Wednesday, 13 July 2016

The Most Important 'UK Hip Hop' LP in a Generation? Sonnyjim Presents 'Mud In My Malbec'

“One should write not unskillfully in the running hand, be able to sing in a pleasing voice, and keep good time to music; and, lastly, a man should not refuse a little wine when it is pressed upon him.” --- Yoshida Kenko, Essays in Idleness, c. 1340

“The two professions are almost the same. Each depends on source material and takes a lot of time to perfect. The big difference is that today’s winemakers still worry about quality.” - Francis Ford Coppola

Daupe! Media has been quietly but consistently producing high quality, boutique product for some time now. Having quietly amassed a dedicated following through good music, clever marketing and unique, limited edition merchandise – the Japanese vinyl market has surely never been so respectfully pimped - the label’s mantra, ‘Quality, Not Quantity’, perfectly describes the aesthetic by which their music is created and released for consumption.

As when considering a fine wine, more often than not you can rely on the turtle beating the rabbit to the finish line. If you’re going to do something properly and with purpose then you take your time, you pay it the due care and attention it deserves and when the chequered flag is finally reached the ends should justify the means. It’s a marathon, not a sprint; chess, not chequers. To quote Robert Mondavi, ‘Making good wine is a skill; making fine wine is an art’. Enjoy the fruits of your labour.
Following a recent successful clothing collaboration with the ever popular Champion brand (SOLD OUT) and a slow-but-steady release schedule of critically acclaimed, limited edition vinyl releases (SOLD OUT) from hand-picked, well respected new-age Hip Hop stars-on-the-rise such as Action Bronson, Danny Brown and CasIsDead to name but a few, label ‘curator’ and producer The Purist has always kept his finger on the proverbial pulse when locating fresh and talented acts, still somewhat unknown to the masses in many cases, to add their unique and individual stylings to the ever expanding menu of hand crafted Daupe! delicacies. Collaborating with UK stalwart MC Sonnyjim on the production and release of his new project , ‘Mud In My Malbec’, is the latest addition to a menu already boasting some of the most rare and opulent dishes available for those in the market for subtle, tailor made cuisine.                  

First off, this is not a ‘UK Hip Hop’ album. This is a Hip Hop album that has been made by artists that originate from and live in the UK. There is a gaping disparity between these two facts, one that fans of artistry and music should appreciate. One is a pre-fabricated pigeon hole. The other, in comparison, is a wide open space filled with the promise of possibility. Nowadays, music – all art, in fact - is classified, hash-tagged and slapped with a pre-defined genre sticker before it has even been made available for consumption for the ‘swipe the screen’ generation of millenial media consumers. Some of us pine for simpler things and simpler times; good music and the nourishment it provides the soul is one of life’s base pleasures, and has been long before compartmentalisation of genre became so prevalent in modern life; a glass of fine wine often serves as the perfect compliment. Simple things. 

The term 'UK Hip Hop' in and of itself is already burdened with a number of stereotypes, some of which are scarily accurate and have, in certain cases, caused those that reside in the UK and who make Hip Hop music to be guilty by association. Think bucket hats, crusty hoodies, ruined trainers, poorly rolled spliffs overloaded with tobacco, overly complex multi-syllabic rhyme schemes, antiquated pseudo-boom bap beats, being broke, complaining about being broke, etcetera, etcetera. The list is exhaustive, but it is also long.

To some it is a brand of pride; to others, maybe a few years removed from the machinations of the 'UK Hip Hop' genre by age and taste, it serves as a reminder of why 'The Scene', as it has always been referred to, is mired in a perpetual state of mediocrity and showcases - in many cases, not all - a lack of anything new or interesting to say. This LP thankfully eschews the latter in favour of simply delivering something made up of pure entertainment and good music. This is at once a deviation from the now accepted norm of what 'UK Hip Hop' represents to people both in and outside of the country but also serves as a breath of fresh air in a room clouded by stale, second hand rollie smoke and even staler notions of what MCs in this country should - or could - be saying, and how. 

Released in collaboration with Sonnyjim’s own grass roots record label, the aptly named Eat Good Records, ‘Mud In My Malbec’ is a less-than-subtle reference to the combination of two wildly extravagant intoxicants, rarely mixed, if ever. Only the most flamboyantly ostentasious individual would consider mixing the two, and this is precisely the tact that Sonnyjim runs with on the album. Refreshingly minimalist production duties are handled impressively by Sonny himself, going down what could be referred to as a Ghostface-esque route of simple but effective old world soul samples, including some well placed and nostalgic vocals that compliment the lyrical content to a tee.

Assistance in the form of a sprinkle of cosmic-slop funk has been provided by standalone talents and contemporaries Kosyne, Apatight and The Purist himself. The quality of the music itself is clearly the result of a lot of time and hard work; the sound is crisp and clean yet retains the sometimes barely detectable fuzz crunch of an old, well played record. Judging by his reputation, I imagine that The Purist (who is also credited as the Executive Producer) insisted on all of the source material coming from vinyl. The clue is in the name.

The opening track, Panache, sets the tone perfectly. A smooth and squelchy intro, somewhat reminiscent of a ‘Doomsday’ era backdrop, serves as a canvas for some old fashioned pimp rap smack talk. One era of wolf ticket salesmanship gives way to another, forty years removed, and Sonny commences with an aperitif to pave the way for the ensuing meal.

‘You gotta love it – the portrait of a brother on his come up/We was on a budget, but now we on a hundred’

‘Doughboy Baker’, a smoker’s soundtrack that oozes a relaxed vibe right from the jump off moves into ‘Scramble’, which features the first of four vocal collaborations from a guest in the form of Hackensack, New Jersey native Da$h. Words are exchanged over a beat eerily reminiscent of Jehst’s classic ‘1979’, lending this album a further string to it’s bow in the form of a (possibly unintentional) nod to a rightfully admired legend in the game. The classic Mobb Deep cuts only serve to further embolden the picture that is being painted.

‘Hard Work’ is a self-explanatory celebration of the merits of a constant ethic which also serves as a set up for ’24 Karat’ to baby-powder pimp slap you in the face with a monologue on the trappings of the aforementioned ethic. Classic samples and simple yet incredibly effective vocal cuts – the scratches themselves serve as being percussive, as opposed to a turntablist machine gun blast of technical wizardry – give Sonny the perfect base to flex his technically proficient yet ultimately relaxed delivery perfectly.

‘Top Notch Hoes’, constructed around a lightly chopped and screwed classic Pimp-C quote, is a slice of squashy, bass driven funk that serves as the plate for a dish of belligerent mack talk. ‘Red Mullet’, a collaboration with popular up-and-comer Westside Gunn, sees the two MCs engaging in a friendly contest to see who can say the most fly shit in 16 bars. There is no clear winner.

