Saturday, 31 October 2009

FAO: Casting Directors for Black Male R&B vids

I'm going to start this with a disclaimer: don't get this twisted like this is going to be full of racism. If you read it you will see it is the complete opposite to racist and is merely a question.

Is it illegal to cast black females opposite black males? Not only that, are tanned, brunettes the only girls who get casted?

I watched this video by McClean, formerly Digga, when the question crossed my mind

I like the song, met Digga before and he's a cool guy so this is by no means an attack on the individual. Besides, I'm smart enough to know he had no control in casting.

This isn't a blanket complaint because I saw Tincy's new video recently and I can understand the casting of a white girl. It's a dance/euro pop song sampling a song, makes sense

So this isn't something across the board. R&B in particualar

To further elaborate on the question, why can't there be mixtures of girls with all different shades, not solely depending on brunette's with olive complexion. Are they the closest to representing the universal woman or are they simply the new blonde hair blue eyes? I'm leaning towards the latter. It's like they are the UK equivalent to Latino's who had US rappers going into overdrive and even made me believe Jennifer Lopez was anything above average for a nice looking person - yeah I said it, nothing wow about her.

Here are a few more examples of what I'm talking about:

(Look at that, Estelle making a cameo appearance in Nathan's video. How times change)

Although he has got possibly the darkest model ever shown in a music video but the leading lady who who we are talking about.

Taio Cruz - Like a Star (iRate this song soooooo highly. One of the best UK R&B songs in a while when it dropped. Probably since Come Into My Room)

Taio Cruz - I Just Wanna Know
Shouts to Mad News lol

Need I really continue? You all know you've seen it countless times before. Where the pale girls with ginger hair at? Where the Asian girls at? Where the Oriental's at? Phillipine's produces some of the finest women on Jah's green earth. Where the black girls at? Light and dark skinned. How much longer must we endure this bore? The females in the videos above don't even keep my attention, let's be honest they aren't all that.

This isn't a recent problem though. Our mate Craaiiiiiig David, did it before. For those who may think I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill, the time I can think of where this has been highlighted is Craig David's transatlanic crossover success. This is Fill Me In UK version

This is the US remake

The opening scene of going into a record shop, scenery and corny dance moves weren't the only things changed. He had to cast a female who was black (probably the lightest you'll see but you know Yanks have the one drop rule).

I repeat, why only use one type of looking female? Others are beautiful too, mix it up a little. Give us some blondes, gingers, some Oriental (Philipino's are beauties maaan), East Asian, Caribbean, African. I'm bored of the same olive brunette now.

All this does is help make (admittedly) weak-minded people feel inadequate and ugly purely because they don't fit the image of what's "beauty". This then leads to programs like Channel 4's White Beauty where people undergo plastic sugery, skin lightning etc. to match "beauty". Have you noticed there are many blondes who've turned brunettes? Remember when the likes of Caprice, Denise Van Outen, Dani Behr were considered beautiful? All blondes. Now the tide has changed, blondes are going brunette. Why do many gingers feel ugly or dye their ginger hair? See where I'm going. Same goes for tanning, healthy girls envying skinny (borderline malnourished) girls...

(And with that we end Black History Month/we are the world month)

Friday, 30 October 2009

Noughties Appreciation: Year 2001

Click for all the episodes of Noughties Appreciation.

Well, this for me was the defining year of the decade. We all know why. Can't even really remember what else happened in 2001. I vow to go on a mission to find out though. Here goes:

From what I remember personally, I didn't enjoy year 2001 as much as the previous year - anywhere near it in fact. Maybe down to year 2000 being the year I/we looked forward to for so long, and it was billed as some sort of special year (Y2K, Millenium Bug etc.). It was also the first time I was old enough to remember entering a new decade which gave it some extra sentimental value.

Highlight musically would have to be So Solid reaching number 1 in the UK charts without compromising. I mean they were rapping about a variety of things including guns and both using and selling drugs on TOTP(can you believe it? lol). Note to producers: put a catchy melody in the instumental, catchy chorus, catchy delivery of lyrics and you can get away with saying anything or nothing (Bob Teh Builder, "Blue Da Ba Dee", Flo-Rida songs etc.).

Where was Mega them times? Asher's doing his verse.

21 Seconds is still one of the most creative and best inroduction song by a whole crew. It was good to hear how each member interpreted the song a different way, brought varied individuality through flows and personality enabling you to become a fan of one/few in 21 Seconds (12 bars). All of which ultimately displayed the diversity of the greatest UK crew, EVER! My top 3 =

#3. Asher D.
#2. Megaman
#1. "2 multiplied by 10 plus 1 Romeo dun" Romeo's entrance was hype as well. Walked in with "Turn up da bassline..." hand-in-hand with bass that wasn't there before.

And my golly what an epic video!!!

Who's going to lie and say they never attempted the dance the man does with his hand down his trousers?

For once, we had something to match the flashy US videos. I'm not gonna lie, I rebuked/was fully offended by the inital comparisons to Wu-Tang Clan as PR, however, now when I look back I can't disagree.

UK pop battle of the year was Kylie's Can't Get You Out Of My Head vs. Victoria Beckham featuring Dane Bowers 'Out Of Your Mind'

What a bagga rubbish! To think I actually thought this was better than Kylie's classic. Kylie won, and deservedly so. 2nd Victoria loss in consecutive years, first being to Spiller featuring Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Groovejet.

US side of things, we all remember the well-documented battle between Jay and Nas.

I was conversing with one of my good friends the other day about that battle. It was weird because Nas was my favourite rapper prior to the battle whereas his was always Jay-Z. I never got the fascination with Jay. He can spit, create songs etc. but his personality and subject matter wasn't endearing to me. Either way, at the time we were too young/didnt have the knowledge to know how well-respected both were in New York

Now we go to the battle. An excuse to hear two hip hop heavyweights at the time/greatest to ever do it trade bars toe-to-toe


Truly epic moment in not only recent hip hop history, but the genre full stop. Both records lived up to the height of the great rappers they were. Neither was really noted for battle rapping to the wider public as far as I know. A whole bunch of quotables in both tracks.

I thought Nas won it back then. The fact that Jay-Z cried on radio shows Jay was hurt. Many were writing the obiturary's for Nas, that haymaker. If I'm honest, I believe Jay had the better track. Takeover was based on facts of Nas' career, Ether was childish playground disses. I feel it was more because Nas was written off and the underdog who came out hard why he won that.

Coincidentally, both produced a classic album each, Nas Stillmatic and Jay-Z's Blueprint. Another confession, I never felt Blueprint back then. "H to da Izzo" was and still is one of my favourite tracks. After the battle, I became anti-Jay. Appreciate it now so it's all good.

Two of the best R&B albums of the decade were released this year. Jagged Edge's J. E. Heartbreat and Usher's 8701 got spun like nobodies business. Missy Elliott's Miss E. Misdemeanour dropped this year, featured the infecutious Get Ur Freak On.

Commercial side, Ja Rule & Ashanti/Murder Inc ran tings.

My fave out of all was (still is in fact). Rate this track so highly

Ashanti followed that up with Foolish and self-titled debut. All the girls loved her. Jury was out on whether she was much of a looker though. Remember the sideburns comments?

Remember when everyone pitched Ashanti against Tweet? Where is Tweet now, I rated her. This song was BIG! Timbo with the ragga influence

Oh speaking of one-hit wonders (ok, Tweet wasn't really a one-hit wonder but still), Sunshine Anderson had one of the baddest tunes in Heard It All Before.

On topic of R&B singers, 2001 saw the passing of Aaliyah. Bank Holiday weekend (UK) in August on her way back from the Bahamas after completing Rock The Boat video. What a tune!

Jennifer Lopez was the hottest chick in the game. Scored her first UK #1 with Love Don't Cost a Thing. My fave J-Lo song was the controversial I'm Real with Ja Rule (and guest vocals by Ashanti). Still gets reloads on decks when I'm 'ere.

Mary J made her biggest track to date in Family Affair.

Biggest selling single in the UK was Shaggy's It Wasn't Me.

World News

As I said, 2001 set the precendence for the rest of the decade. We really entered a different time post 9/11. I'd go as far as saying the noughties started in '01. Fear and big brother state begun.

January 20 – George W. Bush succeeds Bill Clinton, becoming the 43rd President of the United States.

February 20 – The 2001 UK foot and mouth crisis begins.

May 13 – Silvio Berlusconi and the Italian House of the Liberties coalition win the general elections.

May 23 – Bayern München wins the UEFA Champions League.

June 7 – Tony Blair's Labour Party wins the United Kingdom general election.

June 20 – Pervez Musharraf becomes President of Pakistan after the resignation of Muhammad Rafiq Tarar.

July 19 – UK politician and novelist Jeffrey Archer is sentenced to 4 years in prison for perjury and perverting the course of justice.

September 6 – United States v. Microsoft: The United States Justice Department announces that it no longer seeks to break up software maker Microsoft, and will instead seek a lesser antitrust penalty.

