The Roots have announced plans to open up an Okay Player record label. The first recording will be a compilation of underground artists including Skills. The label are giving the chance for two unsigned bands to get a deal, more information available at okayplayer.com
Eminem: I'm proud to point out that I haven't, don't and wont document all the Benzino and Ja Rule dissing and excited to point out that Slim Shady is returning in around September of this year. Dre's been quoted as saying that Marshall's Shady alias is set to return to piss people off, which is great news for those bored of the whiney rants of late. D12 are dropping in April so get your fingers ready to forward serve for those Em verses.
Tommy Evans drops 'The Turbulent Times Of Tommy Evans', a collection of his 12" and EP hits in February, before delivering his full solo debut album later on this year. The track listing is; Ophelia, 4 Elements, The Wasteland, Water Torture, 4 Horsemen, Not Nice, Me/You, Silent Mobius, Party Animals (Cee Why Remix), Beef With Chiefs (Evil Ed Remix), Who Am I, Insomniac, Mourning Skies.
Beastie Boys Fans at the official and newly reconstructed website have been posting up various track listings for the new Beastie Boys album which is set to drop some time in 2004. In other related news, Grand Royal has been sold through an online auction website for a pretty small sum. One of the most recent tracks available by the guys is 'In A World Gone Crazy' released for free on their website in early 2003, in protest of the war against Iraq by Western forces.
UK Hip-Hop: In The States I've been hearing and seeing articles and reports talking about Dame Dash's plans to sign some UK talent to his label. Apparently Kayne West was recently on BBC radio expressing the same interest. Then on browsing a hip-hop forum I read about two London guys, already signed to an outlet in the states. Is this good or bad? My natural instinct is to say bad, seeing as the incredible wealth of talent on these shores isn't getting near to the amount of success it deserves. Only once our finest are fully blown and lacing Top Of The Pops and Capital FM (commercial television and radio for those that don't know) should the scene see about making noise abroad. On the other hand, if a British dude is offered bucks to jump ship and be on tracks with gold toothed yanky goons, he's hardly going to think twice because it'll mean a bigger pram for his kid. It reminds me of those soul singers Floetry. They're from London but I only heard about them after they made some noise around the times of a Grammy's award show. They had moved to the US a while back for a better break and it worked. Also reminds me of the greatest female long jumper the world has seen. She was born and raised in the UK but sports funding and support was so dire that she went to Italy, where she worked towards her Olympic and World Championship golds. Now whenever she's on the screen, the commentator is saying 'It's a real shame we didn't treat her good'. Exactly what UK hip-hop heads will be saying if and when the next billboard king has a cockney accent.
Tunes To Check: 'Invasion Part 3' by Eminem from the Greenlantern mixtape has Eminem laying down what to me, is a pretty impressive flow and delivery. The lyrics are of a tired subject matter but I'll let him off for the fact that he sounds so capable of the rapping he does here. 'Stop Complaining' by Lyrics Born has a really funky and groovy track and the lyrics complement that sweetly. I won't front. I don't know anything about who this is by. 'VIP' by Jungle Brothers is a delve into the crates for a blazing piece of house. "The beats, the rhymes. They all in place". 'Monotony' from Jehst is his second single from 'Falling Down'. Be sure to check the split screen video, available at ukhh.com. 'This Way' by Dilated Peoples featuring Kayne West has fantastic optimistic backing vocals and a really cool wind instrument thing going on.
Gigs In The UK: Peace Not War Hip-Hop Night (Jehst, Task Force, The Unpeople, GM Baby + More @ Ocean London 13/02/04, Sugar Hill Gang @ Ocean London 16/02/04, Aesop Rock @ 93 Feet East London 22/02/04