Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Junior Disprol feat Evil Ed, Jehst, Skeleton and Alkaline Fight Club 7" 2001

Dropped in 2001 as the first ever release on Junior Disprol's Cardiff based SFSB (Same Family Different Ballbags) record label, Fight Club 7" is another one of the many UK hip hop records that falls into that "extremely rare and sought after" category. For me, its desirability is fourfold. Firstly, it is the first release on the unique SFDB - a label that kept high levels of quality control on all their releases and put them out with great packaging in much the same way as Low Life was doing at the time. Secondly, it is the only 7" record released by the now defunct label and was pressed in very limited quantities (300 copies according to Evil Ed). Thirdly all three tracks are absolutely banging. Fourthly, and from my perspective most importantly, it contains an Evil Ed produced posse cut featuring (a Premonitions Era) Jehst rhyming alongside Junior Disprol, Skeleton, and Alkaline that can't be found on wax in any other form.

Evil Ed has written a great description of the recording process for the record on the discogs Release page for Fight Club - I have copied it in below as I figured that no article I could write would provide quite the same insight, You can listen to Junq Waffle at the bottom of the article.

The following information was originally posted by Evil Ed (who produced two of the 3 tracks on the 7")  on the Discogs release page for Fight Club : http://www.discogs.com/Junior-Disprol-Fight-Club/release/236999

Simple and Plain
Evil Ed: I produced the original version of 'Fight Club' and 'Junq-Waffle' so here's some history of the tracks. Fight Club was recorded at my lab, the original Buskers Corner up in Huddersfield. Me and Junior Disprol had been exchanging tapes of old UK Hip Hop rareties for some months before we finally met when he came up to my yard with a book of rhymes and concepts galore. The idea for Fight Club was that Disprol had all these MC aliases such as Pleasant Skelator (!) and that each MC would have a different beat for their part of the track to suit their persona. I put down a drum beat on the s950 to being with and the process began of rading my breaks and some Disprol had brought with him to construct the backdrop for the track.

L to R -  Evil Ed, Junior Disprol, Jehst,
Skeleton, Alkaline
 Our creativity was constricted by the small amount of sample time I had on my original, un-expanded, 950, but we managed to pull out some ill breaks and get them to work back to back, throwing in extra sounds here and there and it was a real sporadic, off the top of the head beat constructing session. Disprol then laced the beats with the different MC personas and over-dubbed it with some bugged out adlibs.
This track was a bugger to mix down as back then we had to do it all live, adjusting levels for each 'MC' and and every time I messed up I had to go back to the top of the track. We also did a remix of this track that used classic UK Hip Hop instrumentals (Hijack etc.) as the backdrop. I don't even have a copy of this, but I'm sure Disprol does! The remix on the 7" is by Secondson, this was done later and was a pre-cursor to the Fleapit stuff he and Disprol recorded.

Battling me? That would be an
embarrasing mistake, Like Promoters
who don't get the H in the right place! 
Junq-Waffle was an interesting one. Recorded one afternoon at MC Alkaline's flat (legendary Gunshot MC) I forgot to bring my mic stand to London so we had to tie the mic to a clothes-horse and move it up and down according to height of each MC. The MC's recorded their vocals in the hallway while the rest of us sat and monitored it in the lounge! Everyone recorded and Jehst turned up late and luckily made it onto the track with some classic bars. Once everyone was done with their main vocals everyone gathered around the mic and we did one take of back-up's with all kinds of noises and sound efx going on. The quality of these was rather poor and it was a nightmare mixing this one live as was 'Fight Club', but this was a classic meeting of the old school UK Hip Hop veterans (Alkaline & Skelaton) and newcomers Disprol & Jehst and it was a buzz doing the track.

I always felt it wasn't a good idea having two such long tracks on one side of a 7" and was disappointed with the sound quality that resulted from this, but this 7" has been a people's favourite and despite the quiet pressing I have heard DJ's spin 'Junq-Waffle' at jams and people rhyming along to it. I will hopefully re-master 'Junq-Waffle' at some point and put out a louder pressing, but in the meantime have fun hunting for this one as it is quite a rareity now.

Junior Disprol feat Jehst, Alkaline and Skeleton
(produced by Evil Ed)

Evil Ed Links:

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

A Holy Grail #1: Blak Twang Dettwork Southeast LP 1995

The Dettwork SouthEast LP Artwork
Blak Twang's Dettwork Southeast is undoubtedly one of the holy grail vinyl records in the post 1992 uk hip hop vinyl collecting world. It is straight up vinyl porn for a UK hip hop digger and stumbling across it in a bootsale would on my part be likely to result in a nasty stain on the Carharts. Considered an all time classic of the genre it was ranked at number 3 in HHCs list of the top 50 all time UK Hip Hop LPs even though it never got released. It's one of those records that you only hear of someone owning - and that's usually coz you've electronically bumped into MK or Lewis Parker or Disorda on a vinyl buying spree on discogs and tried to turn your friendly banter into a "so what records have you got in your stacks that you want to sell me type conversation" - unfortunately this is one that is never on the for sale list!.. It is rumoured that there are no more than 50 copies doing the rounds and those are in the hands of a select few DJs and industry insiders lucky enough to be given a promo copy at the time of its completion. Just to make it even more worth breaking out the tissues for - the small amount of promo LPs that did get released came with a full picture cover. This record rarely ever comes on the market and the only ebay sale recorded on popsike saw it go for £122 in 2005 a price that would almost certainly be beaten if and when it pops up again.

Dettwork S.E. LP promo tape cover
I managed to borrow a minidisc copy from a kind mate at a well known Brighton record shop a while back and copy it on to CD. Whilst a lot of it is very similar to 19 Long Time there are 6 or 7 tracks on this 15 song LP that simply should never have been kept from the world - not least another Blak Twang/Roots Manuva collaboration to complement Queen's Heads that is just straight up phat with a PH! Tony Rotton has intimated he will re-release this at some point and from my perspective that can't come soon enough. (Mr Rotton, if you are reading this please make sure you do a limited number of vinyl presses when you do).  If it does ever get re-released I will take these down but until then consider these tracks a taster to what is as an absolute lost gem of an album. 

Enjoy, Postie

Blak Twang - Creme De La Crop

Blak Twang featuring Seani T and Roots Manuva - Echo Chamber

DJ Vadim and DJ Primecuts: Architects Of The Great (Jazz Fudge, 1998)

I picked this little number up back in 1999 at a Knowledge of Self jam at Brighton's Pressure point. At the time Jazz Fudge had just put out the Swollen Members LP - Balance - and were supporting them with a UK tour. In support were Taskforce/Bury Crew who had just dropped New Mic Order and were selling it for a tenner at the show. Also present were Mr Thing and Jazz Fudge label head DJ Vadim. I had gone to see Swollen Members and at the time hadn't really heard much of Taskforce but they blew me away that night. I went home having parted with cash for this mixtape and New Mic Order - a total of £15. Seems like a pretty decent investment now given that the only copy of this mixtape available on Discogs is currently going for 88 euros and 1st press New Mic Order LPs go for anything from £30 - £90. 

1999 Jazz Fudge Tour Poster
The mixtape itself is undoubtedly one of my favourite mixtapes of all time. Loads of high quality scratching from (Original Scratch Pervert) Primecuts, and eerie samples from the king of offbeat leftfield hip hop Vadim. They blend a few recognisable UK cuts from the likes of Blade and Skitz and freestyles from Lewis Parker, Chester P and Skinnyman with a mix of random audio samples and funk records in a style that at points sounds similar to Brainfreeze (a full two years before Shadow and Cut Chemist's effort). The result is beautifully made atmospheric trip that initially hypnotises the listener before waking them up with the raw scratched up funk and hip hop! Its trippy but it makes for a hell of a listen. 

The tape comes with a high quality insert designed by Openmind

The1999 KOS night in Brighton
I have no idea how many were made but apart from the one currently on discogs I have never seen it for sale on ebay or the like and it's not the type of thing likely to pop up in your local hip hop friendly record shop so I guess it is pretty rare. A mate of mine recently met up with Vadim as he was selling off a few of his records. He asked Vadim if had any copies of this and Vadim told him he didn't even have one for himself! That said 88 Euros sounds a little excessive for a tape so I would recommend being patient on that one!

Anyway I have posted it in below for your listening pleasure. Enjoy, Postie.

Discogs Info link:  http://www.discogs.com/DJ-Vadim-DJ-Primecuts-Architects-Of-The-Great/release/528020

Monday, 18 October 2010

The Pioneers The British Hip Hop Documentary

VHS only stuff here but thanks to the wonders youtube this incredibly rare documentary covering the UK scene from the late 90s (released in 2000) can be brought to you live through the tinternet via this blog (Shout out to IBMCs2009 for that). That said it ain't gonna be sitting there staring back at you from your shelves if you are happy to leave it at that so get digging people and unearth this little diamond in your local charity shop (and then dig out a video recorder to watch it). Hmm sounding a bit long-winded now isn't it!

Anyways, this is a fantastic gem of a film by Chris Leech and Daniel Raynor of 40 Oz Productions with distribution courtesy of Disorda. The Vid features a veritable who's who of the UK scene from old to new-school with everyone ready to chip in their two pence' on what the UK scene is all about. The end result is a lot of fascinating stoned waffle, a few decent freestyles and a bit of insight into the minds of the UKs finest MCs at a period in time when the scene was at a creative high point.

Artists featured include: Blade, Lewis Parker, Scratch Perverts, Blak Twang, Mud Family, Taskforce, MSI Asylum, The Brotherhood, Parlour Talk, Mark B, Harry Love, MC Mello, Fallacy, Disorda, Gunshot, Braintax, Krispy, The Creators, DJ Vadim, Dark Circle, Numskullz, Phi Life Cypher, Supa T, DJ 279, The Ruf, Roots Manuva, Aspects, Delirious, Rodney P, Icepick, Funky DL, Kela, 57th Dynasty, DJ Supreme, Hijack, DFXO

If you have any problems watching use the links to take you through to the Youtube page where these are originally posted.

