Sunday 24 September 2017


Steve Rider

I will completely honest here and say that it is only recently that FRSHRZ came on to my radar. But, I am so glad they did.
I began to see pictures popping up on Facebook and Instagram of people holding the FRSHRZ CD and I started to check em out. Watching video’s of live appearances and so on. I then took the step to contact them find out if I was able to get hold of a copy of the CD EP so I could do a review.
Well, the guys were nice enough to send me a copy and I have been playing it off and on for a week or so now. Before I get into what I thought of it over all, I’ll give you a quick track by track rundown.

So, here we go:

The EP kicks off with a remix of their track LDN Posse. A Hip Hop banger that features the UK legend that is Rodney P. There is some dope name drops on this track that gives the listener an introduction to what inspired the guys to do what they do.

Next up is the N_WRD, a fresh little track to make ya head nod and open ya ears. The track has more N words that you can shake a stick at but, you won’t the N Word here.

Blxck Pride is the next offering and here we have the guys joined by Daak Martin, Si Philli and Logic. This track has a bit of a raga vibe with the emcees giving us some words of wisdom about heritage and the pride of being who they are. A lesson that many could learn from me thinks...
Mas Law joins the guys next for EA Sports and this is not the ‘It’s in the Game’ kinda thing but, ‘I’m in the Game’ with a track that is all about being in the Game but, it’s as far from game as you can get and yet still called a game...

What’s Love is a chilled out vibe with an edge. Exploring what the word love means from different perspectives. The guys keep the message real with a nice beat that keeps a hard edge.

Mental Health is a track that speaks to me on a personal level. Having not just suffered Depression myself, I have also seen others go through several different mental health issues. This is the second single I have really felt recently and it is good to hear these issues being tackled in ways that the youth will associate with and listen to. Again the track has chilled but, hard edged vibe to it whilst the angelic voice of Keesha Simpson echoes many voices.

The tempo is up a few notches for Letter to the Youths. But, don’t think the message in this one is any less powerful. The track simply puts the lesson into a vibe and message that the youth out there will listen to and feel. 

What I really liked about the EP was the fact that FRSHRZ have put together a solid offering that tackles some real deep issues. They have put their own stamp on the game here putting across the messages in way that everyone can vibe to, from the old skool Hip Hop heads to the younger generation and it is the lessons these messages address that the younger generation really need to be aware of.
This self produced EP is definitely one I recommend to everyone out there. It is kinda laid back but, there is still a definite hard edge to it that obviously comes from the true life issues being tackled.
It might not be the kinda vibe that just makes you wanna pound it out ya speakers and bounce around a nutta with ya teeth gritted! But, the messages here need to be heard and sometimes the chilled out deep hitting vibe is just what ya need.

Production is all top notch here: LDN Posse RMX by Kensaye, N_WRD by Earth2Tom, BLAXCK PRIDE by Nutty P, EA SPORTS by Mas Law, What’s Love by Juke84, Mental Health by Mas Law and Letter to the Youths by DJ Supreme. The whole thing is Executively Produced by C Maturine.
Design for the EP is handled by Nicola Gypsicola at WIS:Design.

All this shows that self produced releases can stand side by side with the best of them and give you the pleasure of knowing that all that hard work was well worth it.
I know that CD's are the most cost effective way of producing a physical release but, I would like to see a vinyl release, even a limited one would be awesome.

One last comment, I am looking forward to more from FRSHRZ and hopefully some live gigs to, preferably in an area I can get to.

The FRSHRZ EP is out now. Check the links below.

Steve Rider
Infinite Sounds UK 

Don't forget to follow FRSHRZ on all the usual social media platforms....

Tuesday 19 September 2017

Hollow Jack Interview

Yo! What's up everyone?
I have not posted an interview for a while and so now it's time.
Recently, I reviewed the excellent Debut album Dark Religion by Hip Hop Horrorcore artist Hollow Jack.
While we talked about the review over facebook chat, I asked if he would be happy to answer a few questions to see if he would let us see a bit about about what makes him tick?
He was only too happy to do it.
So I put together some questions based around a standard set I use for Hip Hop is Dead on Facebook and below is the result.
I dope interview of short to the point answers to my not exactly hard to answer questions.
So, sit back with your tea and biscuits and enjoy....

A 20 Question Interview
Hollow Jack

Yo! Hollow Jack,
Thanks for letting me take some of your time to ask a few questions.
Let's get right into it.....

·         SR - Can you give us a quick bit of background on yourself and how you got into Hip Hop?
·         HJ - I’m from Sweden. Raised in Gothenburg by my parents and I got two older siblings. My real name is Hannes which is a Swedish/German name but it’s not a very typical name. I’ve listened to Hip Hop since I was a kid but I became a real Hip Hop head sorta late. 2009 if I remember it correctly. That’s when I heard That’s Coke with La Coka Nostra and I’ve been hooked ever since.

