The Alan Partridge of Hip Hop

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on November 5, 2009 by Jack

Alan Partridge

OK, the time has come to say something. Tim Westwood is an embarassment to anyone who supports hip hop and related musics in the UK.

But we already knew that. The man who was literally the role model for Ali G has been derided for a long time. But since BBC digital radio station 1xtra restructured their schedule, he is now on EVERY week day at dinnertime.

Yeah baby! :s

For those that don’t know, 52 year old son of a Church of England Bishop, and former public school boy, Tim Westwood was for many years the only DJ on legal radio playing hip hop in the UK. Where I grew up in rural Scotland his show was the only way to hear new hip hop (no broadband in those days!) I used to listen to his show regularly, but even as an adolescent his persona made me feel deeply uncomfortable.

Put simply, Westwood’s show has always been driven by a really unpleasantly sleazy approach to women. He gets women on the line to perv on them, and celebrates misogynist records at every opportunity.

This picture is just made of wrong

Now there has of course been a long and complex debate about what if any causal relationship you can show between sexist music and sexist behaviour in general. And there have historically been some really reactionary groups that have attempted to suppress hip hop on these grounds when in fact they were motivated by racist or other ulterior motives.

But I’m not interested actually here in the music that Westwood plays-his dinnertime show works off the 1xtra daytime playlist as far as I can see anyway. Im not even writing about his constant harassment of female 1xtra newsreaders.

The reason I’ve been building up to writing something like this for the past couple of weeks is because of the seemingly tireless work Timothy has decided to undertake in favour of violence against women.

Specifically, virtually every day on his show he talks about Chris Brown’s assault on Rihanna. Often he’s been doing this whilst on the line with women who have been selected to be chatted up by him/tell him how hot he is etc.

The first time I heard this he used a formula along the lines of “What he did was unforgivable but we forgive him because we have forgiving hearts.” This was accompanied by him talking at length about Chris Brown’s tracks and other things he’s publicly done to try and get back together with Rihanna.

However, this week it stepped up a gear, with Westwood reeatedly telling women on the line about how he dressed up as Chris Brown for Halloween, and went to a party “with a girl who painted a black eye on”. He really was revelling in this.

And yesterday Jimmy Carr, a comedian well known for his class and racial hatred, with constant talk about “chavs” and “gypsies”, joined him on the show, and revealed his love for Westwood’s radio programmes going back to the 80’s. (Why does this not surprise me?) Despite trying to cover himself afterwards by calling Rihanna’s behaviour positive, Carr’s opening comment on the topic was “I’ve been in one of those cars, there’s not room to do much in the back, maybe a back hand slap.”

Westwood then went on to say that Rihanna was only discussing what happened to her now because she has an album to sell.

What’s the point of repeating all this, why don’t I just switch off? Well for one thing I have already decided after last night to completely boycott his show, I’m listening to BBC Asian Network while I cook now.

But the point is that there are no nuances here. Westwood is not “representing” for real social conditions where he came from or anything like that. His show, which goes out to a mass audience every day, is straight up justifying and excusing violence against women, in other words tacitly encouraging it.

In the headline of this post I called him the Alan Partridge of hip hop, because the way he puts himself across is constantly cringe worthy and frankly embarassing to listen to. But althought the Partridge character was definitely a misogynist, if he were real he never would have had the influence and power that Tim Westwood has within youth culture in the UK. Although many regard him as a joke, it doesn’t change the fact that thousands of young men will have listened to his show this week and heard that it’s basically OK to beat their girlfriends.

Celebrity lifestyle news of corporate pop creations isn’t usually what I’m that interested in discussing here. But Chris Brown’s assault on Rihanna in fact has become an important moment for discussion of issues that rarely get talked about in entertainment culture, and the fact that there is by some figures an orchestrated camaign to get Chris Brown “forgiven” can hardly be an accident. Aspects of male social power have been challenged by the whole affair, and some have reacted by closing the ranks. Tim Westwood seems to be leading the charge in the UK.

