|Dope on plastic: Agent Finch & Specifik|
If you've been listening to the only shows that matter on UK rap radio this week then you will have heard a rather dope new single.
Disco Scratch fam and all-round Ageing B-Boy, Agent Finch has teamed up with South Coast beatsmith-supremo, Specifik to create one of the best singles you'll hear this year.
Did I mention that my homeboy, Chrome has also laid down some crisp vocals on top of this pounding, cinematic soundscape?
The single, I Remember When is a tale of an average b-boy (in the cultural sense) reminiscing over the best years of our hip hop culture with such memories of getting down on the lino and recreating The Roxy battles from Beat Street, listening to the odd instances of when the great John Peel would play import rap 12"s, Def Jam patches, copying the Duck Rock album cover and destroying your boombox, Air Jordans, Pumas with fat laces amongst other memorable thoughts.
I've been in the extremely enviable position of having a copy of the song in my hot mitts for the best part of six weeks and have been keeping it on my iPod on strict rotation for just about the whole time. Believe me, it is showing no signs of tiredness and in fact gets better on each listen.
The very fact that you read this blog means you will relate to this song and as such I may indeed need to rack it and make it the unofficial ABU! anthem ;-)
SCENES14 gave it it's first-ever airing during last Sunday's Pie N Ears show and DJ Just-1 also rocked it out on The Hip Hop Sessions on Future Radio on Tuesday. The buzz this created in the respective chatrooms was evident as normally-reserved, old hip hop farts such as Whirlwind D, Jediwne and Steve B simultaneously lost their cool and collectively spaffed their beans in wonder at hearing the cut for the first time. Well, it's only right.
I had the opportunity to put some questions to Agent Finch and Specifik about their first release together and a few other things that had been playing on my mind recently.
Heeeeere we go.
ABU: What was the first single and album you ever bought?
Agent Finch: My first single was Chas n Dave's Snooky Loopy bought from Woolworths. Album, hmm.... Public Enemy's Yo Bum Rush The Show.
Specifik: My first single was Adam and the Ants Ant Music! I loved the drums at the beginning. My first album was Electro 6. I didn't get the first five because I'm so young, lol!
ABU: When did you get into the hip hop culture? What drew you in?
S: Breaking got me into Hip Hop. I was in a crew called The Crazy Style Crew from Nailsea near Bristol, I was The Turtle Master.
AF: Around 85 - 86. I started seeing graffiti popping up everywhere, then seeing kids at school breaking on cardboard in the playground.
|Lords of the Underground|
ABU: As a child growing up what type of music did you hear the most?
AF: Pop music as a child like Pet Shop Boys.
S: (trying to stop laughing) I was hearing my Dad's psych-rock wax mainly but also Top Of The Pops!
ABU: Which of the 4 elements have you tried?
Specifik: Breaking, Djing, Rapping, Graffiti, Beatboxing and Producing - hang on thats 6!
Agent Finch: Graffiti & Dj'ing and now some producing. Crate Digging should be an element by the way!
ABU: How did you each choose your names?
AF: It's my real name!
S: I can't really remember but after many different names its one I stuck with.
ABU: How did you hook up?
S: We bizarrely met on Facebook a few years ago and then discovered not only did we live in the same town but one road away from each other. Weird, eh!
ABU: Which crews did you/do you roll with?
S: Having lived in Bristol, Exeter and now Bournemouth I have rolled in quite a few crews from my first crew, Crazy Style to Ill Beat Posse with the Def Defiance boys before they were Def Defiance! South West Kings with Dr Krome, Project Cee the legend, NWD with Drome and right now with The Bitterati. Quick plug - album coming out soon featuring Jabba Tha Kut, DJ Roast, X-Rated and Project Cee. All Elements in Bournemouth, and of course rolling with the big dog, Moordown's answer to Puff Daddy the one and only Agent Finch, connoisseur of the finest records, tea and choccy biscuits (I'll second that! - Repo).
AF: Brains Unchained, Second to None, Cut Above (record-carrier, tea-maker and chauffeur, lol!) Now of course diggin' for beats with Specifik - The Cliff Richard of Hip Hop, lol!
ABU: Who should we be looking out for from the Bournemouth scene?
Both: The Bournemouth scene is actually pretty dope. You have producers like DJ Roast making mad noises with dudes like Action Bronson, Jehst and Mystro. Ollie Cheebo is a fresh producer, Mosic is a young rapper well worth checking. Jabba (TheKut) of course. X-Rated is still rocking the turntables, Cosm aka Bobby Super is probably the best B-Town MC although he's now moved away. Second To None are still going strong. Graf-wise me (Specifik), Drome and a few others. Bournemouth's strongest point is its DJ's. Trust me there are some dudes down hear that rip it on the tables.
|Hip Hop and Pimm's - now THAT'S gangsta|
ABU: Whose idea was the upcoming single? Who did the beats?
