Sunday, 17 September 2017

Record Reviews - September 2017

We've decided to welcome hip-hop in 2017 here at Ageing B-Boys and begin reviewing what passes for rap out there in the contemporary world. No more hiding in the Golden Age. No longer will we snuggle our Street Sound Electro albums to our bosom whilst curled-up in bed at night.
It is time to embrace and face modern day hip-hop, like it or not.

That said, the reviews may consist of any new material sent either digitally (to or whatever I find in a charity shop. Whatever it is, it's all good - or in some cases, bad.

This is the start of a new monthly feature and in September's Record Review (I will try to think of a more snappy title in future) we'll be having a look at the following:
Whirlwind D - Falling EP
Deuce Ellis - An Electric Ride
DJ Supreme ft. Ice-T & The Icepick - Arctic II
ExP - RemarkableUnremarkable
The Shift - Boogie Down Under - Volume 1: An Australian Hip Hop Electro Funk Mixtape
DJ Jazzy Jeff Will Smith - Get Lit
Teenburger - I'm Gonna / We Never

Who? ExP
What? RemarkableUnremarkable (Album: Vinyl, CD, MP3)
Where Can I Find This?
Well, What's It Like?

Immediately this is a breath of fresh air with the feeling of honestly-written, from the heart lyrics.
Ben “ExP” Goodwin has a knack of spewing forth life-affirming, catchy hooks in this collection of tracks - originally KickStarted last year. He certainly seems like someone who likes to oversee his own projects at every opportunity having written, produced, recorded and mixed the whole album.
ExP's voice will sound familiar to some as he's also part of Tough Crowd. I find this sound very soothing being that he's from 'Up North' as the majority of UK rap seems to be spoken as if you're from the inner suburbs of Greater London. Also it reminds me of my sojourn of living in Yorkshire as a lad.
The beats while not being a groundbreaking, Large Professor-type affair are perfectly suited to the mainly affable, positive content.
Regular listeners to the Disco Scratch or Digging 4 Victory radio shows may well have heard a selection of these played by Martin Lovegrove. Speaking of which, Mr LG provided the wonderful artwork on this release.
Overall, a very pleasant listening experience that'll leave you feeling good. The love, sweat and tears can be felt abundantly throughout the album.
Available digitally and on gatefold vinyl and digipak CD as different multi-packs - some include lyric sheets and tee-shirt. Check out the Bandcamp link above for all details.


Who? Whirlwind D
What? Falling EP (12" Vinyl, MP3)
Where Can I Find This?
Well, What's It Like?

The EP kicks off with nicely with 'Minutes And Hours' amid a background of various percussion making way to a heavy, chopped break leading to D's vocals. The production by CREASE is fresh and SIR BEANS OBE on the cut keeps the tone going with some deft chorus scratches whilst Whirlwind D speaks about the murky state of the world in his distinctive rhyme style.

'Falling Down' opens next with a very ominous 3-note piano sample and brooding synth setting the proceedings with a sombre monologue. This simple refrain continues throughout giving the song a strong claustrophobic feel with lyrics speaking of dark problems of life ("the road that I'm on makes my heart start to pound, the light evaporates, I'm falling down").
Specifik is behind the beat here with JABBATHAKUT and DJ TONES on the scratch.

The EP winds up with 'Nothing's Better' which has an official video (click here) and is the lead single from the EP.
The story here has D speaking on male depression
The clever use of wordplay is employed by guest MC UNCLE MIC NITRO describing that literally experiencing 'nothing' is better than choosing despair ("he chooses nothing, 'cause nothing's gonna make him better. He chooses nothing, 'cause nothing's better than depression").

Whirlwind D's latest project is a lesson for us all. His penchant for braggadocio rhymes has given way over the years to more adult subject matter and introspective thoughts never more so displayed as well as here as he touches on themes that can sadly affect the demographic of his audience.

Available digitally as well as on 12" vinyl with thoughtful artwork by JOHN DYER, this latest B-Line Recording release will continue the triumphs of a this distinctive home-grown record label.


Who? The Shift
What? Boogie Down Under - Volume 1: An Australian Hip Hop Electro Funk Mixtape (Cassette Tape)
Where Can I Find This? All sold out. Download link on the way.
Well, What's It Like?

From the first tune my head was nodding along to what is essentially all new tracks to these ears being that they are all produced by Australian artists.
The music style veers from boom-bap, Electro-funky beats to more modern, slightly electronica-based hip hop and most have a good smattering of scratching in there. The mixing by long-time ABU associate, The Shift, really is top-notch stuff. It's a mixtape in the traditional sense in that everything is expertly blended seamlessly from one track to the next.
Originally available on cassette only - there has been a second pressing due to demand - this mixtape will soon be posted up for download for free.
I think, without a doubt, it's safe to say Volume 2 will surely be on the way.


Who? DJ Supreme ft. Ice-T & The Icepick
What? Arctic II (7" Single, MP3)
Where Can I Find This?
Well, What's It Like?

