Friday, 23 July 2010

Flavour mag Cover Story by moi

Flavour cover stars 23-year-old DaVinChe – who produced Kano’s smash hit Brown Eyes – and songstress Cleo Sol, 19, met through MySpace when DaVinChe heard her sing an unmastered song. Their new single Addicted is a funky tune guaranteed to be on your summer playlists. We caught up with the duo to talk music, school days, and lessons learned

You can head over to and read the whole magazine with feautures from Trey Songz, Big Boi and much more

For more interviews that I've done in reggae (Morgan Heritage, Busy Signal, Tarrus Riley, Beres Hammond...), UK Funky, artists from grime (Chipmunk, Tinchy, Skepta, Bashy...), US hip hop and r&b (TI, John Legend, Trey Songz, Akon...) click here

Damian Marley & Nas 'Distant Relatives' concert Review (MeView)

Disclaimer: I wrote this on my BlackBerry, whilst on holiday, so if there are any mistakes or bits that don't make sense, please forgive me. Catch the review of Distant Relatives here

I've been told I go in on the reviews. I guess it's because I retell every nook and cranny. So I've decided to call it a MeView instead of review? Why? Because I'm weird like that :D

So the day of the concert I predicted will be concert of the year was finally here; Damian 'Jr. Gong' Marley & Nas Distant Relatives concert lands in London, England - Hammersmith Apollo to be precise - after the cancelled date in May due to volcanic ash. Two legends, united to craft the best hip-hip (can I call this genre-colliding project hip-hop?) album I've heard in a few years. Armed with an innovative, inspirational, introspective, incredible, (and again what I class as, and you should to, to be honest) a classic album sure to stand the test of time, will the concert live up to my billing?

Unfortunately the traffic on Fulham Palace Road means that this review misses out on the performances from top UK support; rapper Ty, and rapper x punk rocker x all out rebel Akala. I've seen Ty perform before on a couple of occasions and know he must have held it down, sighted Akala once at Love Music Hate Racism in 09 sounded alright. So yeah, I'm guessing they did it well.

1Xtra's Hip Hop flag bearer DJ Semtex held it down with what I'd guess was a solid hip hop set filled with a bunch of classics, but yeah you guessed it, I was still on the roadside these times.

Sidebar: I assure you this was not to do with running on BMT (the derogatory acronym "black man time"). They had stupid temporary traffic lights narrowing the road down to one lane.

Back to the story, literally ran for 5mins because I kept up to date via Twitter (who said social-networking sites are the devil?) as I'd heard (read a tweet) that a legend will grace the stage. Touched down inside the venue to witness the most knowledgeable selector I personally know of burn down the stage. David 'Ram Jam' Rodigan, the dub-wise s'maddy (patois for "somebody"). You know what you get when he's on; history and geography lesson about artist, then a clean dubplate received by immense forwards and gunfingers aloft. Those artists were Dennis Brown ('To The Foundation' & 'Here I Come'), Garnett Silk ('Lord Watch Over Shoulders'), Beres Hammond ('What One Dance Can Do') Junior Reid ('One Blood') and Buju Banton & Ninja Man in combination on the Sleng Teng riddim. All of which got major forwards. Oh and we can't forget the honourary Bob Marley - you didn't think we'd get away with that did you?! I was taken back by the responses. As an avid reggae fan, I sometimes fall into the trap as a lot of people that forget the power of the genre amongst, thinking it's only a genre popular amongst ethnic minorities (Africans but mainly Caribbeans). The multi-cultural crowd lapped it up.

At this point I realised how hot it was inside; my armpits were putting down a storm, smelt fresh as daisy's on a spring morning though - know this. The sensimillia did ah bun hard too. Next and last DJ set belonged to the Evil Genius, the duos tour DJ Green Lantern. He drew for hip hop classics from yesteryear from the likes of DMX (Ruff Ryders Anthem), Black Rob (Whoa), and Wu-Tang ('Triumph' I lost my head when that dropped). Obviously had the tribute to 2pac and Biggie. The whole crowd sung along to an acapella of Juicy, which when you think about it, a lot of the people in the audience weren't the generation that would have checked for Biggie at the time of release or even at point of death. The power of a well-written and constructed classic song. Oh yeah, some random dude came out on stage, I recognised the beat, kind of heard a part of Green Lantern's introduction, but I couldn't hear anything. Clocked it was Jay Electronica's Just Blaze produced 'Exhibit C', but "What was that Jay? Huh? Can't hear ya mate?" The microphone didn't work for at least 6 bars. Peak.