Sit back and enjoy....

Pioneers: Part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQ2fle4T12E

Pioneers: Part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbE2_FEqq2g

Pioneers: Part 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqDxk_LDQjI

Pioneers: Part 4  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hka-SiKjAgc

Pioneers: Part 5 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUCWzXpOiHI

Pioneers: Part 6 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUZa2vFGON8

Pioneers: Part 7 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=589ls97Hrt8

Big Smoke Magazine (Volume 1)

The 1st official issue became available
in Autumn 2000 for a paltry £2.50
As far as desirable UK Hip Hop collectables go the first volume of Big Smoke magazine must come high on the list. The brainchild of dedicated UK head Pete Real of Deal Real Records fame, the magazine came packaged in a 12" record sleeve printed with stunning black and white photos of the artists featured in its pages. The mag was originally concieved in 1997 but the idea took 3 years to come to fruition when a promo issue featuring Mystro on the cover (which I don't have but seriously desire) was dropped on an unsuspecting few who happened to visit Deal Real around March 2000. A few months later and the first official issue hit the shelves of Borders and a some other forward thinking retail outlets. Each of the issues also had a dedicated mixtape made for it that was avaialable via mailorder for an extra £5.00.

After its initial release issues came out quite sporadically due to pretty serious financial and time constraints of those invovled in its production. Content was always spot on and written from an insiders perspective. Probably the biggest attraction of the mags for me has to be the photography on display within its pages which help make all 5 issues fantastic historical documents of our scene at the time. Looking back over them now it's exciting to see album reviews and full page colour adverts for some of the vinyl releases at what was creatively a real high-point for UK hip hop. To give an example of the riches coming out of the UK scene at the time, Issue 2 of Big Smoke treats the reader to reviews of Jehst's High Plains Drifter, Skitz' Countryman, Aspects' Correct English, Champions of Nature's Salsa Smurf and Ty's Awkward. On top of this, across the 5 issues there are a multiple adverts on display for the likes of Low Life, YNR and Ronin that are probably rarer than the records themselves.

After the first volume, later issues in volume 2 reverted to a pretty standard A4 magazine format and started covering American artists but kept up the quality. The 10th Anniversary issue with DJ Mentat on the cover became available in 2009 and given the fact that magazines covering our scene have totally died out I will surprised if there is ever another hard copy for us physical product nerds to get are hands on! A new online version is due to go live in Autumn 2010 at http://www.bigsmokelive.co.uk/ . High quality PDFs of some of the back issues are available at big smoke's own blogspot http://bigsmokelove.blogspot.com/ .

 Vol.1 Issue 1: Blak Twang & Braintax                                               

 Vol.1 Issue 2: Task Force and M.S.I & Asylum

 Vol.1 Issue 3: Fallacy and Skeme & Shortee Blitz and Big Ted

Vol.1 Issue 4: Est'elle & Jehst and Lewis Parker

Vol. 1 Issue 5: Killa Kela & Terrafirma

Friday, 15 October 2010

Lowlife Debut: Breaking the Illusion "Where will it End? EP"

Low 001
Ahh a massive slice of early 90s nostalgia! Do you remember those days back in 92 when all your mates were rocking black Slamin' Vinyl bomber jackets, buying 8 pack dreamscape tape sets, plastering their bedroom walls with dodgy looking flyers and hanging on every inane word of DJ Dougal?

Well, Joseph Christie and DJ T.E.S.T. (aka Braintax back when it was duo) and Paul Edmeade and Thomas Stewart (aka Breaking The Illusion) weren't having any of it! They were busy supporting the likes of Redman and BDP, running a Friday night pirate radio Hip Hop show, single handedly kick-starting a Leeds scene and pressing up 1000 copies of the first ever Low Life release "Where Will it End?".

A Mark of Quality
Frankly, it sounds like you would expect a record to sound if it was made by a bunch of teenagers with shit equipment set up in a leaky kitchen! The sound quality sucks, the vocals and beats are poor and the lyrical subject matter ranges from the frustrations of having to watch Home and Away upon return from school and the angst of having to watch your contempories mash up their brains on E to music you consider to be wick wick wack! That said, there is a reason it will will set you back £40-£50 on ebay and that's because no UK hip hop collection is complete without this first manifestation of the legendary Low Life label. The record contains Braintax's first ever appearence on wax and comes complete with an alternative inkpot logo reading "Life Low".

Check the Logo reading Life Low

Also pushing up the value is the fact that Christie and his BTI mates had to chuck half the records that they pressed up into a skip due to the fact he couldn't shift them, putting this at a 500 press unless you're a lucky Leeds-based binman with foresight!

Blak Twang ft. Roots Manuva "The Queen's Head"

This was one I never expected to find on Youtube. Who would have thought that there would even be an outlet to warrant making a video? No Channel U, Youtube or the like back then!!! Classic tune and two of the top UK MCs ever!