Friday, June 17, 2005

Big Tings

OK, it's that time of the month again: Heatwave at The Rhythm Factory in Whitechapel, East London (nearest tube Aldgate East). It's a stellar line up tonight, because I'm playing, of course (which will hopefully make up for the brief hiatus in MP3 action while my laptop is in the repair shop), but DJ C and Aaron Spectre are pretty amazing, too. I had the pleasure of playing with C and Ripley at Subtonic in New York a while ago and they both rocked, so the whole Mashit crew have my personal endorsement. I'm kicking off the main room for a couple of hours where I'll play a crunked up, hip-hop-based ragga and reggaeton set, then a rough-arsed ghetto bashment section in the back room. Come down, it's only a fiver and I may even buy you a drink. Here's the flyer. My name's the only one not picked out in white, so I think that must mean I'm like super-important, or something...

PS - Friends who are coming, email me coz I have a very limited guesties and need to use them wisely.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

King Of The Candy Shop

Beenie Man won't cosy up to J-FLAG any time soon and lest his girl get any ideas "she fi know di sex limits stop at sixty eight". The past couple of years' worth of records have managed to get these points across pretty clearly and it's high time he turned his lyrical attentions elsewhere; after all he's better than that. Still, despite all ethical reservations, you can't deny his staying power and continued ability to strike pure pop gold—suppose that's why he did have a case when he proclaimed himself King Of The Dancehall a few months back. Check this blend, over the instrumental of Fiddy's Candy Shop. It's sweet.

King Of The Dancehall (Candy Shop Edit) - Beenie Man

Sunday, June 05, 2005

I'm Not Going To Pretend I Know What The Hell I'm Talking About...

The only things I can say for sure about kwaito are that it sounds like slow Afrocentric house music, that it's become the default street sound of post-apartheid urban South Africa and that I really love these two tracks. All Stars' "Kwasa Kwasa" is an effervescently pop dance-instruction number with a totally butt-shaking chorus. If it's a-whoopin'-and-a-hollerin', global-yob* berserktitude you're after, though, look no further than "Roba Letheka" by Ishmael, who sounds like he should be Cape Town or Johannesburg's answer to Fatman Scoop. Anyway, here you go...

Kwasa Kwasa - All Stars

Roba Letheka - Ishmael

* Sorry but I way prefer this term to "shanty house"; it's less redolent of slumming, more evocative of solidarity, empowerment, unruliness and good old insubordinate hedonism.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Watch Your Step


Breaking news: looks like I'm heading out to Houston in July to do a couple of pieces on the city's hip-hop scene for a posh British mag and an even posher newspaper. Even though I'm told it's going to be disgustingly hot and humid at this time of year, especially for a cold-weather critter like me, I can't wait. It's been two months since my last stint overseas and I have seriously itchy feet again, plus I'll be there for my birthday doing all the things I love best: drinking cold beer in the sun, eating my bodyweight in barbecue (I'm told Texans work a wonderful kind of magic with gargantuan slabs of red meat and charcoal), meeting new people and researching a story about a style of music I've come to adore. What's not to be happy about? Talking of trips, today's track is by Trina & Lil Wayne, telling you not to do it. First encountered on Swishahouse's The Final Chapter 2K5 mixtape, I haven't been able to get enough of its spine-crushing ravesynths and ball-busting attitude since...

Don't Trip - Trina & Lil Wayne

Monday, May 23, 2005


One of the best blends of the last year, this combination of Damian Marley's smash hit single "Welcome To Jamrock" and a back-from-the-dead Biggie Smalls is as summery a cut as you could wish for. Having done the rounds on several mixtapes and the trusty old internet, you can now pick it up on 12-inch vinyl from specialist shops—and about time, it's a killer, like sunshine and smoke are pressed into the grooves.

Welcome To Jamrock Rob Dinero Remix - Damian "Jr Gong" Marley feat. Biggie Smalls

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Screw You!