Out popped this random Ras, once again I'm wondering "who's this random Ras? That isn't Jammer is it?" Please note: I didn't really wonder if it was Jammer; that was thrown in for (poor) comedy effect. Turns out, it was Damian's chef (shouts to @EmmaGemmaAmy follow her) turned host. He is the second of the 3 randoms. The last is a hero amongst men, women and children. I'm sure you've all heard about him "drum roll please" *clears throat* "he iiiiiis...the real flag man!" For those of you unfamiliar with the flag man, artists from the Rastafarian faith always have one on stage waving a red, gold and green flag. He is an integral part of the proceedings.

On to the headline performance, they entered with As We Enter, obviously. Well it was just a snipped before Tribes At War then Nah Mean. Nas performed the second verse Nah Mean over the Bam Bam riddim (Murder She Wrote by Chaka Demus & Pliers fully equipped with a dancehall mix (if you know what I'm talking about, you know. If you don't, it's when the instruments play in stabs). Not gonna tell you the whole set list because they will be back in April. Nas solo material up first; a track from I Am... (Nas is Like) and Illmatic (Represent), Hip Hop is Dead (the irony of that tune; good message but dead tune), couple tracks from It Was Written (Street Dreams & If I Ruled the World). Damian rejoined Nas for a couple more Distant Relatives tracks then Damian's solo set. Damian started with The Mission (same riddim as Mavado 'On The Rock'), before his verse on the remix of Mykal Rose's 'Shoot Out'. Next up were a couple songs I'm sure majority of the crowd never knew but the whole place was rocking and "ah walk and skank". A couple Bob Marley tracks were performed, but they weren't the obvious (No More Trouble, can't remember the other). It is worth pointing out Jr. Gong seemed to come into his element after taking a rather laid back approach earlier whilst Nas handled majority of the verses.

Once again more songs from the album, one thing I do remember is Nas either forgetting the lyrics or not being able to catch the beat on Promise Land. From I heard the album, that track stood out as the one Nas seemed to find the most difficult.

Nas' solo bit seemed to be a bit more "commercial fan-friendly" with tracks like Made You Look, Got Yourself a Gun, and Hate Me Now, but amongst the other songs Damian performed, the moment it sounded like most people waited for was "Out in the streets, they call it murther" (yes Ini Kamoze says "murther" not "murder") from Welcome To Jamrock. If sound could lift a roof off a building, Hammersmith would be a drop top. He had no choice but to wheel it from top and drop again my selector-tor-tor *fade out*...

Now I can't remember the next bit properly, so forgive me if the order is incorrect. Somewhere along the lines they performed a song where it seemed like the whole crowd had a lighter, my favourite song Africa Must Wake Up, they disappeared, crowd chanted for more, random Ras/host asking if we want more, deafening response, Nas performed One Mic, Damian Marley performed Could You Be Loved, As We Enter, the end.

Oh and Amy Winehouse was whining up next to the speaker. She's a friend of both Nas and Damian. In fact, her and Jr. Gong was supposedly working together at one point last year. Hope those songs come to light.

In conclusion, I believe people will look back on this as the concert of the year. The fact they performed all but one track from a 14-track album to a great response, proves to me, it is a solid album. Not to compare or put them against each other (but I am doing both), Damian Marley is by far the better performer of the two. Good music still lives. Album sales of the album may not be good, but if they keep selling out shows with stellar performances, they will make some good money. You don't have to talk about hustling and frontin' to be popular. And finally, when they return, it is imperative that you go to see them!!!

Lastly, if you blagged tickets to go to Wireless Festival to see Jay-Z yet again last week, but didn't even think to blag this one, #iCantRateYou

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Marvin Sparks interviews Gappy Ranks for MTV UK

Marvin Sparks caught up with Gappy Ranks to discuss how recent commercial success by home grown urban artists affects him as a UK reggae artist, whether he’ll change his sound for the pop market, exclusive information about collaborating with Beenie Man and if he ever thought of getting the now famous gaps in his teeth closed...

