Without sampling any breaks or loops, Funky DL has created the perfect audio tribute to arguably the greatest group in Hip-Hop history by remaking the beautiful sounds of A Tribe Called Quest’s 1993 classic album “Midnight Marauders”. The original album is considered a staple in the linear of Hip-Hop history and is the album that lead Funky DL to pursue his own two-decade career in the world of rap music. DL’s new tribute serves as a beautifully presented homage for A Tribe Called Quest and Funky DL fans alike.
Out of the Netherlands now comes forth a new generation of Dutch Masters: The Q4 – The QuadraphoniQuartet (Arts The Beatdoctor, Sense & STW). Three individual names, with individual styles, combine forces and together reach a new plateau in sample composition.
The duo comprised Vlad Radovanov (aka V, born c. 1971) and David Legacy. V originated from Chicago where he had been a member of the hip hop group East of the Rock, and travelled to Los Angeles in 1995, determined to succeed as a rapper. He began performing regularly at the Galaxy Gallery, where he met David Legacy, a local rapper from South Central Los Angeles. United in their dislike of the predominant gangsta rap, they joined forces and began working together, influenced by the likes of Pharcyde and The Freestyle Fellowship. They recorded demos while working their day jobs as a bank teller (Legacy) and cigarette shiller (V). They were finally rewarded with a deal by Flip Records, although they moved to X-Ray Records/Cleopatra Records for their debut release, the “Lunatic Derelict” 12-inch in 1999. This was followed by their debut album 2000MG later the same year, which featured guest appearances from George Clinton, DJ Lethal, and Sen Dog and BoBo of Cypress Hill. 2000MG was reissued on CD the following year, but proved to be their final release, although three tracks from the album appeared on the 2004 compilation Cypress Thrill (2004). An extended version of their track “Monkey Mittens” with George Clinton was included on the 2004 album A Tribute to Cassidy. V made a guest appearance on Free Murda’s 2007 album RZA Presents Free Murda: Let Freedom Reign.
Radovanov later worked as an attorney and co-founded the Universal Records-distributed Cobra Music label in 2006. He has also been involved in film, acting as executive producer for Interloper Films on titles such as We Live in Public, which won the 2009 Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the Sundance Festival.
Dark Circle, the multi-national, bi-lingual hip hop pairing repping the U.K and Germany have been one of the best European acts over the last two years, combining heavy, atmospheric beats with cold and intelligent lyricism. Released on the excellent JazzFudge records, home to such artists as DJ Vadim, Kid Acne and Foreign Beggars, D.C are one of British hip hop’s shining lights, along with Task Force, Jehst and Yungun.
Hoycke, comin’ straight outta Deutscheland, mixes up his brutal German raps with refreshing English verses. He actually predominantly raps in English, tearing the mic and opponents up, as well as spitting politically and socially conscious rhymes. Anik though for me is the top dog on this record, consistently dope, his flow is fresh and he seems more comfortable at times on the mic than Hoycke. His witty and astute wordplay is a step above many of his fellow rappers, either side of the atlantic.
Dark Circle have produced a very solid record here, with some ill battle raps, death threats to George Bush and laid back introspect. My favourite track is probably That’s Cool, Hoycke and Anik exchange some excellent rhymes over a chilled out beat by Son. The production on this album is also very good, no filler material here, just a well balanced mix of dark, grimey head nodders and funky breaks. Skinnymans guest appearance is a highlight, but to be honest the whole album shines bright.
I’m not going to give it five stars because they’re handed out to easily, it doesn’t match the brilliance of Biro Funk or the freshness of Spaz The World, but this is stark, intelligent and uncompromising, all in all an excellent record.
The Youngblood Brass Band combines the inspiration they took from the traditional New Orleans brass band sound with influences from jazz music, improvised music, a decidedly punk ethos, and a strong hip hop component. More than many New Orleans groups, the Youngblood band focuses on tight ensemble playing and pushing the boundaries of brass band music beyond its traditional genre, which allows them, even when performing live, to provide solid, diverse backing for Skogen’s rapping and McIntosh’s virtuosic sousaphone work. Unable to be classified as either jazz, hip-hop, punk or any other existing genre, the band coined the term Riot Jazz. The band acknowledge the debt their music owes to the New Orleans bands, however, with performances of traditional tunes such as “Chinatown, My Chinatown”, which they included on their Unlearn album.