September 11 – Almost 3,000 are killed in the September 11, 2001 attacks at the World Trade Center in New York City; the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia; and in rural Shanksville, Pennsylvania after American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 crash into the World Trade Center's Twin Towers, American Airlines Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon, and United Airlines Flight 93 crashes into a grassland in Shanksville.

September 18 – The 2001 anthrax attacks commence as letters containing anthrax spores are mailed from Princeton, New Jersey to ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, the New York Post, and the National Enquirer. 22 in total are exposed; 5 of them die.

October 7 – War in Afghanistan (2001–present): The United States invades Afghanistan, with participation from other nations.

October 26 – U.S. President George W. Bush signs the USA PATRIOT Act into law.

December 2 – Enron files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection 5 days after Dynegy cancels a US$8.4 billion buyout bid (to that point, the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history).

December 12 – Roy Whiting is found guilty of murdering Sarah Payne at Lewes Crown Court. The trial judge recommends that Whiting should never be released.

December 22 – A Paris–Miami, Florida flight is diverted to Boston, Massachusetts after passenger Richard Reid attempts to set his shoe, filled with explosives, on fire.

TV in 2001

January 18 - Channel 4 launches E4, a digital entertainment channel, at 8.15pm.

January 22 - News at Ten returns to ITV, having been axed two years earlier. It is once again presented by Trevor McDonald.

March 26 - WCW Monday Nitro airs it's final show from Panama City Beach, Florida with a simulcast with the WWF's (Now WWE's) Monday Night RAW television show, officially ending a six year ratings battle in professional wrestling known as the Monday Night Wars.

March 28 - My Wife and Kids premieres on ABC (2001-2005). Care not, I loved this show

May 14 - Moesha (1996-2001) Once again, another big show on Ni ni-ni-ni ni-ni ni-nick (Nickelodeon).

August 11 - ITV in the UK changes its name to ITV1, due to the growing number of other ITV services, including ITV2, ITV Digital, and the ITV Sport Channel, which launches on the same day.

September 3 - One on One premieres on UPN (2001-2006) Kyla Pratt, nothing else

September 15 - Live & Kicking (1993-2001). This was the program when I was a kid. First presenters I remember were Emma Noble and Andy Peters. 081 811 8181 times!!! Cost me money (if I had it) on them foolish competitions for Super Nintendo that were never won by people in London (that's what I told myself). Was long since dead at this time

October 5 - Pop Idol premieres in the UK on ITV1; the talent contest becomes an international phenomenon as dozens of countries crown their own Idols (2001-2003). Won by Will Young. Deservedly so.

December 22 - The pilot for Harry Hill's TV Burp is aired on ITV1. The first full series is shown from November next year. Never knew this started back then.

December 25 - Only Fools and Horses returns for the first of three Christmas specials after previously ending in 1996. The special (If They Could See Us Now) gets 21.35 million viewers, the UK's highest rated show in both 2001 and the entire decade as of 2007.

Source: Wikipedia

I'm not a film guy, so I'm not able to do that aspect any justice.

For films check wiki

Said I'll do it in installments but I was extra busy. I vow to do 1 day for each section (TV, music, world events) at least a few of these.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Dancehall/Bashment & Reggae Top 10

I used to do a chart for a magazine. Judging by what I've seen by the new DJ, it isn't quite as up to the times as mine were (it's really old infact). I've also been asked by a couple people what my fave tunes are right now.

They are not all new, they are my current faves.

1. Mavado - Fall Rain Fall (Survivor riddim)

2. Merciless - Di Letter (England Town riddim)

3. Queen Ifrica - Officer Nuh Kill Him (Serve and Protect riddim)

4. Ding Dong - Holiday. If you don't like this tune, find a cliff and chuck off

5. Vybz Kartel - Go Go Club (Strip Club riddim)

6. Laden - Never Bow Out

7. Chan Dizzy - Nuh Sell Out

8. Vybz Kartel featuring Stephen 'Di Genius' McGregor- Careful

9. G- Whizz - Life (Mood Swing riddim) - I don't care how old it is, this is motivational music right here.

10. Chino - Never Change - once again, I don't care how old it is, this is motivational music right here.

BET Hip Hop Cyphers

Nikki Minaj is just sexy. Guess she can rap, never heard anything apart from this though. Her buzz is extreme, but I'm more interested in Google'in her images if I'm honest.

Joe "Bludgeon" Budden killed that!!! The "ohhhhh" added a live dimension to the pre-recorded spittin. His personality is a bit erratic, but his talent in undeniable. Mood Muzik 2 is one of the greatest mixtapes this century (decade). A real rapper who can do everything; introspective tracks (Old School Mouse), storytelling (3 Sides To A Story) to straight up battle tracks (see Saigon and Ransom) and drop punches galore (Dumb Out). Check the interview I did with him earlier this year for the release of album Padded Room

Em killed this one!!! Was surprised to see him up there. They don't usually have guys of his stature. Mos Def and (one of the most underrated) Black Thought on this also.

Sadly there wasn't a UK cypher or award. Try take us for fool after we finally start making noise commercially, it may have meant a bit more to mainstream this year (2 lines in entertainment section in a national paper is better than nothing). Come like they didn't see what the skeng done to the tree, alie Skepta?


Wednesday, 28 October 2009

So This Is 'Black History Month'?

Dear TV programmers,

At the beginning of this month many people questioned the relevance of Black History Month in 09; what with Barack Obama being Prezzy and all. Black people are supposedly integrated with English society, we no longer fear random racist attacks on the pavement, the glass ceiling has disappeared in careers etc. Do I subscribe to that? Not completely. That isn't to say it is on levels of the 50s-80s, but there is still a problem.

Everything was going swimmingly... actually I say swimmingly, what I really mean was normal TV schedule. Nothing really Black History Month about it, no not even that corny stereotypical figurine chattin' in that taking the wee blackcent on MTV Base said anything (from what I remember; YouTube/WSHH/Blogs > MTV Base in 09). Did they have idents from artists saying what Black History Month means to them this year? Genuine question.

Back on track, it was all going swimmingly until BNP leader, friend of nonviolent KKK member (nonviolent makes it's alright, or so he thinks), "I will shuffle in my seat and bite my lip for the duration of this program, chat a bit of nonsense, deflect attention by parrin' Jack Straw's dad, then when the coast is clear I will get the chance to speak about immigration & Muslims (a.k.a 'bloody forriners')," Nick Griffin appears on Question Time *exhales*. As I blog'd the other day, I didn't see a problem. Have my views changed? Not sure, possibly.

The basis of my opinion was "freedom of speech" - I now feel this was naive. I spoke to one of my dad's friends about Dick's (I lol'd when dude said that on QT) appearance and that changed my mind. He told me about the UK Government not letting Farrakhan speak somewhere over here. Found this news article on Babylon winning a case banning him from entering. It states: "Mr Farrakhan has been banned by successive home secretaries since 1986 when the then government barred him on the grounds he expressed racist and anti-Semitic views" Sound familiar? So where is the freedom of speech there then? May want to read this by Darcus Howe on Farrakhan.

This reminded me of what I'd found out about COINTELPRO (an acronym for Counter Intelligence Program), often illegal practices by the FBI "aimed at investigating and disrupting dissident political organizations within the United States." This surprised me: "According to FBI records, 85% of COINTELPRO resources were expended on infiltrating, disrupting, marginalizing, and/or communist and socialist organizations; the women's rights movement; militant black nationalist groups, and the non-violent civil rights movement" such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and others," whereas 15% for groups like Ku Klux Klan. Sounds fair (sarcasm). Not to say that this operation is going on in England, but there isn't much denying the similarities in which groups get love or should I say the least hate.

Anyway I digress, back to Question Time. Wasn't even going to address this, but I read this blog on BBC which annoyed me. Writer was fine, comments made me feel more aggressive than listening to Grime music for 12, know what I'm saying Dotun Adebayo (check JP if that went over your head)? People say the crowd/panel were unfair to him, not allowing him to speak, but it must take some doing. Problem is his stance is extremely controversial, a stance many will all-out hate, therefore it will always be hard to find members for the crowd who aren't totally against him, unlike many other guests who appear on QT.

Sometimes I find myself losing faith in humanity. Reading those comments is an example

On Monday, Channel 4 there was a documentary called 'Race And Intelligence: Science's Last Taboo' about whether intelligence is determined by race, more to the point "Are white people smarter than black people by default?" Was sceptical about the motives behind this program; I'm all for these types of programs if done properly, but is it really appropriate during Black History Month?

After watching the program I was actually surprised. It didn't make me feel totally (you'll see why that's bold in a second) inadequate and damn right stupid! Rageh Omar went on a mission to challenge the IQ system as a means of testing intelligence and looked into social and economical problems which plight African-American kids. What he didn't do was look into black civilisations pre-slavery which kind of made it look like black people are playing catch-up (hence why I used totally). Either way, I was still surprised/impressed with the outcome.

Following that documentary the next day was some documentary called Bleach, Nip, Tuck: The White Beauty Myth. Whallaloadabull... Some short Indian guy who clearly had Napoleon Complex wanted to be a little bit taller & some big black Jamaican bird from Brixton (surprise, surprise) who had 3 kids (I guessed that from looking at her) with breast from her shoulders to her knees (give it 3 years/1 more kid and they will be by her toes) felt the need for a breast reduction. I don't blame her! They looked like a burden. I'd rather be one of the famished kids in the Oxfam ad carrying fresh water on my head for miles than walk with them breast she carried. Surprised they haven't suffocated her in her sleep.

