Rest In Peace

RIP Gary Warnett @gwarizm

I won’t pretend to have known Gary Warnett well. In fact, we never met. However, shortly before his recent premature death we’d hooked up over instagram, twitter, the way so many of us now interact with each other across the globe. And, just before he died, he was generous enough to write this post about my new book and some forthcoming projects.

My friends Kish Kash and Brad knew Gary for a long time and, like many of us, he shared certain niche passions – hip-hop, street wear, sneakers – but he was also a perceptive chronicler of these things. His blog operated at the intersection of these overlapping magisteria, and was essential reading.

There’s a poignancy to our digital footprint at times. Gary’s last tweet was to ask for any tried and tested stomach flu cramp cures. Those words now sting in the light of what happened. Again, it’s possible to feel a loss to the community even when you didn’t really know each other. I’m reminded of DJ Matthew Africa’s untimely death. Again, we’d never met, but our online interactions had always been nothing but pleasant, and friends I trust, such as Rob Pursey, had nothing but the highest regard for him. The week he died, Matthew bought a record from me, and I know that he passed away before it made its way across the Atlantic. It’s sad to think of that record arriving with no-one to open it. And it’s sad to think of sneaker and hip-hop culture continuing without Gary Warnett to write so brilliantly about it.

Posted by drewhuge in Rest In Peace

Crusaders for Real Hip-Hop – Strictly 609 rare & unreleased EP

Not everyone knows the Crusaders for Real Hip-Hop. While Tony D was an underground hero for many of us, he never broke the mainstream, and this posse album dropped with little fanfare. I remember copping it based on the cover and group name, before I even realised it was a Tony D project. It remains a pretty obscure piece, albeit with some absolute gems on it. I was wearing my OG Crusaders promo T-shirt out in Dubai last year and Stretch Armstrong, seeing the Profile Records logo on it, told me he’d never heard of them.

Now is a good time to get familiar. Our man PQuest, who did the recent OPP was Adam’s Nightmare T-shirt we repped here and has put out some great reissues from the likes of Blaque Spurm and Funk Family – you can cop what remains of the goodness here – has been working behind the scenes to source some unreleased Crusaders material, and is about to drop a two volume vinyl project, all produced by Tony D. You can pre-order the first part now, and the first 70 orders get a free postcard. Strictly limited, cop before it’s too late.

Posted by drewhuge in Audio, General, Rest In Peace

Trenton Makes, The World Takes: Tony D bonus

Shortly after posting my Tony D interview the other day, I remembered that my man PQuest had just issued a dope limited run T-shirt. It captures the time when Naughty By Nature were acccused of jacking a beat from Tony D’s 1989 instrumental compilation Music Makes You Move. They – allegedly – used it for a little known and deeply obscure song called ‘O.P.P’ which no-one ever heard anything about ever again. As Tony told me, he didn’t have much of a leg to stand on legally, considering his own laissez faire attitude towards the samples he’d used.

Anyway, PQuest is a huge Tony D fan, and these tees are not only fantastically niche in a way it’s hard not to love, they’re green (the best colour for rap tees) and, best of all, each one sold makes a contribution to Tony’s widow and two children.

Cop them here – do your bit for Tony’s family and, at the same time, commemorate a small piece of hip-hop folklore. We hope this grows into a thing – coming soon, the Fat Lace Big Daddy Kane AIDS rumour tee.

Posted by drewhuge in Hip-Hop Memorabilia, Rest In Peace

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

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

Boostin Kev – That Be Boostin’ Video & full demo

Boostin' Kev and posse

Boostin’ Kev was a quadruple threat. An MC, producer, DJ – and a threat to any self-respecting clothing shop’s racks. The shame is, hardly anybody knew it. In fact, as hip-hop life’s and deaths go, his is largely unchronicled. A handful of singles, a scattering of promise, a bedsheet hanging from a prison bar.

Kev’s discography is pretty small, but etched with more than a touch of true originality, reminiscent of the strand of rogue DNA that you find in Bizmarkie’s mush-mouthed debut. Skipping quickly past the painfully hard to find 1991 debut I’m a Booster (Parkers Records) – which is worth noting for its scarcity and for Kev’s resurrection of the Derek B/ EZQ double act of a DJ and MC in one man on Go Parker / The DJ – the record most people know Boostin’ Kev for is 1995’s That Be Boostin (Black Market).

Dropped during the indie boom, it’s an easy-to-find and easy-to-love piece of lo-fi whimsy. Kev outlines his boostin’ credentials, dropping his knowledge of emptying clothes shops and shouting out his fellow Lo-lifes. The British equivalent – a song about shoplifting biscuits from Budgens, perhaps – just wouldn’t sound the same. Continue reading →

Posted by drewhuge in Rare Rap Videos, Rest In Peace