·         SR - Your style is Horrorcore. What inspired you to this style of Rap music?
·         HJ - I love horror movies so it just came natural to me when I started. However, I got tired of it real fast I have to admit. Horrorcore has a tendency of being a bit repetive and I wanna explore other subjects which you can hear in some of my other songs. I kinda regret doing the song “Lord of Horrorcore” cuz after that everyone started calling me that and I wanna be more diverse in Hip Hop. Holding on to the same theme gets boring with time.

·         SR - Other than Hip Hop, what other music do you listen to?
·         HJ - Everything really. I love music. Im a huge fan of artists like Rammstein, Rage Against the Machine, The Beatles, Sepultura, Madonna, Kraftwerk, Tina Turner, you name it.

·         SR - Do you have a favourite track you have written for a particular reason?
·         HJ - Probably Violent Prophecy, just because Goretex from Non Phixion was on it. Was a dream come true to do a track with him.

·         SR - What would be your favourite non hip hop album?
·         HJ - Kraftwerk – The Man Machine

·         SR - I have already reviewed your Album Dark Religion. I understand that before this was released you spent some time in Hospital and were very Ill? Would you happy to tell us a bit about this?
·         HJ - Last year I got a very aggressive bacteria in my lungs which almost killed me. I was sedated for a week and I had to undergo surgery where they removed a piece of my lung. Spent a month in the hospital and was real close to dying. Worst experience of my life.

·         SR - The Hip Hop scene is really blowing up in the UK. But, for years the Hardcore artists from the UK have had a huge following in Europe. Do you think this has influenced Hip Hop in Europe or do you think that euro countries such as your own, already have their own style?
·         HJ - Not sure to be honest. I listened to a lot of UK Hip Hop when I was younger like Gunshot, Hijack and Killa Instinct but I can’t say any of them was an influence for the music I make.

·         SR - Live music is an essential part of Hip Hop. Have you performed live and do you plan to do some more shows?
·         HJ - Never performed live. I don’t have many connections in Sweden so I don’t really know where to turn to make that happen. But I’m working on it.

·         SR - Where do you draw your inspiration from?
·         HJ - Mainly from movies and stories from my past.

·         SR - Who would you like to collaborate with in the future, Artist and/or Producer?
·         HJ - Be on a track with Sabac Red would be dope and to rap on a DJ Premier beat would be the illest.

·         SR - Who in Hip Hop or just music in general, has had an influence on you and your style?
·         HJ - Cage, no doubt. I relate A LOT to the music he made back in the days and he’s the one who made me wanna rap.

·         SR - I really want to big up underground Artists with a good real Hip Hop vibe. Are there any artists you recommend?
HJ - Dilyrium, Tha Soloist, ILLtemper, Rated R to name a few. There are so many dope ones out there so start diggin’.

·         SR - Do you feel that platforms such as Bandcamp and Soundcloud are a good base to showcase what you have to give?
·         HJ - I have a Soundcloud page but I hardly use it.

·         SR - Getting to where you are today. What has been you biggest struggle and your greatest achievement?
·         HJ - The biggest struggle was to get back on my feet after surgery. Took months. And the biggest achievement was when I released Dark Religion.

·         SR - Do you think that social media has its place in the way people can now connect. Especially for connecting with other artists, producers etc?
·         HJ - Absolutley. I would never be where I’m at now without the internet. Met tons of people cuz of it. Rappers, producers and peeps who enjoy my music.

·         SR - What does your music say about you?
·         HJ - That I love movies and I respect the culture of Hip Hop.

·         SR - Where do you think you would be if you had not taken the music route?
·         HJ - I don’t know. An actor maybe haha

·         SR - Other than music, what else do you enjoy doing?
·         HJ - I’m an avid movie and videogame collector. Besides music those are my biggest hobbies.

·         SR - For me, when I have been at Hip Hop gigs here in the UK, there is rarely any negativity and there is always a big “We are One” vibe! Do you get that from your experience?
·         HJ - Absolutely. Hip Hop heads stick together.

·         SR - Finally, what is next for Hollow Jack?
·         HJ - Right now, I’m working hard to finish my second solo album on which I can’t reveal the title of yet. Also got a music video in the making that you don’t wanna miss out on. Some features here and there for other dudes projects. And that’s about it.

SR - Thanks Jack for taking this time to answer these questions.
HJ – Thank You

SR - I’m glad you liked the review for Dark Religion especially as I got exactly from the album, the experience you had intended for listeners.
I wish you all the best bro and look forward to reviewing anything your might release in the future.

