Archive for October, 2008

Ladi 6 – Time Is Not Much

Thursday, October 30th, 2008 | News | 1 Comment
Ladi 6 - Time Is Not Much

Those of us that have followed Ladi 6’s progress as an MC and hip hop vocal artist throughout the years will be pleased as hell to hear that she has now completed a solo record. Her debut album “Time Is Not Much” has just been released for the NZ market on October 27th. Since her days starting out with Sheelaroc (an all female hip hip crew), then with Verse Two (who supported acts like The Roots and De La Soul) and the many collaborations with all kinds of NZ groups and artists like 50 Hz, Shapeshifter and Fat Freddy’s Drop (FFD); Ladi 6 (A.K.A Karoline Tamati) has always shown amazing potential and guaranteed finesse. She certainly knows how to control the microphone, adding just the right vocals or rhyme whatever type of track. There’s also a positive message of looking to the future and achieving the goals we set our minds to. To her credit she has numerous awards, has been touring for 10 years and frequently sells out shows. The official website (which is pretty funky itself) describes Ladi 6 as “The New Zealand soulstress and our Queen of hip hop”, I can’t think of any better label for someone of such talents.

The new album was recorded at the Drop studio in Wellington’s Lyall Bay, home to the Fat Freddy’s Crew, who also have an album on the way (watch this space for a future post). The production duties were handled admirably by the talents of Parks (Ladi 6’s partner) and Mu (From FFD), who both seem to know a good bassline when they create one. Others involved in the project included family members Tyra Hammond and Scribe who added their vocal skills, along with some of  New Zealand’s top musicians including Julien Dyne, Chip Matthews, Jo Lindsay and Riki Gooch.

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Ladi 6 – Walk Right Up

Ladi 6 and friends are about to go on a NZ tour to promote the release after returning from their highly successful tour of Europe and the UK. Down below are the upcoming gigs for those of you that may be in NZ or Australia over the next few months. So check her live show out if you can, but if you aren’t nearby and want to know why people call her NZ’s premiere female vocalist and compare her to Erykah Badu, then listen to her single “Walk Right Up” and as usual take a look at the myspace profile for a sneaky listen and possibly (if you’re a good capitalist) purchase stuff!

Confirmed Tour Dates:
31 Oct The Toto Bacco Room, Auckland
1 Nov Flow Bar, Hamilton
5 Nov Missy’s Kitchen, Wanaka
6 Nov Subculture, Queenstown
7 Nov Backstage, Dunedin
8 Nov The Civic, Christchurch
14 Nov Phat Club, Nelson
15 Nov San Francisco Bathhouse, Wellington
20 Nov The Espy, Melbourne
30 Dec Rhythm and Vines, Gisborne
4 Jan 09 Days Like This, Sydney
16 Jan 09 Big Day Out , Auckland

So to find more about the new album and Ladi 6’s career so far… check out:

Ladi 6 Official site

Ladi 6 on Myspace

“Dreams can come true and I knew
knew not to believe you
and I flew away from the flock
now no one can stop me.”
(More Than Fake – Ladi 6)

Seek No more…Yossarian

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YaHeard? Jurassic 5 – Quality Control

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008 | News | No Comments
YaHeard? Jurassic 5 – Quality Control

For me, there is one group that stands out in my hip hop education, a group that pretty much sealed the deal in making hip hop my preferred genre; that group is Jurassic 5. Way back in 1998 a friend played me “In the Flesh” and “Jayou” from their J5 Ep, instantly I was hooked, their harmonious flows and laidback old-school rhymes were infectious as anything. Then in 2000 they released Quality Control, which has become one of my all-time favourite albums and still gets regular airplay. With its funky boom-bap b-boy jams, jazzy beats and catchy hooks, Quality Control serves as a nostalgic throwback to the golden age of hip hop. The chemistry between the four emcees is unmistakeable; Akil, Marc 7even, Zaakir and Chali 2na flow effortlessly through each track, bobbing and weaving in and out of each other’s rhymes, finishing off sentences and chanting in unison with barbershop quartet-like precision. The production on the album is handled by the talented duo of DJ Numark and Cut Chemist, who use turntables, samples and MPCs to craft smooth beats that are a perfect match for the emcees rhyme styles, pasting together vintage jazz cuts with old soul and funk gems to breathe new life into old-school hip-hop.