By now you must be wondering where the "White Beauty" bit comes in. I was still wondering that at 10.20 when I flicked that garbage over to BBC1 15mins before I was gonna try holding out until. The reason they gave was "[Asian guy] was 5 inches shorter than the average British male." Yeah? Well wasn't he shorter than the average Asian man as well then, nah?

How about the black mother of three? In fact, let's take a wild guess of how they recruited her. I'm guessing they sent out a runner who thought he was recruited to do 2 weeks work experience in PR to stand on a pavement in Brixton like them annoying charity people who make you call the automated mobile phone operator pretending its a friend. Instead of charity, he asked black females with big breasts these two questions:

1. Are you Jamaican?
2. Would you like a free breast reduction for them knockers you have?

They portrayed her like she is the average black female. She wasn't someone I'd call mildly attractive, mainly down to her looking like an auntie. Only thing racial was the random "I feel like people mumble black bitch when I'm on the bus" or something like that. Someone in the room said "She's more likely to find they called her 'Fat bitch'! Rhymes but isn't quite the same." Worst than that, she envied Posh Spice's figure. Just like to inform you that the Bullsh*t meter started to overheat at this point. Obviously thought of the the smallest white female. Had this been 2002 she'd have said Kylie. You could find a white woman, same age, same circumstances (kids), same shape with the same insecurities. If they got someone who was young, with big bum and small breasts wanting a breast enlargement and bum reduction then I'd say the program held weight.

There was a pigeon-chest Chinese woman with AAs (near concave cup size). Hard out here, she's on my level. I'm hearing they also had a guy who wanted to enlarge his penis. Now I don't look out for next man but we all know the rumour of black men holding it down. Don't think those are Chinese whispers either... I'm just saying. So yes, basically any program based on plastic surgery with a racial spin (Black History Month anybody?).

BBC1 program, Make Me White started at 10.35 (I was there well in advance) was on bleaching. The Anita Rani presented show mainly focused on bleaching within the Asian community. Trivial program dealing with a deep subject. Waste of time really, so I won't waste my time on the program.

Now if Black History Month is to continue like this, we may as well scrap it. Pointless. All that happens is a couple of local community centres mainly in councils Lambert, Lewisham and Southwark, hold a few groups on a cold Wednesday evening, and Kick Racism Out Of Football stickers.

What I'd like to see more of is what I already thought, but also Levi Roots' take on Black History Month from when I interviewed him:

We as a people look too much on the past. It’s time we started to look at the future. We big up the heroes of the past too much. I know that people without the knowledge of the past will never know their future - we done know that already - but we are always talking about Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, blah blah, but what about the people like I met last night? Let’s find them and start talking about them in the same vein as we do the dead heroes and we’ll see how much of a change can come about.

I enjoyed this interview Jeremy Paxman did with Spike Lee. Spike Jones hit him with real talk. Spike to Paxman: "How long have you been black?" Classic. Shame it was on BBC2 @ minutes to 11pm.

I was proud of Dizzee's performance at the Electric Proms . Doesn't make the music of black origin beat-wise, but he cuts no slack on street lyrics especially the slang. Shame it was on BBC at minutes to 11pm or red button. Care not what you say, this was a defining moment in UK black/urban music history! "He's a black boy like me, so his respect is due certainly".

1Xtra repped with the Masterpieces as selected by the specialist DJs Ronnie Herel (D'Angelo - Brown Sugar), Cameo (So Solid - They Don't Know), Bailey (Goldie - Timeless), Robbo Ranx (Sizzla - Da Real Thing) and Semtex (AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted). DJs got the opinions of fellow industry members which was interesting; Robbo played parts of an interview he did with Sizzla, Cameo had Megaman on his show etc. Check out what else they did for Black History Month here. Shame 1Xtra is only digital (get the point I'm making?).

Overall, Black History Month was some eeeeeeeeeedyat ting! We are supposed to be celebrating not using it as a selling point for race-driven programs. That isn't saying every minute of every day or even everyday, but like how you guys can waste time putting the aforementioned programs on at prime time, surely time could have been used for a more appropriate program or 2, no?

Fix up for next year please.


Marvin Sparks

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Chris Brown feat Lil Wayne & Swizzy - I Can Transform Ya

This tune receives numerous wheels when I'm 'ere!!! Swizz Beats brought tha Monster back out for this one

I remember when Swizzy was the King of them powerful NY neck-breakers. This isn't that but it's still a killer track. Weezy F. Baby actully reps himself on this feature. Seems like a rarity that Wayne is featuring on a track (non-YM/Birdman) lol. Remember when he was on everything?!

In parts the video reminds me of what Omarion previewed of his new video the other day

Why is he flowing like Lil' Wayne? Gucci is that guy! King of Dance is a good shout. I've seen him and Chris perform and thought his was more "OH Sh*t, that was siiiiiick!!!" than Chris

Chris Brown's other track Crawl is an ard body ballad!

I don't think/know he can't sing this song live. I'm sure it's a session singer singing the chorus. Either way his voice is Autotuned up for tuning purpose as opposed to T-Pain'n.

With him an Rihanna both releasing tracks at the moment, I take it there is a chance both will be releasing an album near each other? Will be interesting to see Chris' first week numbers. Radio airplay and singles charts are smoke screens to me. Based on quality of tracks, he's goin' IN!

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Heatwave present Funky Bashment

This is the mofo'in shiznitt!!! The refixes are a lot!!! Love the mixture of current songs like Busy Signal's 'Dah Style Deh' right back to Shabba's 'Ting-A-Ling' and Ninja Man over some the hottest funky sounds. Consistant mixing guaranteed to keep your head boppin'. The dub specials range from local talent like Lady Chann and Maxwell D, to Jamaican's Natalie Storm and Tifa.

I can't take funky for any longer than about 20mins, it all starts to sound like the previous song. If you like me can't take the monotony of funky but love the hype of bashment - this'll make you feel irie!!! (How corny is the word irie?)

Check it out:


1st UK Model Awards Show

Contrary to what some may believe, I am not a guy to belittle people's aims and dreams or business ventures. Where people get it twisted is because I'm the guy who tells you "Nah blud that's some heeedeyat ting!" I'm no Rev Run, my advice is: If you're gonna do something, do it properly! Ask anyone who I've had meetings with, I will always be the one shutting down foolishness. Not in a big head way.

From the flyer, you may think "Why you hating?" but who holds an awards show in Sound nightclub? The clubs called Sound but the PA sound in their is atrocious. And I swear there's only 4 speakers in the whole club? Looks hmm alright, but its some any West End club. Along with Rainforest, back in the days, Sound was the last resort club after you weren't let in the decent ones for rolling with too many man & wearing trainers. You can get in there with scuffed trainers! I would feel over-dressed wearing a pressed shirt and my nice jeans (come on, everyone has their nice jeans), so it hasn't got the glitziest of reps. How are the seating arrangements gonna be? Or is it a stand-up ting where winners push their way through to the stage after the award presenter repeats "Is she here?" That's the first problem.

Second are the categories:

Best Newcomer
Best Portfolio
Most improved
Best Glamour Model
Best Fashion Model
Best Lingerie Model
Best Model Agency
Best Submitted Picture
International Model of the Year
Uk buffie the body
Most music video features

Best Portfolio? We know majority of "UK Models" in the urban scene are Facebook based who find out about jobs via Facebook messages sent by agencies. They receive them on their BlackBerry's which hold the pins of many Facebook rave promoters, Funky MCs and a few comedians so they believe they are certified. Taking all that into consideration, are they accepting Facebook albums? I know a couple girls who have nice "Random" pics taken on aforementioned BlackBerry's, forearm all up in the shot whilst looking in the opposite direction so they appear to be striking a natural pose/candid pic (even though we see you're pouting). How about "Model Portfolio" albums? The ones in them photoshoot places in West End where females get make up done, bring your raving clothes and leave with your best photoshopped pics on a CD-R?

Most Improved? This is the 1st Awards so what are we comparing with? Split before and after pics? Pics of girls from them photobooths at tube stations with their hair gelled down on their forehead? Or we gonna take it to MySpace albums?

Best Glamour Model, Best Fashion Model, Best Lingerie Model. Sounds alright. Problem is whether it be here or America the only avenue I've seen for urban models are glamour and lingerie. I'm genuinely interested in seeing these Fashion models. That sounds like a good thing.

Best Submitted Picture, Facebook? Is that gonna be like a Best Newcomer or Star Search type award?

International Model of the Year? Why? It's the UK Models award. Why even embarrass yourself by adding this award? We know the international model won't turn up. Should have kept it UK. And what are the boundaries? Can Tyra enter? Melissa Ford? Or will it go to Amber Rose?

Uk buffie the body. I like the sound of this award. Basically the biggest batty award yeah? That Grace Addai girl should get that without a doubt. Her back-off was hand-crafted by Jah-Allah, no word of a lie. I'm man enough to say I probably couldn't handle her, but I'd give it 1000% in effort.

