Friday, 21 January 2011

Jehst, Cappo, Ricochet and Mystro Demos and More: Disorda Presents Mind the Gap Volume 1&2 (Suspect Packages 1998 & 1999)

Tapes are home to early demos from Jehst, Cappo, Mystro and Ricochet 

Okay so I am going to start this post with a statement of fact. Sometimes such statements can be controversial sometimes they can provoke intense debate and counter opinion - especially with regards to the UK Hip Hop scene and people's place within it. This statement is not like that. This statement is a statement that is simply an indisputable FACT. Here goes: Over the last 15 years no one man has contributed more to the UK hip hop scene than Disorda.

I will stop there - it's not yet time to go into details on this man, that story is for another time. Right now its time for a little focus on just one of his countless contributions to the scene - a contribution that many fans of some prominent UK names may not be aware of but should be grateful for nonetheless. This particular contribution goes by the name of Mind the Gap Volumes 1 and 2 - both of which are a compilation of demos that were given to Disorda by unsigned UK artists in the late 90s.

As you would expect from a cassette tape full of demos the sound quality ain't great, but fortunately this doesn't detract from the listening experience - in fact, in some ways it enhances it. Hearing the poorly mastered vocals, muffled base and hiss of the cassette is all part and parcel of what the project was... bedroom demos from hopeful amateur hip hoppers. For some of the artists a song on the tape was just the start of a career that would see the release of many more records, for others getting their track on Mind the Gap was the high point of their love affair with the music.

The magic of the tapes is in the tracklisting. Inconspicuously tucked away on side two of the first volume is a track by one of those artists who was destined to go on to bigger things. The dude's name was Jehst and the track "Focal Point Memoirs" might just be the earliest example of his music to become available to the buying public. Fans of Jehst nowadays will instantly recognise the voice but will be less familiar with the rapid delivery of his lyrics - this time being kicked with the thirst of an emcee with something to prove. Like all Jehst's early tracks it takes several plays and some close listening to hear and figure out the meaning in the lyrics, but whilst the production is definitely low budget, the poetry of Premonitions is certainly already in full effect even at this early stage in his recording career.

Universal Soldiers
Elsewhere on side one of the first Volume sits another cracking effort from one of the early 00s most underrated emcee's. Later to become one half of Universal Soldiers, Ricochet went on to use Mind the Gap as a springboard to hook up with Braintax. His artist page on Discogs puts it this way:.. "Screwface Assassin' (featured on Disorda's 'Mind the Gap' mix tape in 1998), gained recognition within the UK's rap fraternity and it was soon after this that his long-time friend Supa T introduced him to members of the Low Life Records crew. By early '99, Ricochet had made his first appearance for the label, dropping guest vocals on the title track of the Easter Island EP". The rest, they say, is history! 

As testament to the fact that Disorda had his finger firmly on the pulse there are countless other notable inclusions too. Contributions from the likes of Hoods Underground, Uncanny, Parlour Talk and K-Delight keep volume one banging from start to finish. And it don't stop there! Volume Two brings with it a very early appearance from Mystro - then one half of a duo going by the name of Genuine Article - and a Demo track from Notts finest emcee Cappo released before he had dropped any vinyl. Evil Ed pops up with a production effort on 'We Rule the World', Manage introduces himself with 'Self Titled' and Bristol stalwarts Sir Beanz OBE and Awkward drop 'Focus'.    

Guess who?
I caught up with Disorda over the wonders of electronic mail and asked him a few questions to put the tapes in context.

What made you do the Mind the Gap tapes?
Basically the same reason I'm still running Suspect Packages today, no-one was pushing the UK's Hip Hop scene and the artists who struggle to get heard. I had loads of demo tapes from artists and most of them we're worthy of being heard by the outside world, so I decided to do a compilation of all the best ones.

How were they different to the UK Hustlerz tapes?
They were all relatively unheard artists, people no-one really knew. And most of them had never had anthing out, it was all off tapes and dats, so no-one was hearing them. This was waaaaay before shit like myspace and youtube. So it was my way of getting these artists heard. I had the product and an outlet, so I used it. I got a good response to the UK Hustlerz tapes so thought i'd try it out, it was all material i'd been sent, and basically i used my own knowledge of what sounded good and what didn't, that was it really.

There are a number of artists featured that went on to become more prominent in the UK scene – Jehst, Ricochet, Hoodz Underground, Cappo and Mystro all stand out – had these guys had much out before this or was this tape literally their first experience of gaining national exposure?
I had demos from them all so yeah, I guess on a national and international level it was the first time some of them had been heard. A few had already, or were just about to release some vinyl though from what I remember, Chris Smoov & Prestige, Uncanny, Hearts Of Darkness, 3PM...

What are your favourite memories of compiling these tapes?
Collecting the finished copies, it took a lot of hard work and time to get it all together, it was a totally self funded grass roots d.i.y. business, and in some ways it still is! But getting the finished tapes and opening up the boxes seeing hundreds of them all together was a good sight, especially after all the graft that had gone into compiling it all and sorting all the artwork, liasing with the artists etc.

What 3 tracks are your favourites from these compilations and why?
Ricochet 'Screwface Assassin', still got his original demo tape, it's dope! Uncanny's 2 tracks, and also Jehst & Cappo's I remember as being pretty solid. That's four, sorry.... I'm also pretty fond of my track '2.20' on Vol.2 as it's got some good memories, the subject matter, recording it, etc...

How many did you sell?
You know what I can't remember how many I pressed at all, possibly 1000? Still got a few left, not many though.

The following tracks aren't downloadable but seeing as you can still get your hands on an original of both these tapes from the man Disorda himself for a measley four quid you shouldn't be too pissed. Hit him up on the contacts below to get one of the last of his copies. In the mean time - whilst your searching for a tape player to play them on - here's a few of those tunes. 
Enjoy, Postie

Mind the Gap Volume One cover - (click to enlarge)
Jehst: Focal Point Memoirs (1998 Pre-Premonitions Demo)
Ricochet (Universal Soldiers): Screwface Assassin (1998 Demo)

Mind the Gap Volume Two cover - (click to enlarge)
Disorda and Patterson - 2.20
Cappo: Emcee's Emcee (1999 Demo)
Genuine Article (Mystro) - Straight Spittin'

Suspect Packages Ltd.
'Backing British Beats since 1996'


  1. good read bro, i remember flatting with Disorda in 2000 for a couple of years, he had TONS of demo's everywhere! He really was/is mr UK Hip Hop, not many people can honestly say they've done as much as he has.

    If it wasnt for Dis i prolly wouldnt of gotton into radio or putting music out, he's a stalwart of the scene, and i'm lucky to say a good friend.


  2. Woah! 2.20!!! That brings back some good memories...
    Co-sign on Ghost's comments.
    It's great to see Disorda getting much deserved recognition for what he's done for UK Hip Hop. I was there and saw how much work he put in then and still does now...
    Shout to Ghost and all the past residents of the "one-five", Deptford, SE8


  3. Damn, I was meant to send something in for one of these / something from his other series of 4 tapes but got caught up in other stuff... I didn't even remember who was on these... and I have them tucked away somewhere... Still remember 'Solid Rox - Struggler' or something, and 'Offside' who were guys out of Marxman who had a line about robbing the tv, dvd, and nicam digital stereo from your house or something....