Wretch 32 – Messing Around Doing It


Another glimpse into the upcoming ‘Wretchercise’ mixtape, from the one and only Wretch 32. This sees Wretch flow over another brilliantly produced beat, allowing Wretch to take over the track, and let us focus on his supremely catchy and often funny lyrics.

I don’t think he could provide any more excellence to make me love him, and his music. Cannot wait until May 9th to see him at Shepherds Bush, gonna be huge! He recently dropped into Charlie Sloth’s Radio 1 show in the early hours, and delivered a game-topping freestyle, which you can check here: Wretch 32 – Fire In The Booth Freestyle

As a sidenote, Wretch played at Blackberry’s Plus 5 event last night, along side Jessie J, an evening which resulted in someone being stabbed in the neck, and well that’s never good. So hope he comes out in good health.

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Mayer Hawthorne – The Walk ft. Rizzle Kicks


I love this, and I’d be surprised if you didn’t too. Mayer Hawthorne and Rizzle Kicks seem to gel really well together on this track, ‘The Walk’. It’s the American artists upcoming single, which is available to buy now. The visually brilliant video was filmed in just 3 hours in Soho, and despite that short time, it comes across brilliantly – like every video with the UK duo in.

Buy from iTunes here: The Walk (ft. Rizzle Kicks) – iTunes

 

“There’s no such thing as broken Britain, we’re just bloody broke in Britain”


At the end of February, Ben Drew, widely known as Plan B, made a return to hip-hop. His new release, ‘ill MANORS‘, sees Ben back in the style he started up in. To many people, it may just sound ‘shouty’, ‘chavy’ or even ‘inflammatory’, but this only highlights much of what Ben tries to convey through his music. Problems in society. The uneducated mess in the UK – either academically or socially.

Obviously, we all know about last summer’s riots in the UK. Like many people, we probably all watched the ‘highlights’ on BBC News 24, somewhere abroad, far away from the smashed windows and excessive looting. Parents probably spoke about their ‘outrage’, then wandered off to get another glass of Sauvignon Blanc, and sit back in the sun. That may be a sweeping generalisation. So, if you read that, and get annoyed by it, then good. Because now you know how it feels. Despite the class divide Ben spoke about in an interview recently, the youth of the UK also got an absolute hammering. It was hard to be young whilst the riots were kicking off – even over here in Middle England. We were looked down on, and slated practically everywhere we went. I work in a near-by shop, and someone actually said to me, “Bet you wouldn’t mind going down there, would you? All you lot want is free shit!” The worst thing about that is that I had to laugh it off, I couldn’t stand up to him, and question why he said it, otherwise I’d have got the sack. Then I’d be playing even further into their hands. Another unemployed youth, eventually leading to being alienated by society. Catch 22.

In the make-believe Waterloo Road recently, you can see this. Yes, it’s Waterloo Road, famous for having a random lottery generator between: Abortion, Pregnancy, Hit & Run or Teacher/Student Relationship, each and every week. But this new series is about ‘tackling gang culture’. Watching Waterloo Road writers deal with a gang culture is exactly the way I’d expect my Hertfordshire school teachers to do so. Pretty badly. Obviously, they will never need to though, will they? But that’s half the problem, we’re so unaffected by the problems the riots exacerbated, that we end up fuelling the fire.

This is one of the many points Ben Drew made in a recent interview with BBC Radio 1xtra’s Mistajam. Speaking for over 40 minutes, it was such an inspirational, honest and raw experience to listen to, and it’s sparked that bit inside of me, that bit which made me decide to write this.

“Its a very delicate process because we are tackling a very delicate subject and we have to get the tone absolutely right. Because Im not trying to condone what happened during in the riots. It disgusted me, it made me sick, but it saddened me more than anything because those kids that were rioting and looting, they’ve just made life ten times harder for themselves. They’ve just played into the hands of what certain sectors of Middle-England think about them, and we have a big issue and prejudice in this country from certain ignorant sectors of middle class people towards the underclass, and an example of this is the word ‘chav’, which in the video I state stands for ‘Council Housed And Violent’… Just because you were lucky enough to be born into a family that can afford to give you a good education, doesnt make you better than anyone, it just makes you lucky, and, again, certain sectors of Middle-England need to wake up and realise that, and stop ridiculing the poor and less fortunate.”

This whole section of the interview was such an eye-opener. I’d imagine a lot of you won’t see anything wrong with using the word ‘chav’ – as it’s so widely using in every form of the media, especially red-top newspapers. So why would you see anything wrong with it? What we need to realise is that, by using words like this, by pushing someone less fortunate than you away, you’re further fuelling the fire. Some of the paper’s coverage of the riots widened that gap between the people taking part, and the rest of society.

