Monday 24 May 2021

Album Review and Q&A: Celebratin' Hip Hop... Over Here by The Nicewun JM


Celebratin’ Hip Hop… Over Here


The Nicewun JM


It’s always good to hook up with artists local to your area and check out their music and have a chin wag if they’re close enough. One of those local artists dropped me a line on Instagram recently to ask if I’d consider reviewing his recent album drop… How could I say no to that…?

The Nicewun JM (JM are his initials) is a Hip Hop and Skateboard lover out of Trowbridge, Wiltshire UK, so my neck of the woods, and he is part of the TS Crew (Trowbridge Skate Crew). When I saw the title of the album was Celebratin’ Hip Hop… Over Here, it grabbed my attention straight way. You often get a single track that pays homage to the culture but, to have a whole album is nice to see and I wanted to know more but, more on that later as I have a quick little QnA for you all to enjoy once the review is over.

This album is 16 tracks deep with a wicked selection of features and production credits to boot. So, I think it’s best we get into it…


From the get-go this one undoubtedly Hip-Hop with some heavy production and slick cuts from JabbaThaKut, Now & Forever gives us an introduction into who The NIcewun JM is and what he’s all about. We get a good feel for his clean-cut rap style with that instantly recognisable South West accent. A pounding beat over some big horns of Domingo’s production heralds the arrival of Ain’t Playin’ No More where we find The Nicewun JM going in on the suckers and fake emcees, bigging up some UK legends and displaying the kind of vocal talent you need to be emcee in the game. The cuts here come from DJ Marlondon. Marvin A Doup brings a huge anthem style sound to Hear Me Rhyme, which sees our man bringing a slightly harder edge to his style alongside the similies, name drops and cuts from JabbaThaKut. There are some people that don’t understand and might wanna call 999 when they here Hip-Hop but, the key thing here that you do wanna understand, is that you can here every word, every rhyme and that makes for some good Hip-Hop.

Don’t Wanna Battle brings a pounding beat, horns and a jazzy piano as The Nicewun JM pays respect to those emcees who are battle rappers but, explains that this is not what he’s about. No beef here just writing those dope rhymes and rocking the crowd to the break a dawn. The head nod beat, and brass notes of Mac Lloyds production is a great backdrop to The Mind that has The Nicewun JM looking at ADHD and its associated issues such as hyperfocus, something I can fully understand having been diagnosed ADD. It good to see the awareness brought to this in a way that is entertaining and from someone who truly knows and understands. Marvin A Doup is back on production for Real Recognise Real bringing a funky beat mixed with guitar and horns. This track is all about the things he loves and what is real to him from his introduction and love of Hip-Hop to his belief in god and much more besides. This track really reflects the core values of Hip-Hop What you see, what you love, what makes you feel good and being one.

Can’t Keep Me Down brings in some boom bap production and cuts from Da Beatminerz, which really makes you wanna move to this as The Nicewun JM drops a solid track that looks at the times we don’t always get it right and those who will always seek to knock us back but, here he ably brings light and encouragement to others. This is another thing that Hip-Hop does so well in promoting positive messages and uplifting vibes. Maintaining that uplifting vibe but, on a more laid-back beat, synth and vocal sample of Marvin A Doup’s production. This one is all about that special person in his life and how they got to meet, if she had a favorite rapper or even a Favorite Colour. It’s all rounded off with some chiiled cuts from JabbaThaKut.

Next up is the first of two tracks containing featured artists. Underground Livin’ sees The Nicewun joined by Thirstin Howl the 3rd & MDV with cuts from DJ Marlondon and production by Marvin A Doup which is heaviest beat you heard in a hot minute. This one is all about the underground Hip-Hop music scene where it be rough, rugged, and raw ya hear. If you’re gonna be Hip-Hop then you gotta have dope beat that will be head nod and maybe have some horns, like you get here from Marvin A Doup, you gotta have the dope cuts, you got those here from JabbaThaKut, and you need to be able to drop those bars with knowledge and poise, and you get that displayed with aplomb here from The Nicewun keeping it Strictly Hip-Hop. Knowledge and knowing your Hip-Hop history is so important and we round off the track with a little of that. Hip-Hop has always been about freedom and unity and on this short track The Nicewun looks at the harsh times we live in and what it would be to live in a Perfect World. The laid-back beat and jazzy horns comes from Mac Lloyd on production with cuts supplied by JabbaThaKut.