Westwood on top form

This man has no place in a job where he has mass influence, or a salary paid by the public. Whatever we can do to get him off air (and maybe Ace and Vis, who did a dinnertime show I really enjoyed, back), let’s do it. Positive suggestions as to how we achieve this welcome!

Tim Westwood and the joy of pointing.

Westwood is a twat.

‘Hip Hop is what gives us hope for the future’: interview with Jackie Salloum, director of Slingshot Hip Hop

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on October 31, 2009 by Jack

Several weeks ago I stuck up a review of a truly original and exciting documentary, ‘Slingshot Hip Hop,’ which tells the story of the hip hop scene in Palestine. Against the backdrop of racial discrimination and occupation, Palestinian youth have since around 2000 built a vibrant cultural movement that expresses their frustrations and needs through the medium of rap in Arabic. Watching the film is inspirational, and reminds you of the very real social power hip hop as a movement has all across the world.

Jackie Salloum

This week I was very lucky to catch up with Jackie Salloum, the director of the film, following a screening at the Glasgow Film Theatre introduced by her and Suhell Nafar of DAM. Here’s what Jackie had to say about the film, the scene in Palestine, and what she’s working on next:

FCBF: Tell us a bit about yourself and your background as an artist, filmmaker and activist?

JS: I’m a 1st generation Arab-American, my Mom is Palestinian and my Dad is Syrian. When I was growing up we saw only negative images of Arabs in the media and popular culture. The message put across in the media is important, and when I was younger it had a negative impact on me-I didn’t want to be an Arab.

When I got older I became focussed on challenging stereotypes. I used pop culture references like bubblegum machines to put across a message. In 2002 I heard [DAM’s track] ‘Min Irhabi?’ [Who’s the terrorist?] on the radio and I flipped out, I was so excited. I went on the internet to find out more and discovered the arabrap site.

I made a video for the song, using images we never see in the US, of the intifada. It was very effective, and had a big impact on the people that saw it. People that previously had no interest or support for Palestine were moved, and when I asked them why they said, “Because it’s hip hop, it’s from the heart.”

My Professor suggested I should make a documentary. I thought it would be easy and take about a year! In fact it took 5! It was an amazing experience, and I learned so much I didn’t know about Palestine. My family are from the West Bank, I’d never been to Gaza.

FCBF: What difficulties did you encounter making the film?

JS: A lot of the problems were just more of a nuisance. I was typically held at the airport for 4-7 hours coming into Israel. You get passed from interrogator to interrogator, and you don’t know if you’ll be denied entry, which is something they do all the time to Palestinians from the diaspora. Once you’re in it’s not so bad, but you still have to get through checkpoints, and getting into Gaza is different, and more difficult.

In terms of the film, I wasn’t from a film background. Things were a bit unplanned, I just went in with a love for the subject. I didn’t wait until I got funding, I just went ahead and started. In some ways I think that was an advantage, but it meant I had to fund a lot of the film myself. I had to move back home and work in my parents’ ice cream parlour. That’s why I put Fresh Booza Productions at the end of the film; Booza is Arabic for ice cream, and it’s a tribute to them and their support.

I left cameras with some of the artists, and between us we collected 700 hours of footage, and so a lot of work went into editing.

FCBF: And what were the highlights of the process?

JS: Getting to know the artists; we became very close, like family. Before I met and saw them, visiting Palestine was quite a depressing experience for me. But seeing the hip hop scene in Palestine gives you hope, a small dose of hope for the future.

What was also great was meeting grassroots people who helped with the film, in the US and Canada as well as Palestine. Artists like Patriarch, The Narcicyst, The Philistines and Invincible came to help with the film, but have continued being involved and are a huge support to the artists in Palestine, for example by making beats. The Philistines made ‘Free the P,’ a compilation of hip hop and spoken word artists from around the world in support of Palestine, and all the proceeds helped fund the film.

