Friday 29 May 2020

Wake The Dead EP by Oldboy - A Review and Micro-Interview

Wake The Dead EP
A Review

It’s going to happen that occasionally quality Hip Hop goes under the radar and that seems to be what has happened here. When I was doing some research for this EP I couldn’t believe I had not heard any of these releases by Oldboy before and the fact that this came recommended by the one and only Junior Disprol, I had to take notice.

Oldboy has been reasonable prolific for a number of years dropping some impressive releases from your banging Boombap with more than a dose of knowledge to straight up beat tape style vibes so, you know this guys has talent. He can do it all from production to emceeing and onwards.

So, what has this latest release got to offer? Well before I break it down track by track, all the beats on the Wake The Dead EP were produced by the legendary UK figure of Micall Parknsun and cuts come from another legendary figure in Jabbathakut, so without even listening you already get a feel for what’s coming. So, let’s dive in to the EP and see what it’s all about But, stay around after the review as I dropped a few questions to Oldboy for a micro review so, don’t miss that...

There is no easing into this softly as the EP hits hard from the outset with Full Spectrum Dominance. This one is a full on showcase for Oldboy’s lyrical content and flow. Add to that the heavy pounding beat and the swift polished cuts and this one is music waltzer ride. If your heads still spinning after that then Graphic Violins will help steady your nerves. Still banging, the beat has those heavy violins backing it and a sprinkling of def cuts and features Ken Masters alongside Oldboy on a track, that for me at least, really touched on how some people see hip hop right now but, the truth is that Hip Hop is and never did Die, it simply went back to its roots in the underground. Butane hits and as the title suggests, this one is fire and keeps you nodding you head as you listen to the lyrics that are just a bit deeper than you might first think and show the wealth of knowledge that Oldboy brings. Book of Dust literally flows into your ears with some light-hearted keys that underpin the head nod beat. This one features Joker Starr and Junior Disprol and displays some true quality lyrically whilst still heavy on the knowledge and consciousness. It takes us to the halfway point of the EP with a true sense of the energy that has gone into this.

The second half of the EP kicks off with Blast Off which brings an mix of Ufological knowledge and other vibes which detail Oldboy’s view of what goes on around him and his interests and just how he can drop that knowledge whist still entertaining you. The beat remains heavy with a deep orchestral note that gives it that conscious feeling. Game Over hits with rapid cuts and a piano heavy beat and here Oldboy displays his masterful use of lyrics and rhyme flow with an almost battle rap, you can’t fuck with this, kinda feel. On The Godfather Oldboy weaves his homage to the inspirational figure of James Brown, his history and what his music meant to so many. The beat has that deep funky feel and is really capped off by the pure dopeness of Jabbathakut’s turntable skills. The last track of the EP really has a deep knowledge edge to it as Oldboy explores the Sanskrit Vimanas, described in the Vedic Sanskrit texts of India many researchers believe that these were a form of flying vehicle or even space craft. Believe it or not it does take away from the track. The beat has a real etheric flow of strings that carry you on a deep journey into a controversial subject and then, ultimately, carry you out of the EP.

Overall and at eight tracks deep this EP is not far off the running time of some albums. Oldboy takes you deep into his skills as an Emcee whilst mixing in many of the subjects that interest him and the more you listen and really feel some of the lyrics, the more you get from the experience. There is just the right mix of deep conscious subject matter, a splattering of what’s going on in the world around us and just enough good old dexterous lyrical rhyming.

Now, it’s true, that some of the subject matter might not be for everyone but, that will not take away from just how enjoyable this EP is. Lyrically it stands with the best of them Oldboy and the guest artists all display talent that shows they are at the top of their game. Production is totally on point here and displays exactly why Micall Parknsun is so highly respected as an artist. Add to that the flawless turntable skills of Jabbathakut and you have a release that, start to finish, is highly listenable and will not have you skipping tracks regardless of where you are listening.

For me it was pure listening pleasure and I highly recommend you grab this one. It is definitely one of those occasions where you can feel the energy and dedication that has gone into making this release.

As I said earlier, as I have done in the past, I sent Oldboy a few questions to allow everyone out there to get to know him a bit more and to get a sense of what makes him tick. So, let’s get into this micro interview and see what he had to say...

First up I wanna thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. It’s been a while since I have done one of these mini interviews in conjunction with a review but, I really enjoy doing these and giving the readers a bit of an insight into the artist, a bit deeper that my reviews go so, really appreciate your time. I’ll keep it short and hopefully not too taking...

