Month: June 2017

Jay-Z – 4:44 Review

I don’t get asked to write about Jay-Z much – what with me not owning a single record of his. I realise he’s extremely talented but for me it has always been a voice thing. I love some rappers with thin careers but amazing voices, while Jay’s just rubs me the wrong way. I like the odd track, but not enough to spend actual money.

Two other things to take into consideration. 1) I’m all for a good boast, of course, it’s the core of rap, but Jay’s habit of explaining his boasts and patting himself on the back with a little chuckle at his own cleverness is a bit self-congratulatory. 2) ‘Ain’t No Nigga’ is my least favorite song by any artist in the last 25 years.

Anyway, shout out to the kind folk at The Guardian for asking me to do this – I have once again broken my own rule of not responding to below-the-line comments in all of two minutes.

Posted by drewhuge in General

PA Posse X New Flesh 4 Old – Three Nipples of Scaramanga

Three nipples of Scaramanga demo tape

There’s a fair amount of humilation involved in writing a memoir. Well, there is if you’re being honest with yourself. At the top end of the market, actual celebs with their ghost-written books tend to be on an upward curve constantly. There’ll be a brief moment of trauma, which leads to learning and hugs all round, before they continue on to the day their wedding was in Hello. At the non-famous end of the market, it’s important to be a bit more realistic. Often, one day of being wack is followed by another. And then by 363 more.

Writing a memoir about my failed rap career (sorry for the spoiler, but I assume you already know this. There’s a reason I’m not on the new DJ Khaled album) involved trawling through lyric sheets I wrote in the 80’s and listening to finished demos, beat tapes from my DJ’s, rehearsals, radio freestyles and more. There’s the ache of nostalgia, the fun times. There are also moments of downright shame and ‘what the hell were we thinking?’ You need to be reasonably ontologically secure before you start revisiting your failure.

So, anyway, I’m going to share some music with you from time to time. Don’t expect anything as good as that Money Boss Players unreleased stuff from the other day, or that Lazy Laz demo I’ll be dropping soon. We’re a group that didn’t make it that far, but this book is written in the spirit of full disclosure.

This is one of the last things we ever did. The full story is in Wiggaz With Attitude, but in brief: We went to a studio in York with the-then New Flesh 4 Old line-up, minus Toastie Taylor who couldn’t make it. We were supposed to make some jingles for a radio show I think, but we didn’t bother. In the end we all wrote some lyrics in the studio, put this track together, recorded it in one day (you can tell) and that was it.

 

However, at the time Hip-Hop Connection had their Demoblaster column still going, so I thought it would be fun to submit it anonymously – as the ‘Bloody Beat Haemophiliacs’. Don’t ask. The results are below. The track is produced by DJ Greenpeace, features first Bang Out of Order (here as The Bearded Nurse), yours truly (appearing as Squinty Nadzack the Children’s Friend – seriously, don’t ask) and finally Part 2 (as Percy Topless). It’s silly and throwaway, but it was fun. I don’t think anyone has heard it, and I’m not sure Part 2 even has a copy. If not, here you go Keith.

Review of three nipples of scaramanga from hip-hop connection

Posted by drewhuge in Audio, Wiggaz: The Book

Roxanne Shante – Queen of Rox video

“I had to watch my language ‘cos I got so many beeps.”

I must watch the ‘Roxanne’s Revenge’ video on YouTube at least once a year. It’s one of my favourite records and, obviously, it has Roxanne Shante and Marley Marl in it, so why wouldn’t you?

But I’ve never seen this video for ‘Queen of Rox’ before in 33 years of fan-dom. It’s been up on YouTube for a year, but the guy has embedding disabled, so I copped this from another warmer-hearted dude. Cameos from Marley (proving once again he was no loss to thespianism – at one point he gets out-acted by a broom), Mr Magic, UTFO (not really), Lawrence Goodman (I think, either way, give me that damn Pop Art T-shirt). Someone hurry up and invent a damn time machine, already.

Posted by drewhuge in Rare Rap Videos

New in the Wiggaz shop: Fat Lace Back Issues

Fat Lace Issue 2 coverFat Lace Issue 4 coverFat Lace Issue 5 cover

You want Issue 1 or 3? You came to the wrong place. They’re all ‘sold’ out like Peter and Corey. You don’t want issue 2, 4 or 5? You also came to the wrong place, as this is an advert for them. You want issue 6? It doesn’t exist, dummy. Anyhoo, you can pick these up at the shop. Holla with any Q’s.

Shout out to Rob Pursey, DJ Yoda, Barrie Bee, Mike Hard and Dan Large for doing the damn thing. And me.

Posted by drewhuge in Fat Lace Classics, Hip-Hop Memorabilia

The best of Prodigy by Dan Greenpeace

Infamous Mobb Deep press photo

We’re still celebrating the life of Prodigy over here at Wiggaz. If you missed it, peep my piece written after a sleepless night here.

But the best way to remember P is definitely through the music. My brother from a nagging mother Dan Greenpeace has put together some gems for the peeps at boxout.fm, and you can catch it below. He’s sidestepped the super-obvious joints for some curated classics – and a couple of things you won’t hear anywhere else. A killer 2004 radio freestyle from Dan’s late All City Show on XFM, and a 2006 interview from the same show. And ‘Cop Hell’, obviously.

