Archive for October, 2005

Return of The Blogger


Alcoholic Author
City Of Industry
Staircase to Stage (feat. J-Zone)
from Return Of The Drifter (2002, Low Life Records)

You can’t discuss UK hiphop without mentioning one of its longest serving servants; Jehst. Starting his artistic endeavour as an artist he has since risen to small time, cult status, amongst the loyal basis of underground hiphop fans worldwide. Everybody with an ear for good hiphop can appreciate the lyrical genius and rugged smoothness of his flow. The Northern Rapper now produces as well as rapping.

Back in the day he hooked up with fellow UK hiphopper Evil Ed and assisted in theforming of the YNR crew, and it was his ‘Premonitions’ EP that popped the labels output cherry. He’s hosted a few well known UK names on his albums and infamous ‘ignant rapper; J-Zone on the impressive 12″ ‘Staircase To Stage’. He’s held it down on others records too with names like Task Force & Braintax. In 2001 he dropped the EP ‘High Plains Drifter’ on mainstay UK label Low Life. In may of that same year a tasty promo was released in an attempt to whip up a frenzy around Jehst. This promo was a remix EP of the ‘High Plains Drifter’ posse cut ‘The Trilogy’, and Kyza & Chester P feature, it’s a troublesome mix, and obtaining it is just as hard. Then in 2002 he thankfully dropped the main drive of this post (otherwise we’d have no direction here!) – Return Of The Drifter was the 12″ and the content was a recollection of his previous Low Life work and featuring the earth-stopping-blood-clotting amazingly firesome ‘Alcoholic Author’ with Harry Love on the beats!!!

I’m at a loss of what to enjoy more, the beat or the lyrics, the perfect mix.. One of my favourite ever UK hiphop songs! It also contains the exclusive track ‘People Under The Weather’ featuring Asaviour, which also featured on the Bangers And Mash mix I recently posted about. With incredible tracks like ‘1979’ and ‘The Return Of The Drifter’ this is a stellar album. And nobody has any excuse not to check it.. City Of Industry is also raw! 9 of this 11 track EP are self produced and that merits respect in my book!! Enjoy.

-Matt B (Live from London)

Music For The Broke B-Boy!!

DJ Format

English Lesson (Remix)
Ill Culinary Behavior
Little Bit Of Soul
We Know Something
from Music For The Mature B-Boy (2003, Genuine UK)

Beyond my extended ramblings about UK hiphop, Commonwealth hiphop is in very fine shape. And one release that displays this perfectly is DJ Format’s – “If You Can’t Join ‘Em Beat ‘Em”… But this blend isn’t something brand new. In 2003 DJ Format dropped his long awaited demo long player. “Music For The Mature B-Boy” is the primary offering by the Brighton based DJ. The first track is “Ill Culinary Behaviour” featuring Canadian MC Abdominal, a duo frequently paired with one another.. Abdominal raps over old school Grange Hill sounding keys, dropping one culinary reference after another.

Second track is “We Know Something” featuring Akil & Chali 2na from Jurassic 5 on this sample free gem, undoubtedly fresh.. Then onto “Last Bongo in Brighton (Remix)” which is, in principle, a banger… but the first 20-30 seconds are real dope and then the beat sort of doesn’t go anywhere, and I begin to lose interest… “Hit Song” has another guest spot for Abdominal, and everything is present and correct. The hook on this is pretty good as well, just lucid/un-offensive, smooth sounding hiphop. “Here Comes The Fuzz” is the only glaringly obvious skipper on the whole track. It’s the bare bones of a hiphop instrumental, with a frustratingly distorted Electric guitar sounding bassline…

Skipping along a few tracks, and we arrive at the GEM which is “Little Bit Of Soul”, bathed in grimey sounding strings which are present at certain intervals throughout the whole track The basic guitar and drum sounds are separated by a very scratchy soul orientated sample. Gradually it tapers off towards obscurity with the repetitive whispering of “Little bit of soul”.. But for just under 2 minutes… it’s perfection. My second favourite point of the album comes at the end in a track called “English Lesson (Remix)”… It’s a crazy sounding instrumental, merging English comedy from the 70s with flutes and the re-appearance of the bongo!And you can’t say fairer than that!


-Matt B

Experimenting With Roots

Roots Manuva

Witness (1 Hope)
Ital Visions
Dreamy Days

from Run Come Save Me (2001, Big Dada Recordings)

When I’ve introduced Americans to UK hiphop I usually send them Roots Manuva or Jehst tracks to begin with. Both are very able lyricists, because when people can look passed accent they can hear that Roots Manuva has a very smooth voice and flow and an untapped flow.

It was 1999 when Roots dropped his debut effort “Brand New Second Hand” which had some very patchy production, some hype and some unlistenable. It’s impossible to categorise Roots Manuva, he frequently crossfades the fine lines of reggae, dub and rap, for example on his track “Dub Styles” from “Run Come Save Me”, he merges styles. Undeniable ability as a rapper, and even on his confusing debut, he wrecked tracks like “Fever”, which is over a jazzy funk sounding beat.

Production wise “Run Come Save Me” is more grounded, if I can describe the occasional wishy-washy synth loop as ‘grounded’. But think for yourself, and think on “Witness(1 Hope)” which is the first of the 3 track standard. With a bassline like a bee-hive and with words like “Let the whole world know, we on some off-key tip”, this track is crazy. Next up is “Ital Visions”, which contains murky sounding keys, and another synthy bassline coated by an operatic loop. There’s a pattern for the beats throughout the album, they are dope, with un-expected components. Another thing which applies throughout the album is the use of hooks. All very catchy, and none more so than “Dreamy Days” – “Dreamy days -La,La,La- Come what may -La,La,La..(etc)”..

Thankfully you can listen for yourself… No rapper is too good for the famous serenade to the un-named female and “Dreamy Days” is Roots Manuva’s attempt. This is the most NORMAL beat of the entire album. Dope strings – probably synthesized.. You can’t doubt his experimentive use of various sounds, if more people tried to stretch the boundaries of sound hiphop would be different from how it is now, and that’s a worldwide issue beyond the UK!!

-Matt B

Notes From A British Kitchen…

Bangers ‘N’ Mash

LG & Lopez feat. Yungunn-City Breaks
Blak Twang-Real Estate
Evil Ed and Taskforce-The Tournament
from Bangers ‘N’ Mash – A UK Hip Hop Retrospective (2003, Woodwurk UK)

British Hiphop has always struggled to make a splash across the atlantic, and nor has british cuisine. So I’ve decided to show-case a beautiful combination of all things british!! First off, “Bangers & Mash” is a meal, Bangers (Sausages) are delicately positioned in a pile of mash (mashed potato), usually coated in onion gravy, but this is optional… It was a dish “served as a delicacy at the coronation of James II (1685-1688).”

“Bangers & Mash” is also the title of the most complete UK hiphop mixtape in recent history. It displays rapping from all over the UK.. Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and London. It’s a retrospective of UK hiphop from the old school to right now. There’s firesome tracks from all the major UK hiphop names, (Major in a minor way). Jehst, Asavior, Kashmere, Verb T, Blak Twang, Skitz, The Herbaliser & Blade all feature.

There’s a clear theme, it’s a collective of real UK hip-hoppers, not trying to aspire to US stardom, when you listen, it hits a chord with UK residents. It’s like a group of private jokes wrapped in beats fresher than the average. I know some can’t stand the way people who aren’t American rap, but to me, it sounds right…

The first song I’m putting up is called ‘City Breaks’ by LG & Lopez and featuring Yungunn a.k.a Essa. Yungunn some of you may know from his B-Side with producer Beyond There, where he performs a track with fellow UK rapper Jehst, the track is called “Slumber”. Yungunn is the main rhymer… And he holds it down whilst including very british references to The Lake District and The Tube.. What you know about that there?

