Monday morning as I woke up, drank a glass of orange juice and prepared my toast, I watched BBC's Breakfast program. You know, that one presented by two extremely opinionated and bias reporters who forgot that news is meant to be objective the day they graduated from smiley TV personality school. Anyway, their snide remarks and personal views on the news they were reading wasn't all that got on my tits. It was a report about a new campaign by the government's nanny state called 'Keep Britain Tidy' which focused on graffiti in the country and how it's regarded by locals of heavily painted areas as being up there with drugs and robbery crimes. It's an argument that's in the same pathetic pool as those which claim Eminem is responsible for high school shootings, that video games turn the youth into serial killers and that movies teach the young about 'whatever' too early. If I was a shop owner struggling to get by and some dude in the night had come along and sprayed a tag on my shop window or an old lady barely able to pay the rent of her single bedroom council estate flat who woke up to the smell of paint dripping from the walls at the front of her home I'd have a few choice words to say about graffiti BUT I wouldn't ever put it in the same class as the people who stand on street corners and sell death to kids or those that come out of cracks in the darkness of night and rob cars.
How is one guy or girl with a can of spray paint the equal of a man holding a knife or guns, making a living selling crack to addicts? Reality check please! And as for their whole, Is it Art? argument, zzzzz Yawn Yawn Yawn. Unsurprisingly they pressed the opinion and concluded that it wasn't and focused on footage of tags which presented unreadable names and alias's. They didn't once show a real graffiti piece which would shit on anything their National Gallery arses would consider artistic. And talking of galleries, the establishment really need to privately get their perspective on all of this straight. In one breath there's campaigns of stupidity using up money which could otherwise benefit the needy of our society and in another breath, they're paying the elusive stencil graffiti artist Banksy to put on exhibitions in one of the biggest free, government funded art venues of the country, Tate Modern.
In a country once green with untouched fields of fresh open air now swallowed up by the progressive capitalists setting blocks of concrete further into the countryside by the day, shouldn't environmentalists and campaigns centre on the architectural vandalism of businessmen on our skyline, rather that extremely trivial, harmless and small scribbles of colour which does more for the eye than a brick ever did? Tell me, what is worse? Thousands upon thousands of ugly street signs and billboards or the odd tag or graff piece? If they could make money and sell product through graffiti it'd be an entirely different story don't you think?
Back to the music. A new Pharoahe Monche track has turned up on the internet called We Can't Stop. It's a great track produced by Kanye West who has tons of violins all over the four minutes and a chorus which from what I've heard, most people aren't feeling. The lyrics are as on point as ever however and it's great that the man's back. He'll be playing several UK dates this September!
'Flowtation Device' by MC Abdominal and DJ Fase is set for a re-release. There's already a 12" out in support of the new release featuring two brand new tracks and a DJ Format remix of the now well known track 'Fast Food'. It's coming out on PIAS recordings. Keep your eye on my reviews section.
The 21st of September is a day to mark on the calendar for any Public Enemy fan. There's a DVD released titled 'The Complete Video Collection' which will include every PE video to date. As if that wasn't enough the audio CD 'Power To The People And The Beats' is dropping and it's billed to be the essential greatest hits collection of PE. Both releases are part of the newly launched Public Enemy Achieve Series which aims to release 8 DVD's and 2 deluxe edition of 'Fear Of A Black Planet' and 'It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back'. Start saving! DJ Lord and Professor Griff both have DVD's on the way.
A woman from Birmingham has been banned for owning a TV or sound system for two years after annoying the neighbours by blasting them with daily helpings of Slim Shady. The excessive volume was said to match the same number of decibels as a passing airplane. The noise made sofa's and cots in neighbouring homes move across the floor.
1XTRA have shook up their schedule so make sure you check their website so you don't miss out on your favourite shows. Rodney P and Skitz are now on air Friday evenings. Annoying huh?
TONS of great releases right about now for Uk hip-hop. Skinnyman's Council Estate of Mind album has dropped! Cappo's 'Cappo Presents Resilience' EP is out, a Kungfu DVD of interviews and live highlights is now available! I'm so glad payday is coming.