Lastly, Most music video features. SNM (say no more).

Excuse my ignorance with the above, maybe it's exclusive to those who are signed to an agency *shrugs*. All these questions arose because modelling is some free-for-all. We know the power of Facebook, everyone has equal measure in something like "modelling". Could have quashed all of that by naming the nominees or wrote "All nominees are provided by X, Y, Z agency". Here's to hoping it isn't like that and everything's good on the night *raises glass of Apfelsaft*. We know how females get all catty at the best of times, these are models. Haven't watched it since Eva won but Amercia's Next Top Model is a prime example. These ambiguous award nominations could lead to a couple Kanye-worthy moments. Can't complain too much 'cos it's promoting models, and we all love models!

This is what turned my innoncent chuckles to SMH as the suspicions of Facebook promoters trying a ting became apparent:




DRESS CODE: SMART|SEXY & STYLISH! STRICTLY NO HOODS, HATS, TRACKSUITS OR ANY STREET WEAR! (Ladies, no denim!!) Remember you will be entering on the red carpet, so look sharp!!



Kat is a sick host, one of the best I've seen, so good look on that. Show starts at 11.30pm? 2330 hours? Are you serious? On a Thursday? Ok. We know these things are never on time so could be anytime. 1st 300 ladies free "b4" 11? You've made an effort with the dress-code but personally as mentioned before I'd feel overdressed in Sound. I would have suggested 8.30/2030. This just reeks a normal club with the added extra of picking up some sexy girls in attendance. If you want to be taken, give the impression you are serious, otherwise support from external people won't really come in. Everyone starts somewhere but it was more serious than that.

Mandem, forget rent/mum's rent, buy some big bottles of champers, come up with a catchy punchline then pretend you are an aspiring funky MC with your tune "Got Bare Dough/Drink Some Champs/Whine Down Low" getting nuff hits on YouTube and at the very least you'll get an add on Facebook, maybe a pin. If you execute your facade properly, you've bagged a model chick. Oh yeah, you must have a BlackBerry Bold or Curve.

p.s. Don't take this as me cussin, take it as PR! Send me couple tickets, supply me a few models to choose from (you know like Rush Hour 2?) and we'll say I've done you a good deed ;)

p.p.s. The initials are UMA, SNM lol

p.p.p.s. Best of luck

p.p.p.p.s. If UK Stunner's January, Pia Brown doesn't win something I will not be happy. She does this ting on so many levels. With clothes on as well as bikini. And she's smart too

That is a natural pic. Stunner!!!

Friday, 23 October 2009

Noughties Appreciation: Year 2000

I love the old days so each Friday I do a little section called FlashBack Friday (click for previous episodes) - as you could most probably tell. Reminiscing always brings a smile to my face, so I hope it does likewise for you.

If you didn't know it is 9 weeks 'til Christmas. Come around mad quick alie? I remember last year's New Years Eve like it was yesterday. But more impotantly, in 10 weeks we will have completed the first decade of the 2000's!!! To coincide with this I will try my hardest to turn back time and give you those years as I remember them in a section I've dubbed Noughties Appreciation. I'm not going to make out like it's only my brain, to give a full perspective I have done a bit of research.

Naturally, we will start with 2000. I remember this day like it was yesterday. Location: Jamaica. Most of the non-Jamaicans/ "Jamaicans" (you know the ones who claim but never been) will be surprised by what I did on NYE, the real Jamaicans will probably lol in agreement.

So yeah, Jamaica, popularly known for its vibrant culture mainly due to the success of Reggae music. You touch road at night and you're bound to see them 8ft speaker boxes outside of a small rum bar blaring some revival, accompanied by smoke, not from ganja, but from the jerk pan. Sounds about right, right? I thought I was going to shake a leg that night. I was under 18 so them things brought great pleasure.

Well what many won't know is Jamaica is a very religious country. NYE combined with the millenium bug meant dances were empty and church was RAM!!! No disrespect to church, but I was gutted. I really wanted to hear the Bug and Bruk Out riddims in an outdoor dance environment. After church I ended up at my grandma's friends house. Don't even rememember getting there, only remember waking up there.

This was my favourite tune from that trip, when Bounty Killer was the poor people governor. Classic. "Peeeeeople ah deeeadd-uh"

The other favourite of mine was "The Fireman" Capleton. He had the place set a away!!!

Shame I hate "Slew dem ah bare feelings dem a carry" now its become a standard record in top 40 urban club DJs boxes.

I'm going to do my conclusion before you start skimming. 2000 was the last year of freedom in my opinion. We all know what happened in 2001. Life was still fun, TV & Music weren't as boring as they are now, technology was only on the increase not at a point where it dictated our lives. I enjoyed '00. I think I will do next weeks one (and beyond) over a series of days.

First things first; you weren't shit if you never had a face-off (Nokia 5110), Nike Cortez or TNs if you were ballin'. Snakes was the game on the face-off!!!

Common Slang

Striped = robbed
Beanies = girls
Heads = mandem
Shines = fellatio

What made the news? (key events)


Millenium Dome opened.


The ILOVEYOU virus - I kinda remember that. I'm sure it was one of the first kinds of worms which infected emails.

TATE Gallery opened - *shrugs* still haven't been there

Billionth person in India is born - that's literally a lot. I wonder what perks you get for that. If that was here in UK or in US, no doubt TV companies would be throwing all sorts of money for a reality show


France win Euro 2000 in dying minutes - World Cup winners snatched victory from the Italian's in Golden Goal. Wiltord equalised after 4 minutes of stoppage time, Trezeguet stole it 2mins from the end of 1st half in extra time. Top goalscorers were Patrick Kluivert and Savo Milosovic LMAO. Ain't heard them names in a while.

Sarah Payne - I'm sure this was the first of these type of news stories where kids were abducted and murdered for the decade. A few others followed but we'll get to that for the appropratite years. This was a sad story for obvious reasons. In the least sick and twisted way, I enjoyed watching the developments of these cases. I must stress I'm talking about big news stories in general, not the ones where people kids have been murdered.


Windows ME (Millenium Edition) landed - my second PC's operating system was ME. Computer was made by Time (they later went on to RIP pre-credit crunch).

Summer Olympics in Sydney Australia begins - All I rememebr from this are druggie Marion Jones going for 5 gold medals ("won" 4), Maurice Greene most probably won. These were the days of Yank domination so we don't really penny them, do we? Nah didn't think so.


October 30 – This is the final date during which there is no human presence in space; on October 31, Soyuz TM-31 launches, carrying the first resident crew to the International Space Station. The ISS has been continuously crewed since - Didn't know that but it's interesting.


Iraq disarmament crisis: Iraq rejects new U.N. Security Council weapons inspections proposals. Hmmm... I wonder what this will lead to...

November 7 – United States presidential election, 2000: Republican candidate Texas Governor George W. Bush defeats Democratic Vice President Al Gore in the closest election in history, but the final outcome is not known for over a month because of disputed votes in Florida. Not proclaiming to know anything that happens in the future but I bet you he wins a second term and is arguably the worst President in recent history!

Whilst over in south east London on the same day, an attempt to steal a precious diamond known as The Millenium Star which had been "on display" (really it was a replica at the time) at the controversial (at the time) Millenium Dome, is foiled by police surveillance.

27th - Damilola Taylor was fatally stabbed in the leg with a glass bottle aged 10. 2 brothers were later found guilty after 2 trials. I remember the police were slack in that case. Just found out the brothers are set to be paroled next year :/ I can't remember why but I'm sure there was some collection in school (or was it just posters) for him.


Millenium Doors closes it doors for the last time on 31st December. Did we miss it? like hell we did.

Pour out some liquor for (RIPs)

Big Pun - Still the best Puerto Rican rapper there ever was. His flow was incredible

Lolo Ferrari - Them breast, fake as Milli Vanilli, but they were awesome.

Paula Yates - Big Breakfast was a big boy show them times


To this day I feel it produced one of the most diverse and best list of number 1's. I liked nearly every single one and they produced quite a few pop classics. Whether it was R&B, House or straight Pop, it was quality mainsteam music. Some of my house/pop faves:

Following numerous fails, this song kick started Kylie's credible pop star career. I'll be honest, her batty did look alright in the gold hot pants when she did the spin.

Spice Girls linked with man of the times Rodney Jerkins to make an R&B track. Who wants to tell me they never felt this tune

Can't embed

I'm sure they officially split up that year. Mel C topped the charts with this gem. Featured a sick rap from fallen soldierette Left Eye

And I'm sure Mel B went solo. Her tune was a madness!!! Timbo was really the King them times. Mel B got married to that Jimmy Guzzula (ballhead yoot in the video) or whatever his name is. Has he come out as gay yet?

