Thursday, 31 August 2006
Tuesday, 29 August 2006
This is no water shortage, stop using your hosepipe story, but the weed drought which seems to have hit many sides of London. And it couldn't have happened at a worse time than Carnival weekend. I've been looking for information or possible news stories which would explain the sudden desperation that is taking hold of many cannabis smokers, yet there's nothing out there bar the 5,000 kilos of cannabis taken as a result of a big drugs haul in Denia... and that is hashish. It's hit users so bad there are even requests for dealer details on forums coming from normally sane members of the public, including a number of professionals, not to mention the group emails and phone calls from people you didn't even know had your number. Can anyone shed light... or a number?
At least I know someone reads... "You may add my comment to your blog please. I am interested to know how can you have non-brands when every item is made by somebody/company therefore that in itself is a branded item. I may only shop at Asda, my sweet, but your jeans will be by 'George' which if I am not mistaken is a brand. As is Asda! Your trainers for instance may well have been made by an 'unknown' company but it will be their brand and logo on the bottom of the shoe! Correct me if I am wrong? In respect of your piece on Lily Allen, I don't think you need to comment anymore on playground politics, you're a big girl - move on. However, I must say I never did much go for your 'retro look' but hey, it's not me going out wearing it, and if it makes you happy, what's it got to do with anyone else. Wear it and be proud! Re: joke about maths instruction - old - heard it before! Nice to see some new updated items on your blog. Your number one fan, lots of love Mummy x
Monday, 28 August 2006
A public school teacher was arrested today at Gatwick Airport as he attempted to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a set square, a slide rule, and a calculator. At a morning press conference, Home Secretary John Reid said he believes the man is a member of the notorious Al-gebra movement. He did not identify the man, who has been charged by the Met. Police with carrying weapons of maths instruction. "Al-gebra is a problem for us," Reid said. "They desire solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in a search of absolute values. They use secret code names like "x" and "y" and refer to themselves as "unknowns," but we have determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with co-ordinates in every country. As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, "There are 3 sides to every triangle". When asked to comment on the arrest, Prime Minister Tony Blair, speaking from his holiday resort before the planes stopped flying, said, "If God had wanted us to have better Weapons of Maths Instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes." Word.
On a more serious note, spare a thought for all the cabin crew who are suffering with the current baggage restrictions. According to me sister, who's an air hostess, rumour from the runway has it a member of staff was suspended today after she was caught smuggling mascara in her bra. The poor lads and lasses aren't allowed to carry products, perfume, make up etc either so if you notice duty free looking over busy with people in uniform, don't be alarmed.
Sunday, 27 August 2006
Kano does Crazy
Naturally I'm referring to Kano being on the front cover of the Time Out Carnival guide with Lily Allen. The inside story by Paul McKenzie, new editor of Touch, is strong too. And that's no Hovis bread selection either. I might write for Touch but I disagreed with some of what was said in the Guardian Media guide about his takeover (everyone knows Touch isn't the only urban publication out there for a start and it was despicable for a report to run with such inaccurate suggestions), but you can't deny the piece has charm.
Anyway, not to detract from the point, Kano also has a new heater that's dropped in time for Carnival weekend. It's the Don Corleone produced 'Buss It Up', which is a collaboration between Kane and Vybz Kartel which was laid down in Jamaica a good few months back. Listen to Logan's show on Monday to hear it or go to bbc.co.uk/radio1 and find Westwoods weekend archive. It's a good warm up for the 2nd album that's due to drop next year, Feb time I think. I'm yet to hear anything else from it but it sounds like there's some interesting production and surprises to be expected.