Part of L.A.’s underground-uprising of the early 90’s, the group formed when its two halves (Unity Committee and Rebels of Rhythm) met at the legendary L.A. health store, The Good Life Cafe, where they often performed at open mic nights. Jurassic 5 celebrate the values of underground hip hop throughout the album, staying true to the roots and elements of hip hop, “L.A.U.S.D” being a fine example, with its J5 mission statement of sorts: “We are no superstars, who wanna be large and forget who we are, don’t judge us by bank accounts or big cars, no matter how bright we shine we’re far from being stars”.

Opening with the simple but funky beat of “The Influence”, the four emcees waste no time in introducing themselves before joining on the chorus, exhibiting their skill and harmony in a way that perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the album. “Great Expectations” follows, and the emcees reminisce about the road they’ve travelled over horn blasts and an ever-familiar drumbeat. You can tell Jurassic 5 love making hip hop, the vibe you get from their tracks makes you want to party, case in point being “Quality Control”, one of the highlights of the album. Another fairly straightforward beat is transformed by the dope harmonies and lyrical gems from the four emcees; the track has a real laid-back party feel to it, even sounding like there was actually a party going on in the studio when it was recorded! Check out the video below:

Jurassic 5 – Quality Control

One of the things that I liked about J5 when I first heard them was the modesty that comes across in their music; they aren’t trying to be anyone in particular, they aren’t, shall I say…‘frontin’. They rap and sing positively about making the most of and enjoying everyday life. “World of Entertatinment” (AKA “W.O.E. is Me) is such a track, with the emcees laying down b-boy rhymes about their ability to rock shows;
“We was rockin a jam the other night,
J5 was on the mic so the people was hype,
Yo, we like to rock the party with adrenalin and passion,
the crowd started screamin “Action Satisfaction”,
Numark dropped the beat and the heat from the fire,
We brought the energy and streetcar named desire”
As well as offering a straight-up analysis of the life of an entertainer and the realities of the music business;
“Some are known for bein’ biters,
non-creative and wack rhyme-writers,
Yo, they soup you up but can’t rock the jam,
known to the world as a one-hit band,
Easy come, easy go, yo you had your turn,
temporary niggas touchin’ up your perm,
You see a rapper is a kid that brags and acts big,
A rhymer is a nigga that can handle his biz,
Yo, A rapper is a kid that’s tryin’ to be the shit,
An entertainer ain’t tryin’ cause he already is”

One of the strongest tracks on the album is “Jurass Finish First”, which bounces along on a simple but infectious two-chord piano riff and a massive, crystal-clear drum track. Chali 2na and Marc 7even handle the business on this, trading quick-fire rhymes and offering peace of mind to those disillusioned hip hop enthusiasts who are sick of hearing the same uninspired commercial rubbish;
“Bringing it back from the lost, we have to report,
The trash on the chart make you have to resort,
To leaving the record store instead of quenching your thirst,
But at last planet Earth, 5 Jurass finish first”
The album also features a sprinkling of well-crafted instrumental scratch and sample-based diversions from Numark and Cut Chemist, notably the interplanetary-inspired “Contact”, and the fantastic “Swing Set”, which rounds out the album with a 50’s style funk and swing freestyle, with some great vocals and change-ups; you can’t help but tap your foot to this one.

