Thursday 29 October 2020

Malawi by MC Oliver Twist - Single review and Micro-Interview




Oliver Twist

Single review


Following an eight-year hiatus, MC Oliver Twist is back with a new single due for an imminent release. That Single is Malawi and is inspired by the years he lived in that country from 1980.

Malawi is one of those vibes that is so easy to nod your head to. Kicking off with a funky piano into, the beats drops, and MC Oliver Twist takes you on trip back to his days in Malawi and how he first discovered music and the sound of the beat. However, it doesn’t end there as we are transported to a time where plastic bags were used as a football, fists were touched no matter your skin colour and food came from where ever you could get it. From there we are transported to the days he learnt to moon walk and learn every line of Billy Jean and on to being the first white kid to rap and sport an afro and more.

Malawi is a very personal journey through some of the key moments in the life of MC Oliver Twist and you get this deep feel for the discovery of music, the clothes he wore, you also have this mental image of creating a football from Plastic Bags under the blistering sun on a pitch of dried earth. The beat has an almost tribal quality and with the piano vibes running through it, the pace of the track carries you along. MC Oliver Twists delivery is slick, clear and concise, and his wordplay perfectly captures the essence of the individual stories. 

There is nothing more you could want from an Emcee who has not released anything since the 2012 release Thunderkid EP through Chess Moves Cartel. Malawi is sure to be one of those tracks that will get plenty of respect and airplay and, to be perfectly honest, rightly so.

Production on Malawi comes from Chris Warner and it is mastered by Dirty Joe.

To get a bit more of a feel for the background of the track I put a few questions to MC Oliver Twist and as you will see the answers do give you a greater sense of understanding:

1-You moved to Malawi in 1980. We get some feeling for what it was like from the track but, what was that time like for you.


My dad had just got his BA in Civil engineering and took a position in Malawi looking after the design and infrastructure of the road system.

It was a magical time. As a youngster making friends from all over the world, since the school I went to was one of only two English speaking international schools in the country. 

It was essentially a boarding and day school. Those kids whose families lived hundreds of miles away like my own family, that was the only choice really. All us kids used to cry at night-time from missing their parents. But we got through it with study, sports, and music. There was a lot of abuse from teachers, not just physical. It affected me for decades, until I made the decision to forgive. Forgiveness has been the most healing from my own perspective.

I played for the football team as centre midfield, I was young but went on to have trials in later years for Farnham and Farnborough LOL. I scored twice in the selection games but want picked, mainly I think cuz my attitude was terrible. I was a right cheeky shit.


2-With Malawi being in South Africa, how did that shape your music and did some of that come from the local tribal music.


Absolutely yeh!

Malawi is more central Africa, known as the warm heart of Africa, solely because the people are so humble. Just living a house made bricks made me feel privileged and embarrassed in a way. We connected as friends through our mutual love of fun laughter and pranks.

We used to listen to the radio, but we never had an actual radio, we used a telephone received connected to the wire mosquito grills on the windows to hear local music. It was all in Chechewa which I hadn't learned so all I was listening to was the instrumentation, which spoke to all of us and lifted our spirits. Getting into poetry as a young age, then going on camp outs with some of the school and local farmers and elders. The elders would gather round the campfire with their drums and percussion instruments, I'm talking all hand-crafted instruments. So they'd play and eventually I got the confidence to recite my spoken word stuff, which was very basic and non-rhythmical back then, So yeh that definitely shaped my taste and certainly influenced me towards storytelling and composition structure.


3-So, you have been away from music for a few years even though you continue to write, what was the reason for coming back to the scene at this time.


Intelligent Madness disbanded in 1998/9 to pursue 9-5 jobs and we remain very close friends to this day actually. Yes, I went ahead as a solo emcee. Luckily had one release on 12" with Aerosolik Records back in 2002. I've written solidly for 30 years in fact, only just now have I felt that the composition and texture of content has improved greatly.

The reason for coming back. Pretty simple. Life side-lined me, illness nearly killed me twice. And I hit a point so low that I nearly took my own life. In that very instance, something incredible happened. And I made the decision to grab life by the scruff of the neck and get back to finishing tracks from over 20 years ago! Malawi is actually the fourth version. I rewrote the lyrics five times, so that has been the most enriching to me personally. We have a solo album with a couple of features, so I'm hoping for release next year.