It didn't pain me as much as I thought to put a picture of Lily Allen on my blog either. I do skip her video's on TV because I get worked up when I see what happens to the guy. I don't know why, but I just feel if it was a man doing that to a woman in a video it would cause a storm of criticism and if we want equality via media, it has to apply to both sides. Anyway, my post about her a while back (n.b quick recall all she did was diss my jacket and I made a joke about it on here cause It was a pretty swag insult) provoked a fair bit of response, both here and elsewhere, and people still ask me if there's a part 2 to the story. Well there were a few progressions. Lily Allen called me a wastewoman (on the post) for a start. She also sent me a message on myspace, the day I went on holiday to Greece (note to myself; that needs a post of it's own), suggesting I'd made the toilet incident up. The message also suggested that If I had a problem we should sort it out. I didn't reply as I don't have a problem. I wasn't too pleased with a. being called a wastewoman or b. her suggesting I made it up for fun (that would be an overly weak bit of hype) but I'm not into playground business. My relaying of the story was never intended as a spanner in the works. Nor a criticism of her - I don't even know the girl. Likewise It was nothing to do with the diss being a big deal. I just wanted to highlight the most shallow cuss I'd ever experienced. It bought great amusement, trust me. Understandably if she genuinely didn't remember (for whatever reason) she might have been pissed thinking I was trying to put a slur on her image, but given I don't touch coke and wasn't off my head on the alcopops, there's little doubt in my mind (I wouldn't have written about it otherwise). What was really interesting was some information that sprung to light afterwards. Another comment in her message was along the lines of i've never heard of you before, but according to a mutual associate of ours, she actually suggested she was familiar with my work and couldn't understand why I was writing such things. Said associate suggested she phone me if she was bothered but she obviously wasn't cause I haven't heard a peep since. Should I have received a phone call, I would have asked her where she gets her eyeliner from. That's one thing she's definitely got on lock in my books. I also know that some of the people who commented on the post have since received flack from various people connected to Lily Allen or best friend Miquita Oliver for revealing their own gak accounts or gossip. Since that however, there's been so much juice that's surfaced in the tabloids and other sources that it makes what was written on here overly boring. Naturally I'm interested as much as the next person, Ms Allen seems like a character and a half but the tide will continue to turn if the attention detracts too much from her music. Doing an Amy Winehouse and slating everyone in the game is never a good idea. Being real is one thing but sometimes being real qualifiies as rude, unjust and unprofessional. Let us not forget in this industry, you never know who's friends with who. It's all too easy to get caught up in the hype. I notice that love for Lily Allen in the underground is fairly strong, and although I was a tad surprised given the response Lady Sovereign got (and she's far more genuinely street), I'm not entirely adverse to her music either. I was surprised the album was only 37 minutes in length but their were a couple of tunes on it I would give a reload. Just don't expect to hear gunshots too.
A religious part of my Sunday is the Sunday Times, the Style supplement more specifically. This morning we rejoyced that Paul Flynn had a column on the opening page, only to find out he's filling in for a week. Hello? Somebody sort this man out a regular slot! Next to open my eyes was the double page spread on Neil Boorman (my Straight Outta Bethnal partner). I've mentioned his forthcoming book, Bonfire Of The Brands on here before (someone called him a slimy c**t, can't say he's greased me in any way, shape or form, quite the opposite in fact), and this article documented in brief his mission (ridding his life of everything branded) and details of the burning which takes place on September 17th (let's hope he gives me a Birthday present then). When I first met with Neil, I didn't view him as label obsessed, but since reading his blog and talking with him I've realised it's because we all are really. Today raised some more food for thought - literally - even buying Tesco Finest can be deemed buying into a lifestyle, so surely that can also apply to Tesco Value? One request on Boormans blog is to find non-branded innersoles for his non-branded trainers, I'm imagining his life is going to prove difficult. Will he have to start making much of his attire? Perhaps he'll need to further his culinary skills in order to satisfy his love of dips and start making these fancies from scratch? The debate as to what does and doesn't qualify as a brand could rage forever. Does wanting to live a non-branded lifestyle thus make you part of another world of cliche's and assumptions? Think how many times the word hippy gets attached to someone who chooses to live off the land. It's made me start thinking about my own choice of brands and my reasons for owning them. I don't know if I'm going to like what I'm about to write but here goes nothing... Neil Boorman I dedicate this to you in the name of research. www.bonfireofthebrands.blogspot.com
Sony Ericsson W900i - It's white. That why I chose it as my upgrade. The music player also seemed quite a bonus. And it matched my watch.