Big Up,
Hip Hop is Dead – Facebook
Infinite sounds UK

Monday 18 September 2017

FALLING by Whirlwind D - REVIEW

FALLING by Whirlwind D

Ever since the video for Nothing’s Better dropped, I have been eagerly awaiting this EP from Whirlwind D. In fact, the man himself kindly sent me a press release pack to download so I could do this review whilst awaiting my own copy. I send huge thanks to him for doing this.
So, without further ado let’s get right into it...

The EP is three tracks on the A Side and Instrumentals and acappellas forming the B Side.

The EP Kicks off with Minutes and Hours. Deep beats and the ticking of a clock create an ominous sound for D to tackle some of the harsh realities of live at this present moment. The Government lies and Fascism on the rise is not a pretty picture of the world outside our doors but, D captures a verbal representation of life that is the current reality.
As you are pondering the message you have just heard, another deep melodic beat hits your ears. This is Falling Down! Hear we can feel a sense of concern for the pain, challenges and insurmountable odds of those around him. If you have ever faced situations, from which you felt there was no return, you understand the deep message here. Even if you have not faced a life changing event, you will still be moved.
By now you are feeling energy of life experiences, deep understandings and you might be wondering what’s next? Nothing’s Better might well have the most eye opening message of the EP. Depression is often a hidden affliction but, is suffered by many. For someone who suffers with depression this track touched me deeper than normal. Whirlwind D, who draws on personal experience of a family member with depression, tackles this serious subject very poignantly. Jointing D on this track is Uncle Mic Nitro who brings his own carefully crafted vision of male depression to what is, in many ways, a stunning verbal picture that urges everyone to be aware of the quiet suffering of those who may be closest to them.

FALLING is dark and emotional but, finely crafted work. It takes on, in three tracks, what others take on in a whole album! This gives FALLING a powerful punch and leaves you knowing you have heard words of experience and wisdom.
What makes this EP so graphic? Is it Whirlwind D’s expert lyrical craftsmanship and flow or the added lyrical dexterity of fellow B-Line artist Uncle Mic Nitro? Here all the elements form the realness of this musical heavy weight.
Minutes and Hours features production from Crease and cuts by Sir Beans OBE to form that hypnotic, dark flow.
Falling Down see’s B-Line’s very own Specifik on production with Jabbathakut and DJ Tones on the cuts, giving us that dark twilight beat with sad lost voice floating around for company.
Nothing’s Better brings us Production by Mr Fantastic and cuts by Miracle who, together, crafts the perfect track for this important message.
Vocals were mixed and mastered at the Khameleon 107 by Bristol’s own Rola.
The dark and visually powerful artwork was provided by the talented John Dyer.

I can’t recommend this release more highly and I look forward to future releases by this talented Emcee.
FALLING is released on B-Line recordings.
Format: 12” Vinyl in full colour sleeve.

Steve Rider – Infinite Sounds UK
Sept 2017.

Order your copy here:

Thursday 14 September 2017


Cinder Hill by Son of Sam
By Steve Rider

It’s mad how some stuff comes to your attention. An advert for Cinder Hill popped up on my Instagram. As it mentioned they were a live Hip Hop band, I knew I wanted to hear this. So, I took a chance and contacted them to ask if they would like me to review the album. Not only did I get a yes but, I got a download link for both the album and Press release. As I read through the press release and saw the big names who provided vocals, I was highly anticipating listening to the album.

But, before I get into album let me give you some of the background to Son of Sam, as provided within the press release.
Originally formed in around 2003, Son of Sam’s playing of original hip-hop samples, taking inspiration from the goldmine left by David Axelrod, Galt MacDermot, The Meters and James Brown, lead to them supporting rap royalty such as KRS-One and Raekwon.
The rhythm section consists of John and Joe Sam who have criss-crossed through various bands (including Leroy Hutson & Incognito), but are now at the forefront of a unit taking hip-hop from staircase to stage. Richard Halligan brings keys and sax, while Tom Caruana handles production.
“We wrote our own stuff but never recorded it properly or had any vocalists involved. In 2011 we booked into a shed and recorded over 30 beats in one day: drums, bass, keys and guitar. Then we called on various musicians to help us give it depth beyond the rhythm tracks, including harps, strings & brass.”
Sending the beats out in stages to rhymers who Caruana states “had to have some common ground, linking from one MC to another”, means ‘Cinder Hill’ is a triumph of networking and hip-hop knowledge.
So, there you have a bit of the background to Son of Sam.
Now let me take you track by track through the album and then give you my overall thoughts:

