Missives from the intersection of rave, hip hop, dancehall and the infinite cosmos...
Roska vs NAPT – Come Like This / AC Slater – On the Run
So this week I’m starting with a name I never thought would end up in the Street Sounds column; Skrillex. It seems that when Skrillys not making unlistenable ‘tardstep for Molly addled yanks, he’s secretly got a hard on for UK house – as evidenced by the recent releases on his Nest label. Nest for those who don’t know (and, on the real, I was one of you up til yesterday) is a free download label Skrillex has put together, dedicated to releasing (and presumably giving mass exposure to) deeper electronic sounds. Yesterday the label put up it’s latest, a Thames spanning collaboration between South London funky maestro Roska and North London sample freaks NAPT. And it’s dope; a playful cheeky bassline, crazy samples popping off all over the shop, anthemic italo piano, and more summer vibes than a double 99 with added flake. And it’s there for free. Result. A bit of exploration on my part turned up this earlier release on Nest from AC Slater, featuring the vocal talents of one Micah Freeman, who I was blathering on about a year back. The track they’ve done together is a revelation, it’s proper deep, genuinely soulful, and remarkably restrained- particularly by the cluttered standards of modern American dance (over) production. It could easily have come through Black Butter, it’s the kind of thing I think Donae’o should be making these days and- BOOM there it is going straight into my late night club playlist.
Mad J – Watch Nobody / On A Mazza
The UK Afrobeats is the only place to look if your missing the MC led hype of UK Funky. Peeps like Kwamz, Flava and Mista Silva have come good taking what they learnt from funky and applying it to West African beats, and they’re just the tip of a scene that’s spreading ‘cross the UK. I’m hearing sick tracks daily – last week I was posting Loco and Eazzys banger ‘Kilofe’ and this week I wanna shout out Mad J, who’s got a couple of cuts on his soundcloud that deserve more attention – ‘Watch Nobody’ and ‘On A Mezza’. Both have the drum patterns and tempo of classic funky, combined with the thicker synth washes of afrobeats. I know there was a video of Mazza made because I’ve seen clips from it (such as in this trailer for Ibiza Loves Afrobeats), but for some reason it’s been to set to private online. Why is this? Man needs more exposure, and the video was made to promote the song, so why make it unavailable? Smh..
Wolftyla x Chris Jay - #ButtNakedNasty
An example of the beauty of minimalism. #ButtNakedNasty is more Vine dance shit, so it comes in the 6 second loops a Vine video takes, it’s totally repetitive, and it solely exists to make asses shake. There’s a whole subgenre of Vine ready music washing through Soundcloud at the moment (I mentioned it’s relation to Jersey Club back here) and yet, I still don’t think anyone has written about it – it’s one of those shifts in music where an external technology changes the shape sound – the closest comparison I can think of is the way rap tracks and mixtapes got superlong cos they weren’t restrained by the length of a CD. Anyway #ButtNakedNasty is what it is. With a name like that, no one was expecting Coldplay, and I for one am buying. Production comes from Atlanta based Trap God CasaDi, check his soundcloud for a bunch more killers.
Mase – Nothing
Yeah! Mase is making another comeback… That’s the same Mase you think it is btw, ie Bad, bad, bad boy Mase, he of the lispy flow and the Harlem world. For the record, Mase had a stab at the comeback trail some 10 years ago, back when I was working at an RnB record shop in Lewisham. I can tell you first hand, it was flipping tragic: literally no one cared. This time round he’s older (how old is he? 45?) and apparently wiser, because he’s chosen to base ‘Nothing’ on a verging-on-shameless knock off of Chris Brown’s massive ‘Loyal’ beat. But you know what? It’s nice. Plus, if LL Cool J can get away with making the astoundingly bad records he’s churning out these days then surely we can spare a chair for brother Mase..
Popcaan – Love Yuh Bad (Dre Skull Produced)
Dre Skull has gone from being an electro producer with bashment leanings, to being a straight up dancehall don. His latest, voiced by Popcaan, seals the deal. Following the classic sound design rule of ‘you get out what you put in’, ‘Love Yuh Bad’ is made from simple, high quality elements, resulting in a simple, high quality track. The snares are dry and crisp, the melodies inhabit separate enchanted spaces, and the bass comes in globes of fat perfection. It’s a shame Kartel’s on lockdown, he was made to ride this riddim. Gonna have to get used to that feeling over the next 20 years I guess.