The second song is “Real Estate” by Blak Twang. The sound quality isn’t so good, but the rapping is dope. The rhyme works with the beat, and the british references continue. Blak Twang has since dropped a series of un-impressive songs.. but I actually like this. Third and finally, is “The Tournament” by Evil Ed featuring Taskforce. Taskforce are one of the better known UK crews, cockney rhymers! I’m planning on dedicating a few of my next posts just to UK hip-hop so you can all get an education of sorts.

I hope you enjoy the musical offerings, I haven’t even began to cover the spectrum of UK hiphop, but a retrospective mixtape isn’t a bad place to begin. Peace!

-Matt B

Bay Area Hip Hop Bloggers In SF Weekly

I am so excited about this. Tamara Palmer from SF Weekly wrote an article last week on HipHop blogs. At first I didnt pay it any mind, thinking the usual top blogs would make the cut but they were focusing on hiphop blogs originating from the Bay Area and to my pleasant surprise, The Broke BBoys was the second one in the article.

“The Broke BBoys”
This international crew of bloggers hails from Gainesville, Fla., London, and the internationally recognized hip hop center of … San Mateo? No matter, for the Broke BBoys have plenty of informational articles (loaded with audio clips) on artists around the country. Peninsula, represent!

Im at a loss for words. I’d like to thank Tamara Palmer and the good folks at SF Weekly for the plug… It feels great that our small blog is getting recognition like that. Big shoutout to all the blogs who made it on the article. Read the article here.


Babalu Bad Boy from Cypress Ave.

Mellow Man Ace

from Escape From Havana (1989, Capitol)

Babalu Bad Boy
Hypest from Cypress
from The Brother With Two Tongues (1992, Capitol)

Welcome To My Groove (Latin Hip House Mix
from Mentirosa 12″ (1989, Capitol)

As we continue on with the hiphop six degrees of separation. This time we look into the phenom known as Mellow Man Ace. His brother is none other than Sen Dog from Cypress Hill. Mellow Man Ace first got into hiphop back in 1983 while they were BBoying out on Cypress Ave. of South Gate, Ca. They began writing rhymes and slowly began to build on their craft. Around 1986, Mellow and Sen met up with B-Real and DJ Muggs and formed the group DVX DVX (Devastating Vocal Xcellence). After several years, Mellow Man Ace got signed to a solo deal on Capitol Records. The remaining members, B-Real, Sen Dog and DJ Muggs formed Cypress Hill… The rest is history.

We set it off with Mellow Man Ace’s first single, “Mentirosa” (which translated means LIAR) from the Escape from Havana album. He might not have been the first to use the “Spanglish” style of rhyming, trading rhymes off in his native Spanish and English back to back, but was the first to be recognized with doing so, as Mentirosa hit #1 on the charts and was the first Latin rap artist to reach Gold and Platinum sales in the US and Latin America. Mentirosa’s production was handled by long time homie Tony G with Julio G on the cuts, cutting up Santana’s “No One To Depend On”… A lot of people confuse the sample as being Santana’s “Evil Ways” but you go ahead and do the comparison. The song is about women who use men for $$$ and lie to get everything and he breaks it down really cleverly.

We move on to his second album, The Brother with Two Tounges. Mellow Man Ace had matured both lyrically and sonically, bringin’ more experimentation to the table. “Hypest from Cypress” featured Mellow Man Ace, Sen Dog, Krazy D and Chief T (Tomahawk Funk from Funkdoobiest). This is a dope track with its sample driven funkiness, tight lyrics and dope adlibbed freestyle session around the 4 minute mark before the track continues to an end. “Babalu Bad Boy” is one of my favorite Mellow Man Ace joints. You got Sen Dog playin’ the hype man as Mellow rips the track in true Spanglish fashion. DJ Muggs is on the board flipping Herbie Hancock’s Fat Mama over some thumpin’ drums, cuts/scratches and congo fills on the drops. Funkiness x 100!