Guess watch - It's white. It seemed unusual and I loved it. I bought it in America last year as a birthday present. I actually prefer it to the Chanel one. And it's £3,000 cheaper.
iBook - Everyone in media uses Mac's don't they? And I don't like PC's.
Trashy Lingerie vest - It's an underwear shop in LA that you pay entry to get into. I liked the colour combination. It was cheap and a reminder of my trip. It did make it into Style a few months later though.
Non-branded jeans - Woohoo. One bonus point for me. I was probably broke and mum goes to Asda.
iPod - When I got it there wasn't an alternative. And who didn't want an MP3 player when they hit the market.
Nike Trainers - A present from an American journalist who I helped on a story. I don't really buy Nike in the UK because it's too expensive and when it comes to clothes I'm actually quite tight although I once spent £60 on a denim skirt. They saw me coming.
Oxford English Dictionary - Does this qualify as a brand? I'd rather swear by Oxford than an unofficial imitation.
RSPCA Socks - Another gift but the RSPCA brand does suggest I care about animals. I do. But I haven't done much to help unless you count handing in a dog I found wandering the streets of Shoreditch. The weekend I had Foxy Brown was like I had a child. Allow that.
Body Shops Moisturiser - I trust the brand. I admit it. When I pay £6 for an illuminating moisturiser from the Body Shop I expect to radiate from E2 to SE1.
Disney Calendar - Honestly I got it for the double line spacing. My schedule is hectic and warrants room to move. Like I ever write anything on it.
Samsung TV - It was the cheapest option although I did trust it more than the alternative I'd never heard of.
adidas jumper - It was FREEEEEEEEE.
There were alot of parties and good club nights on this weekend, but I haven't been to any. I should have gone to The Legion or perhaps 93 Feet East and thrown signals while Wiley clashed Ghetto and Scorcher. Couldn't. Muster. A. Movement. There was never a strong chance of me going to watch Boy Better Know at 333 either. R U Dumb? I've not being back there since Straight Outta Bethnal got 'too underground' for them... so underground that Teens Of Thailand are booking the same acts that we put on monthly to around 650 people a time? Hyprocrisy? There's a lot of it out there it seems. Good luck to Boy Better Know all the same. And while the weekend is still young, relatively speaking, I still have no intention of heading out. You may not care why, but this is my blog and I'll do what I want. Quite frankly I can't be arsed. I've got a stack of work to do and little desire to socialise. I enjoy my own company, is that such a bad thing? I laugh more at my own jokes for a start. I definitely feel a stronger urge to get wild if things are getting me down or I have no money. That's not to say I've become rich overnight, far from it, but my career has taken some unexpected twists and turns which are, to an extent, allowing me to dejunk my life. I've been bored for too long but no longer feel much need to do what I've come to know, or more to the point, what I felt was expected of me. While I continue to champion underground sounds I like, the truth is, and I think we've touched on this before, I'm not as excited as I was once. This is for a number of reasons, but I don't want to blame the music, something I've found myself doing of late. It's me. I've got older and my priorities, interests, reality and future are ever-changing. I haven't got time for certain attitudes or certain people, nor do I have time to embrace excuses or celebrate so much with so little meaning. It's not like the story of the grime DJ who starts playing funky house, it's about embracing a whole lot more. And hopefully that 'more' will allow you to open your mind and raise your arms to the ceiling once again too.