A slight departure from recent 'Soops' releases of late with it's use of rock guitar but still retaining that trademark hardcore sound that he conjures up with ease.
Supreme has tapped into what the UK rap audience love. No, wait. He always knew. It's essentially a loud, dramatic score over rumbling, crispy drums with the all-important, frenetic Hijack scratch chorus. Add to this the mighty and legendary hip hop veteran, Ice T on guest vocals then you know that this is no half-hearted show on display here.
Not content with giving us a top-quality tune, Soops also goes above and beyond and delivers a top-notch video to accompany it also featuring Ice T. Whereas many producers buy their bars from legendary emcees in some 'pay-to-play' effort who then move on whilst counting the dough, Supreme enlists a major player in the game who provides a slamming performance who's more than willing to go the extra mile appearing in the video (
Essentially it's not a lot different from the previously-released 'Arctic', so if you liked that then you'll probably love this, too.
This will be the opening track for the upcoming Supreme Legacy 2.0 EP due in mid-October.


Who? Teenburger
What? I'm Gonna / We Never (Digital Download)
Where Can I Find This?
Well, What's It Like?
This 'Name your price' digital single by Teenburger is produced and arranged by Ollie "The Herbaliser" Trattles and has a great sound about it. Nice and bouncy beats with Ghettosocks & Timbuktu providing the vocals. I'm a sucker for a scratched chorus and this supplies one easily.
Taken from the upcoming album, Hivemind which seems like a sure-shot going by this teaser single.
All very Jorun Bombay-sounding which is no surprise as he has worked on their previous output.


Who? Deuce Ellis
What? An Electric Ride
Where Can I Find This?
Well, What's It Like?

So here's the scoop. Between July and August this summer the ABU Inbox was pelted with no less than 15 emails fired off from a guy named 'Deuce'. He doesn't know me, I don't know him. The Subject Lines of his communications ranged from intriguing ("FREE ALBUM DAY"), curious ("FRIENDLY BRIBE") to paranoid ("DO YOU HATE ME", "ARE YOU OFFENDED?").
That's 15 emails received without any response on my part. I've heard of aggressive-promotion but this was just weird. I decided to bite the bullet and have a listen to the album.
The first track, Vibes High starts off with someone hitting random keys on a piano and a toddler smacking his Fisher Price xylophone. It soon turns into a barrage of noise as if you have been thrown forcefully into a zoo and then an oddly-recorded voice comes in with a rather mediocre rapping style.
The same continues on the second track but luckily by the third song, Naked Language, the album seems to become a bit more listenable with some quirky rhythms and discordant synth stabs.
Continue on however and it gets a bit muddy with slow beats and disappointingly basic lyrics.
Every track begins the same with offbeat electronic drum sounds in an overlong intro until the meat and bones of the song finally come in.
There are 12 tracks in all but the final 3 wouldn't play for some reason. I'm sure I didn't miss much.

The press release makes it sound like Deuce Ellis is destined to become the next Prince but in actuality sounds completely up his own arse. He apparently spent a year away on a desert island making this collection of tracks. That doesn't sound pretentious at all.

In conclusion, no matter how terrible your album is, spam us constantly here at ABU and we'll eventually relent and review your work!


Who? DJ Jazzy Jeff & Will Smith
What? Get Lit
Where Can I Find This? Not released but here's a Youtube clip
Well, What's It Like?

Now whilst I'm well aware that a band cannot really viably still be making the same music they once made at their peak some 25+ years ago, it should be perfectly acceptable to expect to hear some elements of what made you love that band all those years previously.
With Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince/Will Smith's possible next single things have taken an awkward turn. Instead of continuing to their original fans they have decided to appease the younger crowd and make their music sound like some EDM-by-numbers club hit. Latest youth slang? Check. Banging dance beat? Check. Huge buildup and drop throughout? Checkity-check.
There is a complete lacking of any soul in this track and it could have been intended for any other number of pop tarts who currently hang around the present top 40. Jeff adds the odd scratch here and there but he's not giving 100%. FP is capable of a lot more. A whole lot more.
I've always been a diehard fan of the duo and am secretly hoping that they put out an album of stuff that could be 'He's The DJ...' part two. But they won't.
It's all quite embarrassing really and this parent just doesn't understand.


If you have any product you want ABU to have a look at please send information to Anything sent for our attention may be reviewed in the next Record Review depending entirely on our mood.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

The Golden Age Of Hip Hop Pull-out

A little while ago - April 2016 to be exact - British music magazine, Q, did a special commemorative hip hop pull-out within their main mag.

This well-written and researched feature is criminally short - 21 pages - but produced with love and knowledge. The '20 Albums of The Golden Age' list is totally on point.
Some of the historic photos littered about show the fun that used to exist in abundance. They're great.

You can download the PDF file here


P.s. this is a blog-only feature. This means no promotion on Facebook so the only people getting to read it will be the regulars. I'm wary of the fact that I put too much emphasis on Facebook and am beginning to leave the blog alone. It is not so!
More blog-only content coming soon...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Disclaimer - Important!

The links to MP3 files provided in these posts are to be used for previewing only. AGEING B-BOYS UNITE ™ does not keep the files here, this Blog is merely a gateway, an Information Desk if you will, to point you in the right direction. Once downloaded, all files should be destroyed within 7 days.