As the album progresses the picture that Sonny is painting becomes more and more all encompassing. It’s one of those rare rap albums that draws you in, with a large credit going to the cinematic production, seeing one song sojourning subtly into the next. To put it plainly : An enjoyable listening experience. Sonnyjim is simultaneously vocally sharp and hypnotically smooth, the product of a battle tested MC who has honed his craft to make something more musically refined of his versatile abilities within the confines of the booth. The always on-point yet somewhat trance-inducing nature of Sonny’s lyrics, flow and delivery are reminiscent of, dare I say it, a Roc Marciano or a Ka. If you enjoy either of those artists’ music – and if you’re still reading this, then I imagine you just might be - then I strongly implore you to at least have a listen to the album snippets. I can’t imagine you being disappointed.

The album continues in this vein with two further features; the first from Das Racist alumni Heems, who masterfully stumbles across the musical tightrope of ‘Al Jazeera’ like a drunken monk on a mission. The second and standout contribution on this LP comes courtesy of Mello Music Group artist Quelle Chris on ‘Dorchester’, whose unique vocal stylings compliment Sonny’s dormant cobra approach to a tee. A collaborative project between these two in the future would certainly not be unwelcome.

With tracks such as ‘Blue Label, ‘Drugs and Trophies’ and ‘Czar’s Breakfast’ rounding out the album, the self explanatory ‘Arrivederci’ (Featuring The Purist) concludes the experience by arriving back at the beginning of a full circle. It should by this point be needless to say that the remaining courses serve as a subtle and complimentary reminder of those that came before. Red wine for red meat, white wine for fish. 

Consider this, if you will. Hip Hop music and culture was essentially predicated on two things : Party braggadocio and social commentary. Think ‘Rapper’s Delight’ vs ‘The Message’. Obviously, over the years a giant grey area has opened up between the two concepts, incorporating a variety of sub-genre rap ranging from everything from staunchly political musings to heavily conceptualised storytelling to pseudo-boom bap to skater rap, trap and everything else. But the core concept remains; for every Talib Kweli there is a Trinidad James. The onus is on the individual to express themselves in the most authentic way possible, and in this vein Sonnyjim has chosen his lane and built a set of iron clad barriers around it to keep him moving in the same direction at all times.

That might seem like a polite way of me saying that this LP lacks variety in subject matter, which may or may not be a fair appraisal. Only the listener can decide. However, if it is the case that variety is indeed lacking, this is made up for an infinite amount of times by the intangibles that many people ignore when considering the merits of a musical project. Think cohesion of sound, the flow of the project, the consistently high standard of lyric writing and delivery, the choice of beats, the way the album flows seamlessly from one song to the next and the clearly well thought out musical and engineering choices made by the artist and his contributors. 

Unfortunately, comparisons to one Action Bronson may be forced in the same way that Bronson himself has been endlessly compared to Ghostface Killah. However, in this instance the similarity is not in the voice but the subject matter itself. Fine dining, extravagant marijuana discussions, an affinity for Ralph Lauren and exuding a supreme self confidence are indeed hallmarks of both artists. With that in mind, Sonnjim’s own label (Eat Good Records - the clue, once again, is in the name) has been consistently churning out quality product since pre 2010. One look at Sonnyjim’s instagram feed will clarify his love for weed and fine dining. If you do your homework you will see that neither party is guilty of anything even resembling ‘biting’; it is simply the case that both artists enjoy indulging in similar lifestyles. Compare by all means, but any accusations of plagiarism are unfounded.


If you’re looking for a fantastically varied album featuring wildly different concepts on every track – as many rappers seem to try and achieve these days – then you are in the wrong place, my friend. Rowdy posse cut? Negative. Concept track rapped from the point of view of an inanimate object? Not present. Obligatory double time faux Grime track? Nope. Complaints about how life is so hard for the artist and how you, the listener, must take the advice of the protagonist to keep your head up and fight through the hard times to achieve your dreams? Sorry, but no dice.

What you have here is a private reserve stock 2016 Malbec. It’s an acquired taste, which is certainly not for everyone. But for the connoisseur who knows what they want it’s a small package of opulence that gives joy every time the cork is popped. Did I mention that the Daupe! bundle package containing a bottle of Sonnyjim’s private reserve Malbec 2016 has already sold out? Indeed. Rappers releasing albums with a signature bottle of wine is a thing now. Have a taste of the extravagant lifestyle you’re hearing about. Or, just enjoy the music. Either way, it’s a great look, and a clever USP in a music industry where the wit and acumen of an independent music hustler always has to be a step ahead of their contemporaries to gain any purchase within what is now a professional grass-roots industry.

Sonny is celebrating success in life, plain and simple. Take a listen to ‘Rapper’s Delight’ and tell me that The Sugarhill Hill Gang are not doing the exact same thing. If ‘real’ means depicting your struggles in a low paid job or being on benefits, then that’s all good. However, if ‘real’ means that you are in fact successful – and not necessarily through making money from music – then common sense dictates that you tell your story from your own perspective. 

'You see, I'm six foot one, and I'm tons of fun

When I dress to a T,
You see, I got more clothes than Muhammad Ali
and I dress so viciously.
I got bodyguards, I got two big cars
That definitely ain't the wack,
I got a Lincoln Continental and a sun-roofed Cadillac.
So after school I take a dip in the pool,
Which is really off the wall,
I got a colour TV, so I can see
The Knicks play basketball. Hear me talk about
Checkbooks, credit cards, mo' money
Than a sucker could ever spend,
But I wouldn't give a sucker or a bum from the Rucker
Not a dime 'til I made it again.'

The fact that Sonny is from the UK should be a moot point. He’s breaking the stereotypical mould of rappers from the UK (not ‘UK rappers’) by swimming upstream against the accepted flow of the water. In Sonny’s world, the salmon jumps out of the water to immediately land in a charcoal pit to be shared amongst his fam. This view on life via rap music from the UK should be celebrated, not chastised. It’s a thoroughly refreshing take, one that is rarely seen but when noticed is often disregarded as lacking merit, as opposed to substance. Sonnyjim is a successful man and he’s going to share the trappings of his success with you. That’s the thread of this album and he has stuck to his guns admirably in being himself. 

And the best part? It’s all real.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Ric Branson : The UK G.O.A.T. Who Did The One Thing That Jay-Z Could Not (+ NEW TRACK)

Azealia Banks has clearly never heard of Ric Branson.

Coincidentally, at a time when the ‘swag’ (or accused lack thereof) of UK Rappers – Grime, Hip Hop or otherwise – has been brought into question by a mentally ill, racist, homophobic, Trump endorsing, contradictory and all around repulsive troll of a woman, what better time is there than to reflect upon my own personal favourite UK rapper of all time – a gent that places firmly in my ‘Top 5, Dead or Alive’ list – the man formerly known as Ric Branson, also once known as Ricochet from the trail blazing UK golden era rap crew, Universal Soldiers. A man that, before the word even existed in this context, was the living and breathing definition of ‘swag’ personified.