The Intro kicks us off with John Robinson and the Band giving just a small appetiser of what is to come.
Continuation hits you with a nice drum heavy track which has you thinking, yeah I’m feelin’ this. J-Live provides some hardcore lyrics and as you groove to this, be careful as you might find yourself nodding you head to this one. A great track to really kick the album off.
Sadat X and El Da Sensei join Son of Sam for Across the Bridge. This is a nice laid back funky joint. The type of track that just makes you wanna move and the added lyrical dopeness by two top Emcee’s is the cherry on top.
More funky grooves for your listening pleasure come from Tree’s for the Jungle. This track has the band joined by The Black Opera and together they keep you moovin’ just like you were to the last track with some mellow flute, strings and female backing vocals.
Malt Liquor now switches the style to a more edgy funk. Lyrical duties here fall to Guilty Simpson and Fat Ray, who bring us a hard rap style which works well with track. Who doesn’t like a track dedicated to an alcoholic beverage?
Next up is Put it on Ya. Now this track is huge. A dope funky ass beat with Soundsci busting the lyrics with style. But, that ain’t all because this track also has the awesome talents of Mr Thing on the cuts. The track ends on a funky guitar solo which puts you in mind of the Purple one at the height of his purpleness. This could even rate as my track of the album.
The more simplistic vibe of Fighting Talk is next to float into your awareness. Featuring Lifford and Blaise B, this track just begs you to kick back and chill, nuff said...
Flying Fist moves us up a few gears as the band bring us a track with a vibe that would not be out of place in a Dirty Harry movie or shaft. Prince Po joins the band here for swift track that leaves you wanting more.
Down a gear for Deep Breath where Son of Sam and Jamall Bufford hook up for nice track, that has a ‘South of the Mexican border’ feel.
Time for something a little harder! Dumbtron joins the band for Moose Python, a hard electric guitar heavy track, which still retains a funky feel.
Now is time to kick back for some Coastin’. John Robinson handles the vocals over a nice chilled out beat.
Soothsayers see’s The Black Opera back with Son of Sam. Here we taken on some freaky trip with funky beat mixed with harp and other strings. It’s not what comes to mind when you think of Hip Hop but, damn, it just seems to work. But, I am not sure if everyone will vibe with the instrumental outro to the song.
While you are debating that, Denmark Vessey joins SOS for System Animal. Another jazz vibe which takes you on something of a dreamscape trip? You be the judge...
While you figuring that one out, Quelle Chris joins the band and takes on to The Life and Death of Phenomenal Don. A mellow joint on a jazzy tip that flows along as Quelle takes us on a well crafted tale.
More strings, this time of the violin ease us into the organ music of Come a Long Way. Now you might be wondering about the violins and church organ sound but, Masta Ace and Largo Pro have been brought in to lay down some dope story tellin’ that just fits with the vibe of the track.
Damn, the pied piper is up next, making us get up and Forward March. It is not just the piper who, shadowed by some dope beats, keeps us hanging But, It’s also the vocal story telling of Oxygen and 7even Thirty.
The album is rounded off by That’s Facts and here Son of Sam brings in a whole posse to take us out with funky Hip Hop fusion. So just who is this dope posse, well we get Edo G, John Robinson, Prince Po, Soundsci, Reks, yU and Denmark Vessey. No better way to round of an album with a posse cut.

So, we have come through 17 tracks on a hip hop vibe that, in my view, we do not get enough of. While it is true that Hip Hop began with just a DJ, two turntables, an Emcee and a Mic, there have been plenty of groups over the years that have used live instruments. I do like that different vibe that it brings and I do feel it has its only place in Hip Hop.
What it like with Cinder Hill is that SOS has produced some great Hip Hop that vibes to different influences? You can here Jazz, Funk, rock and even the type of Movie music Lalo Schifrin was producing in the late 60’s early 70’s. To compliment these soundscapes, a top line up has been drafted to bring that extra dimension to each track. What works so well here is that each vocal style works so well with the vibe of the track, even when sounds are not always what you normally feel are Hip Hop. But, SOS has crafted everything so well here and produced an album that ebbs and flows at just the right pace to keep you focused.
My only wish is that, in the future, we get to see SOS working with the cream of the UK Hip Hop scene. I would have loved to have seen the likes of Blade, MC Mello, Katch 22 on this album or even other UK artists like Remark, Jman, Shire Roots, The Four Owls or Philli and Dotz? Or perhaps SOS could collaborate with B-Line recordings? Now that is something I would like to see.
This album is a refreshing change of vision. SOS have laid a new foundation for the Hip Hop community and, for me, it is a clean slate asking for names. SOS has the originality and the refreshing vibe of the live instrumentation. All they need now is those willing to bring the vocal dexterity.

This is a strong first album and I can only see these guys going from strength to strength in the future and I look forward to see more from them both on vinyl and on stage. This is definitely one for the collection.

Huge thanks to Tom Caruana for hitting me up with this promo.

Cinder Hill by Son of Sam is released the 29th September on Tea Sea Records.
Format: 2x 12” vinyl, CD & Digital

Steve Rider – Infinite Sounds UK

Check out the links below to order the Album and find out more on Son of Sam: