Friday, 6 May 2011

Pass the Hot Sauce

With the Beastie Boys releasing their new album this month, it reminded me of how much I love this trio. Ad Rock, Mike D and MCA. These three have continually stayed true to themselves throughout a career with more longevity than many other hip hop stars.

The two albums I literally grew up on and got me into hip hop from an early age were Paul’s Boutique and Wu Tang’s 36 Chambers. Others of my favourites from this time were Doggystyle and Black Sunday. I still listen to all four of these albums now, but the difference with the Beasties is that they continue to surprise me and entertain.

Since these iconic albums the other artists or collectives haven’t gone on to replicate the same standard of album. With Wu-Tang this is a difficult one, individually members have gone on to record great albums like Raekwon’s Only built for Cuban Linx, GZA’s Liquid Swords etc, but as a collective the heights of 36 Chambers haven’t been hit.

Snoop has done some great tunes; don’t get me wrong I still love Snoop. But since Doggystyle he’s never gone on to create an album of greatness, however, following this album its near on impossible such is it’s class; which is why his show at the Manchester International Festival in a couple of months where he’ll perform Doggystyle from start to finish will be epic.

And so that gets me back to Beastie Boys. Paul’s Boutique may have inspired me, but such offerings since as Check Your Head, Ill Communication, Hello Nasty, The Mix Up and now Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 show their class and ability to change their style while still holding onto their thoughts and philosophy.

For me this couldn’t be shown better than in Paul’s Boutique. After the success of Licence to Ill they fucked off from NYC and Def Jam, recording the album in LA and bringing a totally different style. Hooking up with Mario C and the Dust Brothers and making an album of intricate samples layered together representing the place they were at, at that time. Smoking weed, drinking copious amounts of red wine and running round town egging people, hence the tune Egg Man – listen to the lyrics its brilliant. To me everyone involved in hip hop nowadays could learn a lesson from the B Boys, Paul’s Boutique wasn’t a success, I think only one single was released and the album struggled initially. But they made it cos they wanted to make it. After Licence to Ill there was all the expectation around them, they said fuck that!

This is why I love the Beastie’s and will be bumping their album for the coming months.

Here is a selection of my favourite Beastie’s tunes, Enjoy!

Shake your Rump

Get it together

Sounds of Science

Root Down

Remote Control

High Plains Drifter

Thursday, 3 February 2011

He 'ates Scousers

It was a sad day yesterday when Gary Red retired from professional football. Loved by the Old Trafford faithful, G Nev embodied everything there is about United. Winning trophies, hating the bin dippers, winding up City and above all a desire to continually strive for perfection.

Hated by the rest of the Premier League fans? Probably. What’s the reason for this?

Everyone is jealous of United. Since the 92/93 season we have been by far the most consistent team in the land, winning trophy after trophy. Others have contended with us but never maintained it. Blackburn bought one title (the only title that United hating twat Shearer ever won), Arsenal won a few and Chelsea are clearly the biggest threat. Not done three in a row twice though have you?!! Another thing which is true about most other clubs to have played in the Premier League. They have been dicked by United. Managers have lost their jobs when following a heavy defeat by Fergie’s men. Arsenal conceded six at Old Trafford, Chelsea conceded five at the Bridge, Ipswich 9, Forest 8, Blackburn 7. This breads animosity.

So we’ve established that United are hated. Neville being so entrenched in this is also hated. Yeh he might be outspoken in his love for United and his hatred of others but that doesn’t make him a bad player, which many idiot fans have been claiming over the last couple of days. Fact of the matter is when Fergie says he’s “the best English right-back of his generation”, he’s right. You don’t get that many England caps, play over 600 games for United or win that many trophies if you’re a bad player. It’s pure United hating.

Someone like Jaime Carragher is far more of a horrible bastard than Neville. His and gay boy Stevie G’s hatred for United is known to everyone. But that’s OK. The media love Liverpool, so does the rest of the country, and so they embody the rivalry between the two sets of supporters. Everybody likes it when they put themselves about in big matches, kiss cameras, get sent off for disgusting tackles. Doesn’t happen when anyone from our side does it though. Carragher is grim, have you listened to him in an interview? Have you heard the rumours about him spitting on walls in hotel rooms? Lovely chap. Hates United though, so that’s OK.

Fact is, Neville has been a fantastic servant to the game. A quality defender, the best crosser of the ball from full back I have ever seen, and a fantastic leader on the pitch. One of the best defenders of his generation? Most definitely. Hates scousers? Damn right he does!!