As we near the 10 year anniversary point of his debut (and only) solo release project, ‘No Pressure’, I inexplicably find myself pondering more and more as to what happened to this outrageously talented guy. I won’t go into too much detail yet – I’m currently in the process of attempting to track him down to conduct a sort of retrospective interview/oral history (wish me luck) – but needless to say those that are aware of the musical contributions of the former artist known as Ricochet must be wondering where he is and what he’s been up to, much like myself. For those of you that have never heard of Ricochet/Ric Branson and Universal Soldiers (including rhyme partner Ultra and producer A H Fly), there’s no shame in your game..... The real shame would be that you live your life in ignorance of the music of this elusive yet supremely talented MC. The ‘end game of shame’ would be that their music simply disappears from the rap public’s conscious altogether – even upon extensive searches and re-searches on the internet only the barest bones of information is available, comprising a few old interviews on long defunct websites, some grainy photographs at minimal resolution on Google images and thankfully many songs that some forward thinking types have kindly uploaded to youtube. You can’t buy the music anywhere online it seems – all online retailers list as being sold out – and it was only by chance that I managed to grab a copy of ‘No Pressure’ off of discogs recently (my original copy is locked somewhere in Dad’s attic in Cornwall with the Street Veterans 12"s).

For those of you that really don’t know, I’ll give you the briefest of rundowns. Back when Low Life Records really started hitting in the early 2000’s and Braintax (boo!), Taskforce, Jehst, Tommy Evans, Champions Of Nature and a few notable others were creating and releasing music that would become the backbone of the Golden Age of UK Hip Hop for those in my age group, Universal Soldiers were right there doing the same thing too. But Universal were different. I won’t comment on Ultra and Fly at this point, but Universal were known for one thing and one thing only – Road. Life on, life off, it all revolved around being On Road.

Speaking of Ric specifically, all I can say (whilst still attempting to keep it brief) is the following : Impeccable flow. Effortless lyricism. Story telling par excellence. The clear ability to murder a rapper in a battle (not that we ever got to see that happen – shame). And, most crucially, at the back end of the period of time when everyone and their mum was swearing they were ‘keeping it real’, Ric kept it realer than possibly any other rapper I can think of (with the exception of C-Murder). He was – not unashamedly so, as hints of shame crept in here and there – a hustler. Some of the stories he told may have been ever so slightly embellished, but a large part of me doubts that. Ric was out to get his on his own terms and these escapades have been thankfully documented in excruciating detail for all to enjoy.

To this day – maybe even more so now – I find the amount of personal detail that he included in his music shocking, but in a good way. He detailed his movements, plans and the executions of his Grand Visions seamlessly, always nonchalant but never without the underlying current of seriousness and sincerity. I’m not going to go too far into the nuts and bolts of the content at this point – that will come later, dependent on the result of my search for an interview – but suffice to say that if you have listened to his music and have been privileged enough to have moved in some of the same creative circles as I have (with those that know or knew the man on a creative/personal level) then you know that through hard graft, street smarts and an unrivalled business acumen he moved himself into a position by which he was able to officially retire from multiple ‘urban employments’, so to say, to pursue far more lucrative and ultimately legitimate means of existence. I believe Nas referred to it as ‘A Hustler’s Dream’, and this particular dream was cleverly documented in a way that I personally have never seen or heard of before or since. Basically, the guy is a fucking genius. ‘Listen to Mad Runningz and you know my past – I don’t just move food, blud, I show some class’.


Partly to satisfy my own urges – and partly to see if it may help me gain contact with the man – I have been so bold as to jack an entire track from his classic ‘No Pressure’ release and drop a verse of my own after his. I haven’t just jacked the beat; I’ve jacked the man’s verse, too.

A bold move, and one that could potentially backfire, but after repeated listens to ‘Street Veterans’, ‘Slanguage’ (a vastly underrated UK classic) and ‘No Pressure‘ over the last few weeks I was reminded that many years ago I contacted Ric to ask if he would like to drop a verse on my album in progress at the time, ‘Cold Lazarus’.

Having sent a message through Myspace (yes, Myspace) asking if he would jump on a track – money was involved, of course – I received a very pleasant message back essentially stating that which I already knew – that Ric was firmly retired from rap and it was going to stay that way. For good. This must have been back around 2007-2008 and despite the fact I did manage to secure a verse from the one and only Sean Price – my favourite rapper of all time – I am still disappointed to this day that I could not coax one more 16 out of the sliver-tongued street entrepreneur known as Juggla Redz. ‘Enlish featuring Sean Price and Ric Branson of Universal Soldiers’ sounds pretty sweet to me.

On more than one occasion Ric referred to himself as or compared himself to the ‘Scarlet Pimpernel’, the protagonist of an age old tale of English chivalry. A cursory glance at Wikipedia reveals that the Pimpernel’s successes are firmly rooted in the masterful use of disguises and strict secrecy of his group's movements. His identity is secret to all but his men. With this in mind, I must admit that my own chances of tracking down an ex-rapper after close to a decade of complete radio silence seem slim, and that’s putting it lightly. However, I will not be dissuaded. Not yet, anyway.


Being an aging backpack rapper constantly verging on rap retirement, I am now looking into new ways of exploring my love for Hip Hop culture without jostling for elbow room with every other fucker and his brother who has figured out how to shout at Garageband. I will continue to make music as and when I feel the urge, but having spent some time thinking about it recently I have realised that I have vastly underestimated the influence and effect that Hip Hop from the UK had on me between the years 2000-2007. The aforementioned artists, and many others, are all legends in their own right, yet we here in the UK seem to put a shockingly small amount of stock in celebrating their music and their legacies, regardless of how ‘garden variety’ they may appear to be.

Not only is this a crying shame, but it is also indicative of the throwaway culture that the internet and social media has caused music to become. The artists of the Low Life and YNR rosters, as well as many, many others of the same era deserve our praise and gratitude for forcing their music out at a time when it was not as easy as uploading an mp3 or filming oneself rapping on a front-to-back mobile telephone. These guys grafted their hearts out to produce high quality music on white label vinyl with hand written stickers and shot them hand to hand in the pre-50 Cent mix CD era. These guys deserve our respect, yes, but they also deserve to not be forgotten simply because the wheels of ‘progress’ refuse to stop increasing their speed.

I am pursuing other artists from the same era for the same purpose (big up Devise and hopefully Yungun/Essa – fingers crossed, it’ll be a great story), but my starting point has to be with the one MC from the UK who not only had the greatest influence on me personally but whose music and style has, to my ears, not aged a jot in the best part of a decade. If anything the intricate rhymes, smooth flows, effortless storytelling and the fantastic reality weaved into all of the above have actually gotten better over time. Some age like vinegar, some age like wine.