Posted by drewhuge in Audio, Interviews, Rest In Peace

The Tape That Tape Made #2: Money Boss Players part 1

Money Boss Players sticker

As promised, The Tape That Tape Made will be a pretty regular thing, made somewhat easier by today’s post. The very latest in cassette technology from the Tiswas era has arrived, shunting my old deck into a retirement home.

I’m going to eke a couple of posts out of this particular tape, as it’s one of my better finds. Money Boss Players’ Ghetto Chronicle Daily is pretty much established as a minor classic EP/LP. Great Minnesota beats, a bunch of MC’s including the standout Lord Tariq, and a claustrophobic New York feel. Originals go for around £150 still, down from a peak of £300 or more. I managed to get my mitts on three sealed copies at one point, but they’ve long since found better homes. Continue reading →

Posted by drewhuge in Audio, The Tape That Tape Made

Prodigy: The Nihilist Poet

First thing this morning, I booted up Prodigy’s Return of the Mac. Released in 2007, when the line between what was an album and what was a mixtape was never more blurred, it was an instant favourite with me. I remember travelling back by train to my house after a 5-a-side game in Borough, London, with my friend Ollie, forcing him to don my headphones and check it out. I converted him.

Not many artists continue to be must-listens 14 years into their career, especially not in hip-hop. It would be easy to look at the work of Mobb Deep and discount everything after Murda Muzik, their last truly cohesive album. But then we’d be ignoring gems like ‘Get Away’, ‘The Learning (Burn)’ and the Black Cocaine EP. They were a duo who could still distil their gritty New York vision into a killer couplet, something they’d been doing before they even dropped ‘Shook Ones’. And Prodigy’s fascinating solo career should be a lesson to other older heads. Continue reading →

Posted by drewhuge in Rest In Peace

The Tape That Tape Made #1: KRS-One & Kid Capri: Stomp

A few years back, I was collaborating with my homies at Southern Hospitality – Superix and Rob Pursey – on a mixtape called Rappers Have Feelings Too (by the way, it’s great and you can check it out here). Leaving Superix’s spot, I found that their neighbour had left an unwanted tape deck outside his door in the communal hallway. It has a note on saying ‘free to a good home’. I scooped it up and took it for a ride on the tube home.

I hadn’t had a tape deck in 20 years. Not since I left behind the dark days of the teenage bedroom midi system. All of the separates systems I put together during my life in London never included one. It was a format I’d pretty much given up on, despite me carrying, from flat to flat and house to house, a box of vintage radio tapes and demos from my crew. I know for many people it had always been a favourite format. Cheaper than vinyl and CDs in the 80’s and 90’s, portable, compact, it was cherished by many loyalists. But I was a vinyl hoarder, and sometimes you have to draw a line. Continue reading →

Posted by drewhuge in Audio, The Tape That Tape Made

The RZA: Unpublished 2007 Interview

Gravediggaz press photo

A vintage interview. A ‘vinterview’, if you will. No? Yeah, me neither.

I had the fortune to interview The Wu-Tang Clan’s The RZA on a handful of occasions. Once on the phone for a very long piece about The Gravediggaz second album, once on Bobby Digital business (bong bong bong) and once about The Wu. He was always thoughtful, good value, engaged and punctual. Of course, the same can’t be said of certain journalists who decided they weren’t going to stick to their time and decided to have 2 hours instead of 45 minutes. Yes, you, Dele fucking Fadele. Don’t worry, you can soak up all of our time too so you can write up all of 400 words in NME.

On this occasion I was intervewing him for The Guardian Guide, for the release of 8 Diagrams, and you can read the published piece here. The Guardian being the The Guardian, they own the rights to those words, which is why they’re not in this piece.  However, Robert Diggs is quite the prolix fella, so here’s all the stuff that didn’t make the cut. I think the plan was to use this in Fat Lace issue 6, but that issue never happened. It was a time of turmoil in the Wu-Tang, with some public squabbling over the group’s direction. RZA was pretty diplomatic, it has to be said. And there’s a bonus Prince Rakeem video just because it’s great. Continue reading →

Posted by drewhuge in Interviews

Why self-publish?

Open book

Getting a book published isn’t easy. Especially if, like me, you last had one out 13 years ago and didn’t really capitalise on that. The vast majority of major publishers won’t let you approach them directly. You have to have an agent to even address them. Trying to get an agent with one book idea to your name isn’t easy either. Got a huge social media following? That’s a help. In fact, you can have no idea/a shit idea and not be able to write and get a sweet book deal with a big twitter/instagram/YouTube following. That’s not bitterness – I understand the publisher’s point of view here. Every book is a punt for them, and if they can tap into an existing audience, that’s as close as it gets to a guarantee. This is why Justin Quirk’s brilliant novel Suburbs remains unpublished but Zoella has a (ghostwritten) novel out. Continue reading →

Posted by drewhuge in General, Self-Publishing, Wiggaz: The Book