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Beats And Rhymes

You know how Black British music doesn't count for shit outside of London? Maybe the main reason is that so many British rappers are lazy potheads.
Κείμενο John Vanderpuije

Asher D


Infinite Livez

You know how Black British music doesn't count for shit outside of London? Maybe the main reason is that so many British rappers are lazy potheads who rap too much about things that nobody cares about. Look at Blade with his "Pop Idol" single that pointed out that "Pop Idol is bullshit" or something like that. Thanks Blade. And what about people like Skeme, Dirt T and Big P taking pops at music-for-grannies like Craig David and Terri Walker on "What's Going On?", a track from Skitz's Homegrown Vol.1. session (React). What could have been a wake-up call for sleepy industry heads ends up as a whiny and embittered rant. Which is a shame cause the chopped-up Marvin beat was ill. Also on Skitz's comp, Roots Manuva strikes back harder than ever on "Check It" and gets us salivating for his next LP. And Kardinal Offishal's "Bakardi Slang" is an electrofunk monster that gobbles up Timbaland and spits him out boneless. What's more, rabble-rousers Taskforce, Skibadee and Pharoahe Monche are on hand to shake shit up and salute that UK to USA hotness. Holy shit! D12 are back! This new one is called D12 World (Shady/Interscope) and it's the same hodgepodge rap soup Eminem has been feeding us through a drip for what seems like centuries now. Those saccharine, sing-along hooks couldn't even catch a friggin fish, let alone bubble the club up. "My Band" and "40 Oz" are more of the same stinky brain-dead ironic-rap lullabies we've grown to hate so much. And you know how every Gangstarr album sounds the same? Well Dilated Peoples are on that same hustle. With Neighborhood Watch (Parlophone) consistency proves the key, as they push forward another sublime boho slice of Backpacker's deja vu. Kanye West appears on "This Way," and elsewhere the Alchemist provides bombs for Evidence, Babu and Iriscience to kill. My non-backpacking friends think this album is really boring, predictable and annoying but I don't agree. Talib Kweli must be furious. His forthcoming album The Beautiful Struggle (Island/Geffen) has been leaked on to the net, months before its release date. Can you hear Okayplayers, incense smugglers and backpackers worldwide calling for the right hand of the perpetrator to be hacked-off and turned into filling for patties? But what they should be discussing is when did Kweli turn into the back pack Jay-Z and is that such a bad thing? Apparently not. Kweli shifts his flow up to hyperspeed and blasts his last few albums away, without breaking a sweat. Kanye West is here too. Soon he's gong to be working on Janet Jackson. No wonder Cee-Lo left Goodie M.O.B. Their new One Monkey Don't Stop No Show is more irrelevant than Westside Connection. Anyway, fatty's new Cee-Lo Green Is The Soul Machine (Arista) album is great. Outkast always agree with me when I say this but it's hard to make an album which truly strings together the "black music experience" so people of every colour can appreciate it. Cee-Lo's pulled it off though and come up with a genuine crossover classic. "The Art of Noise", produced by The Neptunes, is a certified hit, but it's "Childz Play" and the Primo-laced "Evening News" which create the earthquakes and should be file-shared worldwide until everyone has one super-duper-group-hug for black music. "Sign O' The Times" (Hyperdub) is a south London bedroom dub-step joint courtesy of Kode9 and Daddy Gee that's so deep that I'm sure somewhere under the bassline is a hidden frequency instructing you to grab your gat and bust a few shots in the air because this is the perfect remix, period. Prince's original is reworked as a stripped-down, electronic raggafied requiem.

Another south Londoner, Taz (Def Jam UK) also proves that he's got beats for eons on his unnamed new album. Drunken cowboy beats. Bubble bottom and champagne beats. You name it. His production on Dizzee's "Jus A Rascal" was followed by the street singles "Wish Me Luck" and "Only God Can Judge Me" and while they were okay, Taz's LP, which features "Can't Contain Me" and "Left Leg In", is a tidal wave of clubby, ragga-tinged hip hop and deserves success outside of journalists' "best of the month" lists. Ex-Grange Hill star Asher D has a new album out called Street Siblings (Independiente) and it's miles better than any hip hop album that Todd Carty or Zammo ever recorded. While the So Solid-meets-Rocafella effort "Solid Roc" is disastrous, the rest of the record is pretty good. Asher sounds hungry (he should do after that live Choice FM battle) and spit kicks like a pro throughout. "The Comeback", "Over You" and "I-Wing" are hi-octane bangers which more than soothe away the pain of First Lady, Second Verse and that bullshit new "Grimey" track. My boy Infinite Livez' debut album is all about labias and that's why it's called Bush Meat (Big Dada). Hang on, no it isn't, it's about modern politics. Nevertheless, Skeme, Dirt T and Big P should stop moaning about fucking Craig David and buy this record instead because IMO, Infinite Livez could change the face of British rap music forever. Anyone who performs a song called "The Adventures Of The Lactating Man", ventriloquist-style through a puppet to a stonefaced audience has to be either a) helplessly insane from crack or b) taking the piss out of everybody in British rap. Both options are totally fine with me.