Ricochet was and remains to be one of my favourite Hip Hop artists of all time, UK or otherwise. I would absolutely love to sit down with him – only if he’s willing, obviously, and I’d understand if not – and see if I can’t contribute to empowering his mythical status in my own way – respectfully -  to show people what a refined talent he truly was.

Oh, and seeing as I just completely jacked a Ric Branson verse without any permission whatsoever I figured I might as well go ahead and completely jack an Elzhi verse too. It’s not like I can afford to pay the man. In for a penny, in for a pound.

Wondering what happened to your favourite MC? Got similar taste in music to me? Holler at me on Twitter and I’ll see what I can do. @Enlish.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Happy Birthday Sean Price


Thursday, 17 March 2016

EXPO-ZAY : Jay Electronica is a DICK. The Full and true story, as I lived it.

I want it to be known, before I embark on this epic rant, that at one point I was the biggest Jay Electronica fan on the face of the planet. Every so often I get bored with Hip Hop - this has happened intermittently throughout my 23 years-and-counting love affair - and at my lowest ebb somebody inevitably pops up and once again piques my interest. Whenever it was that Jay Electronica first appeared on my radar (I want to say 2009?), my apathy for the music was once again washed away, and convincingly.

I enjoyed the man's sporadic - and high quality - output, the air of mysticism that he seemed to shroud himself with and his apparent disdain for releasing an LP, especially since everyone and their mother was lambasting him in the press and on social media to please drop an album. And, much like everyone else with an ear, I lost my shit when 'Exhibit C' dropped. But that was then. My entire Outlook - pun intended - changed drastically (an understatement) on Friday 30th August 2013.

On that date, in my estimations, Jay Electronica ceased being the almighty saviour of Hip Hop and descended into the category of being your worse than average, garden variety complete fucking TWAT. We're talking WKD side showing, lads banter enjoying, cheeky Nando's suggesting CUNT.

If this story - and it is a story, a relatively epic one at that - has thus far tickled your interest, please read on for the scoop. Also, if anyone can see fit to tweet this to him, please do so. He blocked me some time ago - before the occurrence of the below detailed incident - for taking the piss out of him because his tumblr account was (is?) called 'eventheblackgodcriessometimes'. This should have served as a hint to me, but I was too immersed in the music and the hype to really process this vital information. I should have known better. A lot better.

Jay Electronica was playing Outlook Festival 2013. I had absolutely no interest in going until this announcement was made, at which point my entire plan changed. I was in the midst of a brutal period of depression and was considering leaving Brighton so I could rot away in the relative comfort and security of Cornwall. This announcement coincided with a number of other odd life events occurring at the same time, which ultimately - and thankfully - convinced me to change my mind. But taking my unemployed, mega depressed, put-it-all-on-your-credit-card-and-worry-about-it-later ass on holiday with a gang of my best mates for a kick ass holiday on a Croatian beach in 30 degree weather was the starting point. Plus - to my giddy, school boy-esque delight - I was going with a single purpose : To watch the god Jay Electronica perform live. Psyched doesn't really cover it. I was fit to burst.

We arrived in Croatia, and subsequently at the hotel, on the Wednesday evening. Quickly to bed and straight to the beach the next morning to get the festivities started. And start they did. Drinking in the sun all day led to partying all night - big ups to Scottish Andy, if you were there then you know what I'm talking about, the dude was famous over there - and a gang of us were literally the last men standing who had to be shepherded out of the castle by the security staff.

Not particularly taken by the concept of sleep, myself and Cold Joe Smith retreated to my hotel (I was staying somewhere separate to the rest of the gang) and kept it moving by simply continuing to drink. I was on pregablin at the time, which is apparently an anti anxiety medication. It never did anything for my anxiety, but if you knocked a couple down after a beer or 10 it would make you - and I choose my words carefully - wavey as all hell. Anyway.

After cleaning up and having something to eat, Joey and I returned to the beach. We obviously had a lot of fun and saw a bunch of other cool acts during the weekend (Pharoahe Monch was a particular highlight) but I'm trying to get to the point here.

Drinking all day in 30 degree heat on the beach once again led to the night time partying when the fort opened it's gates. No sleep, mind you. And tonight was the night, the night I would watch my newly crowned idol perform his life-changing songs for, as far as I was concerned, an audience of one. Every time I came close to passing out or falling asleep I managed to jolt myself awake with this thought. THIS IS WHY YOU'RE HERE, DAVE. Fix up and get more intoxicants in you. At some point in the evening the time came for us to get where we needed to be. Cold Joe Smith, a true gentleman and one of the most stand up geezers I know, excelled himself once again by essentially keeping me upright throughout the evening so I got to where I needed to go. Thanks Joey, you're a legend.

If you've never been to Outlook before (and I'd recommend it), basically you're all on the beach all day, drinking and chilling. As the sun is going down the gates to a large fort are thrown open and you are presented with a number of choices of venue, located both inside the castle and also down and around many twisting lanes, moats and dungeons. It's cool. Jay Electronica was due to perform in a surprisingly small area just outside the castle itself. And off we stumbled.

When we got in, J-Rocc was playing. All good. I was waved to within an inch of losing control at this point, but I had made it and only needed to wait another half hour, so I stomped to the front with a gang of booze and gripped on to the metal fence partition for dear life. I was getting the best seat in the house for this shit and nobody was going to stop me. J-Rocc played, I danced (or at least did my approximation of dancing) and Joey and I did our little two step for a while until, finally, my life-defining moment was nearly upon me. J-Rocc packed it up, the lights went down, the anticipation in the air rose palpably and a figure, shrouded in the dark, gave us the traditional 'CHECK 1-2'. And then, as they say, shit got real. Really real.

Me, at the front, smack bang in the middle. Sunglasses. Beer. Beard. That's me. 

He was drunk. Not Christmas day drunk, not Friday night drunk, not even stag on the stag-do drunk. We're talking balls-out, angular eyed, bow legged, blind-as-a-bat, fuck feeling this in the morning you're going to feel it next week DRUNK. He was clutching the biggest bottle of Jack Daniels I have ever seen - you know, like one of them stupidly big ones that people with more money than sense have in their houses to 'look cool' or whatever - and he wasn't shy with it. He did, however, caveat the entire situation and that of the one to come with the following words (and I'm paraphrasing here, because I was also mortal) - "I get drunk when I do shows because I get really nervous." Not what I wanted to hear.

Yes, I was wasted. Yes, I was barely standing. But the overwhelming feeling of disappointment dropped on me like an anvil. I had my analytical mind on, despite my inebriation - after all, I had been looking forward to this precise moment for months and had spent a fair amount of money to get me in the position I was in, let alone giving my depression the temporary finger to allow me to go anyway. But, in all honesty, that is the last thing you want to hear a performer say at ANY gig, let alone one of this magnitude. As I said, bad start, but I've performed drunk enough times so I figured it couldn't be that bad. I was WRONG. Dead wrong.