1: For anyone out there who doesn’t know, could you give us a bit of an insight into who Oldboy is and perhaps a bit of your background in Hip Hop music?

Well, I’ve been a fan of Hip Hop music for 30 years, and have been attempting to make music since I discovered the genre. I first began to take it more seriously in the late nineties when I was in a group called Natural Gift with another emcee/producer, who, is now known as Sub-P. He really inspired me to step up my game both lyrically and musically as he was incredibly talented in both fields and encouraged me to think outside the box in terms of subject matter and digging for breaks. Since then I was actively involved in the scene in Newcastle Upon Tyne, basically anywhere there was a microphone I grabbed it. I took a break from making music in about 2007 as I was really struggling with my mental health and returned reborn as Oldboy 6 years later and started releasing stuff online.

2: I have been back over some of your previous releases and looked at the visuals you use and titles of your releases and tracks. There appears to be a deep inspiration to a lot these and the use of subjects others find esoteric like ET’s and UFO’s (subjects I have studied for years). What more can tell us of the subjects and events inspire your work?

I’ve always been interested in UFO’s as long as I can remember; I think it stems from a desire to know there’s something else out there in the void of space. I suppose it runs alongside so called conspiracy theories which also spark my interest…the writings of David Icke, Michael Tsarion and also Dr Steven Greer has had an impact on my subject matter. I think there’s a lot more to life and the human experience than what were led to believe.  I grew up with films like Star Wars, E.T. and Close encounters and cinema also influences my music.
I was diagnosed with Schizophrenia 12 years ago and I think the condition gives me a unique outlook on life.

3: Having looked back at your other releases, I also noted some of the collaborations you have done across the years, the likes of Jabbathakut, DJ Jaffa, Micall Parknsun, Junior Disprol, Scorzayzee, One OZ and Joker Starr. What is it like to work alongside these other artists and how do you decide who you want to work with?

First I would say it’s an honour to work with the artists you mentioned, as I consider myself a fan of them all. All of the collaborations have been done via the internet and without social media they would not have been possible. Artists like Junior Disp , Scorz and Micall Parknsun are at the top of their game and I have to pinch myself sometimes to realise were on the same track. Joker Starr I have known for ages, I consider him family so it makes sense to me to collaborate. But anybody who’s dope I’m up for working with! 

4: Talking of Inspirations and other artists, over the years what other Artists have inspired your work, Regardless of the musical genre?

Again, Hip hop wise pretty much all of the UK artists have inspired me at some point, From realising I could maybe make hip hop through Blade, Hardnoise, Gunshot and all those early britcore artists to the newer guard like Task Force and Phi Life Cipher. I was always attempting a uniquely British take on the music I heard coming from America and everyone from Premo to J-zone inspires my beat making. Outside of hip hop I Love stuff like Fleetwood Mac, Queen, Bill Withers, Nirvana, Portishead, The Beatles to Michael Jackson. I’ve got a wide range of music that covers every genre and I believe in not limiting yourself to one type of music.

5: Looking to the future a bit now. You call yourself an ageing emcee and beat maker but, regardless of that you have been pretty prolific of the years I guess there is still more to come from Oldboy?

Making music is cathartic for me; it’s the best therapy you can get. I’m always striving to make the perfect project, and I don’t think I’m there yet! So as long as I’m inspired and my personal form of madness doesn’t get in the way I’ll continue to make music. I used to worry I was getting too old and rapping was a youngsters game, but now I look at the likes of Fleetwood Mac and Blondie still doing their thing and think ‘Fuck it, I’ll be the old person trying to spit.’

6: Speaking of more to come, are there any artists out there you would really like to work with on upcoming projects. Be they emcee’s, DJs, singers or musicians?

There’s a few people I would love to work with. Blade springs to mind first, as does Curoc from Son Of noise. Geoff Barrow and Beth Gibbons that would be a dream come true. I would love to work with Jehst and Burgundy Blood as well. And what emcee wouldn’t want to flow on a Premier beat?

7: One last one. You obviously enjoy making beats and rhyming. How does it feel, as an artist, to know how much others enjoy your music and also how much they might feel the essence of what you put across in an individual track...?

I’m eternally grateful to anyone who takes the time to listen to even one of my tracks, so to think I have in some way impacted their live for those three minutes or made their day a little more bearable is the biggest form of payback for all the blood sweat and tears I pour into making my music. 