In the Hip Hop world, Eminem released his most critically acclaimed album Marshall Mathers LP which spawned 2 #1s (Real Slim Shady & Stan), Dr. Dre was still high off his 1999 release the chronic 2001 (yes, The Game, 2001 was released in 99). Ja Rule begun his proper push for commercial success with sophomore release Rule 3:36

To this day I still love this song

The 'ardest Hip-Hop record them times was Whoa! - Black Rob

Before Usher's dominance, the singing and dancing R&B man was the former blonde turned platinum coloured haired Sisqo. Did Thong Song not have one of the best R&B videos you ever seen? Club-scene at the end + white contacts + illuminous bikini's + girl with the breast = happy adolescent. This was legal soft porn I could watch without fear of changing the channel when my parents came in (hol' tight those with the cable boxes!!! Channels 25 and 58 yeah? Awwwwwwwlright). Mya's Case of the Ex was one of the only songs she made that I liked

Next had Wifey from Welcome II Nextasy, Jagged Edge had the whole of J. E. Heartbreak were reppin' male R&B groups. TLC still enjoying Fanmail time so they were doing their thing.

Destiny's Child changed their members and scored their first UK #1 (if I'm correct) with the co-produced and co-written by Beyoncé tune Independent Women. This was the beginning of Beyoncé the soloist. I class the album 'Survivor' as recorded by Beyoncé & Destiny's Child.

Latin Pop was popular back then. Still living off his hype from Livin La Vida Loca, one of the most annoying songs in history, Ricky Martin was a big boy star! Enrique Inglsias was about them times too.

But all of that was minor in comparison to my love for Delight 103. Garage was the ting them times.

2000 saw the first number 1 for someone spitting on Garage. Yep you guessed it, that light skin boy who used to get jacked all the time (if the rumours were to be believed_ over a sample from that A&E BBC1 show, Casualty.


Ironically, later on in his career Neutrino shot himself in the leg ('cos he's f**kin crazy like that)!

One of the best pop songs not to reach number 1? I actually said the title in the sentence. Reach by S Club 7


But you know what Xmas was number 1 in 2000?

Booobbbbbb The Builder

Kills all arguements of how good the #1's were that year


The biggest thing to happen to British TV started in year 2000. BIG BROTHER!!! A fresh, innovative idea of sticking 10 housemates together in a house was interesting. Don't ask me how or why but I started watching from the third day. I'm an original Big Bro watcher. The opening tune knocked!!!

Winner was Craig who gave his winnings to his mate who had down syndrome. Nasty Nick can lay claim to making Big Brother what it is today. Without the publicity it received after his cheating, who knows what would have happened next.

Anne Ronbison hosted The Weakest Link was also launched this year.

CSI premiered in US too

Ending that year were a couple of my favourites, The Gladiators, One Foot In The Grave with skengman Victor Mildrew and Boy Meets World (I really mean Topanga).

I used to watch EastEnders them times. Ethel drop out (poor liquor) & Kathy went to South Africa, Di Marco family went onto pastures new (Nikki was wonderful).

Disclaimer: I really could have gone on alllllll day reminiscing about a lot of things but
1. I'm trying to remember 10 years ago
2. There's only so much info I can (be bothered to) find online
3. Look at the length of the post already
4. It's 2000 according to me. I'm not a big film fan, I love music though.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

BNP on the BBC

So there's a lot of controversy concerning the appearance of racist/fascist/"nationalist" extreme right-wing BNP leader Nick Griffin appearing on fully skenged off show Question Time. Ok, more than a lot of controversy; this has been on the news for tiiiiiiiiiime (couple weeks equates to tiiiime), protesters outside the BBC building and all sorts. There's ag' in the village!

First things first, we need to get the formalities out of the way: Nick Griffin's face reminds me of that arcade you and your mandem - and sometimes random mandem join in - where you test how hard you can punch. I've found the run up and SMASH!!! works best for me. I don't condone violence, I'm just saying he has one of them faces.

Did I lie? (the gunge on his shoulder is egg)

The BNP are nothing more than professional racists. I respect them for that (in a sense), because unlike many other people they are slightly more blatant with it even though they try to deny it (who believes them apart from those who support/empathise with them?). In doing so, they expose the other racists in authority who we saw named and shamed in the leaks of BNP member lists.

As a proud black man myself, I see no problem with him being on the show. I understand people saying he shouldn't be allowed that forum, but fact is BNP are one of the fastest growing parties, recently actually managed to win 2 seats in European Parliament (MEPs). How many more people are going to know more about the BNP tonight than they would have known before? Will it really make a that much of a difference? Tories will win the next election and I doubt BNP will gain many more seats than they would have done without this appearance. All the BNP do is tap into the psyche of those who already lean that way.

The real problem, in my humble opinion, is not the platform this single show is giving them, rather the platform they really owe thanks to; everyday newspapers like The Scum or Sun whatever and Daily Express banging on about "these bloody foreigners" which in turn fuels the fools into thinking they are somewhat inferior to those "job-stealing/benefit-taking" aliens. I don't even understand that "logic"; how on one hand can you be complaining about them coming to sponge off the system, then complain they are taking all the jobs? It has to be one or the other no?

This has lead to BNP growing in support without really having to put money into Political Party advertising (or whatever it is). Those papers (and some news channels) make out like Englishmen and women are forced to scavenge on leftovers in their own country - that is the real problem NOT Question Time.

Also, maybe we should address why the BNP are so in-demand. Instead of sweeping everything under the carpet thus making the issue taboo which then leads to the problem intensifying, let's give the racists a soap-box. What they should do is level it with some reasonable non-hippy, non-too-politically-correct mid-left-wingers and some general people with sense to throw facts at him.

BNP manipulate the minds of the ignorant with half-truths and colourful vocabulary to make it seem as though the problem is a pandemic and requires urgent attention. It's a sad day when they are classed as the voice of "forgotten Britain" who coincidentally have always had an alien messing with them from the Irish, the black's to the Asians (Indians, Sri Lankans, Bengali's and Pakistani's), the Somalians now to the Eastern Europeans. Expose the whole truth in the face of the "nationlist" and let us hear his answers. Don't even give him open question which allow him to spew his nonsense, expose the half-truths and ignorance.

Like every relationshio, communication is the key. To solve this problem, we need to hear both sides in order to erase the ignorance. As long as there is balance, hopefully we are on track to solving it.

I guess these same people who cross the BNP box, protest about Bank Holiday for St. George's Day, wear the Union Jack with pride and proclaim their "Britishness" forget what their Great British empire who went around colonising these places did in years gone by. The chickens are just coming to mother England.

p.s. I am not a BBC employee so it's not that, but BBC are the evil guys at the moment therefore an easy-scapegoat. They themselves "waste taxpayers money on pampered presenters" namely Radio 1 loudmouth Chis Moyles and the "disrespectful" road-running-rebel Jonathan Ross (doesn't make sense, but I used alliteration because I doubt Wossy can pronounce it lol).

However, I do wonder why BBC (and Channel 4's program next week) are during Black History Month.

I will try to do a aftermath post.

Disclaimer: All IMO (in my opinion)

Perempay & Dee feat Shola Ama interview

26th October sees the release of UK Funky producers Perempay and Dee club-banger 'DJ Play' which features the distinct vocals of multi-platinum selling, two-time Brit Award winning R&B songstress Shola Ama. Marvin Sparks caught up with all 3 to discuss moving from grime to UK funky, their split opinion on MC's making UK funky, whilst Shola tells us where she has been and describes the change in the music industry.

Marvin Sparks: Who are Perempay and Dee and how did you unite?

Perempay: Perempay and Dee are a duo of producers. I met DaVinche [Dee] a long time ago being friends and been around the studio, and we came together to make some tunes.

Marvin Sparks: You were both in the grime scene but under different names; Bossman [Perempay] and DaVinche [Dee]. Why did you both change your names?

Perempay: Different music, different time.

Dee: We’re doing something new in a new genre with new people, without having the old stigma/things attached to it.

Perempay: It’s about not confusing them as well. If you put Bossman on a flyer, people are expecting grime but Perempay you know is house. No confusion

Marvin Sparks: What roles would you say you both play individually within the duo?

Perempay: There aren’t any roles. One day he’ll jump on the beats first, one day I will. Just depends on who gets the vibe first.

Dee: Definitely a 50/50. We just work together.

Marvin Sparks: Was there a particular reason why you both moved from grime to funky?

Dee: I haven’t actually moved from grime, I’m still very much DaVinche and doing grime stuff, a lot of R&B and hip hop stuff. Perempay?

Perempay: I just wanted to do something different. Found a new love. Started listening to house, then wanted to make it. That’s the reason why.

Dee: I remember jumping in his car certain times and he’d be playing a house tune, really early before everyone started listening to it. I would say ‘Fam, we could make this you know. [Laughs] Listen to that melody, we could do our own,’ so it was pretty natural. When you love something and hear what you can bring to it... it’s not always about being able to just do it, you have to know what you can bring to it and we felt we can bring to it from what we do.

Marvin Sparks: And what do you feel you bring to it?

Dee: Songs and UK stuff. People hadn’t started putting UK songs to it and putting actual bass lines and stuff on the music when we started doing it. Now everyone’s doing it, and it’s doing well, but we started doing it early on.

Marvin Sparks: Your new single features Shola Ama. How and why did you get involved on this song?

