Friday, 19 August 2016

Slammin' Rap

This is a blast from the past. Before Youtube us Brit kids had to rely on cable or satellite tv to see the latest hip hop videos from the US. Failing that there was a great but rather short-lived series of video cassettes that were released at the beginning of the 90-decker. I remember buying my first one from Tower Records in Piccadilly Circus. Luckily my local HMV began stocking them soon.
Slammin' Rap was a godsend to a lot of us and gave a great insight into a lot of what was going on - even though the freshness of this video series was long gone as they came out a lot later than the singles themselves.
A truly odd choice though to have Bill & Ted star, Alex Winter host the first one.

Slammin' Rap Video Magazine vol. 1 (1990)
Hosted by Alex Winter
Video Magazine Featuring Exclusive Interviews & Performances From The Following Artists: Big Daddy Kane / Ice-T & The Rhyme Syndicate / MC Hammer / Tone Loc / 3rd Bass / Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock / Special Ed & DJ Action / Queen Latifah /Chuck D / KRS-One / Lakim Shabazz / Salt 'N' Pepa / Kid 'N' Play / Roxanne Shanté / Chuck Chillout & Kool Chip / Chris Rock / L'Trimm / Harry Allen.

Slammin' Rap Video Magazine vol. 2 (1991)
Video Magazine Featuring Exclusive Interviews & Performances From The Following Artists:
George Clinton / Def Jef / Tony! Toni! Toné! / Ice Cube / C.P.O. / Monie Love / Eazy-E / Father MC / Tairrie B. / Skatemaster Tate / Smooth Ice / '06 Style, The / A Tribe Called Quest / Daddy Freddy / Hi-Five / Three Times Dope / Laquan / Boogie Down Productions.

Slammin' Rap Video Magazine vol. 3 (1991)
Video Magazine Featuring Exclusive Interviews & Performances From The Following Artists:
L.L. Cool J/ Big Daddy Kane/ D-Nice/ Too Short/DJ Quick/Stereo MC's /Eric B & Rakim/Urban Dance Squad/Schoolly D.

Record Reviews: Dr Dre & Public Enemy

Before you start scratching your heads, I found this unfinished post in my Blog Drafts list today. I started to write it a year ago before I went away on holiday then promptly forgot all about it. I think that says more about the records than I ever could.

It's 2015 and there is new product from two of the heaviest hitters in the hip hop industry.
These long-awaited long-players each from the East and West coasts of the US made me feel unusually excitable and just like the reason for why I have an abnormal fondness for electric fences, I really cannot put my finger on it.

I gave both Compton (A Soundtrack) and Man Plans God Laughs a listen today in full.
Dre's Compton especially has had more than it's fair share of critical attacks and that was before the album had even been released.
It is important to know that this album is definitely not in the vein of his 1992 debut The Chronic. It is not on the same scale either lyrically nor musically.
Although The Chronic was not exactly Shakespeare there were still great hooks and memorable verses throughout. Compton relies heavily on sung verses. Whilst this is not shocking as this particular trope has become more favourable within rap of late - perhaps a way of getting more radio airplay with a nod to RnB?

And that is as far as I got. PE's album was marginally better from what I can remember but not much. Compton was horrendously bad with some truly awful songs in there.
A shame really but what can you do? Keep creating the same sort of music from 20 years ago or push forward and go with the trends?

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Record Review - Paradox - Wax Breaks

I was recently contacted by a musician called Paradox who predominantly makes drum 'n' bass with a heavy propensity for raw funk breaks. He's been flying low under the ABU radar and upon hearing his stuff immediately put a big smile on my face. I think you will all like this.
He has a new album available designed primarily for producers called Wax Breaks - it is pressed on vinyl and contains 16 looped, redesigned beats - which instantly made me recall Simon Harris' legendary Beats, Breaks & Scratches series.
The emphasis here is on funk with the majority of the breaks being mid-tempo instrumentals rather than just fast, ear-bleeding DnB beats (as my blurb above may have led you to believe). The few that are more uptempo just show you how funky drum 'n' bass can be when left in the hands of the right producer.
When listening you can really hear how crisp each snare hit sounds or just how well put-together each loop is. One in particular I liken to an early 45 King production which could easily have Lakim Shabazz rhyming - although it really isn't hard to imagine an MC riding over the top of any one of these.
These would sound great as beds for radio producers as there is no instrument clash - just straight beats.

Available on fat, 180-gram, heavyweight vinyl this is surely a welcome addition to record-collectors with a tendency to produce beats as well as those who just like proper hardcore instrumentals.

Have a listen below to the brief samplers of the tracks so can hear for yourself.
Real hip hop exists out there. You've just got to search a little harder through the dirt to get to the diamonds.

Side X:

Side Y:


Thursday, 28 July 2016

ABU Podcast July 2016 Show #61

We're doing just what Professor Griff did to his bandmate in 1989 and kicking the flavo(u)r.
Tune in to tonight from 9pm - 10pm to hear some rather fine tunes

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

The Saucy Summer Mixup - DOWNLOAD

 If you didn't hear the collaboration between ABU, Disco Scratch and Digging 4 Victory on our very own Saucy Summer Mixup Podcast then go to the stream to listen to the whole show here.