So, huge respect for giving us your time to answer these few questions and giving us a little more of an insight into Oldboy and what makes you tick. Before we sign off I just want to give you the opportunity to shout out or thank anyone. So, if you’d like you it’s over to you...

Thanks, I’d like to shout out Sub-P and DJ Pskillz, all the Newcastle heads like Stu the don, Gilly Man, Rick Fury and Stig….and anyone who digs what I do or is trying to make music, and all my good friends, they know who they are! Salute! And you man, thanks for the wicked questions. Peace.

So, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed that little insight into Oldboy.
Check the link below and head over to his Bandcamp page a grab a copy of Wake The Dead EP. In fact don’t stop there, he has plenty of other releases to grab some are free to download so go and enjoy the music from Oldboy.

I’m out, Peace...


Thursday 21 May 2020

Triptych ft Juga-Naut by JVF Clique - Single Review

Triptych ft Juga-Naut
JVF Clique
Single review

I have only recently heard JVF Clique when they featured as part of the recent Cold Krush Radio Lockdown Festival series from Specifik (B-Line Recordings) and I was really impressed by the set they put out. So, when they contacted me and asked if I would like to review their latest single, how could I say no!

Out of Leicester UK the JVF Clique (Nipper, Chief & DJ Pappa Doc) have been around for a number of years, so how I’ve failed to hear them till now is a mystery, and they have a few releases you need to check out, if you have not done so already.

The single is Triptych and features one of the UK’s finest, in Juga-Naut, to guest alongside to guys. Now a Triptych is a piece of art that combines three parts to create one single piece and this is exactly what this track does.

The beat is a heavy head nod style banger that has a vibe which hovers somewhere between the darkness and the light and what JVF and Juga have done here is to take a blank canvas, that is the banging beat, and then have the three emcee’s to step up and create a smooth flowing lyrical masterpiece.

For me, this track really brings to mind just how an awesome piece of music (such as this track) is created. From the concept in the mind it is brought into reality, in the form of energy that is music and lyrics which bring everything together in the form of a musical masterpiece. That musical image then goes further by creating a picture in the mind of the listener and that image can be different for any one person at any one time. So, one musical masterpiece creates unlimited experiences for each person that listens. If you think that’s deep, just listen to the track and see where it takes you.

To be honest, this is real Hip Hop with a proper rough, rugged and raw vibe but, you can feel has been created by those who have paid their dues and have a deep love for the music they produce and it really is something that comes across so well in this track. This one will have you nodding along way past the end of lockdown.

Triptych is out now on all digital platforms,

I’m out, catch ya next time.


JVF Clique on YouTube:

Tuesday 19 May 2020

Chapter Four: Who am I? by JD - Album Review

Chapter Four – Who am I?
Album Review

This album is the fourth release from Derby emcee JD who has really established himself among the cream of UK emcees in recent years. JD’s lyrics always come with a very deep feel that shows a consciousness of the current situations.

Chapter Four – Who am I is part of a series of releases that act as a kind of roadmap that we can experience as we move through life and the struggles which we can all face at one time or another and yes this includes the political struggles  and how the governments try to control how we live our lives.

So, let’s take a trip through the album and see how it speaks to me and this will hopefully give you a feel for what it will say to you...

 The album eases you into things with the reflective Intro - Who Were You. A heavy beat with a smooth horn vibe that invites you to not live in the past but, to be reflective and remember who you were, who you and who you want to be. Now you are in the right frame of mind the beat hits for Built Through Pain and its proper banging with some deep choral vocals to give it that darker feel. The track feels like it is exploring how our lives and even the countries in which we live are built on a foundation of pain, either enforced or self inflicted but, it’s important to remember that how we walk forward from that foundation is way in which we use that pain to transform ourselves for the better by using the light to transform the darkness. Thinking on from that point of transformation, just how great is Great Britain? Taking a smooth jazz fuelled track JD shows exactly how the default setting for many in this country is not a pretty picture and consists of racism, fast food and obnoxious behaviour. Many of us have transcended this behaviour but, it is a sad fact that it is still prevalent out there in our society especially among the far right and change is needed.