Be certain to insure your chance of seeing the new video 'Off The Lip' by Aspects featuring The Bees on MTV2 by visiting the following link and pressing 'click to vote'. Also help out Skinnyman's new video 'Council Estate of Mind' which can be viewed here by voting for it on Channel U number 949. www.mtv2europe.com
Mobo Awards for this year are again laughable, with the list of nominations predictably almost entirely dominated by artists from the states. Sure a lot of yanks on the list means a few high profile performances on the night which is what television and sponsorship deals will demand but a few UK peeps could have been sneaked in. Kanye West getting a record seven nominations seems a little excessive considering the comparison between his huge success in America and his solid but hardly dominating chartings here. Other standout mindlessness is the inclusion of things like Brandy up for best R&B act, having only pretty recently released her one single of the year (lets not forget to mention that there's no rhythm or blues in her sound). I wonder the date range that they pick possible winners from. Seems to me like they've just looked at the Billboard charts website and picked those at the top in the last few weeks, instead of thinking about artistry and creativity. Perhaps I'm just misunderstanding it all and the UK based Mobo committee are only dedicated to music of American origin. Whatever. The awards are held at Royal Albert Hall on the 30th.
Urban Music Awards nominations are also out now and you can vote easily at the website urbanmusicwards.net The listings aren't as poor as the previously mentioned, although there's the odd inclusion of Roots Manuva in the Best Hip-Hop act catagory. He's one of the country's favourites, but has he actually done much this past year? It's great to see Beverly Knight getting a life time achievement award. Very much deserved. The awards are held on November the 9th at the Barbican London.
Martha Cooper was responsible for the photo book 'Subway Art' which documented graffiti art of the New York scene in 1984. Ten years after that she had published the book 'RIP: Memorial Wall Art' which was comprised of snaps of pieces of graffiti dedicated to those who have passed. Now she's releasing 'Hip-Hop Files'. The book includes the work of graffiti artists and B-Boys as well as legendary Rocksteady Crew. The images date from 1979-1984. She's here in the UK holding an exhibition in support of the new books release. It's being held all week at Kingly Court, Oxford Circus in London between noon and five. Entry is free!
Aspects release the second single from 'Mystery Theatre' on the 30th of August. The single is 'Off The Lip' and features the band 'The Bees'. It's available on 10" vinyl which features a dub mix as well as a DJ Format remix of the album track 'Soul Sister'. The 7" vinyl includes the single and the unreleased track 'Work In Progress'. The CD version of the single release includes all the tracks on the 10" plus the video! Keep voting to see the visual on MTV2. The guys have promised that if the track charts with NME, it's free gold teeth for all voters!
Hard Livin, Alex Blood, Undercurrent, Deprogrammed, DJ Angelo, Apocraphe, Gnostix, Sonny Jim and Lady Paradox are performing at The Vic Inn in Derby on the 12th of September. Entry is four pounds and ALL proceeds go to the Oxfam Sudan appeal. Do your best to attend if you're in that part of the world and contribute your bit to a situation which the rest of the world are doing far too little to solve.
The 11th of September sees a line up including Jehst, Asaviour, DJ IQ, Lo Fedility Allstars, Snowboy and The Latin Section, Fat City Soundsystem, Iration Steppas and more perform at the third annual Timeless Festival in Huddersfield.
Blunt Beats is a great website with lots of cool online broadcasts worth you checking out. Today I heard a fantastic remix of 'Bring The Noise' by Public Enemy called 'White Enemy'. It was a combination of the PE track and the White Stripes from a bootleg 45". That's not the only gem in store, so tune in and enjoy. bluntbeats.com
Tunes to check: 'Why Must You' by Yogi, 'You Know We Don't Stop' by Mark B and Tommy Evans, 'Not Bonnie & Clyde' by Skinnyman, 'Triple Trouble' by Beastie Boys, 'Thief's Theme' by Lowkey, 'Off The Lip' by Aspects, 'Oh Girl' by Hard Livin, 'Why U Laugh?' by Vexsite.co.uk, 'Let's Have It' by Skinnyman and Karl Hinds.
Gigs: Questlove DJ set @ Jazz Cafe on 28th of August. Jurassic 5 @ Forum Kentish town on 2nd September. Jurassic 5 afterparty @ Jazz Cafe on 2nd September. Phi Life Cypher and Digitek and Simpson @ Jazz Cafe on 3rd of September. World DJ Championships @ Apollo Hammersmith on 4/5/6th of September.