Shola Ama: These two [Perempay and Dee] were making tracks, they had done Something In The Air [featuring Katie Pearl] and some other songs featuring other singers. They were throwing names of names about of who they‘d like to get involved and my name came up. Me and Dee had mentioned we were going to work together from before when he was doing stuff with Sadie [Ama]. I got the call to go and vibe in the studio and jammed.

For those who have been wondering where Shola Ama has been since we last heard from you, what have you been up to?

Shola: A lot, I’ve been up to a lot. After my second album which didn’t do so well here, I had a lot of success in France, so I spent a lot of time touring in France. I did a two-and-a-half month stadium tour across France. I signed a deal with a Japanese label which was to make an album; I also made an agreement with a French label and was putting out music over there. I was still working heavily in France and working with French artists ‘cos it’s a big market for me over there.

After that, my 3rd album over there, I just took a break from music really. Just living, motherhood and all of that kind of stuff really. I was still making music but I didn’t actually sit down and focus on an album project as such. I was writing with my sister Sadie - I’m always writing stuff - done a couple tracks with Terror Danjah and bits and bobs. Only really in the last year and a half that I’ve said ‘Right, time for an album’.

Is there a particular reason why you have chosen now to come back?

Shola: ‘Cos I love it and it’s what I do. After doing it from the age of whatever, then professionally from 15, for me to turn around 15 years later after doing something and saying ’Ok, I’m going to do something else now, that’s not my job anymore’ is just crazy. This is what I love doing.

I think something changed in me. After all the madness of the success of the first album, it got to the point where the love for it kinda died and it just became really, really, really hard work and a bit of a strain. A lot went on for me, but then I found that love again through working with young people - that love, passion and hunger kind of reignited. I started to love it again. Being on stage and everything that goes with it, I just started to enjoy.

Working with my sister introduced me to a different side of it; different world, different people and a younger scene. My experience’s are of value here. I started doing mentoring, teaching and working with young people and helping them to song write and it reminded me that I do this for a reason, and I should get back into music.

Marvin Sparks: How would you say the scene’s changed now?

Shola: It’s a different industry now. It’s a completely different industry now. Artists are more self-sufficient and people are a lot more people have got their stuff together now because they have to. Back when I was doing it, I was selling a whole load of records, because the whole downloading thing wasn’t about, video budgets were huge and it was just a completely different world. Whereas now, people do everything themselves, everything's online and it’s just a different industry so I’ve had to re-educate myself. The only way to learn in this business is action. You can read about stuff, hear about it, but until you actually do it, you don’t actually know.

Marvin Sparks: Aside from your sister Sadie Ama who you obviously rate, which other females are you feeling in the UK urban scene?

Shola: I love Miss Dynamite; always loved Naomi and what she does. Amy Winehouse is one of my favourite singers. Kele Le Roc is an amazing singer.

Marvin Sparks: Any up-and-coming ones?

Shola Ama: Do you know who I really rate at the moment? Princess Nyah. I really like, not just what she’s doing musically, but she’s got her whole business game down and very hard-working so I really respect that. She’s got a clothing line etc. There’s a few people, there’s a lot of talented young people out there. I like Egypt [who sings] In The Morning.

Marvin Sparks: Perempay and Dee, who would you most like to collaborate with?

Perempay: Don’t know. For us it’s not necessarily about artists [people] actually know, but the ones who aren’t you so-called household names. It’s about finding new singers. For example, our new tune Addictive features Cleo Soul. A few people may know her from DaVinche’s first single with Bashy [Riding For Love].

Marvin Sparks: She was on Tears by Tinie Tempah too.

Dee: Yeah she was on that too.

Marvin Sparks: You two produce more soulful sounding UK Funky, but that hasn’t really taken off mainstream chart-wise like the skanks have. Why do you think that is?

Dee: We aren’t the first people to make that genre and it’s never really been a mainstream genre. I don’t think that’s what it’s about. I think it’s a genre with songs made like, they’ve always been kind of soulful, deep... self-indulgent songs I call them. They are about how you feel emotionally and the world and that. It’s more like neo-soul music - Jill Scott and them kind of artists - so it wasn’t supposed to be mainstream.

Marvin Sparks: Would either of you consider working with any MC’s? What are your opinions on MC’s on UK funky?

Perempay: What‘s your opinion on them? [Looks at Dee and laughs]

Dee: Ok, we have different opinions on this. I’m cool with it, I don’t mind it, but I come from a background of so many different genres. I like mixing and matching things that aren’t supposed to fit. What’s your opinion on it? [Looks at Perempay]

Perempay: Whereas me, I’m happy for everyone doing their thing, but me personally, I don’t really play that sort of stuff.

Dee: He is a house DJ, and being a DJ you have to have passion for the music. DJ’s have a passion for a scene. As artists and producers we have passions for music, but DJ’s have a passion for the scene. He comes from keeping the music strong for what it has been known for and the house scene has never had that MC’ing stuff so it doesn’t really sit well with someone who wants to keep the music real. Did that make sense?

[Everyone in the room replies yes]

Dee: The soulful stuff is what got me into the music. I’ve been through the whole MC stuff back in the day and I used to love that, but I don’t know, I’ve kind of moved on a bit.

Marvin Sparks: Is this single from an album?

Perempay: No

Marvin Sparks: Are there any plans for an album with the same concept of you producing and featured vocalists?

Dee: We talk about it, but at the moment we are just making the singles and we’ll see if an album follows.

Marvin Sparks: What are the aims for your singles? Chart-wise the funky scene hasn’t really taken off like that so is it about compilation licensing, PA’s and radio airplay?

Dee: We just like making music. When we give it to people they like playing it, so we are just going to carry on doing that. If chart success happens then big up, great, thank you. If it doesn’t, I’ll still enjoy making music knowing people went out at night and enjoyed it.

Perempay: That’s the main thing about making people hear our music. We have a vibe in the studio, it’s about people hearing that vibes when the tune is on the radio, in a club or in their car on a CD.

Marvin Sparks: So what can we expect from you in 2010?

Perempay: More vibes.

Dee: More music.

Shola: [Laughs]And an album by the same title

Marvin Sparks: And how about you Shola?

I’m working on my fourth album at the moment. I’ve got a song called ‘Blow’ with Giggs and a song with Wretch 32. My albums going to be dropping in the New Year, and I’ve got a couple of other projects in the pipeline with my sister. I just want to do what I love again - more touring as well. For me it’s like, what goes on here is great as well but there are other territories I want to take it to and go and do tours and go back to the wonderful territories that have been good to me before and let them hear new stuff.

Words by Marvin Sparks [ @marvinsparks]

DJ Play is available to purchase from 26th October

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

I Heard Rihanna Dropped A New Single

... but I haven't heard it. Not really my thing more time, so I'll hear it in due course. What I did see was the artwork and pics behind the scenes of the video.

Let's join together and salivate. Ladies too 'cos lesbian-est we all like a bit of Rihanna

Man she is so hot. Them leaked pics didn't do anything bad for her at all. Definitely one of the sexiest women in entertainment. Haven't heard her open her mouth to talk in a while so she's still high up in the ranks. Her singing isn't all that, but I don't listen to her songs.

WTF?! Please Say That Is NOT Beyonce

I spotted this over at the gorgeous Max from 1Xtra's blog.

Actually, I'm gonna tell you a little story - the creative side of my brain has kidnapped my fingers. Now, when you see the inspiration, I know you are going to think "All of that for this?" but what can I say? My brain is running.

After No x4 as part of the original Destiny's Child and the 2nd song with JD I've been a fan of Beyoncé. Thought she was the sexiest thing alive, plus her name was on a next ting. Imagined her being my girlfriend, tore out pics from magazines etc. all the things we do as kids.

I must admit once upon a time, I remember it vividly, it was around the time she was about to release the second album BDay, I never thought she was all that. Media hype turned me off her like media help me dislike certain national football teams/football players. Her peak, for me, was around the time of Goldmember. My gawd she looked mad healthy.

Let's all adore

*just manages to close mouth as dribble drops*

She fell off after that though. Looked like she lost weight to be accepted universally for her beauty. That Baby Boy vid (big tune) was the turning point. Obviously she started her fling with the boof mout' bwoy Jay-Z by this time. That was devastating. No homo needed but if it was someone girls liked for example Usher I wouldn't have complained. Rags, I'm possibly better looking than Jay-Z.

The dancing bit in the sand offends me to this day

Then I was invited to her album listening party. Took the day off work (legit I swear), obviously I wanted to hear the music, it was also the chance to see my estranged girlfriend (she never knew at the time... ok she still doesn't know) but even more than that to see if she was worth the hype. This was make-or-break stuff. Waited for about 30mins (longest 30 mins in my life), had a bite of some mini burger I could have sky'd and swallowed in one (if it didn't look like the cook just finished killing the blasted thing) and waited some more.

Finally there was some movement outside, the paps begun to move frantically. I spotted someone I recognised from TV. "Oh look it's, it's..." "Matzih Varni?" (not really I stole that from Michael Jackson's Speed Demon)... (ok I'll get my coat, that was dry). I'll start again shall I? I spotted someone I recognised from TV. "It's, it's, that's her mum?" I asked my friend (after a nudge of excitement). She (my friend) didn't seem too bothered. Mum was much smaller in real-life (isn't everyone?). Anyway, now I knew Beyoncé was in the building. The excitement in my bones (no crude jokes thanks) grew (I warned you!!!), for the first time ever I felt like a fan. Wasn't going to faint or scream for that matter, this is industry invite-only business - can't look like that fool.