Now it’s time to take a short look into how our present society attempt to shape who we are through a variety of different mediums on the skit The Shaping. However, as JD says, through all this you must remember who you are inside and hold onto that because that part of you cannot be shaped and will help as you walk forward in life. It’s time to chill things out a little with Mirror Mirror (feat Sara-Louise), now this might have a more chilled out feel on the beat and features some beautiful vocals from Sara-Louise but, the message is no less strong that what we have already heard as we take a trip through JD’s inspirations and the things that remind him of this in the form of physical and visual reminders such as Tattoo’s and scars. Next beat transforms to an far eastern feel with Samurai which takes you on an Art of War feel as the vibe of this on as about struggles in life and how preparation, knowledge and defence, stepping back into the shadows, can be the best attack.

Hitting you with banging soulful vibe of Nowhere, which is uplifting track that explains that negativity is something you don’t need in your life and if it tries to find you and invade your energy, there is only one place it can find you and that’s nowhere. Run Away drops next with a guitar heavy multi-faceted beat and explores that fact that you are the architect of you own dreams and outcomes and sometimes you may need to turn you back on certain things to ensure you bring those dreams to the forefront. Forgetting is a short skit which looks at the way we will change and forget who we are due to peer pressure and wanting to be part of the crowd and not to be looked down on for the things that make out heart sing. Don’t forget those things that you truly love for they make you who you are and others look down on you for that, it’s because they are missing a part of themselves...

In to the penultimate track, Who you are. This one brings a refreshing laid back head nod beat for a track which invites you to dig deep into yourself, find who you are and stand up for that no matter what’s going on around or what others think. Into the final track Before its Over, which looks at current events, the fake and controlling media, the darkness behind it all and the fact that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that is really living from the soul. You need to remain free and that true freedom comes from living from inside, from the soul.

We are living in crazy times with no real reference point to help us through but, there is a way and this album looks at and invites us to take a long hard look at life around us and also at ourselves. It is important not to be fooled by fake news and the controlling media or the governments who seek to control and mould us to their own models of what society should be. To break free of this we have to look deep inside and remember who we are and life from that soul, the root of who we are and were destined to be.

JD has crafted a unique intellectual vision of a path that you can choose to walk to take you forward in life to a brighter future and in crafting this he has joined with Bunker Beats who has provided the perfect musical sound-scape for this chapter.

At first glance it might feel a bit dark but, it only creates that illusion of darkness in order that you can see the light.

I really recommend not just this album but, all four chapters. You should also check out JD’s other releases as there are a few there and all worthy of having in your collection. He has everything available for free or at a name your price cost and I would say that it is worth dropping a few quid for anything you buy as you are supporting an independent artist who is not in it for the money but, for the love of it and that alone is deserving enough.

 So, huge thanks to JD for asking me to review this album.

I’m out people,

Buy Chapter Four: Who am I? on Bandcamp Here - 

WHO AM I? - Official Video

Sunday 17 May 2020

JORUN PMC by Jorun Bombay & Phill Most Chill - Album Review

Jorun Bombay & Phill Most Chill
Album Review

To say that this Album has been highly anticipated is probably an understatement. Originally due for release at the tail end of last year the album finally saw its release on AE Productions in April this year.

These two have been working together on and off for a number of years and have dropped a number of releases across a few labels including AE Productions and Diggers With Gratitude (who released the first single to feature the duo, Smash as a b-side to the 7” Neva Stop Diggin’). So, you will be familiar with a couple of the tracks on here.

If you know the vibe these guys deliver, then you know it’s all about wicked beats and the kinda rhymes that can take out any wack rapper. This is that golden era Hip Hop vibe and for these guys to bring that sound to a long player is kinda thing that some of us only dream about.
So, I’m not gonna waste anymore time right here but, just jump straight into the album and give you the low down on what I got from every track. Let’s do this...

 The album gets you tuned into the pure golden style with the bongo heavy funkiness of Check Out This. Phill’s rhymes flow like water with effortless ease and if you cap this off Jorun’s classic cut’s it’s one hell of a way to kick things off and you just you’re gonna want to check out this with as little disruption as possible. There is no let up as a proper dope beat hits with that B-Boy beat feel to it, Stay Back (Keep Your Distance) keeps you rocking to the beats, rhyme’s and scratches. 

