Archive for September, 2004

Exploring the new house of Hip Hop

So, I’m home again, it seems. But the neighbourhood’s changed. Last time I was really here (I never completely left, of course – it’s not possible), the kings of the hill were Wu Tang, Public Enemy, LL, Jay Z – Ah yeah, Jay’s still at the top of his game, and LL’s still churning out the LP’s, but there are a whole load of new kids on the block, and a few of those who were just starting out are now massive.

As I said, I never completely left – I checked Rodney P’s return, Jay Z’s Black Album, Roots Manuva’s 2 long players, not to mention Phi Life Cypher, Blak Twang and the like, but it was more a passing interest, not a total analysis of the sound, like I’ve been doing with Drum ‘n’ Bass for the last 12 or so years.

So, who am I diggin’?

Skinnyman’s obviously rockin at the moment, as are Saian Supa Crew, Grafh, Skitz, and it was Dizzee Rascal who made me sit up and listen a while back. Oh, and my old co-producer DJ Format’s making a name for himself too. Good on ya mate.

Over in the states, I’m lovin’ the Timbaland production style – Missy Elliot’s latest is fantastic. DMX has a roughness all of his own that I think’s wicked, and MC’s like Fabulous make it all look so easy.

So it’s that rawer sound that I’m feeling – which sounds a lot like the new stuff I’ve been putting together, funnily enough. I guess the two most exciting and raw sounds to come out of the UK in the last Decade are D&B, and the vocal side of the UK Garage scene – there’s a fuzzy line drawn here between those styles and UK Hip Hop – Dynamite and Adam F both from the DnB scene, finding themselves making Hip Hop, and both DnB and Garage have both drawn strongly form each other, as well as having Hip Hop as their backbone.

I’ve always liked a bit of Ragga in the mix – Probably cos that’s the sound I started off making – It was the Demon Boyz’ mix of Ragga with Hip Hop that almost gave birth to the whole Jungle Sound – Recognition is still one of my favourites ever.

So maybe, like the classic Buddhist story, I’ve returned home only to find that I never really left at all, that everything has changed and yet it is all the same.

I’ll continue to mash up my beats and blow the speakers with sub bass – I just won’t be tied down to a BPM anymore. In fact, I realised yesterday that all the time I’ve been making DnB, I’ve been trying to achieve the sound. I’ve spent my time trying to do, instead of just doing.

Now I’ll just do.

My sound.

No genre.

Nothing to aim for, or sound like.

Because, as the wise man once said (probably):

If you’re going to sound like him, who’s going to sound like You?


September 20, 2004 at 6:13 pm

Tha Method

method1.jpgJust did a gig at the weekend supporting the frankly-barking-mad rock/rap outfit called The Method.

It was the first time I’d done a hip hop show in about 11 years (I’ve been a Drum ‘n’ Bass head for time!), so I had to put together a whole new set from scratch, which was cool; I like being under pressure to make tunes – I always get loads more done when the adrenaline’s pumping…

For the first time ever, I had two MC’s from Southside crew providing vocals – Sowzuh (My brother, incidently) and Virus. They were absolutely wicked, giving my dirty-electronic beats a UK Garage kind of flavour, with double-tempo spitting and general hype making it a wicked affair. We’re going to put down a few tracks in the studio, so I’ll let you know how they come out.

I thought that I’d only get the kind of buzz I get from performing when I do dnb, but I was loving those 110bpm riddims; It was like I was home again with the hip hop, but had taken all the madness I learnt from dnb, and brought it home with me to make some kind of twisted hybrid.

Hmm, I’m feeling this genre; Might hang about and see what I can make of it.

I had some of my old college friends come to visit too, which was cool, and they videotaped the show; When they’ve transferred it to digital, I’ll upload it here so you can check it out for yourselves.

Thanks to Jo Dean for the mad lazer photo of the event!

September 15, 2004 at 12:59 pm

Out Now