Street Sounds #3
LOCO X EAZZY FEAT DJAFROB-KILOFE
Twitter is the best. At least once a week some act I’ve never heard of will send me a track from out of nowhere that turns out to be fire. It’s the gift that keeps giving. This week I had this number from Loco and Eazzy sitting in my notifications – and it’s a superb, low slung banger. ‘Kilofe’ (which, I believe, is Yoruba for ‘what do you want’, linguistics fans) is a real UK afrobeats cut – it’s got the substantial, house tempo bass pulse and waspish Dutch synths of a Major Lazer rave track, teamed with those crucial autotuned Naija melodies. There’s 40 seconds of live footage at the start where, whilst the dance moves are dope, the sound is one big SMMSSKKKSKSK SSS, so skip that and it's all good..
Johnny Cinco – Real Hundreds
I’d got myself way too hyped for the Johnny Cinco mixtape – mostly because his recent beefing with Rich Homie Quan (which I’ve touched on here) threw up one of my favourite rap joints this year, the bizarre, slow motion sizzurp sing song of ‘I Got Em’. As it is, the tape in question, ‘John Popi,’ hasn’t quite lived up to my expectations- but still has enough flashes of Cinco’s unique approach to MCing to be worth checking- and this track from early on in the set is exceptional. The beat's so lackadaisical that at one point it completely peters out, possibly to take another bong hit, before slowly cranking itself back into melancholic rhythm. There’s so much heat and sorrow in the backwards synth sprawls, dusty keys and Cinco’s mournful digitised wails, that this feels like the most credible update of Delta blues I’ve ever heard. Trust me, give it 50 years and Radio 4 (should we still have such a thing) will be gushing about Cinco as a troubadour of a particularly heartbroken strain of folk.
Spice – So Mi Like It / Alkaline – Gyal Bruk Out
One of the interesting things about the dancehall scene is that songs often follow a traditional path to popularity – like, a big hit will get gradually introduced into the sets of a few soundsystems, find itself in the lower reaches of the Jamaican Top 40, then slowly climb positions until it hits the top, often half a year or longer after its first release. The UK’s got a reverse charting thing now, where things hit big in the first week, then plummet out of sight. Personally I think that speaks of a jittery, novelty obsessed culture, but there you go.
So, anyway, these two vocals on the Boom Box Riddim have been out for around 4 months now, but have finally, deservedly topped the influential Richie B Dancehall chart. The beat needs to be heard in a club to really be understood – it starts off switching every 8 bars, then sucker punches your gut with colossal bass pulses. Alkaline is the hype artist on the island this year, so it’s no surprise he’s smashed it. On a side note, you may notice his huge black iris’s in the video – Alkaline’s big schtick is that he claims to have tattooed his eyeballs, on which I call bullshit…! You can get those novelty goth contact lenses anywhere mate… there’s an interview with him here fobbing off questions bout them in a truly shady manner. The other cut from Spice – who, when not on the mic seems like a truly lovely person, and when on it seems like the smuttiest ratchet this side of Khia – also kills the riddim, coming good in about 3 lines. I’ve found myself rewinding those opening bars in every one of the last few sets I’ve played because they are FIRE – now Busta's jumped in on the remix, genuine crossover potential beckons, even if his bars are kinda weak compared to Spice's original.
Ferreck Dawn & Redondo – Love Too Deep
This track is so clearly going to blow it might as well have come with a burning fuse attached. It’s something of a Frankenstein beast, stitched from all the UK rave scenes current infatuations – 2 Step is represented by the chord progression (and a good hint of the bassline) being straight lifted from ‘Closer Than Close’ – the rest of the bassline comes from ‘’Show Me Love’, disco gets a look in with synth hits cribbed from Quando Quango’s wonky UK classic ‘Love Tempo’, and the cyclical vocal could have been taken from any deep house tune, ever. Plus the title’s got ‘love’ and ‘deep’ in it. By rights this should be dismissed as a lackluster production by numbers, but somehow, in the quite blatant cutting and pasting of influences, some magic has crept in. Having been knocking around on the underground for a couple of months, it’s been picked up by 3 Beat, so you’re likely going to be hearing it blasting from hairdressers and shopping centres all summer. I’d say it’s how modern British pop should sound, were it not written by a Dutch kid – DJ Q recently told me that there’s quite a 2 Step scene out in Amsterdam, and ‘Love Too Deep’ suggests that might well be the case…
Moelogo ft Giggs – The Baddest
Finally, I thought I’d posted this last week, shame on me, I forgot. Suffice to say ‘The Baddest’ is one of the biggest UK tunes on road, with doom heavy riddim and a selection of lyrics so grandiose only a Nigerian could have come up with ‘em ie: “I am not an artist// I am more like an angel…” Biggest moment has to be when Moe gets all Bo Selecta and demonstrates he can sing like Michael Jackson with a slightly guttural ‘Shamoan’. Giggs’ guest spot is sick, and one of the few cases where a few bars on the intro turn a good song great. Wins all round.
Imma here on twitter, come show me love: Ian Mcquaid