Who Got Next?
Hip-hop heads and beat disciples alike have been creaming themselves something rotten over Los Angeles producer-slash-J Dilla heir apparent Flying Lotus since he blazed out of leftfield. The slavering for more material to fill the vacuum after Mr FlyLo released LP Los Angeles is just about ramped up again by latest record, LA EP 2 X 3. Essentially a bunch of post-trip-hop remixes for the smoking crowd – and we’re not talking Benson & Hedges, friends – things only get truly interesting with Mike Slott's stuttering retake on 'RobertaFlack'. Better still is the final slaughter of 'Secrets' by Soundmurderer, making you sweat for the Detroit junglist's fine drum programming for a minute and a half before a surround sound meltdown mauling.
Also hot from the Detroit coalface but with a bit more satisfying boom-bap is Black Milk, whose Tronic album is sufficiently Dilla-influenced that the late beatsmith is name-checked inside the first 90 seconds of opening track 'Long Story Short'. Where Flying Lotus takes the instrumentalism of Jay Dee, Black Milk falls on the side of Dilla's best work, providing the undercurrents for sharp spitting acrobatics. The guestlist may be a touch Blue Square Premier Division (take Royce Da 5'9" - no, please, take him), but the rest is top-flight ish.
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Maybe it's because, as their name hints, Foreign Beggars rock origins beyond ol' Blighty that they're consistently one of UK hip-hop’s most interesting anomalies. Whatever, they reach out to France's Rouge A Levres with comeback single 'Hit That G@$h' (non-censored answers on a postcard not required, ta) and all is electro-rap fine. The remixes do the job too: Scratch Perverts dude DJ Primecuts gets dubstep on '...G@$h'’s ass, and elsewhere our old pal Chester P even rips into spitting action. It's all about as politically correct as Kilroy banging Kerry Katona, which, in this case, equals good work.
Miss Odd Kidd's 'Don’t Be Afraid To Sweat/Sperm Donor' is sturdy enough, but only really remarkable for the fact that her PR is under the impression the B-side is entitled 'Sperm Doner'. Wouldn't want to risk their local takeaway. Which merely leaves the opportunity to get excited about the next Clipse album (coming real soon) and Eminem's unfeasibly decent comeback (get your ears around 'I'm Having A Relapse' somewhere online if you haven't already). Roots Manuva's gospel-tastic latest single, 'Let The Spirit', gets a hearty thumbs up too, along with, on the same label, Big Dada new talent Speech Debelle and Xrabit & DMG$.
Back To Bassics
The finest grime-rap crew north of Watford are back with a vengeance: Virus Syndicate's sophomore LP, Sick Pay – the logically-titled, theme-continuing follow up to their fine widescreen debut' The Work Related Illness – is fittingly, erm, sick. It takes a while to get going, but the momentum kicks in with the liquid undulations of 'Vibrator' and barely dips until a closing couple of Various Production remixes. MRK1's production could take on just about anybody in the grime/dubstep game to boot. Manchester 1 London 0.
Make that Manchester 1, USA 1, London 0, because Pennsylvanian producer Starkey has beaten dubstep's home city at its own game with Ephemeral Exhibits, boasting enough dark portent to suggest it's not always sunny in Philadelphia. Honourable mentions elsewhere go to The Bug's latest trouser-wobbling, speaker-worrying 12 'Ganja' with Killa P and the ever-grimy tones of Flowdan, Distance's second album on Planet Mu: Repercussions, Midlands sub-continent-leaning hip-hop boardsmith turned dubstepper Juttla's atmospheric At War With Satan (which includes a timely eski-fied take on the James Bond theme, 'The Spy'), plus King Cannibal's epic crunch through double-A 'Aragami Style/Flower OF Flesh And Blood'. And if you don't hear Canadians Thunderheist's Baltimore club-style single 'Jerk It' in at least one late-night soundsystem this winter, we'll eat our own, well, sense of smugness. On toast. Metaphorically.
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Don't Believe The Hype
Any haters who ripped into Lady 'missing in action' Sovereign may bust an artery or two on witnessing mic-grabbing miss Envy’s 'Friday Night', a not-entirely-genius rumination on the perils of hitting the town. As for stealing a moniker from rather fine Japanese post-metallers Envy, that just seals the deal... We would also like to suggest you do a Cruyff turn when faced with most the sub-par tunes Lil Wayne is turning up on right now. And the less said about Adam "Goldie Lookin' Chain" Hussain's Tenants Superman (sic?) project the better, although we will mention that the duo's first record, probably available at a car boot sale near you soon, suggests GLC were operating, comparatively, on a Dickensian level. At least it's possible to get some handle on them, mind. Not so Prodigy of Mobb Deep. Our copy of the currently incarcerated Queensbridge rhymer's new effort, Product Of The 80's (definitely a sic right there), is smothered with so many audio promo drops that a computerised woman becomes the main act with the Mobb Deep man a guest on his own record. Technology is bad, y'all. Don't touch that web browser address, though, huh?