Mic man took to the stage, "Ok, she's about to walk in" I whispered in my bassy-est voice (that's me tryna man up). He announced Beyoncé, we stood up like it was an important political figure, the doors burst open, and in came... these two fat blokes a.k.a. security. So now I'm trying to tip-toe to get the exclusive first eye-contact with Beyoncé (that's me increasing the chances of love at first sight). Lemar was in the building so I had to be quick of the mark (no no homo required). In she walked, open was my mouth. Missed the eye-contact because a. I got a nudge back after repeatedly nudging my friend again and b. I kept blinking in amazement.

Finally we meet!!! At this point, it was just me and her in the room. She walked maybe 2 feet in front of me, I saw her smile and wave at me (on my life), but I was still blinking. She stayed to introduce a couple tunes; remember it like it was yesterday. First was DeJa Vu with the geriatric camel (fully hating), up next was exclusive showing of Ring The Alarm. Woi what-a-terrible song. Irreplaceable was after that. I'm gonna hold the list there; from I first heard that song I knew it would be a smash. It's just one of them songs alie? Fourthly (can you say that?) was Green Light. Then off she went.

Babylon (some form of authority not police or anything special like that) in the venue tried to tell us we weren't allowed to take pics and to turn off all phones. Man like me iz a rebel so I switched off my phone (no reception anyway), but turned the flash off my camera and took sneaky pics.

Was an absolute stunner

Couldn't believe it. Stopped off at two bredrin's (friends) houses to show them the evidence on the way home. Gotta make the most of it, right? There was an England match on so there were more bredrins in one place than usual.

However, (back to the original point now) nothing has offended my eyes since the Baby Boy vid like this has

Hands up, who wants to tell me that is not a younger version of Latoya Jackson? Wha' gwarn for her face? It doesn't match the glorious golden brown legs. And the ratty weave? I don't even mind a girl with horse or imported hair. I'm with TLC on "You can buy you hair if it won't grow," but at least make it look presentable. The weave look all frass out. Ladies holla at me and break it down where she went wrong. I'm so confused right now. I need help understanding how one so magnificent can even look like this on a bad day. Beyonce and bad day's don't go. Like Marmite and, well, erm, anything it doesn't go.

Just imagine, if she waved at me looking like this, this post would have never happened.

We know she's gonna be looking banging again, was most probably hot stuff by the end of that day, so don't take this as I've quit pursiting. I'm just horrified. For now I'll stick to my other crushes Sadie Ama and fellow top 3 UK selected Cheryl Cole (Max could possibly be third. Isn't she just adorable?).

p.s. I know the internet is a powerful place, but there isn't a need to actively snitch to any of the females mentioned. Let cupid work his magic else karma will come for you!

p.p.s. *thinking out aloud* I may make this another one of my series'. Will try to come up with a catchy title and boom.

Tune of the Day - Chan Dizzy - Nuh Sell Out

Don't usually do this but I'll make an exception for this tune. The way I've listened to this more than 8 times in the hour. Big tune! Recently I've been on a conscious medz when it comes to Dancehall/Bashment. I'm gonna do a top 10 'cos people ask me a lot, my medz will be reflected in that.

Came across this tune today by my newly-crowned favourite camp Head Concussion's protege Chan Dizzy.

Russian and Brixton from Head Concussion are doing a lot right now. Their riddims aren't the most traditional dancehall sounding, many would say they lean a lot towards Hip Hop which is true in a sense, but do they sound like beats you hear rappers on? I prefer to say there are elements of Hip hop but it's a variation of dancehall and adds to the versatility of the genre.

Either way the riddims are hard and they still have a bass line. Even though I'm not hot on the name, Chan Dizzy has a big tune on his hands!!! Heartfelt, uplifting ghetto-youth bars seems to be the new trend in dancehall, especially on singles. He's got a good voice as well. Song kinda reminds me of when Konshens first buss with Winner. Hope this gets shown love.

Love how the music moves in cycles; from gunplay in '07 to money in 08 now inspirational hold your head up tunes for 09 and beyond. Will try to do a blog on it one day.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Levi Roots Interview x Black History Month

For Black History Month last year I wanted to forget about worshipping black icons of the past and chose to focus on current. No disrespect to them, but people always complain there aren't enough about black role models about nowadays, so I thought I'd appreciate current one.

I went on a mission to find a black person who is doing something positive for themselves. Instead of an obscure politician or financial investment banker no one really knows, I thought I'd keep it contemporary, going with comedian and businessman Kojo. Everyone sees him as just a comedian but either don't realise or forget that he is more than that and has achieved a lot, namely his 5 years and (started) counting (again the other day) Comedy Club in West End's Corks Wine Bar.

Hate or love him personally or his jokes, one thing is undeniable; the man is doing a lot for himself and the whole urban comedy circuit FULL STOP! He has given a platform to most of our favourite comedians directly or indirectly. May not be on inspirational levels of Martin Luther and them guys but not many people are. And so what?! Does that take away from his achievements? Awwwl'right den! Read that interview here

This year, I really wanted one man. Never thought I'd get him but thought it would be a good look if I did. Then one day I get a BBM asking if I was free to interview someone I regard as very inspirational and rate highly. Mr Reggae Reggae Sauce himself, Levi Roots!!! Originally I wouldn't have been able to do a face-to-face but I managed to free the schedule so I could. "JAH PROVIDES" was my tweet (@MarvinSparks) after I finished.

Shouts to

Levi Roots, commonly known as Mr. Reggae Reggae Sauce man/entrepreneur returns to his reggae musical roots with the release of his album aptly-titled Red Hot. Marvin Sparks caught up with the former Best Reggae MOBO Award nominee Levi Roots to speak of growing up in Brixton in the 70s with the controversial Sus law, the rapid growth of Reggae Reggae Sauce, what a reggae singer turned millionaire celebrity chef sings about and which dish he compares his latest album to.

With October being the month we celebrate Black History Month, I asked one of the recently named 100 Most Influential Black People if there is still a need for Black History Month.

Marvin Sparks: Today we are in Brixton where you grew up.

Levi Roots: Yes I grew up here from the age of 12 and lived here for the whole of my life so I know Brixton quite well [laughs]

Marvin Sparks: What was it like growing up in Brixton back then?

Levi Roots: Well it was a rollercoaster really of good and bad. In the early days it wasn't really good because I grew up in the days of the Sus law when you didn’t really have to do anything but be black and you got in trouble. It was a terrible time when I was growing up in the 70s being a black man in Brixton, especially if you were young and wanted to have fun. If you were young and quiet then it was ok, but if you wanted to have fun, a lifestyle and an identity then you had a lot of problems.

Marvin Sparks: It has obviously changed a lot since then.

Levi Roots: It has changed a lot; Brixton’s cool now. I call it the centre of the universe.

Marvin Sparks: How did you find the whole Dragon’s Den experience?

Levi Roots: Easy! It was easy for me. It wasn’t difficult. I was doing what I knew best. I didn’t pretend, I didn’t go and lie to myself, I was true to myself, I was true to my ability, I played to my strengths, and when you do that you can’t go wrong if you’re true to yourself!

Marvin Sparks: So it was an easy decision to sing instead of the conventional pitches we were and still are used to seeing? It could have ended horribly wrong!

Levi Roots: For me, I never knew Dragon’s Den before. I’m probably the only person that’s gone on there that’s never seen the show. I don’t think anyone else would dare enough to do that. Everyone else that’s gone on there knows of the routine, what to do, they know what the Dragon’s are like, they know which Dragon to pitch towards and they know the setting. For me, I just thought I was going to a gig and that’s all it was. I’m going to do a performance to some guys who say they have a lot of money and they can change my life. I didn’t see them as 5 guys, I saw them as 5,000 guys as I normally perform at festival and such!

Marvin Sparks: Did you ever envision Reggae Reggae sauce would be this big so quickly after the show?

Levi Roots: I think quickly is the key word there. I believed it be massive and big, I really did believe that, but not in the space of time which it has. We were outselling Heinz Tomato Ketchup within its first 3 weeks of being on the shelf. It’s the fastest produced food type in 6, no it was 4 weeks from scratch; going from the factory, setting up the whole business, getting it into Sainsbury's and selling all that 250,000 in just a week. There hasn’t been anything like that ever in food manufacturing and that’s in Sainsbury’s history as the fastest selling product they have ever put out.

Marvin Sparks: Congratulations on that!!! But before the Reggae Reggae sauce, there was music. How did you first get into the music side of things?

Levi Roots: Music was always in the family and as a Jamaican I think most Jamaicans; music is always something that we aspire to be in link with. Whether it’s singing, producing or just being around sound systems or dancehall’s, most Jamaicans will aspire to do that and I was no different. I was in a very musical background family so it was a natural progression from me to get involved in music as I did when I left school. It has been a long time coming what is happening to me musically.