Full to the brim with dusty samples, thumping drums and scratch breaks; Cut Chemist and DJ Numark really handle the business here, they are masters of their craft, and the sound they create is unique yet strangely familiar, and well and truly built for their four talented emcees. From the MPC laden beats to the cuts and samples dropped at just the right time, it’s plainly obvious that this duo were destined to make music together. And the same has to be said about the emcees; such perfect harmonies and timing completing the Jurassic 5 sound. Although all four are talented rappers, it has to be said that Chali 2na stands out as the strongest; the self-proclaimed ‘verbal Herman Munster’ stamps authority on every track with his booming rhymes and bouncing flow. Full of party rocking tracks, “Quality Control” is a great album to chill out to over the summer party season. Coming from an era when Dilated Peoples, The Roots, Mos Def and Talib Kweli were blowing up, Jurassic 5 create this old-school b-boy sound that is incredibly fun to listen to, they’re all about rocking shows, having fun and keeping it real.  Be sure to check this album out if you haven’t heard it, and if you have, bust it back out again for a quick refresher on old-school hip hop jams.

Check out more Jurassic 5 at their site
or on their myspace

Peace
…cracked

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People Under The Stairs – FUN DMC

Monday, October 27th, 2008 | Reviews | 3 Comments
People Under The Stairs - FUN DMC

Who says Hip Hop needs to be political to send a message? How many Hip Hop performers can you say truly advocate the feeling of ‘fun’? I’m sure there are a dozen you can name off the top of the dome and this writer would probably agree. But no one does it for me like Double K and Thes One, aka People Under the Stairs (PUTS).

For the last 10 years, Hip hop has been truly blessed with two of the hardest working MC’s/Producers/DJ’s on the planet. Just like the first paragraph states, these guys are all about fun and that feeling will resonate while listening to any of their 6 albums, especially the latest joint, ‘FUN DMC’. PUTS have successfully illustrated a Hip Hop based memory book of the good times which we can all relate to.

This album (FUN DMC) is an album full of tributes, not only to their heroes but tributes to what makes life worth living. From BBQ’s to video games to having a baby, PUTS have laid out another classic feel good album full of smooth production laced with witty lyricism. They also keep some inside references for the seasoned hip hop veteran by putting their own spin on classic lines and samples from the likes of Busta Rhymes, Beastie boys, Dre & Snoop etc.

I think the best tribute of the album is to Australia (NZ gets a mention too) on the track “The Wiz”. My favouritism stems from my bias as a Kiwi living in Australia which I’m sure you understand. Double K summed it up with “Shout out to my Kiwis, The whole Southern Hemisphere, LAX can wait, yo mate I’ll take another beer”. Fuck yeah!


People Under The Stairs – The Wiz

Without padding this review out with superfluous quotes and track info, I’ll leave you with this. If you are looking for an album to play this summer that captures the essence of a party, makes you wanna dance and reflect on how good life is, then you’ve found a winner in ‘FUN DMC’. You can always rely on People Under The Stairs to deliver a fulfilling array of tunes, characterised by the old school hip hop aesthetic, that you’ll play again and again and again….

You can check out more from People Under The Stairs at:

www.myspace.com/peopleunderthestairs

…Will

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Homegrown Music Festival

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008 | News | No Comments
Homegrown Music Festival

It’s getting to be that time of the year again in New Zealand. When you can leave the house without a jacket, see through your windscreen without scraping ice off it; so you can go to work and dream of being outside in the sparkling midday sun. Oh yes, the southern hemisphere summer is rapidly approaching, with all the joy it brings.

So now we can start looking forward to warmer weather, barbecues and trips to the beach where you can actually swim.  The other great aspect of all this, is you can start to plan what music festivals you want to see. Previous posts on this site have already mentioned upcoming NZ music events like Southern Amp (9th Nov) and A.R.E.A 9 (6th-8th Feb) that are selling out fast. So to help you map out the rest of your summer itinerary, I thought I would tell you about another event on the way.

Tickets are now on sale for The Homegrown Music Festival, that is taking place on the Wellington waterfront on March 14th 2009. Headline acts are yet to be announced for all stages, but I can give you the news about the line up announced so far. There will be five stages featuring around 35 top kiwi bands and DJs, there will also be lots of other great stuff as the organisers plan to transform the waterfront area into a playground. Things to look out for will include Wellington’s best graffiti artists, a Breakdancing competition, an International food market, Sculptures and Art installations, Street performers and loads of other interactive activities.