I was lucky to work with Waleed Zaiter, who did all the graphics and animations in the film, as well as a lot of producing and editing. I was worried that if people didn’t know the background to Palestine, where Gaza and the West Bank were, they would be confused. But I also didn’t want to hit people with too many facts and statistics. The maps and graphics really help get the facts across.

FCBF: What differences are there between the hip hop scene in Palestine and other parts of the world? For example, there seems to be a lot more support from the older generation, and the position of women, both as artists and audience, seems to be much better than other places?

JS: The cross generational support is so nice to see, it’s one of my favourite things about the scene. They get into the lyrics, which lift their spirits. Because the lyrics talk about the occupation and the problems facing Palestinians, older people support it.

The groups get invited to so many different kinds of events. One event we see in the film is at an Eastern Orthodox Easter celebration!

My other favourite thing is the women’s involvement, and the way they are treated. Artists in Palestine don’t try to imitate what they hear coming from elsewhere, before they heard Tupac they weren’t into hip hop. There’s a completely different attitude towards women.

FCBF: It’s particularly interesting to see considering the main stereotype we are told in the west is that Arab societies are really oppressive to women.

JS: Right. I mean, there is oppression of women everywhere, but it takes different forms.

FCBF: Does the support for women’s involvement cause any problems within Palestinian society? We saw in the film how one female artist is threatened out of performing because relatives don’t think it’s appropriate.

JS: There’s absolutely no organised opposition to women’s involvement. Where there are problems it’s really internal to one particular family or local region. But other artists have very supportive families. Where there is opposition to hip hop, it’s on the grounds that it’s seen as something that’s ‘American’ and foreign.

FCBF: Something that’s really interesting in the film is seeing people use the internet and digital technologies to overcome the checkpoints and barriers of the occupation. What difference has the internet made for hip hop in Palestine, and how limited is it?

JS: It’s made a huge difference. It’s what made me aware of the scene, and when I went to shops asking for this music they kept giving me rai, which wasn’t what I was looking for! The only place you could find it was on the internet.

In Palestine, as you see in the film, people are separated by the occupation. People that may live only a short distance from each other are never able to meet because of the boundaries of the occupation. But they are able to connect online. It’s what made the scene possible. It’s not really smooth, but it is doable, and that’s what matters.

FCBF: Obviously the situation in Palestine forces artists to be political. But how far has hip hop crossed over from being a cultural movement to a political one? How much time do artists devote to politics vs. their music, or do they not see a distinction between the two?

JS: To be in Palestine, everything is political. What separates the good from the crap is talent, and the popular artists in Palestine are really, really good. The scene there is so huge, and is so saturated with political content that talent really makes the difference.

The music appeals to hip hop heads, as well as activists as a voice of the oppressed. It’s more attractive to many than classical Arab music because it’s in a form that people all over the world can recognise.

The film holds a special appeal in the Arab world, it’s won best film awards in film festivals in Syria, Egypt and Lebanon. In some ways that’s a more difficult audience because they already know the narrative of the Palestinian, it’s not new to them. They like it because they’re not allowed to go to Palestine, and so it’s the first time they see different aspects of daily life there, it’s the first time they see Palestinians happy. They love to see Palestinians smiling and happy instead of just images of suffering, and it lets them learn about daily life in Palestine.

FCBF: Is there an influence from traditional Palestinian music and poetry on Palestinian hip hop?

JS: Definitely. The lyrics reference poets like Mahmoud Darwish. And the artists are always aware of incorporating Arab musical influences, and use Arab instruments live on stage.

FCBF: From early on in the film I was impressed with the quality of the beats. What kind of beatmaking facilities do people have access to? Who’s doing the production?

JS: It’s different in different places. In Gaza for example there’s no access to beatmaking facilities, and the beats are downloaded off the internet. This made it difficult for us to find beats to put in the film, because many of those used by the artists were originally very well known ones. But after 6 years making music, DAM started making beats, and a lot of the ones used in the film are theirs. DAM produce for a lot of others as well, but now other groups like WEH and Arapeyat are producing beats for themselves as well.