For Close To The Edge The Nicewun is joined by Blaq Poet and MDV over another heavy pounding beat and guitar sample (both of which are classic samples and instantly recognisable) from Marvin A Doup with cuts by DJ Marlondon which slice through your awareness like a rusty razor. Here we have three emcees displaying their lyrical prowess in an unapologetic raw style that displays the harder gritty element that Hip-Hop has. Rounding the track off is short skit from Screwball radio. Head nod beat with a guitar loop is the platform for this short track where we find The Nicewun looking deeply into what you could Wish for in day-to-day life. Some of us wish and others look to a higher power for guidance and here The Nicewun shows us that a wish is not where his faith is as every day, he looks to the power of prayer. his faith in the power of prayer and Jesus is reflected here in Pray Everyday, a personal celebration of what his faith is to him and what it brings to life. This reflected to me that regardless of your belief or faith, you should celebrate it. The upbeat piano vibe comes from Domingo on production with JabbaThaKut providing the cuts.

We head into the penultimate track now a more soulful boom bap vibe from Domingo. The Nicewun speaks on what gives him the Passion for Hip-Hop music, it’s that simple. The album ends on an upbeat high with a jazz funk element from MDV’s production. The Nicewun drops an Alphabet Attack, dropping similes and metaphors galore because, at the end of the day, this is kinda wordplay that shows the versatility and quality of a true emcee…

If you truly listen to this album, then there is no way that you can deny that the musical roots of this are unashamedly in Hip-Hop and that boom bap Hip-Hop at that and that is where this begins to be a celebration of Hip-Hop. Not only that but, The Nicewun JM displays a good knowledge of the history of the culture along the way. It is also clear from the plethora of name drops that his influences are fairly widespread and the celebration continues as you can literally hear the love for the culture running through every track in music and in the words.

Now there will be a number of people that will not like this solely because he raps in his South West accent. But that in it’s self is to be commended as her not modelling himself on anyone else, he is simply being himself and there are far too many people out there trying to be someone else these days. If you set aside his voice for a moment, there is nothing about The Nicewun JM that puts him below any other rap artist. He has the verbal skills and changes of pace can easily lend him to stand shoulder to shoulder with anyone and the more he puts out, the more he’s gonna hone that skill.

The production values are all on point here whether it be the big names such as Domingo, Da Beatminerz and JabbaThaKut to those I am less familiar with like Marvin A Doup, Mac Lloyd and MDV it really helps this album flow nicely from start to finish with that boom bap style Hip-Hop that you can’t help but, nod your head to. The few featured vocal artists here in Thirstin’ Howl 3rd, Blaq Poet and MDV are all on point and conduct themselves exactly as you would expect and The Nicewun JM shows that is capable of stepping up and holding his own alongside them.

Overall Celebratin’ Hip Hop… Over Here is an above standard Hip-Hop album that ticks all the right boxes and continues the trend that the South West of the UK is one of the countries premier Hip-Hop hubs and one that is cementing a bridge across the pond and far further afield. Not just that but, The Nicewun JM also displays the talent that shows Hip-Hop is not just alive and well but that also the mic is in good hands and I’m sure we will see a lot more to come from this guy.

I suggest grabbing a copy, streaming it or whatever and making up your own mind.

Celebratin’ Hip Hop… Over Here is available now…

But, before you go grab it, had a few questions for The Nicewun JM:

First up The Nicewun JM, I just wanna send you my thanks for sending the CD to me and for taking the time to answer a few questions for me. I wanted to give everyone, especially those who might not be familiar with you, a bit more depth on you and the album…

1.     A few of the tracks on the album hint at how you got into Hip Hop. Any chance you could go into a bit more detail.

Yo! Steve, thanks for the review, I was really hyped on it. Yeah, for sure, I remember very clearly the day I discovered Hip Hop. The year was 1999, I was 11 years old, and I was with my twin brother. My mum and dad had just got Sky TV maybe a month before. We decided to put on the music channels and the song and video which caught our attention and began the obsession was Still D.R.E - Dr.Dre featuring Snoop Dogg.

Just everything about it... I knew it was the most amazing thing I’d heard in my life and I wanted to hear more. 

Not long after this we went on a day trip to Cardiff with our Mum and Dad, and we asked if they’d buy us a Snoop Dogg CD. We ended up getting Tha Doggfather (Snoop’s second album). We were so hyped, but a funny story about that day, being clueless 11-year-olds, at some point on the trip either one of us or both of us had stood in Dog Shit (dunno how we didn’t smell it). On the drive back home we’re both looking at the CD and getting the cover out of the case to look at it. With it being a long journey, we eventually fell to sleep. When we wake up there’s some Dog Shit smeared on the cover, and we still have that exact CD and you can see some faded dog shit on the cover, but the album was DOPE and definitely not dog shit... ‘You Thought’ is my favourite from that album for sure.

