Archive for the 'Hip Hop' Category

Album – Have You Heard Things – The Spectaculars

Posted by admin on 6th December 2007

I love hearing new music that makes my ears price up and pay attention, as was the case with The Spectaculars. I say new music, which this was to my ears, but not the the music shelves, as this album came out in 2005. It is however the most recent work from the Spectaculars and I’m hoping that something new is just around the corner.

The first track is “Mista Ambrosia”, which is as an original sound as I’ve ever heard. It’s certainly a sound you could hear on the radio and recognise in the blink of an eye. A classic case of opening an album with a sheer classic in the making. “The Save” is a more conventional pop song, with some decidedly strange harmonies, which you hear around the 2 minute mark. Probably a classic case of hearing too, because I was using headphones. “You On Me” struck me as a Lenny Kravitz cover that isn’t. It’s a kind of fusion of 70’s classic rock and 90’s guitar rock.

Sometimes I complain about a band being all over the place. This is an album that while is most definitely all over the place, manages to hold it all together into one coherent package. “Dear Sexy” has soulful Wild Cherry vocals, but again they’re fused into numerous musical styles and influences, that results in a wonderfully laid back and funky track.

“Holy Hannah” again is a total departure from the tracks that precede it, but as I said before, this is a classic example of a Chaos theory album. All over the place, but at the same time very uniform in it’s excellence. “Anti-Hectic” harkens back to the 70’s in it’s feel, but has that contemporary edge, that prevents this album from being derided as a throwback also ran. Talking of throw backs, I couldn’t help but smile when I heard “Have you Heard Things”. There’s a dialog that introduces the track, and I couldn’t help but hear Barry White’s voice in my head, as opposed to the one that is on the track.

There really is too much on this album, to really give it justice in this small space. Suffice to say, it is comforting in it’s style and influences, but refreshing, in the edge that has been introduced throughout. There’s enough different styles of track to keep you interested and highly entertained.

I must give a special mention to the final track “Stone Age” which gives the hip-hop, pop feel of the majority of the album, a real infusion of 70’s super rock. Brilliant.

Conclusion : Extremely funky, with originality by the bucket. An absolute riot of an album.

Posted in Hip Hop, Pop, R&B | 1 Comment »

Album – Rockstar Poor LP – Rayko/KRB

Posted by admin on 5th August 2007

I have to admit, even though I really liked the previous Rayko/KRB EP release, I came to this album with some reservations. I’d heard several of the tracks from the album, via a few podcasts and wasn’t really struck by them. It’s funny then, that I heard the album in it’s entirety for the first time and was blown away. This is one of those album, that has a constant theme running throughout. The other album that comes to mind, and aptly so, is The Streets, “A Grand Don’t Come for Free” the tale of a guy who loses a grand and begins to blame his friends. Thrown into the mix is a combination of drugs, sex and the odd punch up. Here the album deals with a guy who wants to be a rock star, while also getting in to trouble with his bookie, owing him 10 grand and the odd dalliance with the ladies.

The 13 track album is definitely for a more mature market, with more bad and lewed language than you can shake a stick at, but instead of being nasty and vile it works, however you may want to think first and consider who is around, before putting in on your stereo. The album opens with “The Devil and Rayko Pipes”, a real slap upside the head, that gives you the sense of hitting the ground running. Indeed it’s not long into the track that the hook grabs you and doesn’t let go. The title track follows and again that infectious beat flows on. I don’t know why I wasn’t into this track first time around, but I think it’s the fact that I’ve seen it in it’s natural surroundings or some crap along those lines.

A few of the tracks act as a kind of narrative, allowing the story to progress between tracks. “Identity” is a great track that an interesting chorus. It sounds like kids providing the backing, almost like the Jay-Z track “Hard Knock Life”. It’s in the track “Simple Love Song” that we see a different side of Rayko, a side that hasn’t surfaced before. Yes it maybe a slow ballad, but it’s done in the inimitable Rayko style.

I love the track “(She Said) My Name”, but maybe not for the reasons that Rayko intended. I listen to that track and I’m taken back to the club scene in the 80’s and 90’s . Not that I was an ardent clubber, but hey a man has to drink after hours. It’s just got that style of music that goes straight through your bones.

There’s such a great vibe about this album, that when I got to the final track “…Creepin’ Up” and it ended I was like “Is that it? Surely not.”. And so the album had ended and it was more an experience than a simple collection of music. Amazing.

Conclusion : Emminently funky, with beats that you’d be hard pushed not to move to, this is an album that has all the Rayko hallmarks, but here there is a stronger sense of bravado. Actually, maybe bravado isn’t the right term, I think maybe he’s just grown a bigger set of balls. God help us if they get any bigger.

Posted in Hip Hop, Pop, Rock | No Comments »

Album – OK Cobra – OK Cobra

Posted by admin on 2nd June 2007

  • Band / Artist : OK CobramySpace
  • Genre : Hip Hop / Alternative
  • Sample Track Download : N/A
  • Buy CD : URBNET
  • Buy Digital Download : iTunes
  • Rating : 8 out of 10

Hip hop, rap and reggae are not the usual fare in my CD player, so it generally has to be something fairly special to get me interested enough to want to play. I heard OK Cobra many, many months ago on the CBC Radio 3 podcast. I got the album in and just as I was about to review the album, I sent the band an email to confirm a few things. Anyway, the band let me know that they’d signed to a record label and that a review should hold off until the album was available in the usual places. So hold off I did and promptly forgot about the album. Upon looking through some unread email, I found one from URBNET, the record label and wouldn’t you know it, there was OK Cobra and that proved enough of a jolt, to get me to dust of the album to finally get the review out of the door.

As I’ve said many times, I don’t know my hip hop from my elbow, but I do know good music. Fast paced lyrics, fused with drum, bass and many other audio elements like audio sound bites keep you aurally stimulated. Yes among the stimulus are a few of the more colorful words, but that is very much in the culture of this style of music, so goes by pretty much unnoticed.

The first track “Intro” gently draws you into the album and then comes the bitch slap with “Time Flies”, an assault on the senses, but a pleasant one at that. “Child in Rhyme” is the track for me that defines the overall sound of the band and one that is just a joy to listen to. It’s repetitious, mellow sound bed is in stark contrast to the lyrics and lyric delivery, but it really works well.

With 13 tracks there is much to like, even if this genre of music isn’t your usual cup of tea. Certainly a band that can introduce hip hop to a whole new legion of fans, as De La Soul did, in their own inventive way before them.

Conclusion : However you want to define the genre of this music, it’s inventive, engaging and very listenable.

Posted in Alternative, Hip Hop | No Comments »