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Why I love New Zealand

Anyone know anything about New Zealand? Answers are probably gonna come in the form of Lord of the Rings, those dudes running round all in black, maybe even some extreme sports. But what I reckon most people don’t know about is a little thing called Aotearoa Roots, and this is why I love New Zealand.

Aotearoa is the Maori name for New Zealand and Aotearoa Roots is the name for the sound emanating from this beautiful place. Its roots lie predominantly in Reggae and Dub but with so many varied styles from many different bands in the country it spans through many distinct genres including Drum n Bass, jazz, hip hop, soul, rock and techno. Now why is reggae so big in a country that most people view as Australia’s neighbour? Well the reason behind this is the huge Maori and Polynesian influence exerted over the entire country. The laid back swagger of the Polynesian islands is never far from any Aotearoa Roots gig.

Now it’s not just the music that I was so taken with during my short spell living in the country. It’s the Kiwi style and the love for their home grown thing. I was lucky enough to see arguably the country’s biggest Aotearoa Roots band, Fat Freddy’s Drop, a couple of times when I was there most notably at the Regent Theatre in Dunedin. Such a great venue was deserving of literally two of the best hours of my life musically. But what really got me was the difference in the crowd compared to many gigs at home. From young hoods down at the front, to French restaurant owners to middle aged rastas and jazz lovers. Literally anyone who had a love for music was there. The Kiwi people really embrace their own music rejecting more mainstream offerings, something which many of us in society could really learn very much from. If you’re ever in this area of the world ignore your Lonely Planet and head to Wellington, most of the bands come from here and vibe in the city is like nowhere else. Cool as fuck!

Now I’ve already mentioned Fat Freddy’s, something for those who know me are probably sick of hearing about, but these scene is by no means limited to that 7 piece Wellington band. Others that I can’t stop listening to on my iPod at the moment include Salmonella Dub (soulful, drums and bases), Kora (bring the funk), Katchafire (pure reggae) and the Black Seeds (funky ass and previous home of Bret from the Concords). I implore anyone with a love for music to download what they can and fully appreciate my love for the vibe of NZ.  Special mention must also go to Taos and Jah Fire – great memories from Revolver – “Smoke Weed and Fly, It’s the only way to get by”.

Couple of tunes to get your juices flowing

Salmonella Dub – Push on Thru

Fat Freddy’s Drop – Roady

Friday, 10 December 2010

Hip to the Hop and ya just don't stop

Been thinking a lot about a certain topic. Had a couple of Guinness fueled debates about it but still not very clear. What makes up the best hip hop lyric? I know this is a topic that many feel very passionate about. A lot depends on your taste. Hip hop is such a varied art so it’s difficult to put your finger on it.  Whether you stuck in the G Funk Era, heavy into your conscious, comin straight out NWA fueled gangsta or you like something a little more on the soulful side, one thing will always be in common, tight lyricists. But who are the best?

These are some of my favourite hip hop lyrics from some of my favourite hip hop artists:

Now we be getting stupid in your area
Causing all kinds of hysteria
My beats is sick like malaria
But don’t worry I’ll take care of ya
                                                                   Beastie Boys – Three Mc’s & One DJ

I’ll stab you in your eye yo
With a fuckin biro
The same fuckin biro you use to sign your giro
Fuckin wino
                                                                   Plan B – No Good

So I walk up the street whistlin this
Feelin out of place, cos, man, do I miss
A pen and a paper, a stereo, a tape of,
Me and Eric B, and a nice big plate of
Fish, which is my favourite dish
But without no money it’s still a wish     
Cos I don’t like to dream about getting paid
So I dig into the books of the rhymes I made

                                                                       Rakim – Erik B & Rakim – Paid in Full                       

I’m ready to blast
Ready surpass and harass
I’m ready to flip, yea
And ready to dip with all the cash
I hold my crome steady, with a tight grip
So your done already cos this one might hit
                                                                     Guru – Gang Starr – Full Clip

And one for comedy value

Daddy loves you, daddy loves you
                                                               Will Smith – Just the Two of Us

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Messi - The Quiet Cheat

We all know how good Lionel Messi is. That’s something that’s not in any doubt. But one thing which never, and I mean never, get’s mentioned about the mercurial genius is the amount of time he spends on the deck.