FCBF: Is there a strong hip hop scene in all it’s different aspects? We saw a bit of graffiti, but what about DJs, breakers etc.?

JS: Graffiti is a really strong part of Arab culture, but it’s not necessarily hip hop graffiti, it’s political. People have been using graffiti in Palestine for a long time to express their political frustrations, and the artists are not necessarily hip hop.

There’s an increasing amount of breakers, especially in Gaza. As for DJing, in the occupied territories it’s mostly using CDs as people just don’t have access to records and record playing. In Israel itself there is access to that kind of stuff because it’s popular with Israelis as well, but the key issue is whether you can afford it.

FCBF: So you’re still in touch with people from the film, what’s been happening since it was made?

JS: Since the film hip hop in Palestine has just been expanding, there are more and more people performing. DAM are working on their second album. PR [Palestinian Rapperz] are separated by the occupation, but they’re continuing to use the internet to make music. Arapayat are still making music, and Mahmoud Shalabi is playing the kawala, a traditional Arab flute now, and incorporates it on stage with DAM.

FCBF: How can we in other countries help and support Palestinian hip hop and the Palestinian people?

JS: Support the artists, support oppressed people! I think that art and culture are more effective at opening many people’s eyes than purely political activism. So get the artists out to perform, and buy their music. If you’re part of any kind of institution that has funds to bring people over or to send people to Palestine then use them. Even recording one song is so expensive for these artists, and they’re still working and struggling financially. Just bear in mind no major music corporation is going to invest in Palestinian hip hop any time soon, so they depend on grassroots support.

FCBF: What are you working on next? I heard you’d like to make music videos for Arab artists?

JS: Suhell and I just now are writing a children’s film. I’m not going to make the mistake I made with ‘Slingshot’ and tell you all about it before it’s made. I would like to make more videos, and make them available through youtube. A lot of the artists now are making videos, like the Letters video by Suhell [see below]. Abeer is making a documentary as well, she’s making videos as well as music.

I don’t want to do another documentary for a while, I’d like to work on something a bit more structured with a script! I’m sure that will come with it’s own set of problems, but I look forward to finding those out.

Black Rock Nation?

Posted in Uncategorized on October 28, 2009 by Jack

Who should have the right to call their music Black Rock? And what happens when black musicians make music that doesn’t fit into conventional definitions of “Black music”?

Damon Dash

The next few weeks are set to see the release of not one but two projects using the name Black Rock. Damon Dash, former partner of Jay Z, has collaborated with the band The Black Keys on ‘BlackRoc,’ presumably seeking to gain cachet from his previous association with Roc-a-Fella records, and featuring a host of rappers such as Mos Def, Billy Danze of M.O.P., Q Tip, Raekwon, Pharoah Monche and the late ODB. However, the veteran hip hop group Onyx have come out as publicly outraged by the title due to their own soon to be released ‘The Black Rock,’ album, which they describe as “mad guitars, hard drums. . .a hybrid album of Hip-Hop and Rock & Roll.”

Dash, for his part, doesn’t do anything to allay concerns that his project is a cynical attempt to capture two musical audiences with one release when he says the project is “a good business model… that kind of protects the artistry, it’s lucrative, but where a lot of people can get [into] it without compromising the brand.”

Onyx have come out saying that the BlackRoc project is “biting” their concept and that they had the idea of a rock/hip hop album first. They are clearly very angry.

Onyx are clearly angry more widely at what they perceive as an attempt to write them out of hip hop’s history, when in fact since they were formed in 1988 they have been very influential. For their role in bringing a certain kind of hardcore rap to a wider audience they were dubbed “a disgrace to blacks” by the NAACP.

Onyx

But their claim to be the originators of the concept of rap/rock linkups is clearly absurd. From Run DMC’s ubiquitously known ‘Walk this Way’ with the group Aerosmith, through a great deal of the career of the Beastie Boys, Rage Against the Machine or indeed rappers such as Mos Def forming rock projects, it’s clearly hardly something that’s a new idea.