Marvin Sparks: Many people who just see you as Mr. Reggae Reggae Sauce may not be sure what a chef could be singing about. What inspires you musically?

Levi Roots: Well I come from the days when singers were singing about consciousness. When Reggae music was used solely to convey message of Africa, message of peace and love, message of what Rasta was up to and how Rasta see Haile Selassie I and the father [God/Jah], and how you live. It was about The Bible; I would say 80% of the lyrics that were coming when I was young were from The Bible - lyrics that people sung from The Bible and actually singing it in their own way. I had a very good introduction into the music because of the time I was from as opposed to nowadays where it is more about bling and me, me, me, especially within rap. But back in my days it was about roots and culture, that’s what made me discover who I am, want to dreadlocks my hair and change my whole identity and get involved in music.

Marvin Sparks: Who would you say were your favourite artists?

Levi Roots: Back then of course it would have to be Bob Marley because he was the voice for everybody back then in the 70s. He was the most charismatic artist coming out of Jamaica plus he was sending great messages. His songs after the 60 weren’t really about love - he did a lot of lovers in the 60’s, American stuff that he was influenced by - but when it came to the 70s and he started to become a Rasta, most of his lyrics were some kind of soul searching and try to identify yourself with what he was trying to say.

Marvin Sparks: And that’s what you try to replicate?

Levi Roots: Absolutely.

Marvin Sparks: What was the reason behind naming the album Red Hot?

Levi Roots: We recorded the album quite a few years before it actually came out, and Red Hot was just a track that I recorded with the producers Mafia& Fluxy. It was just a track about my days in the sound system where lyrics were predominantly talking about my sound [system] is better than yours. It was a soundman track back then and it was very well received. The rhythm became very popular because we had artists like Luciano and others on the same rhythm. So I named the album after that because it says about what I’m doing now; it’s Red Hot and the scotch bonnet and the food and everything like that.

Marvin Sparks: Have you found it difficult getting people to see you as a musician instead of a chef doing music?

Levi Roots: It will tell now. The album is not out yet, so people have not had a chance to experience the music yet. The album hasn’t had time to get around for people to hear or hear me in my natural way of inspiring myself which is with my own music. I’m hoping that in the next few months when the album gets around and people start hearing me sing different from the Reggae Reggae Sauce song they will probably say ‘Ah, he’s alright’ as opposed to me singing the same jingle all the time. I’m glad that people will have to chance to hear something different.

Marvin Sparks: Is it difficult balancing the business ventures with music?

Levi Roots: No it’s not; it’s not difficult at all. I think the best thing I did was to call it Reggae Reggae sauce, and call the business Reggae Reggae, because that allows me to keep the livelihood and the business going together and I think one bounces off the other. It’s precisely because its called Reggae Reggae sauce why it’s selling anyway.

The brand reggae is now in homes that normally wouldn’t have anything to do with reggae because of where the sauce is and this bottle with the Rasta colours and the typical Jamaican saying ‘I am black and I’m Jamaican’ standing out in some cupboard that would never ever have anything like that in there. I’m hoping that alone will help to break down certain barriers.

You open up a cupboard somewhere in middle England and see that there you’re going to think ‘what the f*ck is that doing in there?’ [Laughs] ‘I love that sauce man!.’ They send me emails and stuff.

Marvin Sparks: You yourself are an inspritational figure, but what would you say is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

Levi Roots: Be myself and it was Peter Jones who said that to me. I remember coming out of the Dragon’s Den, and as I said I didn’t know what it was like and never knew what to expect afterwards, he had invested so I was like ‘How am I going to play this? Am I going to wake up tomorrow and be the one of the most famous people around?’ [Laughs] He just said ‘You haven’t got to do anything, just be who you are because that is what people liked about you on TV. They didn’t like you because you acted like you knew figures or business plan or you were an archetypal entrepreneur who knew everything about business. You just came as you and people loved you for that.’

I think being yourself is one of the best pieces of advice I could say to anybody who has got some plans, just be you. At the end of the day, it’s easy being you. Only you can play you the best way. You don’t want to go and pretend then get caught out later on, so it’s best to be yourself.

Marvin Sparks: October is Black History month. I’ll be honest with you, I really wanted to interview you for this month and luckily here I am. Many people question it; would you say there is still a need for Black History Month?

Levi Roots: That’s a very good question. Erm [pause] I really don’t know, you’ve got me on that one there because it’s like a double-edged sword. I think on one hand we still need it because you’ve still got people out there... for instance last night [14th October 2009] I was at the Prime Ministers house at 10 Downing Street and it was the calling of the 100 Most Influential black people in the country of which I am one of them.

In that sense, I saw that it is needed because when I saw 100 influential black people last night it really struck me that why are we looking for black role models? We’ve got a whole load of them here. The thing is nobody knows of them. I never knew them. I could count maybe just a few; I saw Tim Campbell [The Apprentice] who I know well, Kanya King [MOBO], Baroness Amos, Garth Crooks [footballer] and a few other iconic black faces that I know who have done great things, but 90% I didn’t know who they were and it was a sad thing.

I think in that respect it is still needed because our kids need to know how influential our people are in this country and there are ’nuff of them who deserve biggin’ up. Just say like how the white race big up their own and call it heritage, and make statues and all kinds of stuff of their great people and write about them in books so their children can see who Thomas Edison and those people are, we need to be knowing who Tim Campbell is, who is Alexander Amosu, who is Wilfred Emmanuel the black farmer and what he does - someone like him does great jobs and I’m sure most black kids don’t know who he is. Wilfred Emmanuel Jones has got a farm, he’s one of the biggest sausage selling factories going, he’s a millionaire and doing great things. In that respect it is needed.

In the other way, maybe what I said a lot last year and some people thought it was controversial is that we as a people look too much on the past. It’s time we started to look at the future. We big up the heroes of the past too much. I know that people without the knowledge of the past will never know their future - we done know that already - but we are always talking about Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King, Malcom X, blah blah, but what about the people like I met last night? Let’s find them and start talking about them in the same vein as we do the dead heroes and we’ll see how much of a change can come about.

I’ll answer it that way; in one sense we need it because of what I saw last night, but in another sense we don’t need it if we keep biggin’ up these dead ones and these old ones. Let’s big up the new ones who were there last night who I was so shocked to see that so many powerful black people - millionaires - who have got a lot of money to invest in our young people.

Marvin Sparks: The BBC 2 series Caribbean Food Made Easy was very well-received. Are there any more lined up?

Levi Roots: Yeah, BBC are falling over backwards to fit me in other things. They’ve sent me so many scripts and bigger scripts because the first one was so successful, they really want me. It’s for me to look at these scripts and choose the right one. What I think will do good for Caribbean food, it’s not about Levi Roots. It’s about the bigger picture; it’s about how I can expose Caribbean food, because if I can be the market leader in Caribbean food then that’s massive, so I’ve got to be looking at Caribbean food. That’s what I want to take to the mainstream and then out of that I can have a big slice of the cake from that, but it will help Caribbean food be up there with Indian, Chinese and all other foods. I’m looking forward to another series on BBC definitely.

Marvin Sparks: Have you got a restaurant or anything where people can experience your food?

Levi Roots: Yes, the 'Rastarant' [sic] is in Battersea. The address is 8 Lavender Road, Sw11 2UG and it’s called the Papine Jerk Centre.

Marvin Sparks: Is Papine where you are originally from in Jamaica?

Levi Roots: I actually had a place called the Papine Pool Centre in Brixton back in the 80s which used to help people come off the streets and have something to do. It was really because Papine is a place in Jamaica that is like a terminus; all the buses go there and turn around before heading back to Kingston. It’s like a meeting place, so it’s like saying [the restaurant] is a meeting place, like Clapham Junction is the major train station, so it’s like come and meet at Papine.

Marvin Sparks: What dish would you compare your music to?

Levi Roots: [Long pause] I know one, I compare it to my Martinique chicken curry, because Martinique chicken curry, for me that recipe in my book is one that uses nearly all of the fruits in the Caribbean to cook with. It’s really a recipe cooked with fruits and it utilises a lot of fruits of the Caribbean and it’s pretty and sweet. I think that’s how my music is, it utilises the elements of Dub, Red sound and power, which is all the elements that go into making good roots music. It’s Rasta man music, so that‘s how I’d describe it. Also, there’s a door in my music that allows people to get in there and lose themselves in it, and there isn’t a lot of types of music that allows that.

Marvin Sparks: Anything else you’d like to say?

Levi Roots: My 3 points for young entrepreneurs trying to get onto the road my 3 prongs of advice are:

1. Make sure you have a plan. You’ve got to have a plan, a business plan about anything, whatever it is but you’ve got to have a plan.
2. Be passionate about that plan
3. Focus on long term

Interview conducted by Marvin Sparks []

Lead single So Out Of My Mind lifted from album Red Hot

Levi Roots album Red Hot is available to buy - 19th October 2009
Levi Roots cookbook Caribbean Food Made Easy is OUT NOW
Reggae Reggae Sauce is available is all good stores.
For more info on Britain's 100 Most Influential Black People click