The following transpired over the course of around, as I remember, 33 minutes. His set was due to be 45.

He started a track. I can't remember which. Fluffed it within 16 bars. Too drunk. He might have tried it a second, maybe even third time, with the same results. Mortally drunk.


Cheers. Actual cheers. I'm confused.

Blabber blabber blabber, blah blah blah. All talk. No songs, no rapping.

He might have attempted another track at this point, he might not have done. If he did, he fucked it up. This I can guarantee. But that didn't matter, not to him anyway, and seemingly not to anybody else either apart from muggins here. The only thing that mattered at this point was STAGE INVASION! STAGE INVASION! STAGE INVASION!

Crowd empties and rushes the stage. I'm still clinging onto the front rail at this point. He had done nothing, literally NOTHING to justify a fucking stage invasion or any other behaviour to warrant any other stupid, pointless, immature school boy demands at this point. But the crowd gleefully accepted the offer; anything to be on stage with 'The Great' Jay Electronica. The great Jay Electronica who, at this juncture, had not seen fit to even complete a single song. A single VERSE, for that matter. I reckon about 15 minutes had passed by this point. My not-impressed levels were growing exponentially. But it's OK, you know, he's having fun, they're having fun, maybe I'm the one with the problem, right?

The stage invasion.
Security are getting a little tetchy with his antics at this point and, after a few more precious minutes had elapsed, cleared the stage for him to presumably continue with his 'show'. And continue he did - in exactly the same drunken, non-committal, bullshit no-rapping-ass way he did before. I think at this point he attempted another song, failing miserably. As before.

Next, after probably a total of 3 minutes of completely cocked up rapping had been attempted, came the crowd surfing. Of course! Crowd surfing! I mean, there's a raised stage and a crowd, what else are you going to do? Use the electrical equipment present to actually perform songs, or jump into the beckoning arms of the drug addled crowd to enjoy their adulation that you clearly so desperately need to feel any level of self worth in that rugby ball head of yours (more on that little bit of psychoanalyisis later)? The latter, of course! And there I was, stupid me, expecting to see some actual rapping. From a 'professional' rapper who never releases any music and barely ever performs. Slowly, the pieces started slotting into place, even through the crashing waves that my brain was drowning in.

Why be on stage rapping when you can just fuck about in the crowd instead? Cock.
Crowd surfing completed, he may or may not have attempted to rap again. It genuinely doesn't matter. It's what came next that matters.

On the other side of the metal partition that I was initially clinging too so desperately was a slightly raised platform, designed so the performer can stand within a few inches of the crowd but still be seen by all. Jay Electronica, approximately 33 minutes into his 'set', mounted said platform directly in front of me to talk more slurry, drunken shite and not rap. I'd had enough by this point. I not-so-politely poked him in the stomach and beckoned him closer, interrupting whatever bullshit 'god on earth' monologue he was flapping his lips through. I said, and I quote :

"Are you actually going to do any rapping, or are you just going to talk shit for your entire set?"

Drunken eyes met drunken eyes and, for a moment, I thought my genuine question might be taken as a form of challenge by which he could undo all of the wrong that he had done over the previous 30 minutes and actually make the last 15 count. I was depending on him to be an adult, and a professional at that. I was gravely mistaken.

Do you remember being a kid in the playground at school? When one of the other kids who was emerging as some what of a social magnet would start up an inane chant, usually at the expense of some other kid who was in no position to do anything about it other than fight (if they could)? You know, that classic sign of low self esteem that is shared by insecure bullies with a platform the world over? Yes? Well. That happened. To me.

"This guys a hater! Hey everyone, this guys a hater!!!!", he proclaimed. And thus the chants, to be joined in with by every member of the crowd bar me and maybe a few others.


You get the picture. I'm blitzed out of my god damned gord and now this shit is going down. I was genuinely speechless; add the fact that there was literally nothing I could do and so I just stood there, gobsmacked.


Now, let's rewind a minute. It's me. I'm not a bad guy. As far as I'm concerned I was there to see him rap. I'd paid for a very specific service that was promised in the run up to this scenario and I didn't get what I paid for. So I went directly to the source of the issue to complain. I think that was justified. 

And now let's rewind a minute more. At the beginning of this piece I very clearly stated that I was incredibly depressed at this point in my life. Like, literally suicidally depressed. No exaggeration. So, putting aside his absolute incompetence on the mic and his complete and utter disrespect for the show, the punters and the culture, for Jay Electronica to specifically target me - when I had simply asked for what I'd paid for - and proceed to try and crucify me in public was a pretty fucking ugly thing to do. It's lucky I'm made of sterner stuff because I dread to think what sort of effect this kind of attempted public humiliation could potentially do to somebody else who was going through soul crushing depression and suicidal thoughts. 

The irony is, of course, that I am personally of the opinion that Jay Electronica is one of these very same people. Lack of confidence, low self esteem, feelings of inferiority, the need to drink; all of this can explain his behaviour on this particular evening, his lack of any meaningful body of musical work being released, his apparent seclusion from public and his bizarre and sporadic online rants. If the shoe was on the other foot I'd imagine I'd be making him feel pretty bad about himself. Again, lucky I've got enough gas in the tank to see me through. But still, fuck this guy. Anyway. Back to the story. 

Seconds turned to minutes turned to hours. In a position of complete impotence and somewhat fearing for my safety at this point, I quickly retreated back to where a few of the gang were cotching and we got the fuck out of there. What happened afterwards is a blur but it wasn't long before I retreated back to my hotel and passed out - hard. I could barely speak or stand up and the looks of concern on my friend's faces were clear even to me, given the state I was in. The day was done.

Cue the next morning. We've all been there. Wake up and realise you're a living, breathing human being to be swiftly followed by the realisation that you're a living, breathing human being with the mother of all come downs and hangovers crammed into the few inches of matter between your ears. And with the realisation came the memories of the night before. Oh dear, Dave. Deary, deary me.

I got up, showered and returned to the beach with my proverbial tail between my legs but with a palpable feeling of anger still churning in my gut. It wasn't long until I knocked into the guys. Nobody mentioned anything about the 'Jay Electronica incident', for which I was grateful, and at the time part of me figured that if everyone was as fucked as I was then maybe it wasn't that big of a deal. But it was still irking me, so I did a little gentle digging to find out what had happened after I was so unceremoniously chased out of the giant 9 year old's personal playground. The resulting reports were.... satisfactory. To say the least.

With the remaining 10 or so minutes he did manage to crank out 'Exhibit C', as referenced in the Outlook highlights video (the editors must have worked overtime to get that looking like something resembling a famous rapper performing a show like a professional), but how much of it he managed I know not. What I do know is that the moment his 45 minutes were up the lights came on and the mic went off.