This is of course leaving aside the whole obvious issue of rock and roll’s origins in the blues and black music. Although those reading this article may be well aware, it is always shocking the lack of awareness there is in the modern, white, rock audience that their favoured genre was appropriated by white records companies and groups in order to make money from a musical form which black artists were then excluded from. It’s a pattern that has been repeated again and again throughout the history of African-American musical creativity in the last 100 years.

But I encountered perhaps the most interesting take on the controversy over on Racialicious, which linked to an article by Rob Fields of the Bold as Love blog. He argues that how can the Dash/Black Keys project have the right to call itself ‘BlackRoc’ when all the rock artists are white?

Fields feels that the project had no right to appropriate the name Black Rock when it is already the name of the Black Rock Coalition, an organisation that since 1985 has sought to challenge stereotypes of what kinds of music black people can legitimately make. They say on their own website:

To date, the BRC is the only national nonprofit organization dedicated to the complete creative freedom of Black artists. . . The BRC opposes those racist and reactionary forces within the American music industry which undermine and purloin our musical legacy and deny Black artists the expressive freedom and economic rewards that our Caucasian counterparts enjoy as a matter of course.

Rock and roll, like practically every form of popular music across the globe, is Black music and we are its heirs. We, too, claim the right of creative freedom and access to American and International airwaves, audiences, markets, resources and compensations, irrespective of genre.

The BRC embraces the total spectrum of Black music. The BRC rejects the arcane perceptions and spurious demographics that claim our appeal is limited. The BRC rejects the demand for Black artists to tailor their music to fit into the creative straitjackets the industry has designed. We are individuals and will accept no less than full respect for our right to be conceptually independent.

Fields adds in his article:

“BlakRoc” is a slap in the face to those of us who have been working to develop audiences for black artists who don’t fit neatly into pre-conceived categories. It’s an affront to those of us who still face apathy and dismissiveness when it comes to the place of blacks in beyond hip hop and R&B. . .The BlakRoc Project will probably do well. But it won’t be worthy of its name.

The conversation carried on in the comments section of the Racialicious post is very interesting as well, with some defending the BlackRoc project name as merely a merging of the names Black Keys and Roc-a-Fella. Also, they challenge Fields’ assertion that the album is manned instrumentally by white people and vocally by black people by pointing out the work that RZA did composing his contribution. (The RZA in fact is a major talent in this regard, having done really impressive scoring work on films such as Ghost Dog and American Gangster, both of which have really strong soundtracks.)

However, whether the name was a result of ignorance or not, it’s hard to disregard the feeling of being appropriated that Fields, and by extension the Black Rock movement clearly have. Their fight for full freedom for black artists and the black imagination is something that I think we should totally support, despite some of the music involved not being completely my cup of tea.

One commenter on Racialicious made what I thought was a very important contribution, writing:

I still feel the remnants of being the “white kid” for being very much into rock music and then having the actual white kids turn around and call me a poser for being a black person who liked something other than the stereotypical music I was expected to listen to as a black person.

The context is far from comparable, since I as a white child was never a victim of racism, but I remember myself being shocked at the racism of schoolmates who used to ask me why I like hip hop because “isn’t that black music?”

The whole controversy raises important issues about the usefulness of the term “black music”. As a way of asserting the black origins of most of American (and through them, world) popular music of the 20th century, it is obviously important. But what happens when the same term is in fact turned on its head and used as a way of excluding black artists from musical forms that were themselves originally black music (!). It’s definitely something I want to explore further on here.

However, in the meantime this piece gives me as good a reason as any to bring up something I’ve been wanting to mention for a while-The Street Sweeper Social Club, a collaboration between musicians Tom Morello and others from Rage Against the Machine with Boots Riley of The Coup (the group who did the song that this blog is named after!)

Back in the day I was a big fan of RATM, although I was never a great appreciator of the rock side of where they came from. For me they combined rapping with incredible sonic experimentation and radical politics.