For anyone who grew up with Hip Hop back in the days, you will know all about wack rappers who would bite (that’s stealing to the rest of you) and that’s what Yum is all about, the biters out there and this track has a solid pounding beat, slick rhyming from PMC and plenty of turntable sampling fun to keep you entertained. One thing that rappers and crews did back in the day was to tell everyone who they were and why they were the best emcee, DJ, B-Boy and so on and Jorun It (Live On Air) does just that to a heavy beat with PMC displaying his skills on the mic and Jorun dropping his turntable skills for all to hear. Lower Your Expectations is a light-hearted look at those who only look skin deep. It might be light-hearted but, the lesson here is very true as true beauty comes from the inside. It’s a nice horn heavy track that keeps you moving, and even smiling, as you groove to the beat. Now I know I have said this before in reviews but, I’m gonna say it again, back in the days there was always a track that was all about the DJ and Down With Jorun is that track for the album. More funky that a dead skunk this one might just have you outta your seat or displaying your air scratch skills (you know like the Hip Hop version of the air guitar).

From a track all about the DJ to the track that is just the DJ and here is Jorun taking us back to the glory days of 83 on Funky Fresh for 83 by cutting up some of the best tracks from that era. So, get your air scratch fingers ready for this one and I wanna hear somebody, anybody, everybody scream and if that takes you back to the time of gigs and block parties that this next one is for you. Rock The Party has that classic party vibe with a proper disco vibe that will definitely have you outta your seat and if your already out your seat that you’ll be movin’ and goovin’ to this one for sure. Time to break out the heavy banger with a proper battle vibe beat and vibe on The Truth is Forever, this track features Jay Quan and will quite simply take your breath away, damn.

An emcee always had to have skills and be able to freestyle on the MIC and MDM Freestyle (Live at Echo Park) has Jorun slapping on a beat and scratching to his heart’s content while Phill emcee just rocks your ears with some freestyle, this is what it’s all about y’all, word up. If your gonna take it back then there is better way that to drop an Electro style track and here Can’t Hang With Us has PMC dropping some wicked rhymes over a real def beat that had me wanting to grab a fresh tracksuit break into some body poppin’ moves (which I wasn’t really that good at but, this track had me dreaming right)... 

Now it time to drop more names than the Who’s Who of Hip Hop on Q.S. as the beat keeps you bouncin’ along and PMC’s lyrics take you back, way back and it’s like that and that’s the way it is. I can’t believe we are into the last track already and what a track it is, a more simplistic beat that comes alive with Jorun’s turntable skill’s as PMC pays homage to the one thing we all had back in the day, the Boombox. Anyone who was anyone back in the days carried their box with them playing the latest dope tracks at volume’s way past 10...

Oh my, I had so much fun listening to this album its unreal. The whole vibe of this album was 100% the vibe that got me to love the Hip Hop sound of the early 1980’s. There are so many classic lines and samples in here it’s off the charts.

This album embodies the feel good party vibe that was at the heart of Hip Hop in the 80’s. When I hear music like this I know that the heart of Hip Hop music is still out there. Even though the Hip Hop sound has evolved and transformed in more modern times and, in some cases, may well have lost the heart of what it was all about. There is still a huge underground, urban movement that keeps the soul of true Hip Hop alive and Jorun Bombay and Phill Most Chill have taken that soul of true Hip Hop and brought back alive across 13 tracks of pure Hip Hop gold.

Jorun Bombay has expertly given new live to the beating heart of golden age of Hip Hop throughout his production across this album and match with that his scratch wizardry brings the true sound of Hip Hop back for a new generation.

Phill Most Chill is now, for me at least, one of the best stateside Emcees rocking the mic at this time. His work with Fabreeze Brothers was superb but, in going back to the golden era vibe he has taken it to a new dimension of the Rap emcee.

If you take the album as a whole and look at the stunning artwork from Dan Lish and even the design and layout from Mr Krum this album is both visually and audibly a complete package for old and new Hip Hop heads alike. You can’t fail to feel the good vibes this album exudes and it will have you feeling Funky Fresh in no time. In fact, it’s time to break out the street dictionary and speak the way we did back then because Word, this album is Def.

The album is available from AE Productions on 2 x Coloured Vinyl, Limited CD & Limited Cassette.

Huge thanks to Mr Fantastic at AE Productions for sending this one over.

On that note, I’m out cos I need to go listen to the album again...

Follow AE Productions on Twitter - AE Productions Twitter 

AE Productions Home Page - 

AE Productions Bandcamp - 

Jorun Bombay Bandcamp - 

Phill Most Chill Bandcamp - 

Check out all the usual social Media platforms for more from the artists and AE Productions.