Mike Jones

Whodathunk it would take this long to finally get some hip-hop into Breaking Ranks? It’s not that I don’t listen to and love the stuff, rather that the vast majority of it is so much the soundtrack of our lives I’ve not really seen much merit in using precious server space to host it—that and the fact that a stack of other blogs are covering it in much more depth and with far more vision than I could manage (hey, what do you mean dilettante? I’ll have you know that keeping up with Jamaica is enough work as it is). However, thanks to the back injury, for which I was prescribed enough codeine painkillers to knock out a small rhino, I’ve lately come to appreciate screwed and chopped Texan shit in a way I never had before. Of course, what I had managed to pick up was always interesting, some pretty special in fact, but I could never say that I really got it. In my two-week, medically sanctioned, couch-bound pharmaceutical haze, though, it was all I wanted to listen to and even now I’m back on my feet, straight and alert, regular rapping just sounds too fast, too pumped and too in my poor old face. No, on a easy Sunday morning, I want it sloooow; thick and slippery like dirty motor oil…

Icey - Gucci Mane feat. Young Jeezy & Boo
Taken from OG Ron C's Spring Break 2K5 mix CD.

Turning Lane - Mike Jones
Taken from the album Who Is Mike Jones? Screwed & Chopped By DJ Michael Watts.

Beautiful - Christina Aguilera
Taken from CD#1 of OG Ron C's Fuck Action 40 mix set.

For more on this music, visit Houstonsoreal, Matt Sonzala's excellent blog.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Hype Ting

Things are going to be more regular here over the next few weeks, so, to this end, here's another great track by one of my favourite ladies. As well as making cracking music, Ce'Cile Charlton is a total joy to talk to—smart, funny, sassy and not afraid to take a few risks. All in all, she's just what the scene needs, so I just wish she'd get that much-too-long-awaited debut album out there. It's way too good to languish unreleased, as you'll be able to tell from this superb combination with KC Jockey...

Gwaan Hype - Ce'Cile feat. KC Jockey

In other news, it had to happen sooner or later, but I'm really pleased to let you know that we now have a real grime blog in the sphere, courtesy of the man Riko Dan. Check him out in full flow at last month's Heatwave dance right here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Dozy Doogz

Not a new rhythm, but I haven't been able to get enough of Steely and Cleevie's Sleepy Dog. There's no sign of it going away just yet, either, so I'm not the only one—must be something about that wicked, old-school-style Casio bounce and the crunchy, brittle percussion that does it. Check Buju Banton for the punchiest version, Famous Face for the one that makes you think of hitting the dancefloor and Mr Vegas for that lazy, languid vibe.

Ride This - Buju Banton

Mixing Board - Famous Face

Some Gal - Mr Vegas

Oh, and before I forget it's Ladies' Night at Heatwave this Friday, featuring No-Lay, South London's first lady of grime. You know the drill—Whitechapel, Rhythm Factory, great tunes, nice people, me drunk and dancing. Next month I'll be playing with DJ C, who I last gigged with in New York, so brace yourselves. Support this night, it's fun and good for you!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

A Right Royal Rakkas...

Told you interesting and altogether unexpected developments were afoot a few days ago. Now the truth is out. I've been dragged kicking and screaming into Pitchfork's clutches. Well, not quite, they asked very nicely, so I was glad to start writing a monthly ragga column for them. I'm joined by a good crew, my buddy Phil Sherburne will be writing about techno next week and as for the rest, I'll leave that to Scott, the site's excellent managing editor, to let you know, but there's more where we came from.
Check the column and you'll see that I'm loving South Rakkas Crew's Sticky-influenced Bionic Ras, now finally out on 7" after a good couple of months of hype. I've said all that needs to be said over there, so read it, come back and wrap yer ears around these.

Spring Break - Sizzla

Goodas - Vybz Kartel & Marlene

Lock Off Anthem - Gabriel

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Rose Gold

It's a shame that Stone Love's Rose Gold rhythm is so great, yet all the officially released voicings so uniformly craptacular. However, listening to a mix picked up in Crown Heights, Brooklyn it became clear that there are, in fact plenty of other quality versions not to be found on seven. Some are original specials, but a lot of the best are overdubs of lyrics first recorded for the Dancehall Rock, like Assassin's "Do It If Yuh Bad" and Spragga Benz's "Put Foot Ova", which you might also have heard atop grimester Lethal Bizzle's FWD rhythm a while back. Anyway, less waffle mo' music...

Do It If Yuh Bad - Assassin

Put Foot Ova - Spragga Benz