Remember how much stick Ronnie got from the media during his time at United? Just ask Gareth Southgate and the personal vendetta his shoddy Middlesbrough team took against Ronaldo. The fact of the matter is that Ronnie took a lot of shit, he was always getting fouled. The amount of times he was kicked during a single Premier League match was astounding. But always labeled as a diver. Let’s take the example in El Classico last night. Clear penalty. Ronaldo nicked the ball in front of Victor Valdes, who got nothing on it and wrapped his legs round Ronaldo’s. Dive said the commentator. What fucking match was he watching?

Which brings us on to Messi. A player of his calabre takes a lot of stick, Sergio Ramos last night is a prime example of this, but too often he goes down looking for something. As soon as Carvalho’s shoulder made any contact with him he was down holding his face trying to get a fellow pro sent off. He probably learnt this one from his boss, renowned gay lord Pep GuardiolA, who felt the need to put his hand in the direction of his face after Ronaldo gave him a little love tap to the shoulder.  The Spanish ref actually booked Messi for this dive. Did Sky make any mention of this? Did they fuck. All they said was that it was a bad bit of play from Carvalho, no mention of how easily Messi went down or even that the ref booked him. Why is it impossible to offer any criticism towards the Argentine when in a Barcelona shirt?

Eduardo Iturralde Gonzalez actually gave one of the better refereeing performances I have seen in a long time, the Madrid penalty aside, but never was any word of this really made during the Sky coverage. Gonzalez was wise to the darker side of the likes of Messi, Xavi and Iniesta so why can’t this be mentioned in a discussion of the game? The World Cup final was a prime showing. The Dutch have been lamented for their aggressive style, but many of the worst things in football were seen from the Spanish, most notably the media’s darling Iniesta, who probably spent as much time rolling around on the turf following a fair tackle than he did in the midst of the merry-go-round of pass, pass, pass.

The point I am making is Messi, or any of the other Barca players, does not need this in his game. He showed us enough during El Classico as to how talented he is, why throw yourself around when you can beat any player in the world with your head and feet? As much blame has to be heaped on the refs (El Classico apart) and the supposed pundits. Don’t automatically give a foul when he goes down, he may be the best player on the planet but not everything has to go his way. As for commentators and pundits, in the words of TV’s own Roy Walker “say what you see”. 

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Why do scallies fuck everything up?

I hate the met. Everyone who gets it hates it. It’s expensive, 100 quid fine if you get caught jumping it and when you try and buy a ticket from the dude at Alty station he refuses your card forcing you to call him a cunt shocking the old woman behind you. Not my finest hour.

As all good citizens of Altrincham I share in my hatred for the daily grind on the worst of public transport. Even the new yellow ones are a shit colour and fully snide. Should have made them red. Anyway all who get on before the likes of Stretford and Old Trafford shudder when the groaning beast pulls into the likes of these stops. Cos we all know what’s coming. Dicks in tracky bottoms and wong-eds, clutching phones playing the tinniest of music out of shit speakers.

It was at one of these moments on my way back from Uni the other day that a thought that’s often troubled me firmly housed itself in my mind again. Why do scallies have to latch onto something and do it to death, ruining it for the rest of us? Two biggest examples, adidas and Lacoste. Ruined by scallies insistence of covering themselves from head to toe in snide stripey Lacoste or adidas trackies.

Now these used to be favourite makes for me, but now it’s difficult to rock them in a lot of places for fear of being tarnished with the mark of the scal. The brands themselves also have a lot to answer for. They know the scally market is awash with cash and so they dive head on into it. Bringing out new stripey lines, tracky bottoms that fit perfectly into your sock, shit like that. Now I know that some adidas originals stuff is heavy, but when your bowling through Manchester on a night out in your new three stripe jacket, you’re gonna have a much harder time with bouncers than if you were rocking a river island beaut. Might be alright for me now I’m fully fro’d up but in the golden days of the zero all over it was tough times. All cos of scallies.

On the met the other day I noticed that two of the wannabe hoods had converse on their feet. Full on stripey converse!! Chuck Taylor firing out the red and blue scally line. There is no doubting the resurgence of these classic trainers in recent years, but surely this is a step too far. JD’s gonna  full of them. No more simple plain classic colours or even the random Japanese limited editions, just full on scally style.

How long will it be before this last bastion of classic style is taken away from us once and for all by the strongest of forces? Not long in my mind. These are troubling times we live in.