Three different takes on a British summer of 40 minutes each. If you listen to it now then you may feel the full benefit as this 'heatwave' won't last forever.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

A Little Vinyl Music Mix

I did an impromptu vinyl set on Saturday evening.
Just fired up the Mixlr application and went on live to the world.
Ain't technology grand?

If you're interested you can listen to it here.
Fill ya boots, boys and girls.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Tonite - The Saucy Summer Mixup!

Remember those Summer Specials from Whizzer & Chips or Beano or Buster that you used to buy from the Newsagents in the school holidays and were full of your favourite comic characters when you were about 12 or 13? Well this is the musical equivalent of that.
Combining the talents of Digging 4 Victory, Disco Scratch and Ageing B-Boys Unite! in one bumper two-hour show comes the SAUCY SUMMER MIXUP
Tonight it's a super-special of non-stop hot hits to ease you through the British heatwave with some great tunes from the Disco Scratch stable.

Join in from 9pm tonight (Thursday 30th June) for a night of blistering beats and sweaty sounds. Rain will not stop play!

There are various ways to listen in. Make sure you have the right player for your PC/Tablet/Phone first.

Join the chat here:

Sunday, 12 June 2016

ABU Mix on Guided Minds Show - Tomorrow

I was fortunate enough to be asked by Guided Minds Hip Hop Show's head honcho, Steve B if I would like to produce a mix for one of his radio shows.
So I did.

It's a Style Wars-themed medley of tunes and memories from the classic doc and you can hear it exclusively tomorrow night (Monday 13th June) between 8pm and 10pm on

See you there!

Rockmaster Reepz, The Right Royal Ruffian 

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Hip Hop Artifacts - TROY Blog

Some nice photos courtesy of Philflava's T.R.O.Y. blog.

Bam - And Ya Say, Goddamn!

I've kept a long silence on this particular subject (much like the higher tiers of the UZN) for fear of personal reprisals (again) and also because I wanted to see if anyone came forward to corroborate these claims.
However as this event is continually snowballing into a whole shitstorm then I feel it is the right time to speak my piece.

For anyone who has not been following this groundbreaking news let me explain.

On March 29th 2016 a video (in two parts) was uploaded to Youtube by The Star Chamber which contained an interview between Troi Torain aka STAR ("the most objective voice in media today") and the 50-year old former NYS Democratic Committeeman and also ex-Universal Zulu Nation member, Ronald Savage.
This video contained detailed stories of acts of sexual abuse between Ronald himself and UZN founder, Afrika Bambaataa back when he was one of his "crate boys" at only 14 years old in the early 1980s.
From this one video other people have come forward to give their own video confessions of abuse by Bambaataa:

#1 Shavonne (not real name) (video)
#2 Hassan Campbell, 39 (video)
#3 Poppy, 39 (video)
#4 Troy, 51 (video)
#5 Unidentified Hispanic Guy, 50 (video)

Bribes were allegedly offered to some of these victims by members of the UZN in return for their silence.
Bam's former bodyguard, Shamsideen Shariyf Ali Bey has supported the claims and has said that the abuse of young children may run "into the hundreds".
Initially the UZN dismissed all claims as "rumors, slander and outright lies". Lately the Zulu Nation have since distanced themselves and removed Bambaataa as leader in a "significant" restructuring of the organisation.
Sadly it seems due to a law called the "statute of limitations" which exists in New York, it means that time has run out on any legal proceedings which may have taken place.
It is important to note that so far all of these incidents are all alleged to have happened and no official court orders have been filed. In short, it's one word against another.

Interestingly, Star talked to someone from the UK who was involved in an incident ("Man Claims Afrika Bambaataa Bit His Penis!"). However as the alleged events took place outside of Britain and the 'abused' was over the age of consent in New York state then I doubt these particular claims can come to anything.

Now. A couple of years ago the ABU Facebook Group (version 1.1) came to a crashing halt after some members of the UK UZN accused ABU's members of dissing their founder, Afrika Bambaataa.
The comments were not remarkably out of the ordinary for the ABU group. Humourous, near-the-knuckle banter that was prompted from a particular post remarking on Bam's sexuality in an extremely juvenile and British schoolboy fashion. Funny? Yes. Wrong? Possibly. But nothing that would be taken to these extreme reprisals if it were a discussion held down the pub.
"History has shown that high powered organizations will use any means necessary to cover-up for the bad behavior of its leaders, and in some cases, their creation may be based on this kind of behavior in the first place"
(Source quote here)
What people were speaking of was based on years of rumours and hearsay that could easily be found via Google. An open secret, if you will. Yet the zealousness of the UK chapter came down on ABU and demanded that we cease, desist and apologise.
After personal attacks to myself and two close friends of mine I decided that enough was enough and sadly closed down the group based on the actions of these purveyors of peace, love and unity.
Fast forward to June 2016 and the UK UZN are suspiciously quiet (save for a brief statement). The previous amount of venom and anger are noticeably absent considering the same comments and accusations (even moreso) are being bandied about in public forums.
Some good friends and I went through a truly shit time and it would be nice if at least just one person who publicly commented against us back then were to hold up their hands and make amends.

All I can say is, watch this space.

Your Friendly Neighbourhood Ageing B-Boy, Reepz.

Further links:

The Hip-Hop Vatican: Afrika Bambaataa & Betrayal Pt. 1

aka Iriscience
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