Check it out and let the I know what you thought. Got a whole bunch of other big ones in the cannon ready to be deployed... is about to step on a whole bunch of other sites with their reggae and dancehall content. That them fi know (said in poshest English accent). Shouts to JP

Check out a whole host of interviews I've done previously with the biggest names from Beres Hammond, Gyptian, Tarrus Riley, Queen Ifrica, Morgan Heritage to Chino & Laden, and Busy Signal. here

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Naomi Campbell: "I'm bringing borders back"

I was supposed to have done this post last week, but it slipped me. It's a bit old news in today's world but I still want to post it.

Had to post this pic to see if anyone else thought the same thing as me.

Who wants to tell me this doesn't look like the famous border shape-up black and Asian boys were donning in the late 90's-early 2000's? This was after patterns and Nike ticks, but before cainrow took over.

(Still hate on him for this video to this day)

Disclaimer: if she does have a problem with receeding hair like alopecia or something then I apologise. However, I'm making this post based on the assumption that it is to do with wearing too much weave as everyone has been speculated. Like Carlton Livingstone sung "Don't follow rumours," but for the sake of this post I will.

In case you don't know the song I'm referring to:

Damn homegirl, in high school...

*holds out mic for the readers to sing along*

I spotted this over at That Grape Juice, and quite frankly my heart sunk a little.

The post started so well

Now look

I remember back in the days when she was that chick. Foxy couldn't talk to her, not even in tongues could she talk to Kim. I remember walking past the local independant record shop (remember them) with my mum, seeing the infamous Hardcore picture posted up. I'll say nothing more on that (#GoodTimes).

I still would have (based on the video) circa "Lighters Up".

Monday, 12 July 2010


So I didn't have a creative topic title. This is just a couple videos I enjoyed over the weekend and a song I'm feeling really. Thought I'd give you an insight into the psyche of the elusive Marvin Sparks (that's me hyping this post like it's something more than just a few songs I feel to post).

Starting with Mr Wayne Marshall

This song has been getting beaten very hard recently. Sounds like something that will sit nicely on play lists. Jamaican directed and produced dancehall (well this isn't dancehall as such) videos have been far superior to those by Yanks (Little X).

Next up, Bounty Killer & Busy Signal

Taken from the JukeBoxx produced Damage Control riddim (check the Buju on that), the Killer seems to be back to his poor people governer circa 1999-2001 times again. Fierce flow, potent delivery etc.

Possibly the 'ardest UK rap tune right now, Chipmunk, Wretch 32, Sincere & Loick Essien - Last One Standing

That beat is cinematic! Wretch is way too gifted to not be in your top 3 ("living my dream but some of them sleep on me... ain't a game in the ends when the snakes can climb ladders"), and care not what you feel about him Chipmunk is one of the best in the game. Hol' tight SX from Wooo riddim fame on the beat

I mentioned this song a while back, but there wasn't a good YouTube video for it at the time Meleka from the'Go' tune last year returns with another banger.

If she carries on with the funky she could take the throne of UK funky Queen. She can actually sing, good subjects (yeah, all 2 of them) fi di gal dem, and looks good from what I remember.

Lastly, Rick Ross (aka Slick Cop "Everyday I'm cuffin 'em") featuring Jay-Z - Free Mason. Yes, you read correctly, Jay-Z on a song called Free Mason. Let the foolish talk commence... NAHT!

Jay-Z absolutely annihilated that verse! F*ck a metaphor, the multi's in this are crazy. "Bitch, I said I was amazing. Not that I'm a mason. It's amazing that I made it through the maze I was in.... Holy water my face in the basin" You see them multi's? Dirty. 'Ang tight The Inkredibles on the buttons. Although they bite Justice League's style, they make bangers.

Remember when multi's were overused like how metaphors (when they're really similies) are? Good old days until Cam'ron started his "My Hoopty boujis, my Luis 'sclusive, rhyme stupid, but you knew this". Admittedly my bars are better than his were, so not the best example. His were a bit my "Oopy loopy, scooby scooby, rubie newbie, jooey sooly"

Annnnnd that's all for that post.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Ricky Blaze 'Just You and I'

Yeah so I'm late on this. Partially my fault for being ignorant to any other song on the Hold You riddim. I meant to click this one from a long time ago, but something always diverted my attention. Slipped I know.

Main reason I wanted to hear it is because this 22 year-old produced the riddim. I wanted to hear his interpretation of his own riddim which is usually an interesting take.

So in my opinion, how did he do? I think this is another infectious tune on the riddim. Could end up doing what Serani did on Unfinished Business riddim with No Games when he ran off with all te commercial food. I say could because Hold You will be a hard task to beat due in a big way to the Nicki Minaj factor. I think this is a better pop song than Hold You. Ricky's from Brooklyn so his voice sits in a way that's comfortable to Americans.

New Funky Dee vid/The day UK Funky died?

Yes, you read correctly, "new Funky Dee" in a sentence. I know you probably thought/think "What? He has a new tune?" If that is your question, I can confirm you assumptions are in fact incorrect. Funky Dee has recorded and released a video for the year-old club islands banger Are You Gonna Bang Doe

Why did he think... Who funded... what possessed him to do this?! I thought Migraine Skank got released late, but this takes the pee (no "... Wee Herman". I promise to stop that soon). Why would he want to? Made a mish-mash dead, no vibes video to a song that I feel no way in saying I liked, yeah likeD. Talk of him being a one-hit wonder will continue for a while longer. He remixed this for the uni students (Are You Gonna Pass), even threatened to sue Lady P for the pro-veg anthem Are You Gonna Yam. I wonder if Apple decided to break bread for Mr Dee to use the hijacked instrumental Chantes/Chants (delete as you see fit)

Good luck to him though. It'll be interesting to see how this does chart-wise with next to no urban station play as it's so damn old. Should get on some compilations, maybe a 5 second clip on an advert, some Luminar club PA's etc.

Judging by this interview, he looks vex about it, so I take it isn't his decision. Too right he should look and feel so ashamed. I would too.

And on the other hand, remember Katy B? Tell Me with DJ NG and Ver-sa-tiiile (but do you remember him?)? She also sung Geenus' As I. These songs were back when UK Funky was in its infancy stage/was good before all the one-line ex-grime guys who are nowhere to be seen now - well Funky Dee just released a video, and the rest can be found on Twitter. Twitter helps prevent a lot of artists from being placed in the "Where are they now?" box... to Tweeters anyway.

Back on topic. Well she has returned, this time on the popular sound of the moment Dubstep (in my opinion is better than UK Funky for a while now).

Tune knocks. Now, does this (Katy alongside Rinse FM have proved they are trendsetters), along with the lack of UK Funky producers doing remixes, signify that UK Funky is resting in pieces peace? That's just a question... honestly... my opinion isn't in that question.

Disclaimer: despite whatever conclusion you may draw from this, I know and blog about quality UK Funky so don't even try it, not even a little bit. Exhibit A: Funk Butcher & Shea Soul. Don't need anymore evidence (because there isn't more on the blog)

p.s. How long until people can throw old skool UK Funky raves or DJs specialising in that? You know like old skool garage. Once upon a time it just became old skool garage.

*cough some would say it died this day @ UK Funky Live but we won't talk about that just yet cough*


I see nuff people have been arriving here to see if Funky Dee's dead since the rumours a few weeks ago. He isn't, but they say his "career" is in intensive care

Spragga Benz 'Shotta Culture' [video]

I'm late on posting this but please believe I heard and rated it from while ago

Will this be 2010's Welcome To Jamrock or Ghetto Story? Remains to be seen. I personally don't think it's as strong, but I hope for the best. Hold tight Salaam Remi on the buttons. Big man in the game worked with Amy Winehouse on Back To Black, Ms Dynamite on Mercury music prize winning album A Little Deeper (he did 'Dy-Na-Mi-Tee'), Ini Kamoze 'Here Come's The Hotstepper' (the original, not the one in the charts), Toni Braxton 'You're Making Me High' and Nas 'Made You Look' (Street's Disciple was SH*T!, but he produced Theif's Theme and Suicide Bounce) plus many many more big tracks.

Good to see Spragga back on the ting!

Never knew there was a video for Tiny Tot! Tune gets numerous wheels wen I'm 'ere. Sounds like my (fantasy) biography

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Vybz Kartel & Russian 'Straight Jeans & Fitted'

Vybz Kartel teams up with producer-now-apparantly-artist Russian to create what he hopes is a fashionista follow-up to the successful Clarks trilogy (more the 2nd)

I now like this song. Didn't have much of an effect on me first time round, but it catchy nuh fk. Big tune

That isn't the only reason I posted this; it annoys me to see the infiltration of American culture by Jamaican artists/Jamaican. Remember when Jamaica used to set the trends? Why decide to follow? Have some originality. And what's good with the face?

Whilst on the subject of Kartel, this video's jokes. Mad Collab will probably be riddim of the year