Get Your Boom Baps Out! Full English Hip-Hop 11.07

Matthew Bayfield reports from the trenches of full english hip hop...

Posted on Jul 11th, 2011 in Features and Interviews, Lewis Parker / By Matthew Bayfield
Lewis Parker I think someone might be tapping my phone... You may dismiss it as a rampant paranoia, or as a man who shouldn't have spent an entire summer a few years back watching the entire Shield collection, but seriously, when I pick up my phone sometimes I hear people the other end. People talking about things to do with me. People speaking about my laundry. My extensive overdraft. What I'm having for dinner. It scares me. I come home from work and my overpriced trainers have been moved. Someone's had my records out. Someone has been going through my mail... The panic subsides when I realise I still live at home with my mum & dad, and that strange faraway voice is just my Aunt Moira after two glasses of white on a crapped out house phone... Perhaps I shouldn't have attacked the sweaty man in the ice cream van. Maybe he was just trying to earn a living. Maybe he was only sweating due to the abnormally muggy Yarmouth air. Damn you Vic Mackey. You made me a monster...

Anyway, whilst I try and work out an appropriate way to stop Barry The Ice Cream Man pressing charges let us speak on another cream. The cream of UK hip-hop. It's lower in fat, doesn't require a hectare of cows 'n' cud to create and if you are lactose intolerant you are less likely to shit yourself. First up is the new album ‘Harvey's Bristol Cream’ (straight in with the link there!) by the humbly monikered Mr Fantastic, released through Ruztik/AE Productions. A man who has been making beats since the days before beats came built, the album is almost as excessively catchy as that last turn of phrase was nonsensical. Fantastic is a high calibre beat maker of the most traditional vein, and these beats do nothing to detract from that. From the laidback bass groove of the Truck vocal assisted 'Get Wid It' to the jumpy soul tinged organ keys of the 'Aquafunds' the tunes on offer constantly evoke the vibe of the classic New York sound, which stands in wonderful contrast to the carefully pick clutch of UK emcees rhyming on them including the aforementioned Truck, a particularly rubber flowed Retna and the vocally eccentric Sir Beanz.

Veteran producer Lewis Parker returns our shores as well this week with the new EP ‘Dangerous Adventures’ on the World Of Dusty Vinyl/King Underground imprint. Raised on a rich diet of tea and cynicism in Britain, Parker now works out of New York, in some dump called America. I fell foul of this city a few years back and was both dismayed and distressed to learn this "New" York didn't even have a Yorvic Centre to detail the city's fine history of Viking pillage, let alone a Cornwall Pasty shop, so I promptly went home. To the "old" York. Which had both... Parker seems to have had much more fortuitous interaction with the "Big Apple", having produced for the likes of Wu Tang veteran Ghostface Killah amongst many noted others, and the hip-hop pedigree of lyricists on this piece are no different. Verses come from the likes of Vast Aire (of Cannibal Ox fame) Killa Sha and Planet Asia, all of whom bring their textbook quality to this piece and serve as a pertinent reminded that the US didn't quite die a horribly low IQ death when people like Soulja Boy actually started being called "artists".

Another man seemingly embalmed with the NY sound since birth is Styly Cee, who, alongside longtime collaborator Cappo, have followed up 2008's ‘H-Bomb’ EP with the appropriately titled ‘Fallout LP’ for UK mainstays Son Records. The duo; with Cee on production and Cappo on particularly vicious vocal duties do indeed make like their record titles suggest, and bring a level of swagger and all round destruction not seen in a duo since Richard Burton & Elizabeth Taylor put down the bottle and ramped up the sexual tension. In the true old school tradition of early New York hip-hop expect massive pounding, tightly clipped drums a veritable bevvy of sharp horn flairs and the sort of slinky bass that makes you want to creep around a Bed-Stuy project at 3am wearing flared chords with a static crackling walkie-talkie. It is, however, recommended you don't do this as you will clearly get shot. Stay in, pretend you are doing those things with this as the soundtrack, and spend the flight money you saved on a plastic machine gun and a couple of Mercedes Benz tags strung on a bathplug chain. Rick Ross did it and look how well he's doing. He's doing it like a boss. Apparently.

Anyway, that rounds up this weeks inadvertently Yonkers vibed hip-hop. Depending on how shit goes down with Barry I may have to continue this column from behind bars, and sadly not the sort of bars where you can drink double Jim Beam 'til your eyes bleed and shout lines from Becket in a fruitless bid to ignite a roaring passion in a middle aged business woman you'll never fancy as much as dear Ms Taylor. Alas!