The new project, Street Sweeper Social Club, is really what I expected it to sound like (as my brother put it “Rage with better rapping,”) rather than anything radically new or different, but it still sounds pretty good to my ears, and they’re well worth checking out. Tom Morello is an incredibly skilled guitarist who can stand up there with the most amazing user of synths or computers in terms of making strange new sounds. And I don’t think it would be going too far to describe Boots as one of the most underrated rappers of all time. If you don’t know The Coup, get to know! In any case, check out their band’s cover of M.I.A.’s ‘Paper Planes’:

BlackRoc is released on November 27th. Try as I might I haven’t been able to find a release date for Onyx’s project, it appears to have been delayed for some time and is described as coming 2009.

Please bear with us!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 26, 2009 by Jack

Apologies for the lack of new posts over the past few days, the home PC where most of the work goes into this blog has come under a huge spyware attack. Hopefully this will be resolved in the next couple of days and we can resume normal service!

A little Hobbit who we all admire

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on October 21, 2009 by Jack

Fatcatsbiggafish is privileged to present an interview with young (17) up-and-coming Scottish hip hop producer Matt, aka BilL Breaks.

FCBF: Tell us a bit about yourself, and how you got into hip hop and hip hop production?

BB: Hey, well my name is Matt to people who are not privy to my secretive stereo-propagating alter-ego – BilL Breaks. I am a producer/beatmaker from Glasgow, Scotland, leaning towards the ol’ hip-hop but dabble in Drum n’ Bass, Dubstep, and general noise. I got into hip-hop after listening to my brothers ‘generic rap compilation’ CDs and old Tim Westwood tapes, went through the whole 50 pence/guns and money phase, grew up, got introduced to Gangstarr, etc and started working on beats, diggin for breaks and being educated by my mentor, a guy called c0mplex then started finding out more about the local scene and started focusing on that. And here I am today.

FCBF: How much material have you been able to put out? What difference do you think digital technology and the internet has meant to someone like you just getting started in production?

BB: Physically, Fade to Static is the first real thing I have put out, but I have made beats for a lot of people especially in the Scottish scene which have been put out. Technology and the internet made a huge difference for me when I was just starting out in production. Without it I wouldn’t have had access to any of the information I did through forums, blogs, etc. People can lose sight of the whole point of making music though with the wealth of technical information available, being submerged in technicalities and techniques isn’t always good for the music, I can see myself doing that sometimes but do I try to focus on the music.

FCBF: What’s your production approach? I remember reading at one point that you’re really sample based, what about synths etc.? What do you think about the big turn towards electro/dance music type beats there’s been in hip hop in general, and in the UK grime scene in particular?

BB: Typically I’ll chop a sample, layer some drops and see what fits, filter some bassline action or play out a synth effort, it just depends on what’s sounding good to me. I used to be very sample orientated, and I still am generally but I have been incorporating my hardware synths more and more which is a lot of fun, as well as purely synth based tracks. As long as there is vinyl crackle somewhere among the montage of waveforms then I’m happy. I don’t think much of the turn towards electro/dance beats, to be perfectly honest. I get the feeling that a lot of it is made to just make money or follow some gimmick or trend, I don’t go in for that malarky. I don’t know much about the UK grime scene, they do their thing and I do mine, we don’t cross paths much so I don’t have much authority on the matter.

FCBF: What type of equipment have you got available to you? Do you get access to a studio or do you just work from home? What would you like to work with?

BB: I use my Akai s2000 to chop up samples and filter them, record them into the computer, put everything into kontakt and do the bad thing in fl studio. I’ve got turntables, mixer, yada too, Roland SH-09 and Juno 106 synths and piles of weird, crap, funky and awesome records. There’s lots of other little things but there’s no point getting to technical with soundcards, etc. So basically it’s just my bedroom I work from, no studio action for me. I prefer having my bed right next to my set-up anyways. I keep going through phases of wanting an MPC but I’m not sure how well I would get on with that. I did have the MPD16, the midi controller version of the MPC but I managed to spill a glass of milk over it and my first priority was the records sitting underneath it. Hopefully I can buy a new one soon though. I like to think that it’s not what you use, it’s how you use it… but it’s not just as fun without hitting some pads.