From there I just wanted to discover Hip Hop from everywhere, and I’ve collected Hip Hop CDs ever since. ‘99 was a good year to get into Hip Hop. We’d record the music videos & Hip Hop related programming such as The Lyricist Lounge Show onto VHS and then cut pictures out of The Source & Hip Hop Connection to stick on the VHS covers. Also used to stay at our Nan’s on a Saturday Night where we’d record Tim Westwood’s show onto Cassette Tapes as well. Also watching documentaries early on like Rhyme & Reason really helped me gain knowledge and understanding too. Someone recently said to me I have a database of knowledge. I’d never thought about it like that before but thought that was a cool description.

 What about the TSCrew, could you tell us a bit more about you guys and how you all came together.

Yeah so TSCrew was around before me even. I started Skateboarding in the year 2000 with my twin and friends I grew up with. Eventually we started Skating down our local Asda Car Park, and the older Skaters we looked up to were known as the TSCrew, and we wanted to be a part of it, so basically we’ve just always continued that legacy in our own community and making Skate Videos reppin’ TSCrew.

3.     I get the feeling this album means a lot to you. Why did you decide to make this album and how did you decide on the title?

            It really does mean a lot to me. I worked hard on it for many years, and definitely was a                                                 perfectionist as I was anxious about the response it may get. Fortunately for me I’ve had an                                          overwhelming positive response which I’m truly grateful for!!!

               I came up with the album title from a few different influences:-

       I’ve always been into celebrating things I’m passionate about, so for example with Hip Hop I    

       celebrate those we have lost who contributed to the culture, Hip Hop album release dates

       and giving props to those that have paid dues.

       I was listening to Drink Champs where I heard Noreaga say a few times we must celebrate

       our legends.

       I went with ‘... Over Here’ because I’m celebrating over here in Trowbridge and here in the


       But, also over here because a real emcee will ask the crowd “is the real Hip Hop over here?”

       So, it was my own subtle way of letting people know that I’m Celebratin’ Hip Hop... Over



4.      Could I ask a bit about your influences? There area lot of name drops on the album, I guess these are all influential to you but, could you tell us a bit more.

Yeah for sure, I’m influenced by Hip Hop and music from all over the world... Hip Hop takes the ingredients of other genres and makes something new out of it, which I’ve always been fascinated with. I listen to everything which makes it hard for me to narrow down, but I can tell you my favourite album of all time is Moment Of Truth - Gang Starr.


5.    You have some great producers for the album could you tell us a bit about how you came to work with them?

Yeah, sure so I’ll start with my people from Trowbridge. Marvin A Doup is one of my Day One homies, who I’ve known before primary school even. He’s an amazing Musician and Skateboarder. He recently changed his Producer Name to Afralune, so any future music will be using his new name. I met DJ Marlondon around 2005/2006ish who is from London, but has family down here and we’ve always been tight... He didn’t produce any tracks but did the cuts on 3 of them. I met MDV in 2009 and he’s another good homie... He makes Heavy Metal as well as Hip Hop. Outside of Trowbridge there’s the homie Mac Lloyd from Chippenham, who initially we met around 2012/13ish as he was doing a Skateboard Clothing Company called Iron Cloud and was Sponsoring my twin... Mac Lloyd is also a really talented musician and singer, and he’s signed to Res One’s Green Brick Records. Jabba Tha Kut from Poole... Incredible DJ and producer who I got in contact with via social media networking.... Then we have our international producers from New York who again I got in contact with via networking... To me it was important to work with people I’m a big fan of.

I’ve been in contact with Domingo for many years and his Media Famous service has helped with the albums promotion. The last piece of the puzzle was working with DJ Evil Dee & Mr. Walt aka Da Beatminerz, and we were able to make that happen, and the track I did with them is my personal favourite.


6.     Following on from that, why did you decide on the featured artists for vocals cuts etc?

Again, this was an opportunity to work with 2 New York heavyweights that I was already a fan of, so I reached out to Blaq Poet & Thirstin Howl The 3rd. I also featured my homie MDV on both featured track as he gave me a lot of support when I met him many years ago and I thought he’d be a good fit on the tracks.

7.     Being from the South West, do you feel that the area is really becoming one of the countries Hip-Hop hotspots?

Yeah so, I think everywhere has something unique to offer, but the South West definitely has a really dope scene. Leaf Dog and BVA are definitely 2 emcees who I’ve always admired lyrically.