4-Are you planning to revive and release some of your previous unreleased tracks


Some of the lyrics and concepts, some of the old productions are being re vamped, Chris is a brilliant producer. Chatting to the others. Some are in, some are not. But all 100% supportive. I reached out to many producers and artists to see who'd be interested in doing stuff. So, I've been quite lucky really. Currently working with some long-established artists and musicians. The Malawi tune is currently being re used by Nkomba. My friend Ron Nkomba I grew up with in Malawi, that's his band. I reconnected with him after 40 years nearly. So, the live acoustic version is on the way. That was an incredible turn of events. As soon as I heard his music, I knew what was on the cards. So, we just went from the original version. Very grateful to everyone that has helped me back onto my feet, and to those that didn't. Made us more determined.


Huge thanks to MC Oliver Twist for asking me to review Malawi and for answering these few questions and giving such wicked insights into his life and music.

Malawi is released today on Bandcamp, check the link below.

Peace Out,


 Buy Malawi from Bandcamp Here:

Tuesday 27 October 2020

Ways To Stay Broke by Caskie - EP Review


Ways to Stay Broke



EP Review


Ways to Stay Broke is the debut EP from London based emcee, Caskie, who is also part of the Dusty Stragglers group (who have had a couple of EP releases in the last couple of years) and affiliated with Under the Bed Productions. Caskie has something in his repertoire that I’ve not seen in a while, the alter ego, which in this case is Caveman (who we will meet shortly).

So, let’s get into it…

The EP hits straight out the gate with Awakening of a Caveman where get an introduction to Caskie over a laid -back jazzy guitar heavy vibe. This links directly into Sinfool where we treated to the struggle between the two sides of human nature. In this case we have Caskie bringing the more positive intellect and reason, whilst Caveman brings a more negative and self-destructive side. The track has a melodic feel with some laid-back jazzy bass and horn that creates just the right vibe. Up next is the first of the singles lifted from the EP, Victims of Addiction. The beat is heavy but, the guitar brings an almost dreamy vibe with it that is perfect for the track as Caskie takes a look at the ways addiction affects those that fall into that downward spiral to cope with life.

 The second single from the EP is 3rd Eye Shut, a deep message that feels to focus on the internal struggles many face with live and such things as Anxiety, Depression and when you are struggling it is difficult to understand what’s real or even who you can trust and it’s looking for that light, that one thing that can pull you out of the darkness. The track is a superb display of a quick rap style over a more modern trap style vibe while the intro and chorus create a more soulful contrast. Two Wrongs, takes a look at relationships and money. There is a deep look into how people use each other to get what they want and the sad fact that what glitters is not always gold, and two wrongs never make a right. The track retains that jazz soul vibe as the chorus lifts you up from the sad look at the lives of those explored in the track. Every day we walk the path of life there are hurdles, stresses and strains that test us every step of the way and that is exactly what There Ain’t explores over the backdrop of a stunning jazz-hop vibe that has you closing your eyes and drifting off. The EP’s outro is Une Chanson Pour Oncle (French for A Song For Uncle) a jazzy guitar instrumental with an upbeat feel that really brings back to reality and might even leave you feeling that you wished it would be just a little longer…

Overall, the EP might appear to be quite a bleak look at life around us and within, and to a point it is but, there is just enough of the positive vibes through the sound-scapes themselves to keep the balance right. Ways to Stay Broke is no nonsense Hip Hop focused on no nonsense subjects in a time of no nonsense. In fact, reading between the lines might create this dark vision of reality and the society in which we live but, that should also serve as a wakeup call.

Music is one thing that can unite us all, it can allow us to see the good and bad in the world and experience that in a way that is entertaining and does not bring negativity and at the same time has the power to heal us through uplifting visions and feelings, and that is exactly what this EP does, for me anyway…

Caskie does a superb job of all the vocals both rapping and singing. The contrast between his unique wordplay as Caskie or Caveman and the more soulful vibe of those parts that he sings creates this perfect switch from storyline to uplifting vibe which carries those element so well allowing you to feel the light among the darkness.

The seamless production from Under the Bed Productions founder, Peter Coates, creates a perfect rolling sound scape that blends perfectly from one track to the next carrying you along on this Jazz-Hop fueled vibe that creates all the right moods in all the right places taking the listener on a journey in sync with the lyrical delivery.

Ways to Stay Broke is a cracking debut from Caskie and further goes to show the quality of up and coming artist we have here in the UK.

The EP is available to buy or stream from all the usual platforms, links below.

Peace Out,



Get the EP from Bandcamp Here:

On Amazon Music Here:

Listen on Spotify Here:

Apple Music Here:

Deezer Here:

Caskie On Social Media





3rd Eye Shut

Victims of Addiction

Friday 23 October 2020

60 Raw Ones (Re-Issue) by Mac McRaw - Album Review


60 Raw Ones


Mac McRaw

Album Review


The EMU SP-1200 has provided Hip Hop producers with a staple diet of beats that have become what is the classic Hip Hop sound. In fact, you could go so far as to say that the short 10 second beats that are produced by the SP-1200 are the core of the true Hip Hop sound.