This displeased the great Jay Electronica greatly. Maybe the realisation that he hadn't actually performed one whole song had dawned on him; maybe he was having so much fun that he felt slighted; or maybe, just maybe, he's an insecure prick who drinks for self esteem and, in turn, starts genuinely believing that he's the rapping version of Prince or any other artist who is actually worth your time and effort and he should therefore be treated as a male Mariah Carey, diva-ing his way through life with a basket of fucking puppies on his rider. It matters not.

Lights on, mics off. But that won't stop Jay, oh no. Cue the shouting, screaming tantrum, with words to the effect of "FUCK OUTLOOK FESTIVAL, FUCK THE SECURITY, I'M JAY ELECTRONICA, YOU'RE NOT SHUTTING ME DOWN" rah di rah, blah blah bullshit. And then, so I'm told, as he was being politely shepherded off stage by the security (as he was refusing to leave of his own accord), he managed to trip and fall over in full view of everyone, cementing his legacy as the biggest prick of the whole weekend.  Maybe it was that 800 litres of JD he necked to 'calm his nerves'.

Either way, and needless to say, I felt fucking great. I felt, and still feel that I made a genuine stand for the culture that night and told the cunt exactly what I thought of his performance. I'm sure KRS would have taken it a step further. What. A. Prick.

Now, since that time I have obviously disposed of any and all evidence of Jay Electronica from my life. If the odd mp3 jumps on in a shuffle, it is quickly skipped, including 'Exhibit C'. I literally can't even hear the man's voice or look at that stupid fucking face on that giant melon head of his without my blood pressure rising. Oh, how things have changed.

You may be wondering why I've shared this now, rather than before. Truthfully there are two reasons. One, I have been dealing with my own issues and, as such, have not been writing this blog for two years. Otherwise I would have done it earlier. And two? Well. Let's just say that, as we all know now, every so often this insecure, emotionally unstable psychopath crawls out from under whatever rock he's been hiding beneath to talk some absolute shite on the internet in an effort to, I presume, remain 'relevant'. And thusly he has done so recently, talking shit about one Kendrick Lamar.

Remember what I said earlier about that one artist popping up every so often to restore my faith in the music? Well, Kendrick is that dude. Without straying too far off topic I genuinely think the guy is incredible for a number of reasons. Technically a great rapper, covers all angles, incredible lyricist, politically minded but not in-your-face with it, grounded, down to earth guy, etc etc. Not to mention his two albums (I haven't checked the new joint yet) are, in my opinion, two of the best Hip Hop albums of recent times. At this moment the guy can do no wrong in my estimations. Basically he's everything that Jay Electronica isn't.

So they do this 'Control' track and Kendrick absolutely bodies it. Drops one feature verse and proves himself to be without peer in the game in between making two albums of amazing music with nary a battle verse in sight. "It's funny how one verse can fuck up the game." Indeed.

Of course, Jay Electronica has the displeasure of going after Kendrick on the beat and rapping about angel wings and Egyptian scriptures and all that other complete bullshit that I used to buy into. Of course, I wasn't checking for him by this point, but it was a pleasure just to hear Kendrick burn him so comprehensively.

However, obviously operating in the full knowledge that Kendrick has popped that fucking beach ball head of his for good, he pipes up on some bullshit Q&A session whilst taking a break from rolling around in Rothschild money to give his opinion on the track. And, of course, he's full of shit. 'Kendrick is my son, I made Kendrick Lamar, he didn't say anything in his verse, I had the better verse, everyone knows it' etc etc etc. Absolute, grade A solid gold bullshit.

He obviously hasn't been keeping up on current events as far as 'Black Lives Matter' protestors adopting one of Kendrick's fucking songs as the official theme for fighting the power. Fighting injustice. Fighting for equality. Protesting in the face of police brutality. All the while Jay Electronica is flitting about the English countryside and shooting ducks with his billionairess waif by his side (I assume).

While Jay Electronica is hiding in his little hole and doing precisely fuck all, writing bullshit verses about being a black saviour or black jesus and drinking from the everlasting fountain of youth with Abyssinian angels, and NOT releasing any music, Kendrick's music is currently having this effect on real people, in real life, with real problems, looking for real solutions.

Not to mention behaviour like this :

Not hiding away and TALKING about doing shit. ACTUALLY DOING SHIT. Making a difference in the world. Using his platform to send an important message and to try and do some good in the world, all the while making incredible albums of music. Basically everything Jay Electronica isn't doing, and never, ever will do. Talk about self obsessed, delusional thinking.

Does anyone give a shit if this clown ever releases an album now? You know my take on this. As I read the other day, 'Jay Electronica is the only dude who's been up and coming since '05'. Doing your best mean girls impression with your little fan base on your little online Q&A session will do nothing to change the fact that nobody really cares anymore. Nobody gives a shit about the breath in the trees or how many messages from Moses you found in a laminated wooden box at the top of a fucking mountain.

Kendrick Lamar you are NOT, you big brick headed motherfucker. Get drunk, get on Twitter and get Erykah Badu and Jay Z to call you to shut it down because you're a drunken prick with no self control. Delete all of your Twitter posts. Repeat every so often. Never grow up, you Peter Pan ass motherfucker.

'eventheblackgodcriessometimes'. Maybe the black god should try growing up, maybe laying off the booze and ego stimulants and try NOT being a cock sometimes. Or you could release some music? Maybe not.

Ladies and gents, I give you Jay Electronica - a true twat amongst men.

Hanging out with a dude so you can steal his girl. Classy. 

And, as a footnote, let us not forget that he stole his Mrs off some other guy, even if he was a 1% tory douche bag. Snakey motherfucker. And bearing in mind that she is a Rothschild, it may be worth considering that they are pretty much single handedly responsible for the gap between rich and poor in this world. Literally. What a fucking joke. Are they still together? Who knows. Who cares?

So yeah, Jay Electronica. Can't wait for the album mate. When's it dropping? Oh yeah, two thousand and NEVER. Get fucked you butter nut squash headed dweeb. Suck out for eternity.


A one time fan who got wise to your bullshit.

God I hate this prick.

Otherwise, it was a real swell time. Big up Rag N Bone, Beth (thanks love!), 184, Neil B, Beth 2, Cold Joe Smith, Tyni, Dabbla, Sumgii, Lulu, Marieke, Syntax, Pete Cannon and anyone else that was there that I clearly don't remember. Oh, and Scottish Andy. Thanks, man.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

'Ten Tens' - The Video

Not much to report here. If you enjoy cliched rap videos with a smattering of seafront karate, terrorist behaviour and questionable babysitting practices then please do click below to see it all in action over a combustible Wizard beat. Get your asbestos ear muffs ready, because I do not want to entertain any law suits filed for excessive burning of ear drums.

Slumdog Hundredaire is available now from enlish.bandcamp.com, iTunes, Spotify and all of the usual outlets. Any and all support is greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

I have released a new album of Hip Hop music, independently, and your support would be greatly appreciated.