Going back to the music for a moment, the line up already announced boasts the talents of many kiwi greats, such as: Supergroove, Kora, The Black Seeds, Tiki Taane, Katchafire, Tahuna Breaks, Sunshine Sound System and a whole lot more. Many of these names have been mentioned before, as they are favourites of Very Good, but in case you haven’t heard of Tahuna breaks I’ve got one of their vids here for you to see:

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Tahuna Breaks – Real Life

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So get yourselves together and start a plan, because summer is only here for a quarter of the year (if we’re lucky) so make the most of it and check out what these groups have to offer. But if you’re like me and haven’t even planned your New Years Eve yet, then it’s just another idea for you to ponder. The promo site also advises that if you are interested in getting creative & producing art installations, sculptures and the like for Homegrown, please email info@homegrown.co.nz for more details.

To find out more about stuff mentioned here, go to:

The Official Homegrown Site

“Sitting inside my head,
Laughing at what I said
Come on baby
Let’s have another toast
You might think I’m dense,
Laughing at my expense
Let’s fill the cup
Let’s wash away the ghost”
(Sitting Inside My Head – Supergroove)

Wish you were here …Yossarian

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Andy Bull – Small Town Girl National Tour

Monday, October 20th, 2008 | News | No Comments
Andy Bull - Small Town Girl National Tour

Nice…

That’s what I thought when I checked out the Soundlounge website to see if there was anything worth seeing while i’m working on Australia’s Gold Coast for two weeks. If you’ve spent any time on the Gold Coast of Australia before, you may be well aware that the place is starved of any identifiable culture (with the exception of surf culture), alternative entertainment, and unfortunately decent venues or clubs to enjoy a night out seeing a live artist or band in a comfortable environment. (it is worth noting that you have The Cooly Hotel in Coolangatta, an hour drive to Byron Bay NSW to The Great Northern Hotel, or an hour the other way to a few places in Brisbane).

Nice, because there was an Australian artist that I hadn’t yet heard, who I was immediately feeling, and yet unable to pigeon whole into a style, or compare to an artist gone by.

It turns out the fact that I hadn’t heard of Andy Bull is more indicative of my level of interest in mainstream media then his success as of late. Andy has been receiving plenty of attention from radio and television recently, mostly for his catchy, tidy, and even poppy (for once in a good way) little track that his current tour is named after “Small Town Girl”, and he is even signed to Universal, which just trips me out given their usual artist roster. Check it out:

Andy Bull – Small Town Girl

Andy began his musical life as a young child, playing on the parlour piano and pump organ his keyboard enthusiast father had collected through his travels in the 1970s. At just 24 today the singer, songwriter and piano player has gone from playing club shows to his hometown crowd in Sydney, to signing to ‘Island Records’ Australia, recording at New York’s legendary ‘Electric Lady Studios’ and Sydney’s ‘301 Studios’, as well as touring the country with Little Red and The Holidays. With such a variety of genres involved in the pieces I have heard thus far including folk, soul, jazz, pop, rock, blues, and even touches of hip hop, it’s going to be interesting to see the direction his career takes over the next few years as he further developes his already funky, definitive sound

If your in NSW, unfortunately this time you have already missed that leg of his tour, however for those of you who are not, the following dates are set to play over the next 2 weeks, which I will be fortunate enough to enjoy on the sunny Gold Coast Thursday at ‘Soundlounge’ (thanks guys), before returning to culture rich, beachless and rainforestless Melbourne (there’s always a trade off).

Thu Oct 23rd          Soundlounge, Gold Coast

Fri Oct 24th            Solbar, Sunshine Coast

Sat Oct 25th           The Troubador, Brisbane

Wed Oct 29th         Toff in town, Melbourne

Thu Oct 30th          Karova Lounge, Ballarat

Fri Oct 31st            Jive Bar, Adelaide

You can check out more of Andy Bull at:

www.andybull.com.au

www.myspace.com/andybull

…bs

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