Ben finished that point, by saying this, “We are all just, in the simplest form, animals, and when were backed into a corner, we lash out its a primal instinct, and its got nothing to do with class, thats us as human beings. And I guess theres a lot of kids out there in this country that feel like theyve got egg on their face.” And I think that speaks volumes. Remember John Prescott lashing out and punching a member of the general public? “It’s nothing to do with class.”

Why I’m speaking about, and quoting Plan B’s words, then discussing problems many of us will never really understand or come across, and classing it a music article, may be unclear. But I think people need to see the more inspirational side of rap music’s words. As the riots’ wick was still burning, a Daily Mirror ‘journalist’ caused uproar with many artists in Plan B’s genre, which he wrote about. If you missed the article, Paul Routledge blamed the “pernicious culture of hatred around rap music”, and how it “glorifies violence”, and “raves about drugs.” I wouldn’t want to quote anymore of it, because my IQ level may start to drop. Blaming rap music for the riots is such a ridiculous statement to make. Many people saw Paul’s words, and then wondered how he had a job in modern day journalism.

Fellow artist Professor Green spoke out on Twitter about this back then, “Yeah ban rap music, silence our voices even more.” Then following it with, “Surely this isn’t about shifting the blame, but accepting responsibility? Neither my music or that of my peers is to blame for society and its faults. We didn’t create the tiers. If you’re all so smart how is it you’re confusing understanding with justification? I’ve said from the start there’s no justifying it.”

This is then backed up with Ben Drew’s recent words about the understanding of hip-hop, “If you dont understand it, especially after hearing me speak about it now, and youve still got issues with the song, maybe youre not as educated as you think. Maybe youre educated academically, but you need to go out there and get some life experience under your belt. ‘Cause I tell you one thing, if these kids on the streets, on the estates, are so stupid, how come they can understand the outform of hip hop, and the rest of the world cant?”

Ben didn’t just go on about what was wrong with people’s views on society, he also spoke about how to begin to fixing them, notably about how there’s always someone you, as a family member, knows, that is less fortunate, “These people probably come in your house, spend time with your kids and eat at your dinner table, thats that one person that you can take under your wing, and treat as one of your own and kind of help.”  I’m not sure how much we can relate to this in my area, at least, but you’ve got to admit, it does sound like a productive method given to us by a clear-minded person who’s experienced this kind of method in his own house, and with his band members.

The setting up of an ‘umbrella charity’ also stood out as a great idea from Ben. This would allow minor charities, which have been set up by individuals within so-called ‘broken communities’, who have finally had enough of their communities way of life, and possibly through lack of support from the government, have taken it upon themselves to sort out the problems. Ben stated, “A lot of people feel theyre allowed to have an opinion, on the problems and issues we have within society, just because they pay taxes. But we all know the government dont change quite a lot of the things they promise theyre gonna change, but we still expect them to, because they take our money. If we know that, then maybe, we need to start taking responsibility ourselves. Money isnt going to change this issue. Especially when the people in control of our money and where they spend it, are politicians, because they dont understand the world theyre trying to change.”

I don’t think I’ve read or heard a more reasonable view on this subject. Now the riots have passed us, and been swept under the carpet again in the papers, journalists have now got off that high-horse – albeit moving onto another similar one with the next ugly-headed problem, possibly revolving around X-Factor judges. “This is an issue weve had in society for probably longer than 30 years, and its never been front of the queue ’till the riots happened. Thats what this song, and music video, and the film, ill MANORS needs to do, and I, as an artist need to do, because I genuinely want to change things and this is just the first step. Let me raise my point first, let me raise the issue, then if anybody wants to talk to me about how I think we can change these things, Im ready.”

Music can help these problems in society. People like Ben Drew have the ears, have the respect of the ‘hooded youths’ the media banged on about; he can create a positive wave of influence within them. Encourage them to use that spark of talent in the right way.

“Sometimes I think people may find my methods unorthodox, but they have to be unorthodox, because thats the world Im trying to challenge.”

There’s so much more I could say, so much more could’ve been quoted from Ben’s interview. He spoke pure and utter honesty, about topics which so many other artists run away from. For that, we need to congratualte him. The success of Strickland Banks pulled in people, and Ben could’ve run off and taken them with him, created pop songs with no substance. But that wouldn’t be Plan B, would it?

“That’s when I come into my own, when I see injustices happening, and I talk about the unfairness of them”

‘ill MANORS’ is set to be released March 25th, then the album on May 7th, with the film dropping on May 4th.