Caught up with Plan B a couple of times this week. He's recording a four track, live EP as the next release. It's going to include 'No More Eatin' and three new cuts. Ny was there to lay down some backing vocals and got to meet Shameless who's reppin on one of the tracks too. If you haven't yet heard their collabo from MK's mixtape, Pass That, you can download it from myspace.com/time4planb. Next up was the video shoot for the NME favourite, No More Eatin', down at the Black Island Studios. All the extras were fans from myspace or my crew from Live Magazine/Live Recordings, which was nice. They were a bit stiff on the first take so I suggested some moshing but was not expecting the levels of rowdiness that then ensued for the next 5 hours. It was great to see the girls giving as good as the guys. A few pairs of glasses were broken, someone got winded and there were a lot of bruises to follow but good fun had by all. A lot of the hip hop kids hadn't moshed before and cheesy as it may sound, it was a beautiful thing to see fans of all ages, shapes, colour and musical preference united. I think that's probably what makes Plan B unique as a young artist. The Roots and Manuva have achieved this before and to an extent so does Sway, but B's fusion of Nirvana and Radiohead inspired music with the full band, coupled with rap, seals it that little bit more for me. At one point the director asked me to stand directly behind Ben to prevent anyone jumping on him. Like. A. Mug. I. Said. Ok. BATTERED! Big toe on left foot dead out. I decided to leave it to the pro's after that and caught up with Sem, Cassell, Andy, Beni, Lyric and Danielle Senior before blagging a cab home. Sure everyone slept well (even the band who were heading to Reading to sleep on their fun bus for the first time). I'm just praying now that the final cut doesn't show me getting murked by some of the angriest, moshing, Plan B fans known to man. Big up all of you.
Saturday, 26 August 2006
Words: Chantelle Fiddy
With Eminem too busy signing off divorce papers, it’s going to be down to the UK’s own Professor Green to fill the skinny white guy size 9’s and keep whooping arses 8 Mile style. “I’m quite a negative person, quite down on myself,’ says the lanky 22 year old. “That’s why I try and make a joke with life and people – including myself.” One of those who’ve felt the wrath of his bitter sweet comedy is his new label boss Mike Skinner, who promptly snapped Green up to The Beats following an impressive warm up slot on the last Streets tour and commendable lyrics on The Mitchell Brothers ‘Routine Check Remix’ (lines including ‘why even try to spit, Mike your rhymes are about as tight as Jordan’s vagina is’ or ‘why is a millionaire crying about women, Mike dry your eyes and stop whingin’’). In Green’s case, this form of reverse psychology has paid off time and time again, his number of consecutive wins at UK battle ground The Jump Off, still unbeaten and his fan base ever increasing. “Way too many people, especially in hip hop, aren't laughing at themselves, they're trying to be gangsters but the gangsters I know aren't rapping.”
Raised by his grandmother on a council estate in east London, Green’s by no means a stranger to the complexities of inner city adolescence or street life itself, previously doing what he had to do to make money. “I’m not complaining,” he explains during a rare moment of seriousness, “but it’s not been easy. My mum had me when she was 16, and she left when I was a year old, she's kind of been there throughout my life but not much. And my dad, don’t even get me started on him. I’ve not had a call since I was about 18.”
It was around this time that Green began arming himself with war discourse, scribing lyrics in his head about random strangers that sat across from him on the train, working out ways to cuss them, or practising on his friends until he felt ready to step up to the live stage. At last years international Power Summit in the Bahamas, Green, the unknown outsider and only British representative, mocked his way through every heat to reach the final. Reports had it that by this time Green had won over many of the American audience who went on to cheer for him as he took on the man regarded as the Worlds best (battle rapper), Jin. “Some people didn’t think it was fair that he didn’t have to go through the other rounds like I did, but he won… just. It was a learning curve before because I’d never battled in that environment before and it gave me a chance to show people what I can do. I’ll definitely be going back again this year.”