S: It was both our idea really, we just want to contribute to the scene and link with who we consider to be dope MC's and DJ's. Production wise, we vibe off each other. The process consists of us both digging for breaks, hooking up, drinking tea and arguing which drums to use.
ABU: How did Chrome get involved with the project?
S: Chrome got involved because Agent Finch said "Ere, do you know that Chrome from Def Tex (in a broad Dorset accent)?". I said, "Of course. He's alright at that rappin' stuff". We made a beat and emailed him, the rest is history.
ABU: Did Chrome have free reign over his lyrical content or did you intend the record to go the way it did?
S: Yeah kind of but Agent Finch hypnotised him into rapping about the old days. Don't tell him though, he thinks it's his idea.
ABU: When is it going to be out and where can it be bought? Is it a vinyl-only release?
Both: Time-wise it should be out no later than mid-November but you know what it's like. Its 100% coming out on wax and will be available from us direct and a few select outlets. We may also do a limited run of cassette singles upon request with custom covers.
ABU: Can you give us any info regarding upcoming releases/projects?
Both: In the pipeline we have tracks coming up with MCM, The Aspects, Curoc to name a few. Basically we are living the dream, working with our heroes and people we respect new and old.
ABU: Do you plan on playing live at any stage when you've got some more singles completed?
AF: Playing live could be tricky because of the varied people we work with. I think you might see us out and about spinning records though. Specifik already does live shows with the Bitterati and dj's quite often.
ABU: Who inspires you, production-wise?
S: To state the obvious I'm going to say Primo but to be honest its more about a style and era.
AF: To name a few, Marley Marl, Bomb Squad, Diamond D and DJ Supreme.
ABU: What are your thoughts on MP3’s and Traktor/Serato? Do you embrace it or is it a necessary evil?
S: Personally I think Serato is a great tool which is very underused. Why would dj's just play regular tracks back to back when they have the ability to create, remix and play their own stuff. It baffles me that the technology is not used to it's (full) potential. I would love to see nothing but vinyl again but lets face it times have changed. The other thing about Serato which is positive is it has given turntables a new lease of life.
AF: Being a vinyl nerd, record-hoarder and lover of record shops I hate the above with a passion but I can see why dj's use Serato because they need to play new tracks.
ABU: What are your musical aspirations for the future? Who would you love to work with? Where do you see yourselves going? Are you happy with single releases or will there be a possibility of an album?
Both: Our plan was to release a series of classic rap 45's but never say never. An album could be a good shout as a long term plan.
ABU: Imagine that you are stuck on a desert island. You have one each of the following items, what are they; album, book, dvd, drink?
S: Album - Crucial Electro 3; book - I want to say Subway Art but I wouldn't need it as the whole thing is memorised so I'm going to say Children Of The Can; dvd - Style Wars of course! drink - ummmmmm raspberry Slush Puppy.
AF: Album - Main Source Breaking Atoms; book - Freddy Fresh Presents The Rap Records (1st Edition); dvd - Juice; drink - Cream Soda.
ABU: What do you enjoy away from music and hip hop in general?
S: My beautiful wife Clare and gorgeous kids Anya and Isaac.
AF: My family, sport and travelling.
ABU: When will you start to dress your age? Moccasins rather than Shelltoes. Tank-top in place of Adidas hoody.
S: Never. We have dressed this way since I can ever remember, anything else would just be wrong. Saying that, we both don't really rock shelltoes or Adidas Hoodies. I'm more Stussy, Volcolm, Nike SB etc... Agent Finch is classic B-Boy, Goose Down jackets, rare Nikes, exclusive tees and a fat gold dookey, Cazals and a Kangol!
ABU: Star Raid by 19th Fleet - 'play it again, Sam'? or 'pull my ears off and bury them under the sea'?
AF: Play it again, Ben!
S: Terrible song, Finchy has lost his mind.
ABU: Fill in the following sentence: 'Without music, I would be…….'.
S: Passionate about something else.
A great insight into a couple of top-level producers who have the potential to continue making some block-rocking beats and cause mass hysteria in your area, I think you'll agree.
A big thank you to Specifik and Agent Finch for taking time out to answer the questions.
As soon as the single is available to buy, the details will be here first on the Ageing B-Boys blog.
You know it's going to be larrrge!