Fire emoji, etc etc etc. 


So yeah. The album is out now, finally. After languishing in digital purgatory for the last couple of years, in direct comparison to my own feelings of confidence and self esteem, it is now languishing in a physical and digital xanadu for your listening (AND PURCHASING????!!????) pleasure.

enlish.bandcamp.com for digital and limited CD and cassette, iTunes, Spotify etc for all the rest.

Production courtesy of Cheebo, Scizzahz, Wizard, Sleepin' Giant and Tom Caruana.

I've got a couple of videos dropping - including one next Monday - and some interviews and reviews coming up courtesy of the good people at Wordplay, UKHH and possibly some other outlets, although really, what other outlets are there?

First week sales aren't exactly up to 'Get Rich' 50 Cent levels yet. One guy ordered a CD and added in the purchase comments section that he was only buying the LP under the proviso that 'you promise never to make any music ever again.' I can't lie, it sounds like a pretty attractive proposition.

And there you go. As mentioned as irregularly as my output actually hits, any and all support is greatly appreciated. As also mentioned, I am blissfully unaware if anybody is actually reading this guff and, in turn, whether anyone actually cares about the music I make and will therefore listen to - and, dare I say - purchase it.

But we live in hope. In the words of a great man, now deceased - 'I love to rap, but I hate the game.'

'The Greatest Rapper Of All Time Died On March 9th'


Thursday, 3 March 2016

I Don't Do Promo For Other Rappers. EVER. Apart from now. And Maybe later.

Nepotism, baby. It's the only way to ensure that you never really appreciate someone else or their efforts unless you know them on a personal level. There's 7 billion people in this world and I can guarantee you at least 95% of them are idiots and the other 4.99% are probably shit rappers. And that just leaves the rest of us.

Rupert has returned, in human and aural form. He put in a cracking performance at Slipjam last night (second only to my own, of course) promoting his new EP joint, SYLO. Sort Your Life Out. Pretty good advice, especially to a complete r-tard such as myself. Oh, and his mum was there too. She's a grade A top lady. Big up Lois, because she also enjoyed my unique brand of self deprecating spiritual lyrical miracle. Some kid actually said spiritual lyrical miracle on stage last night. Can you believe that shit? It's 2016 dude, have some self respect. Anyway, I digress.

"I've been gone for a hot minute. A hot minute being 8 years" was probably my favourite non-rapped line from last night, and having been gone for a room temperature minute myself I can wholly understand the hustle. I'm sure Rupert won't mind me mentioning that we are both part of the 'not playing with a full deck poker club', and as mentioned previously, creativity and consistency with creativity generally take a pretty huge hit when you look in the mirror and see a giant pile of steaming shite looking back at you - apart from the days, or sometimes weeks and months where you occasionally see the muscle bound, mega talented human god that your brain also tells you that you possibly are from time to time.

Despite the fact that Rup looks like a Swedish backpacker trained in holistic medicine, do not ever judge a book by its cover. I once saw a 5ft 7" dude wearing paint covered school shoes beat a professional basketball player in a game of one on one. Didn't see that one coming, just like you didn't expect to see or hear this dairy skinned goldilocks brer spitting delicious heat bars about piff and sniff and depression and family and general road man thuggery to make you want to shoot up the strip club with a nickel plated deuce deuce before speeding off in the hot whip to nail blonde chicks with silicone enhanced titties on the balcony of a beach front condo.

Rup made and continues to make fantastic music. Don't be a bitch about it. At least watch his fantastic SYLO video. Next up is at least streaming his fantastic new SYLO EP. And if you really want to go balls deep into the clam of human and musical appreciation, literally part with a small amount of money so you can enjoy it in your own time and show your appreciation for a dude who prefers Nelly's 'Country Grammar' over Jay-Z's 'Blueprint'.

I never said he wasn't a weirdo. But who isn't?


STREAM/BUY : And I'm guessing here : Soundcloud, Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify etc etc. The PC at work won't let me access the links. Yes, I do have a job. I've been SMLO. Not as catchy. And work is shit if you really think about it.

Get involved or get a job. 1

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Allow Me To Reintroduce Myself....

I probably still look like this, but this flick has got to be 5 years old if it's a day

.... My name is DAVE. Bitches. Still. Haven't changed it legally to YOUNG TUCK yet, but I'm working on it.

So, here we are. First post in nearly two entire years. I suppose it helps that the last post I did is a write up of one of the most memorable nights of my life (seeing as there are a lot of not-so-memorable nights in my life, and not by choice - by DRUGS), but the truth will out and the fact of the matter is that my recent diagnosis of a previously undiagnosed mental health condition that I have possessed for the last 21 years has, lets say, 'hampered' me somewhat in your basic day-to-day activities.

But I'm back. It's no coincidence that I have a new album dropping on Monday 7th March.... Or maybe it is. I don't expect anyone to actually cop it, or indeed to actually read the drivel that I write, but you can call it part of my personal catharsis I suppose. More on that to come as I wholly intend (today) to continue writing this blog on a regular basis (today). Famous last words.

Right. The basics, just to bring you up to speed :

-Age : 34 (FUCK!)
-I still rap and make music, just about, and have done for 20+ years
-I barely drink or do drugs anymore (but I'm still really good at both on a weekend)
-I have a freshly diagnosed form of bi-polar disorder (dap to all you mental health cats)
-I have been re-inspired to write, make music and start hating on things due, in part, to the untimely  death of my idol, Sean Price (RIP)
- I spend a lot of time in my palatial crib with my boo, which has led me to this point, writing bullshit   for anyone who can be fucked to read it. Great, I'm sure you'll agree.

If you want anything else from me at this point then check the archives, there's plenty of good shit in there. Plenty of manic episodes played out in blog posts. Not so much of the depression, but you know, swings and roundabouts.

Anyway, I'm back. And mainly due to the sage words of my dearly departed hero.

         "I love to rap, but I hate the game."

And let's not mince words here. I FUCKING hate it. I hate the music (not all of it, but a lot of it), I hate (not all, but most of) the blogs AND the bloggers that write the fucking blogs, I hate social media and the fact that it is vitally essential to flesh out your whole fucking life on it to get views/fans/followers/likes and all that bullshit and I ESPECIALLY fucking hate the fact that the music actually takes a back seat to all of the above in the grander scheme of things. It defeats the entire purpose, in my not so humble (but 100% accurate) opinion.

But I love to rap. Still. And write, possibly. And seeing as myself and all my goon squad have grown up, have kids and barely see each other these days, this may be my only true outlet past actually slapping people, which is not out of the realms of possibility either. More on that at a later date. Oh, but I don't have kids. Which is how I find the time to write so fucking eloquently, I suppose.