I leave you with one more track from the “Mentirosa” 12-Inch. “Welcome To My Groove”. This version is the Latin Hip House Mix, produced by no other than Steve “Silk” Hurley. This one goes out to the old skool clubbers and house heads who were out partying when I was only 10, staying home listening to Wild 107 and KMEL Saturday Night Street party. Hip House is one of them forgotten things in hiphop. Let’s not forget all the people who were rocking beats faster than 115bpms around that time (Rakim, Kool G Rap, Sway & Tech, Queen Latifah, Jungle Brothers, De La Soul…) Mellow rhymes at a faster pace about having fun and partying with lush vocals from Jeanette on the hook. The beat is driven by the rhythm of MFSB’s K-Jee (as heard on Saturday Night Fever) and familiar Miami style breakbeats and sprinklings of Afrika Bambatta. There ya have it. Alot of different flavas that all had their humble beginnings on Cypress Ave.


The Hypest from Cypress

Cypress Hill

Boom Biddy Bye Bye (Remix) feat. The Fugees
from Boom Biddy Bye Bye 12″ (1995, Columbia)

Latin Lingo (Prince Paul Remix)
Stoned Is The Way Of The Walk (Remix) feat. Funkdoobiest
from Latin Lingo 12″ (1992, Columbia)

Roll It Up, Light It Up, Smoke It Up
from Friday – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1995, Priority)

Im sort of playing a game of hiphop six degrees of separation. In this case, The Fugees and Cypress Hill were 2 of my favorite groups during that time era, were labelmates at Columbia and did a remix of “Boom Biddy Bye Bye” that dropped around 1995. Setting it off with “You Say Guns, I Say Pistola..”, Cypress Hill and The Fugees take you on a dark lyrical adventure over an eerie string and boom bap arrangement. It has that “Godfather” type feel on the sound.

We rewind to one of their first singles, Latin Lingo. The original straight up kicks ass but on the vinyl, The label gives you a Prince Paul remix which absolutely slams on another level. I first heard this remix on one of O-Dub’s mixes from way back… I think it was the cassette version of “Incognitos”. In true bboy fashion, Paul sets it off with his own ID then unleashes some funky guitar licks then the beat drops. The beat just bangs all the way thru. Paul adds subtle samplings over the track that set it off even more. I think I heard a lil bit of Malcolm McClaren and a bit of Mozart when Cypress drops into the 3rd verse. “The gringos are tryna get paid, off the funky bilingual”… I always thought that was dope when this dropped. A lot of people weren’t up on the Spanglish until groups like Cypress Hill, Kid Frost and Mellow Man Ace started dropping tracks. We spoke like that where I grew up and a lot of people at first didn’t get but caught on real fast.

As if that remix wasn’t enough, You also get a remix of Stoned Is The Way of The Walk which features Funkdoobiest lead rhymer Son Doobie. The track begins with a cut&paste/pause-tape style intro… “I pledge Allegiance to the Bags of Marijuana, Made in Mexico” then snippets from Ashley Roachclip/Cheech & Chong. The beat kicks in with funky horns, vocal sample and laidback drums. It would fit perfect for a cheesy porno or something but it works great on this mix. Definitely fits the category of what Cypress Hill sounded like when you were all blunted off that bubonic chronic. B-Real and Son Doobie destroy the track with simple yet effective lyrics. Back in 1992, You can get away with pretty much anything and It sounded dope, unlike today.

Your bonus track from Cypress Hill is their joint off the Friday Movie Soundtrack, “Roll It Up, Light It Up, Smoke It Up” which you may remember was played when Craig was taking his first tokes of weed on that infamous FRIDAY. Funny shit! Enjoy the tracks… My next post will be yet another group linked to Cypress Hill in some form or way.