FCBF: You’ve got the Fade to Static EP available at the moment, how have things been going with that? Why did you choose the title?

BB: At first I thought I wasn’t selling any but I seem to have ran out of copies now, most are being sold at gigs and there is some available in Mixed Up Records in Glasgow. If all the copies are sold then I’m thinking about getting more copies done too. I suppose people are offered a thousand different CDs or downloads on the internet and nothing of any worth gets seen for what it is. Being under-18 never helps either, a lot of CDs get sold at gigs and nights but… they’re pretty hard to get into without a hassle. The title comes from a strange feeling I get when a record fades out but the static remains constant. Call me strange but here’s something quite moving about that for me and I hoped to achieve that with the CD, I failed but I took it somewhere else which is what the whole creative process is about – Having an idea and seeing where it takes you.

FCBF: Explain to us why you start the record with Leonard Nimoy singing about hobbits?

BB: Well the lyrics give a pretty close description of me, I am only 3 feet tall, I live in a little hobbit hole and I seem to know a lot of people. I don’t suppose you expected to hear it either? That means I won (haha). The cuts on that are pretty bad, listening back.

FCBF: Fade to Static is pretty much new beats to classic (and homegrown Scottish) raps, have you worked with any MCs and is there anyone you’d like to produce for in the future?

BB: I’ve worked with a few Scottish emcees – Nity Gritz (I produced his LP – Love Sick as well as countless other tracks), a few of the guys from The bEINGDoonhamer, Skribbo, Loki, etc… I’ve worked with a few other emcees in and outside of Scotland but I lose track of older projects. As for emcees I would like to work with? Anybody who is on the same wavelength as me . . . that is a tough thing to find when you don’t know your own wavelength. I’m enjoying doing instrumental things just now actually, I can get a bit weird without upsetting any emcees haha.

FCBF: How in touch are you with the rest of the hip hop scene in Scotland? What do you think of the state of Scottish hip hop? What could advance it do you think?

BB: The state of Scottish hip-hop? The state of Scottish hip-hop is something I hear about way to much and see nothing of. I genuinely don’t think I know enough to comment, not being able to go to many gigs means I don’t have a good opportunity to see the scene ‘in action’ so to speak. I’m just glad I don’t emcee though.

FCBF: What’s next from you and what are you working on just now? How far do you aim to take the work you’re doing? Is it just for fun, or is there a long term career plan?

BB: Imminently, Fade to Static: White Noise Gradients – more Scottish remixes, more instrumentals and more generally pretentious beats. After that I have a few projects with people from the Scottish scene then I’m going to get stuck into my instrumental album and I’ve got a lot of ideas and breaks for that. It would be amazing to do music for a career but just now its just for fun/expression/release teenage angst/whatever you want to call making music without a career. The plan is to live without having to work and just make music all day – I am still working on that one but its looking grim.

As BilL/Matt mentioned, copies of Fade to Static are available at Mixed Up Records in Glasgow, or by getting in touch with billbreakz @hotmail.co.uk (minus the space). And at a mere five pounds for remixes of KRS-One and J-Live, as well as more local acts such as The Being, evaDe poD and Holmes, it’s well worth parting with (a little of) your hard earned cash!

Edit-meant to mention that all artwork for the EP is BilL’s work as well. Man’s multitalented!

Low di Trees

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on October 17, 2009 by Jack

Heard this for the first time on the 1xtra dancehall show the other night and really liked it. Aidonia and Tarrus Riley, ‘Low di Trees,’ on the Go Go Club riddim.

Short doc on Sengalese hip hop

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on October 15, 2009 by Jack

Found a great site for streaming free documentaries, so expect a good few posts in coming days where I just embed some videos for you to watch.

This one is about hip hop in Sengal. It’s only 7 minutes long, so it’s not a big commit, but it does touch on some interesting issues, especially the role of Islam and how that changes how rappers present themselves and the content of their rhymes.

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