Aruba Red – Never Die


Right, about half an hour ago, I brought you a track from Riz MC, featruring Plan B, and Aruba Red. Now, enjoy some solo work from the very talented female vocalist.

Released earlier today, it contains some very unique sounds, down to the supreme production and writing from Aruba Red herself, with Adam Nicholas and Camilo Tirado. But also showcasing the brilliant voice she has to offer. This track, ‘Never Die’ will be availbale for a free download on this coming Monday – so watch out for that!

Also, if you’re off to see Maverick Sabre, you will likely see her supporting across the UK!

I’m properly looking forward to that show in Camden!

Mikill Pane ft. Yoshee – Kings (Official Video)


A while back, I brought you all a preview/review of Mikill Pane’s 4th EP – The Morris Dacner. And it was brilliant. I won’t write it all out again – that’d be pointless, so you can check the review and listen to each track for FREE over HERE

But today was the day when Mikill released the video for the opening (and my favourite) track, ‘Kings’. A great song in itself, but now backed up with great visuals, it’s even more engraved in my mind. Love it, and brilliant vocals from Yoshee as well!

 

Azu – The Economist + Interview


Every now and then I get aproached with some new music. It really is every now and then, as it very rarely happens. But it’s even rarer to have an artist email over an actual written email – not just an automated one. So, I felt I should check out this email. And I did. And here’s the result.

London based singer/ songwriter Azu released his newest EP yesterday, and, well, basically, it’s great. It’s got that un-tampered feel – a more all round honest feel to the music. Which is really made more prevalent by the lack of it in a lot of music nowadays.

Economics

Wall Street Crash

The Black Market

Find out about his writing style, his views on the feelings he’s written and sung about, and then where you can see him playing, in the interview below

How exciting is it, putting a new EP out to be heard?
Its very exciting, I’m interested in the response. Never released anything before and I’m releasing songs that people have never heard. Never performed them live either.
How do you go about your music, does the chorus or verse come first, or is it just random orders?
The concept i.e. ‘Economics’ and then the lyrics- I have never underestimated the power of a lyric! Then the vocal melody and then the chords- usually on my acoustic guitar.
For how long have you been certain music is where you want to take your life?
I have never felt like I had a choice. There has never been a moment where I thought ‘I’m going to do this’- I have always done it.
What did you draw from to write this EP?
The EP is basically me expressing myself with economic concepts. I drew from my personal life as I always do- The song ‘Economics’ is a serious song to me. I’m questioning the value of honesty. Society and religion have encouraged honesty at all times but is there a point where honesty can break you? This was written after I had been ‘economical’ with truth and it was for the better. I’m not asking people to  lie- I’m just saying sometimes you have to twist the truth- exaggerate it or underplay it. The other song ‘Black Market’ is about the joy and thrill of doing something taboo.
 
I read on your interview with Soundhall that ‘Wall Street Crash’ is based on betrayal. Is it easier to write about darker, more unhappy events?
To be perfectly honest, thats all I write about! I don’t know how to write happy and ‘uplifting’ songs – I’ll leave that to the Lighthouse Family!
Each song of mine is a reportage of events in my life the way they happened- thats not to say I’m an unhappy person- I’m actually really goofy. Unhappy/darker emotions are more complex and I find it way more interested to write- firstly, you have to identify it then decipher it, then understand it , the accept it , then make a decision to move on or not. There’s so much in those emotions that can never be explored in writing about rainbows and butterflies. Having said that, a lot of my songs are written on major chords so the music is not really dark but the lyrics are 99% unhappy/sad/upset/frustrated.
When and where can we see you live in the near future?
13th February at The Dublin Castle, Camden and 28th February at The Troubadour, Earls Court –
And, finally, when and where will ‘The Economist’ EP be available?
The EP is out on the 13th February and you can download it for free fromwww.facebook.com/azumusic
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If you needed more persuasion, then you can listen to the 3 tracks at the top of this post, and if that doesn’t do it for you, then, well I don’t know. But I can’t see why you wouldn’t love to have it in your life!
Thanks to Azu for coming forward for this as well!

Rizzle Kicks – Night & Day | FREE DOWNLOAD


As a little Valentines Day  treat, have a new track from the Rizzle Kicks duo, supremely produced by Future Cut as well!

Night & Day: DOWNLOAD FOR FREE HERE

Always nice when they give out free music isn’t it. Reminds me of the Minor Breeches Of Discipline mixtape days!

Listen to the track here: Rizzle Kicks’ Tumblr