60 Raw Ones is a mixtape style release from respected UK DJ, producer and crate digger, Mac McRaw who has had a long and varied career to date. He started his DJ career in 1986 following initial years from 1984 as a B-Boy. In 1990 he produced the highly sought after and first South Coast Hip Hop 12” single, The Struggle Continues/Back to Basics by Severe Carnage. 1993 saw him living in Oakland California where he was first introduced to the EMU SP-1200. During this time Del the Funky Homosapien in Europe and had lent his own SP 1200 to friend and through this friend Mac McRaw would learn the craft of the SP1200. Later in 93 he would return to the UK and acquire his own SP-1200. In 2000 he would start the first Hip Hop label to exclusively release 7” only singles. In 2010 he put together the Vinyl Veterans DJ crew, which includes such names as DJ Format, Oxygen, Soundsci, Daily Diggers, Rob Life and many more. Two years later he would team with fellow crate digger and Hip Hop artwork supremo Mr Krum to form Cold Rock Stuff Records. During all this time Mac McRaw would continue to DJ on the Brighton Hip Hop scene and support such acts as Kool Herc, Ultramagnetic MC’s, Big Daddy Kane, Jazzy Jeff, Cash Money, Schoolly D and more.

What Mac McRaw has done with 60 Raw Ones is to take 60 raw beats, those 10 second raw sounds, that have come straight from his SP-1200 between 1993 and 2020. He has then added some movie dialog originally intended for a mixtape in 1990, some lyric samples, minimal scratches and a dusting of drops from some of the cream of Hip Hop DJ, Producers and Emcees, all flowing along between 84 to 120bpm.

Released on digital and classic audio cassette by Bristol’s definitive Hip Hop label AE-Productions, 60 Raw Ones consists of two tracks nigh on 30mins each, the initial run has already sold out. In lieu of a possible second run of this instant classic, what exactly does this sound like…


Side A features a wicked mix of vibes that range from Head Nod Boom Bap to Funky Jazz with a glass and a half of Golden Era, a nice mix of Guitar, piano, keys and percussion with samples and breaks galore and a pinch of scratching. Add to that drops from Oxygen, Chucky Smash, Breakbeat Lou, Mr Supreme, Mr Walt, J-Zone, Forrest Getum Gump, Kool Kim, Dooley-O and Skeme Richards and you will definitely not stop moving to this one even to flip it over.

Side B draws you in from an initial laid-back vibe building you up to another dope mix of head nod, pounding  and funk fuelled beats mixed with a host of horns, guitar, jazzy keys, samples and even dipping into some big band vibes at times and keeping that sprinkling of scratching to spice it up. Shouts on this side come from DJ Nu-Mark, K-Def, Lewis Parker, U George, Gensu Dean, Johnny Juice, Audessey, Boogie Blind, Danny Dan the Beat Man and Phill Most Chill.

Overall, these two sides bring you the essence what it is to produce music from the SP-1200 and exactly what you can do with those beats. It is almost impossible to pick this apart and describe exactly what you can hear, it’s like a Hip Hop meditative experience that takes you into an altered state where moving and grooving to the beat is both mandatory and optional. It is like a three step experience for each side, you start of just feeling it and knowing you want to feel this, by the 10 minute mark you are into it, at 20 mins you are losing yourself to beat and by the end you are simply a part of it.

There is not one era of music you can pick out from this and you just don’t need to. The flow of each side is impeccable and seamless. It keeps you focused, drawing you into a powerful experience of what is a masterpiece of in tune and on time. 60 Raw Ones is a demonstration of the one true era of real Hip Hop music and what that core essence of that music is to those who grew up and felt that vibe evolve. I truly believe that the ride you get from this release will be different depending on you own personal tastes because what 60 Raw Ones does is to have a vibe that will merge and adapt to the ears of the listener. If you don’t believe me, give it a listen and see for yourself.

This really is a credit to the pedigree of Mac McRaw as a DJ/Producer. To take 60 raw beats and to craft, from that, such a highly listenable end product is just quality. Any one of those individual beats could have made an individual classic track but, here we are treated to an out and out masterclass of production and a fitting tribute to the SP-1200.

60 Raw Ones is released by AE Productions with design by Mr Krum and Logo by Richie Phoe.

Peace, I’m Out


Buy the Reissue of 60 Raw Ones Here: