Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Marvin Sparks vs DJ Snips: "Grime is not hip hop" [Video]

Now first off, I don't like cameras - isn't my game, but I did this for the people against the over-exaggerated influence of hip hop's impact on the world. Admittedly, our team lost members as they were blinded by the lights, conned by materialism and hip hop culture propaganda through mass media telling us hip hop is who we are. Hip hop justify things they may not necessarily agree with "But he/she stays getting money" and state "money over b**ches". People flock to that without even thinking it's nonsense. Propaganda money buys out minds.

I responded to DJ Snips' on twitter over comments such as "Grime is a form of hip hop" & "It is people rapping over a beat which stems from America" made in this video

IS MAN MADDDDDDDD?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!!? Can't make reckless statements like that to my ears. I'm so sorry. Even after Chuckie corrects him by saying Jamaicans toasting came before hip hop, he acknowledges it then goes back to his original point that rapping is American. How does that even make sense in 2011 bordering on 2012? During our Twitter debate, he told me I need to study music and some next stuff. I replied "Common sense is better than reading music books as told from the perspective of hip hop." (shortened in tweet character limit obvi.) Back-and-forth for about a three hours I reckon.

Basically, it was the straw that broke the camel's back type of vibe really. This Twitter debate happened on a Saturday some time ago following a heated debate I had with contributors to a website the previous Sunday about who is a grime legend. Won't name the MC we discussed, but basically the opposition was wrong. Problem with a particular persons argument is she used general hip hop way of classifying a legend; back catalogue, lyrical-ability aka metaphors, similes and that nonsense. Also, someone remarked that dancehall is one-dimensional. Why do hip hop fans think they have the right to comment on everything, mainly things they don't even listen to? People that don't listen to hip hop deeply will still describe it as drugs, guns and bling, so don't think the skinny jeans brigade are saving your reputation.

Also, that Hip Hop Odyssey book they sell for over a £100 (waste of money, BLAM I said it), gave reggae's sound system culture influence on hip hop two lines followed by "something Kool Herc denies" in brackets. ARE THEY MADDDD?!?!?!?!?!?! RIP Heavy D, he says "hip hop comes from Jamaica". Jamaican-born Kool Herc took what he knew from Jamaica mixed it with American culture and blam! Go to 9:00 mins

So yeah, I'm on a mission to challenge the way we perceive everything as hip hop, due to the arrogance of some hip hop fans that think it's the best because it sells the most. "Rapping" doesn't automatically make an artist hip hop - it's just the universally-recognised term for rhythmic spoken-word type vibes. (And if a person doesn't know about what the hell they're on about, it's best to keep quiet.)

Anyway, @XianLoves suggested we record it live on JumpOff and voila

I don't understand why British people champion hip hop so hard when it isn't our culture. I know why; it's deemed cool because it makes money and "money = success" in 2012. Doesn't mean I understand it though. Basically, Snips says "music that comes from poor background and raps is hip hop." These times reggae did it before hip hop and had more influence on us than hip hop. There were points I couldn't put across due to the time restriction, so I wrote a blog post...

Elijah (grime DJ crew on Rinse FM /label Butterz), Aaron Hanson (from Hanson's House and also Rinse FM grime DJ) and I had a conversation about/poked fun at Dot Rotten's interview on the Guardian's website where he states his influences range from (brace yourself) "Wu-Tang (hmm, but I'll let you have it), Motown, Jamiroquai, Stevie Wonder and Frank Sinatra". I rate Dot highly; deep, can be thought-provoking etc., however I can't take that seriously. Thing is, that type of answer isn't unusual for MCs. "Who are your influences?" to UK MCs means opportunity to name random artists who's couple tracks pop-up during shuffle mode on their iPod to prove they're not stereotypical urbanite, they listen to the same things are rural folk.

(There's a reason for the random rant above. I'm gonna reel you back in to the original point now.) Lists of influences always miss two vital elements that contribute to all of our current scenes: reggae/dancehall and homegrown scenes like jungle, garage or grime itself. I'm willing to bet almost every single MC picked up the pen/mic because of either one or a few of those genres. "So why do they always miss those?" I hear you ask. Because they aren't deemed cool; they don't feature regularly on top 40 mainstream charts, championed in mainstream media or awarded at mainstream ceremonies like the Brits. "Mainstream" being the operative word here.

As a result, some of the people in the original debate, who may not have followed grime or were a part of the scene culturally, hear these guys name rappers as influences and take it as fact. Plus, they themselves were probably into the American stuff over "that noise by the youths shouting about shankin' (stabbing/causing harm to someone)" that everyone thought would be a flash-in-the-pan.

I can tell you, as someone that grew up in similar areas around the same time as these grime guys, most youths under-18 (much like today) weren't listening to hip hop that much. If you weren't listening to Tim Westwood on Friday and Saturday nights and/or buying CD's, you weren't a hip hop head, because the music/scene wasn't plastered everywhere nor as accessible as it is now. Believe me, hip hop heads were in the minority on ends until the explosion of Sky Digital around the mid-2000s through watching MTV Base and downloading on Napster (not me personally). Dare I say r&b artists such as R. Kelly, Joe, Donell Jones, Brandy, Monica, 112, Dru Hill, Destiny's Child etc. were more popular. Inner city youths in London listened to Delight, DeJa Vu, Rinse etc. or ragga on one of the countless other pirate stations like Power Jam, Bassline etc. Hip hop was and has never been that popular on pirates.

First and foremost, everyone of these artists believed there was a living to be made from music in UK after So Solid. Garage crews HeartLess Crew('s in whose name?!) and Pay As U Go, grime crews NASTY and Roll Deep and/or Bounty Killer, Ninja Man, Shabba, Terror Fabulous, Saxon Sound etc. influenced these kids to pick up a mic. I can't even tell you one rapper that was bigger than MC's on ends. Nor can I tell you rappers that racked up more chart positions than Shabba Ranks, Chaka Demus & Pliers, Shaggy, Bitty McLean, Maxi Priest... Even before that with The Specials, The Police, UB40, Madness etc. It's that real. Don't let them fool you; reggae and dancehall has always been and arguably still is more popular than hip hop in areas that birth these MCs. Bashment songs still rival Rick Ross, Lil' Wayne and Drake on the back-of-the-bus charts (teenagers that play music from their mobile phones) in many of these areas.

So yeah, that's why I did the live debate despite my camera shyness. Everyone and everything black/urban gets sucked into the "hip hop" banner, but why not reggae? I remember Reggaeton being discribed as a cross between latin music and hip hop on CD:UK. Says it all about the program but still. UK "urban" music has more in common with of reggae than hip hop. Dub/instrumentals, clashing, gun fingers, passing mic, "rapping" for reloads... are all vitals elements in both yet not present in hip hop. But that doesn't mean it is reggae or dancehall. It has similarities.

MC's are more likely to use a Jamaican accent than Yank, many rappers (not all, big up London Posse, Skinnyman, Klashnekoff etc.) in the UK were usually criticised for twanging American accents - see the difference? And reggae directly influences all of our genres. Producers regularly use reggae/dancehall samples and we add bass to everything because of our reggae background. Every single one of the genres (jungle, garage, grime, UK funky...) are mixtures of UK and Jamaican influences. Even this UK road rap ting, Giggs rides the riddim like a bashment artist. Did you know he was a ragga DJ then a garage MC before becoming the rap don? Wretch admits he didn't know rap until late; garage and dancehall were his thing. Chipmunk, Wiley, Scorcher and them have also admitted similar things.

But we're at a stage in music where a popular dancehall song requires an unofficial remix by Chipmunk, Sneakbo or an American (Nicki Minaj) before certain radio DJ's/stations play it with the exception 1Xtra and Bang (Londoners have the choice to know who I'm talking about or kiss the ring). Come on, man, how can the heartbeat of our music be treated as foreigner music over actual foreign music? (Rhetorical 'cos I know it's all about money spent.) Do the majority of people in London actually know any Americans? But we all know Jamaicans, right? We mainly know American culture through TV and Internet, not direct face-to-face with an American in human flesh. No one outside of SoulCulture blog dancehall videos for songs by the well-known artists like Mavado and Vybz Kartel that will hit high views, but they're quick to post a false story about Vybz Kartel's "prison break". If you're a blogger, ask yourself why this is. (Quick plug: check my post on the silent but loud reggae/dancehall influence on underground and mainstream last year.)

Moral of the story: stop downplaying the influence reggae music has on our music in favour of hip hop. It is inaccurate. And Jamaicans were influential on hip hop's beginnings. But most of all rate our own rich British music history. Grime is grime, like hip hop is hip hop, like reggae is reggae.

See the similarities between grime

and dancehall?

p.s. Big up the dubstep producers that feel no way in shouting out King Tubby, Scientist, Lee "Scratch" Perry as influential in their thing. Oh and Maverick Sabre for always shouting out Mavado and Sizzla. Leshurr for shouting out Sister Nancy "Bam Bam" although they didn't include it in this article.

p.p.s. I don't hate hip hop, I just don't think it's the be all and end all of the world.

p.p.p.s. Let's hope 2012 is the year reggae, bashment, soca and afrobeats dominate make a big impact on our airwaves along with homegrown music. We're in this together.

#OccupyRadio movement soon land.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Sean Paul - “I started out writing deeper songs, but got famous off songs for ladies”

Here's some interview footage I decided to upload. I interviewed Sean Paul's manager whilst in Jamaica, then Sean Paul over here in the UK last year. This is the first of about 3 parts regarding Sean Paul. I think it's interesting regarding image and knowing your market despite what you may want to do as an artist. It was interesting hearing both perspectives - artist himself wanting to and the manager advising otherwise.

Dancehall superstar Sean Paul speaks on his desire to do songs with more substance, but both the fans and industry demanding party vibe and girls songs. He shares rough experience growing up with father going to jail.

In the middle, his manager, Jeremy Harding, explains why he has been steered down that vibe, before Sean ends on the inspiration for freshly leaked song "Hold On".

Subscribe for following parts. Check SoulCulture for full article (http://www.soulculture.co.uk/features/interviews/sean-paul-dancehalls-influence-on-popular-music-culture-is-immense-interview/)/.

New album, Tomahawk Technique, out in the coming weeks (check Google).

There will be a lot more from the manager. The interview is ridiculously long, but extremely interesting.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Recent posts/Updates vibe

As you may or may not know, I blog all the dancehall and reggae stuff over on SoulCulture. It's called SoulCulture, but that doesn't mean soul/r&b music, it's about music that comes from the soul. Hence reggae posts.

p.s. SoulCulture.co.uk is probably the best non-dancehall and reggae site in England for the two genres so check over there for regular updates.

Shola Ama does reggae with new song "Puppy Love"

R&B singer Shola Ama was one of few women of colour representing on the UK charts in the nineties, alongside Des’ree, Gabrielle, Eternal, Jamelia and Shaznay from All Saints (all I recall at this moment). The north-west Londoner burst onto the scene with her top five charting cover of Randy Crawford‘s “You Might Need Somebody,” her 4x platinum-selling debut album Much Love, plus several other successful singles – namely garage anthem “Imagine” and featuring on UK dancehall artist Glamma Kid‘s “Taboo”. Read more

Pop singer Sinead O'Connor does reggae on "How About I Be Me?"

Don’t worry, this isn’t a boring (but great) power ballad like “Nothing Compares 2 You” so calm down. In fact, it’s a reggae song. Don’t be surprised – SinĂ©ad O’Connor has been a reggae lover for a while.

From touring with world-famous producers Sly & Robbie, releasing a reggae album in 2005 titled Throw Down Your Arms [where she covered the likes of Buju Banton, Burning Spear, The Abyssinians and Peter Tosh], the singer also made a surprise guest appearance at one of “Mr. Loverman, Shabba” Ranks’ party back in the early ’90s. Read more

Shaggy performs on American show Jay Leno

Grammy-award winning Boombastic kinda guy, Shaggy recently took to Jay Leno’s stage to perform “Dame” (pronounced da-meh, think it’s Spanish) with Kat DeLuna. Read more

Hip hop band The Roots play reggae with guests Shaggy, Rayvon, Patra & more

Okayplayer’s Dancehall website Large Up recently hosted a “Dancehall All-Stars meet The Roots session” at the 2011 Okayplayer Holiday Jam. Watch as renowned beat-boxer Rahzel opened proceedings manipulating his mouth to recreate Chaka Demus & Pliers classic “Murder She Wrote” before introducing global superstar Shaggy to “Boombastic” and freestyle over a beat-boxed Stalag riddim much to the crowds delight, then world-famous hip hop band The Roots set-up mid flow for a jamming session featuring the lady regarded as a precursor to x-rated females in hip hop Patra, Mr. Easy, Rayvon and Red Fox. Read more

Sean Paul ft. Ester Dean – “How Deep Is Your Love” | New Music

“How Deep Is Your Love” is the latest cut to spring a leak from Sean Paul‘s forthcoming album, Tomahawk Technique (named after the infamous hair-do). Features sometime-singer/full-time hit-writer Ester Dean (Rihanna, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj etc.) built by undercover dancehall producers Stargate. Read more

Sneakbo & Stylo G – “Call Mi A Naija” | Music Video

Following a short stint banged up, Sneakbo is back with a new video for the roads in form of “Call Mi A Naija”. On what is basically a collaboration of the two hottest UK artists right now, Nigerian (“Naija”) via Brixton Sneakbo gives his take on Jamaican-born (“Yardie), fellow south Londoner Stylo G‘s banger “Call Mi A Yardie”. “Call me a Naija! I do rap, my uncle’s a 419er” isn’t something to be proud of (419 = “Obtaining Property by false pretenses”), but tell me you didn’t wheel-up the bar. And anyway, when has bragging about crime been frowned upon? Read more

Lea-Anna "Murder" | Music Video

London’s leading dancehall singer, Lea-Anna, is gaining some momentum at the moment. Following the minor breakout success of “Kisses” earlier this year and “Sway” most recently, “Murder” is the latest song doing the rounds. Having brought you the fire remix featuring Ce’Cile alongside UK rappers Lioness and Lady Leshurr yesterday, now is time for the official video. Feeling this Robbo Ranx-produced jam a lot. Look forward to seeing this on all the channels and radio stations. Where it deserves to be.
Read more

Mavado ft. Ace Hood – “Emergency” | Music Video

I’ll be real with you, first time I heard this I didn’t really like it. Mainly because I wanted to hear reggae or dancehall. Sounds a bit better hearing it again though. Definitely one for the hip hop fans, so I can’t be too mad and anyway, I can always listen to “Settle Down”.
Enough of me gassing, check the visuals of the two We The Best signees, Mavado featuring Ace Hood over the Boi-1da produced track. Read more

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