There have naturally been the doubters who wondered whether Green could make the transition from freestyling to song writer, but there’s no denying his ability to incorporate his competitive and quirky style into verses. Evidence already available for perusal include the remix of The Streets ‘When U Wasn’t Famous’, (the video starring Jodie Marsh obviously of assistance in garnering Green some serious heat), his mixtape The Lecture #1, showcasing his ability to deal with a broad range of subject matter and beats, and his debut limited edition release, ‘Stereotypical Man’ (also produced by Skinner), which has become a collectable slab of green vinyl. “The pressures really on now to deliver the album. It might now be out till next year, we’ll just have to wait and see. I’m not going to rush for anyone. That’s why me and Skinner get on I think, we’ll argue about a track until we have the best product. And my albums going to be my best, I know that at least.”
Professor Green Lecture #1 and Stereotypical Man are out now on The Beats. www.myspace.com/professorgreen
A VERSION OF THIS ARTICLE APPEARS IN DUMMY MAGAZINE www.dummymagazine.com. Buy it!
Thursday, 24 August 2006
Tuesday, 22 August 2006
Blues & Soul meet Aaron LaCrate, 30, B'more gutter music producer and CEO of Milk Crate Records alongside vocalist/rapper/girl about town and nu-wave style icon Amanduh Blank, 23... Words: Chantelle Fiddy.
UD: First off, what's Baltimore gutter music?
Aaron: It's a new musical genre, like crunk on crack. I've spearheaded it, the gutter music project was Amanduh Blank, Spank Rock, me, Low Budget (who's a great DJ). We grew up with Baltimore club music and it was getting popular in Philly so we decided to do a mixtape featuring a heap of exclusives. It got a lot of press and created a lot of attention for everybody. We're like the next generation of Baltimore club beats, Amanduh rhyming over it is different, they normally just have chants.
UD: What's the crowd like who go to these nights?
Amanduh: It is kinda fashion. Every city is different, west London is fashion crowds but Philly is more hood. You get a diverse mix of kids.
UD: We have problem here putting on grime events, is that something that happens over there?
Aaron: It's the biggest form of music in Baltimore and people do get fucked up in some clubs but it's your typical urban experience.
Amanduh: I feel we stick out more when we're in the UK at parties, it's just different, like the way i look everyone in Philly looks this way with the door knocker earrings and loud hair and make up. There's a huge difference in the dancing too, I'd like to go to a dancehall club over here cause I reckon that's where people really get down. No one in Philly stands around trying to look cool, there's limbs everywhere, it gets really sweaty.
UD: Have you been surprised by the success of Spank Rock in Europe?
Amanduh: I've known them before they were Spank Rock, when Niem? had dreadlocks, it was just like 'damn'! He's like my best friend so I was joking around with him and had some fun, the song ended up coming out cool and going on the album.
UD: Has the mixtape helped you get remix work like Alesha's 'Superficial'?
Aaron: Pretty much yeah, the music just hit pretty hard over here cause UK dance records, like Shut Up And Dance had a massive influence on Baltimore club music when it started. They were getting played in all the clubs over there. It's kinda come full circle.
UD: Would you work with someone you weren't into if the money was right?
Aaron: For me remixing is different, what we do is nasty, hard and disgustingly horrible, so if someone wants me to do that to their tune, if you wanna pay me to do that then I'm gonna do what I do. If I can put a pop record out with 'mother fucker' with gun shots and explosions then cool.
UD: How did you both meet?
Aaron: It was about two years ago and we just clicked, we had a similar sick sense of humour and we could vibe.
Amanduh: I couldn't work with someone I didn't share those things with.
UD: What's your background, cause you seem to have come from nowhere?
Amanduh: I haven't been in it too long, Spank Rock really got me into it and since the mixtape I've been on some remixes, I'm in a band as well so I've performed with them. I'm just an attention whore, I'll do anything to be on stage.
UD: What's a typical set for you?
Aaron: They'll be Baltimore classics mixed with a lot of my own stuff.
UD: And Milk Crate is your label?
Aaron: The mixtape came out in November 2005 and that was the first proper release, before that we'd put out stuff randomly. Milk Crate was originally a fashion label which me and my girlfriend run, that's been out here since '96.
