…….

So anyway - - went to Essex last weekend and experienced the phenomenon that isn’t just “the Essex girl” but also – the “Essex boy.” I feel that spending an evening of observing the fatally threatening overuse of white stilettos, Barcardi Breezers, “classic” house and hair extensions – I am now equipped to slander the Essexians to my hearts desire.

The night began at the Travel Lodge where Kelly’s brother had booked us some rooms. We did a quick run to Tesco where we picked up some Buck’s Fizz – this pre-made mimosa stuff that’s awesome and costs like £2 for a bottle. Oh yeah and then also – we got KFC – because “when in south end…” which we ate whilst sitting on the pull out couches in the hotel room, watching X-factor (something like American/Canadian/Pop Idol). It was rockin’.

After we got dressed in our hot hipster outfits, we went to Churchill’s, this really killer nightclub in the heart of Southend. Kelly’s bro hosted his party on the top floor and had sandwiches, onion rings and fries for the buffet – it is shocking how the Essexians stray so dangerously from mainstream British culture.

Anyway – all the girls were wearing white stilettos, and either backless, or centre frontless tops. They were very tanned, had straightened hair extensions and really thick mascara. The boys had directional haircuts, fitted tops with really ironic statements stencilled on them like “Product of South Beach Muscle Club” etc. and jeans with strategic ripping and bleach spots. If you’re awesome, you can spot little bits of hair that are also strategically bleached – for that wild effect – like Aussie surfers trying to go just “a bit punk rock, but nothing over the top”.

The most interesting thing about these boys was their extremely gay behaviour on and off the dance floor. They’re all on a football team with each other, which apparently grants them the authority to be gay, but not. They were doing some very sexy dancing. Like that one where the girl jumps into the boy’s arms and they simulate sex? Humping? Yeah they were doing that. The dancing from behind move with the spanking gesture?, yup. And all their girlfriends and fiancés were off to the side, doing nothing, or sheepishly dancing in the corner while the UV lights accentuated their bright footwear.

So we carried on a bit there, the drinks were SO CHEAP. And then Kelly started talking to some dude, and that brought about me being dragged to some place called Bakers – which apparently (and I’ve got sources) is the illest club in ALL OF ESSEX.
Right. We waited in a queue for about 45 mins – which is worth it, I suppose, considering the venue’s stature. I talked to this Ghurkha dude who was in the Royal Nepalese Army under the king – before (obviously) the latest developments – and was telling us mad stories about Iraq and some other things I don’t remember because of those cheap drinks I just mentioned. But one thing I do remember is when we got into the club, finally, Ghurkha guy asked me what I wanted to drink and I said: “Vodka, lime and soda please” and he come back with this bizarre tasting beverage that I put down. He said:
“Where’s your drink?”
To which I replied, “Umm it tasted weird, like it had beer in it.”
And he said, “Well I asked them for vodka, lime and Stella like you said…”

Around 2 or 3 – we went home to the hotel because Kelly’s man for the evening couldn’t handle that she was her brother’s sister or something.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Canadian bacon?



Monday, October 02, 2006
I arrived in Rome Ciampino on Saturday morning. After waking at four and making my way to Stansted airport, the short flight to Italy seemed like nothing. The cheap airlines are great and everything, but the missions it takes to get to the cheap airports are fucking nightmares. I'm sick of it. Trains are so much easier.So Lisa and her dad, Barry picked me up - haven't seen her dad in about ten years - from Ciampino and then drove me into the village where they live, pointing out all the historically significant things on the way.

The house is in Nemi, a small mountain village on a massive volcanic lake on which Caligula launched two boats in an attempt to woo the goddess Diana...I think? I gotta check on that.Anyway - the area is absolutely stunning with beautiful trees, and winding roads - amazing views. The village, Nemi, is all cobbled with these tall buildings built a million years ago looking down on this massive valley (that was actually once a crater) containing the sparkling lake. On the first day we came back to the house and I met all the animals. That's about 20 cats (who come and go) and Pablo - the dog they used to have in Toronto, and a puppy whose temporary name is the word for pubic hair in Brazilian and two kittens born via cesarian.

It's a mad house - particularly coupled with Lisa's mental mom who is fucking awesome, but very highly strung. Or just quirkily mad.We went for lunch at this restaurant run by two sons, and father in kitchen. One son dresses like some sort of 21st century chavvy Elvis. No exaggeration. He's got these massive sideburns and too tight pants. Has placed framed images of the King all over his family's traditional small village Italian restaurant, next to historical shots of people from the area. The food was unbelievable anyway and we had a really nice time drinking white wine looking out over the views.

That night we ate some more - minus the parents this time. Got a jug of this stuff that's like Proseco, but a little less bubbly. Sort of like a readymade spritzer. It came in a jug like a pitcher of beer - so nice. The specialty here is Fragolini which are these tiny strawberries that they make deserts with, put in Proseco, sell on the streets etc. So we had one of those while waiting for Lisa's dad to pick us up after dinner.Yesterday we just went out and ate again! And then brought Attila, the village dog - who spends most of his time here, Pablo and Pubic dog into town where they were having the yearly dog show. It was chaotic and hilarious. They wanted to announce to everyone in the town that the puppy needs a home also - so we had to put her on a leash which she's never experienced before and did not like at all. I better go cause Lisa's going to come up and yell at me for using the internet for so long... ;)

Going to Rome today finally - shopping and and more food I suspect - more will follow!


August. 29. 2006
He's hiding her 18 legs under the jacket.