Anyway, here I am, old and improved. For all of you people out there saying that the 90's (or anytime before Lil' Wayne proclaimed himself the 'best rapper alive' whilst shitting himself in a codeine induced stupor) was overrated, or, indeed, shit, I'd advise you to click off and never come back.

I'll be back shortly with more ranting, stupid fucking stories and musings on all things that occur to my chemically imbalanced loaf. And occasionally some music too, I suppose.

Until then, 'Slumdog Hundredaire' drops 07/03/2016 on enlish.bandcamp.com on digital and super limited CD and green cassette tape. It'll also be available on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, Google, Deezer (I fucking hate those adverts) and all these other new fangled APPS that encourage short attention spans and treating music like a burning cigarette. Have a go and throw it on the fucking ground, then stamp on it. Oh yeah, the future is now. Or whatever.

And the words still ring true to this day. "Rap ain't real, my life is real; if you rap about my life, fuck around and get killed." That also goes for talk and type.There's a few names of real life people on my list. Maybe I'll air them out, maybe I won't. But what harm can it do?

Monday, 12 May 2014

KRS One @ Concorde 2 - Brighton - 06/06/2013

Last Summer was hot. Real hot. Like, fry an egg on the top of your head, dip in and out of the sea every ten minutes, boxers-stuck-firmly-up-the-crack-of-your-ass-for-3-months-straight hot. We’re talking HOT here, people. We were long overdue for a Long Hot Summer (great album) and by jove did we get one.

During this blissful heat wave, long since forgotten, the people of Brighton were treated to a right royal Hip Hop knees up courtesy of The Blastmaster himself, KRS One (two, three, four and five).

The 6th June 2013 saw The Concorde 2 opening its doors to a sold out crowd eager to see Knowledge Reign Supreme Over Nearly Everyone (I put the emphasis on nearly as I have a firm suspicion that a number of the attendees at this particular shindig were not exactly the sharpest sandwiches in the picnic), but more specifically to see ME. Joining me in hosting duties on the microphone was none other than my partner in crime Mr Thomas Hines with Tyni AKA BIG SNAX and my main man Joey Criddack on the wheels of steel. I was especially happy when I saw Joey was DJing because A) I was already drunk and B) he played ‘Monkey Barz’ by Sean Price, which is a fucking fantastic rap song. I was particularly excited (and particularly drunk as Hines and I had nailed a good few cans on the beach before getting started on the rider) as I had never seen KRS live before, much less had a grandstand seat to see the show and be given a crate of free beer to boot. Decent. Support was handled most excellently by Brighton legends Remark and Deejay, performing as Sublime Wizardry, who warmed up the crowd nicely for the main event.

My memory of the evenings events isn’t exactly razor sharp as A) it was nearly a year ago (credit to my regular blog writing skills) and B) I was drunk before we even got on the stage (big surprise). Needless to say, however, the show was nothing short of magnificent. If you haven’t seen KRS live then take any opportunity that you get to do so; the guy is a consummate professional and, after many, many years of doing so, proves himself to be more than adept at rocking the party. With the exception of Big Daddy Kane and Pharoahe Monch I can quite comfortably say that it was the best performance of live rapping/stage show I have ever seen.

It started with a warm up DJ set from DJ Predator Prime, who took to the decks to spin a selection of classics, albeit hidden away and stuffed in the corner of the stage. Hines and I were pretty hammered by this point and so I drunkenly suggested to the young man that we assist in some general hyping duties, which he was happy for us to do. It definitely helped the vibe because, well, we’re both absolute legends and incredibly good at what we do. No modesty here. At the time I couldn’t help but notice some certain….. Facial similarities between Prime and KRS, specifically in the nasal region, which led me to drunkenly ask if there was any family association going on there. Funnily enough, it turned out that he was KRS’ son, and his sister (KRS’ daughter) was out front working the merch stall. Keeping it all in the family. Pretty fucking cool.

Best seats in the house
The main event followed swiftly afterward. Far from just knocking out all of the hits (which he did, of course, all the while expelling enough water to prevent a hosepipe ban this year – something I’m quite sure won’t be an issue anyway, but you know, I’m trying to be clever here) he also seemed to drop a genuine freestyle every other track, jumping around the stage like a man possessed. Considering he is now FORTY NINE YEARS OLD (50 this year), you’d be forgiven for thinking that you were watching a man in his early twenties, such was the potency of his energy and enthusiasm. Rather than just perch from the vantage point on the stage I thought it far more prudent to get down into the crowd and get the full experience, so about 5 minutes in I fought my way into the centre of the bustling throng, about 10 feet from the front of the stage. This was a brilliant idea, I thought, until KRS then actioned a brilliant idea of his own.

During a brief respite between songs he stopped to address the crowd, specifically regarding the outrageous amounts of autographs and such that he has to sign after gigs. Given that time available to do this after a show is somewhat limited due to having to usually get straight on a bus to bounce to the next town or city due for the next performance, he had come up with an ingenious way of keeping all of the autograph-hunting fans happy whilst also preserving the precious few minutes that he might have after a show to chill out before jetting off someplace else. He’d been to the pound shop and must have spent the best part of £100 on tennis balls and mini Frisbees, each of which he had signed individually before taking a break in the show to throw them into the crowd.

One of the offending frisbees
Brilliant idea, and a lot of fun, were it not for the fact that for some reason or another these tennis balls and Frisbees all seemed to be thrown within a foot or so of my face, resulting in many eager hands generally smashing me around the head in an effort to grab for these newly-valued trinkets. Needless to say, it wasn’t long before I retreated back to the stage to avoid any further risks of lost teeth, broken noses or concussions.

And so the show continued, seeing him getting off of the stage and running directly into the centre of the crowd himself in order to connect with the fans (which was another first for me in Brighton - the other was at Action Bronson’s first show in Camden a couple of years back; he brushed past we on the way to the bar. It felt like someone had poured a pint on my arm), a spectacle that I was happy to view from the stage. I’d already sustained my fair share of injuries that night (although the worst of them all, the crippling hangover and come down, was to follow 12 or so hours later).

KRS in the crowd
At this point he got back on the stage, requesting the company of any break dancers and rappers that may have been present in the crowd, of which there were no doubt THOUSANDS. Unfortunately for them (boo hoo) they needed a wristband to get backstage, resulting in a grand total of one break dancer (big up Remark) and two rappers, namely myself and Hines. So, the triumphant return of KRS One to Brighton ended with Hines, myself and KRS rhyming four-for-four bar freestyles back to back over a selection of classic instrumentals. Not too shabby.

Who is that handsome chap rocking next to KRS? Huh?
When all was said and done, KRS turned around, gave me a pound (with what might have been the sweatiest hand of all time) and told me that I was a tight rapper, and to keep it moving. Full praise from one of the greatest to do it, a good laugh and a skin full of free booze to boot. Next level brilliant. 


All photographs (apart from the shit ones) courtesy of Mike Tudor @ Studio85 Photography - Google or Facebook that shit!