Review: Cambridge hip hop trippers The Nextmen hook up with Chali 2na, Tippa Irie and Krafty Kuts across two originals and remix! Instantly recognisable is the smooth baritone vocals of one time Jurassic 5 MC, Chali 2na (aka Charlie The Tuna), throwing down some sweet melodic lyricalisms over the instrumental dopeness of "Combination". Pitching some '90s hip hop references against a touch of UK ragga, dub and sample culture - with Krafty Kuts nestled somewhere deep in the production too - there's also a well received reeeemix! Touching on electro, dancehall and subtle industrialisms, "Chicken Of The Sea" is super fresh and refined hip hop productions, no less!
Review: Featuring 22 full-length cuts plus a 42-minute mixed version, there's no faulting the VFM on offer from this Jim Sharp-helmed Bomb Strikes comp. Featuring tracks and mixes from the likes of The Allergies, The Nextmen, Ugly Duckling, Alice Russell, Lack Of Afro and Sam Krats, the emphasis here is on the kind of dusty funk/soul grooves that sit well alongside hip-hop and breaks - as opposed to the stack-heeled, silver-jumpsuited kind that goes better with disco - with standouts for this writer including Sly5thAve's moody, cinematic 'Shiznit' (think Shaft staring broodily out of a rain-streaked diner window) and Skill's 'Break It Down', a stuttery, stop-start gift for the jazz-dancers.
Review: Malik Kassim has yet to receive many plaudits for his productions, despite so far releasing a string of impressive EPs for the likes of Handy and Wolf Music. Hopefully he'll get more props for his latest outing as Retromigration, which sees Kassim showcase his trademark take on U.S style deep house and J Dilla style instrumental hip-hop. Check first the echoing strings, synth chords and twinkling pianos of deep and steppin' house jam 'Hafenluft', before admiring the swirling deep house jazz of 'Mad Fox' and the more driving but similarly jazzy 'Tinger'. Elsewhere, 'Be Alright' is a mid-tempo number that combines deep house elements with flashes of '80s synth funk, while 'Disk Yard' and 'Nur Weir' are dusty, stoner-friendly head-nodders.
Review: With the catalogue that the Cuttin' It Fine team have both assembled and keep adding to, it's hard to expect anything less than exceptional with every release. They deliver another set of four breakbeat belters, courtesy of both El Bomba & Roast Beatz. First up, El Bomba delivers a dancefloor-ready funk out in 'Take A Break', a lively combo of sharp drum slaps and lip-curling basslines, before Roast Beatz the energy with the groovy guitar plucks and singalong vocals of 'Party Over Here'. Back to El Bomba next as the classic sounding guitar melodies and unpredictable drum shakes of 'Bronco Funk' tone down the madness a tad, before rounding off with anthem-like arrangements of 'Get On Down' from Roast Beatz, boasting a showstopper of a bassline, draped in pleasing horn switches and tidy vocal chops for good measure.
Review: Whenever we see a new 20/20 LDN Recordings drop in the store, we close the windows and shut the blinds, looking to zone into whatever new direction they want to throw at us. This new five track adventure from Yunis is a fabulous example as to why we do that, kicking off with the super wonky hip hop drums and warbling LFO textures of 'ACID', giving us a bit of a look into what we can expect moving forward, delivering a perfect introduction. The sonic backdrop then enhances very quickly as the breathy percussive textures and grizzly basslines of 'Coldcuts' send us down a much more eerie avenue, followed by the mechanical clunks and sharpened drum layouts of 'Rumble', which again packs a seriously wonky slap. Finally, 'Woofer' unleashes a clambering display of machine-driven darkness across its constantly twisting soundscape, before rounding off alongside FRII on the alarm-like synths of 'Soft Taco', which takes the cake for the most intense moment of the project. Outstanding work to say the least!
Review: The undisputed king of reggae versions, Mato returns with his sixth series of dubbed out hip-hop covers. Far from the crass, crude mash-up culture, Mato's original instrumentation ensures a much more natural remix feel which, in some cases, sounds better than the original. Across the 10 track set we're treated a bouncy, sun-kissed take on Eve's "Gangsta Lovin", a tight skank-flexed take on The Beatnuts "Off The Books", a Vadim-style contemporary digi dub take on Nate Dogg's "Good Life" and a very authentic rendition of "Still Dre". Essential listening for both hip-hop and reggae heads.