Friday, 16 November 2018

Steven Hager - Hip Hop Book

I know that the viewing figures for the blog are not like they were in the heyday of this platform so this is a post mainly just to say thank you to anyone who still regularly visits.

Most people have simply jumped over to social media and use the ABU Facebook group now.
While this is all good, the Facebook group is not the sort of place where I envisioned ABU ending up when I began this blog in 2008. That's progress, I guess, and I'll take it how it comes.

However for you good people still holding off from the evils of social media here is a little digital treat for you.
For a number of years I've been after a particular book - Hip Hop: The Illustrated History of Break Dancing, Rap Music, and Graffiti written by Steven Hager. Unfortunately this has been long out of print and the original goes for a pretty decent price on Ebay.
A while ago I found that a digital copy was available online - sadly not for free - so I grabbed it as would be the closest that I'd ever get to owning the real thing.
This then is a little gift to you for sticking around. It's a ZIP file with digital copies in .MOBI and PDF formats. If you don't understand what these are then it's probably best you get back to your cosy chair and Werthers' Originals.

If you do download this please leave a comment just so I can see how many of you are interested in it. Cheers!

See also

Monday, 12 November 2018

Record Review - Whirlwind D - Beats, Bits And Bobs EP

Hip-Hop's 'Mr Nice' returns in familiar fashion with another release from the UK's B-Line Recordings. His brand new wax is an EP, Beats, Bits And Bobs and is a refreshingly diverse bunch of tracks.

Beginning with side A's lead track, LABELS, this has the customary hallmarks of previous releases (as with many recent rap tunes by our generation - 'reminisce-rap', anyone?) with boom-bap production and tales of yesteryear rhymes on the top.
Djar One provides the sweet beat for this with its really tight flow and light guitar lick. Specifik is on turntable duties.

REAP THE WHIRLWIND has a Raising Hell feel to it with it's sparse Billy Squier beat and rock guitar chugging powerfully over the proceedings. This track is produced by Phil Wilks who worked with D previously on his Other Side (2016) album supplying not just the beat but guitar, too.
DJ Tones is on hand with some deft scratch patterns.

The RUN FAST remix is quite disappointing and it's sparseness sounds rather weak compared to the original version from 2014 12". Mr Fantastic's previous production matched the frenetic pace of the piece while Miracle's interpretation is more abstract and never quite captures the immediacy needed.

A complete change of pace as RADIOACTIVE BASS rounds off the EP.
This is a journey back into the days of electro funk which keeps all modern production hallmarks as sparse as you like and thus sounds more authentic of the period it is trying to capture. Simply a drum machine, a synth and a vocoder.
This has great potential for a wicked remix as there are some nice elements that could be fleshed out even more.
Mr Wilks is on the boards again here and this cut demonstrates how deftly he flits through a variety of styles whilst coolly wearing his producer hat.

This is a great value for money purchase as it also includes instrumentals and acapella mixes on the flip-side - always a positive deciding factor for a thriftmaster such as I. In fact why would you not include instrumentals on a large 12" slab of wax? I remember there was a fad for chucking on (terrible) remixes in place of them back in the early 1990s on the UK releases. Luckily B-Line are sticklers for this tried and tested format and provide the full-fat treatment.
Once again John Dyer adds the finishing touches to the whole package with a dope cartoon-style illustration on this full-colour 12" sleeve which would look great in a record frame on the wall (buy two, folks!)

This collection ultimately displays what diverse musical influences Whirlwind D has in his record bag and proves he is nowhere near stopping anytime soon.

A1     Labels
A2     Reap The Whirlwind
A3     Run Fast (Remix)
A4     Radioactive Bass
B1     Labels (Instrumental Edit)
B2     Reap The Whirlwind (Instrumental Edit)
B3     Run Fast Remix (Instrumental Edit)
B4     Labels (Acapella)
B5     Reap The Whirlwind (Acapella)

Support your local record shop and buy Beats, Bits And Bobs in person. Failing that, you can purchase online from


Sunday, 4 November 2018

Electric Boogie (1983)

This is a rarely-seen short film about 4 members of a b-boy crew. They're from the Bronx, NY and is at once impressive, inspiring and sad.
Oliver, K-K and brothers Eli & Ken (the Electric Boogie Boys) are shown practicing their dance moves on the street, in a clothing store as well as in a skate rink competition and you can see how much love they have for it as well as each other. Their ambitions are quite high (a doctor and a priest) and the documentary shows a feeling of respect that a lot of other docs at the time would not have even wanted to touch on.
Being that this was produced by a European team (from the Netherlands) perhaps they were a little more forward-thinking and wanted to present the lads on a more human level than just some dancing muppets.

Well recommended.

Watch it here:
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