UD: Plans for the music?
Amanduh: Lots of shows and making new music. I'm looking forward to going to Russia, I plan to shop.
Aaron: 'Blow' is out now featuring Amanduh and I've done the gutter remix of 'Smile.' I've known Lily before all this, she represents something that speaks to a big demographic.
UD: Worst live experience?
Amanduh: I was doing a show and these girls who didn't like me stood at the front, booing me under their breath. But it was cool, cause I still got their money so they could get the fuck out. Generally I just don't like people standing, staring and looking at their Blackberry. It's like why did you bother coming out?
For more info www.myspace.com/amanduhblank, www.myspace.com/aaronlacrate and www.milkcraterecords.com.
Sunday, 20 August 2006
Wednesday, 16 August 2006
Best Song: Beyoncé, feat Jay Z - Deja Vu, Corinne Bailey Rae - Put Your Records On, Gnarls Barkley - Crazy, Mary J Blige - Be Without You, Ne-Yo - So Sick
Best International Female: Alicia Keys, Beyoncé, Janet Jackson, Mary J Blige, Nelly Furtado
Best UK Female: Alesha Dixon, Beverley Knight, Corinne Bailey Rae, Jamelia, Keisha White
Best International Male: Chris Brown, Jay Z, Kanye West, Ne-Yo, Pharrell
Best UK Male: Kano, Lemar, Nate James, Plan B, Sway
Best Hip-Hop Act: Akala, Busta Rhymes, Kano, Kanye West, Sway
Best UK Newcomer: Corinne Bailey Rae, Fundamental 03, Lady Sovereign, Plan B, Soundbwoy
Tuesday, 15 August 2006
Wednesday, 9 August 2006
GHETTO 'I WISH I NEVER' (See the full thing in the latest issue of Dummy Magazine. Biginthegame.com ya see)
Words: Chantelle Fiddy
Went on a tune called Desert Storm...
When you're new in the scene you get tricked into doing things. I hear the tune in the studio and played loud I thought It could do something big but then I heard it the other day and I was pissed off.
Cut my hair...
I used to have a big afro, check the back of my mixtape, you'll see the pictures. I'm not going to grow it back though, I grew it in jail and it was easy but I can't grow it like that on road.
Took so damn long to write my verse today…
I wished I'd collected the Prangin' Out Remix beat and written it before cause when there's a lot of people in the studio it's bare jokes and I can't concentrate. I like my bars to be on fire.
Visited Scorcher late last week...
Cause I didn't get there on time last week I had to go back to the jail house and visit him yesterday which meant I missed my probation meeting.
Man if I hadn’t missed probabtion there’s wouldn’t be a warrant out for my arrest now. I'm on probation for a series of things mostly driving, driving and driving.
Went on certain DVD's...
People shit on you, they'll try make you look a certain way, they just put the hype bits on, that's how they see Ghetto, they don't see Ghetto in a normal, jokey way. I've calmed down a lot and I'm serious now.
Lost this one bet...
The girl bet heads and put it this way, two minutes later I was butt naked and it was unfair, she got to keep all her clothes on while I walked around my house like that, mum downstairs and everything.
Why did I do that? Is he in my league? No. I can't watch myself you know, I don't know what's wrong with me. Back when I first came out of jail and clashed I was like 'if I lose i'm gonna fuck you up' but it's not that now.
Started smoking weed...
It’s so hard to get off it, I'm off it now but at certain times when I'm stressed or need inspiration i think 'ooh just one draw', but it doesn't help. I've started to dream again and I feel nice. I'd forgotten what dreaming was like.
Lashed this chick bare back...
She knows who she is: the hood bicycle about five years ago. Having unprotected sex in the heat of the moment isn't the one, but I'm alright and I'm more responsible than I used to be. I don't like lashing certain girls still, I'm a fly guy.
Ghetto 2000 & Life Vol.1 is in all good independent record shops now.