8.      Lastly, what’s next from you? Do you have anything in the pipeline?

So, at the moment I’m just enjoying the response to this album and letting that live on at the moment.

I fractured my foot Skating 9 1/2 weeks ago so I’m currently healing up.

I am considering possibly doing another album one day... I recently got a beat from Micall Parknsun, so I plan on making a track over that at some point in the near future.


I hope that gives you all a bit more of a look into just who is The Nicewun JM and, just one more time, I want to give huge thanks to him for answering these few questions and for sending me the signed album. I look forward to hearing more from him in the future as I think it's gonna be a bright on for him.

There is just one thing left for me to say...

Peace, I'm Out...



Get your copy of the album via Bandcamp Here:

For all the Streaming and Social links to The Nicewun JM Check Here:


Can't Keep Me Down

Friday 21 May 2021

Album Review: Lost Routes by Conscious Route & True Note


Lost Routes


Conscious Route & True Note


Lost Routes is a collaboration between Edinburgh-based rapper, Conscious Route and producer, True Note. It was released back in October of 2020 and was noted as being ‘A powerful and personal contemplation on UK life in the 21st Century’ that ‘possesses more than enough bump to take the message to radio and the clubs too’ with a ‘a range of musical styles from hip-hop to grime and drum and bass, with tints of electronica and more’.

What I was also interested to note was that the album draws on some live instrumentation on some of the tracks. I have always felt that bringing live instruments to Hip-Hop and other urban music really gives it some extra depth and feeling. The live instruments are provided by the following artists ‘Trombonist Chris Greive from the Scottish Jazz Orchestra (‘Mash Up Days’), as well as KT Tunst’s drummer Cat Myers (‘Everything Test’). True Note himself brings keyboard and bass’. Alongside these talented artists the album also features guest vocals from London-born soul singer, Geoffrey Williams and also True Note himself.

If all this was not enough to whet your appetite for this one then it is worth noting here that the UK TV’s Channel 4 picked up three of the albums tracks for the documentary ‘Take Your Knee Off My Neck,’ a response to the killing of George Floyd, which shared experiences of racism as it delved into the issues around the Black Lives Matter movement. You can hear instrumental extracts from ‘Needles', 'Mash up Days', 'Cat’s out the Bag' and the full vocal version of 'Frontline' on episodes 1, 2 and 4.

All that said this album promises to be an impressive release so, let me take you through it:


The album hits hard from the word go, with True Note providing a pounding head nob beat over which is mind bending mix of synth and electronic vibes. Everything Test shows us exactly what Conscious Route is all about with a conscious and intellectual look at the situation’s life puts before him and how he handles the same. More than that this is almost a look at the man himself, which sets up the rest of the album. True Note next switches the vibe to a bass heavy, darker vibe with a more grime vibe for Needles to which Conscious Route switched his style and flow perfectly as he provides a social narrative that looks at the darker side of life and can almost be summed up by one line of the chorus, the powerful ‘Speech Does Wrong’ and as the past year or so has shown, words have the power to put fear into you or just the opposite.

What Music Means is the first album skit. Taken from an interview this short track shows many things that music can mean and with those meanings it can mirror or help change of feelings and emotions.

Awakening features Geoffrey Williams and has a more soulful production from True Note giving this a lighter and more thoughtful vibe. Conscious Route’s delivery mirrors the thoughtful vibe of the production as he provides a deeply personal retrospective on present and past events in his life with each verse framed by silky soulful tone of Geoffrey Williams chorus.

The N Word is short skit noting he does not use that word in his work and the response is to listen to a track on the album…

That track is Brothers which has a more grime, trap vibe about it and examines the use of the N word and what it means to him on many levels, the use of it in rap and touching on the politically`1 racism aspect. The track ends on a piano backed thoughtful vibe. Next up True Note brings that dubstep vibe with Dusty Days. Here Conscious Route looks at how those we put our trust in very often turn their backs on us, deceiving us for their own ends in another politically charged narrative.

Talking On Track is the next skit and here Conscious Route aptly explains how music is a place to be able to speak on the ups and downs of getting your life on track without the attached stigma of when you are open others directly.

The sparce beat, chilled electronic synth vibe and vocal samples on Cat’s Out The Bag creates an almost 80’s Hip-Hop feel, the perfect backdrop for a track which looks at the struggles of street life and having the strength to pull yourself away from a spiral of self-destruction and on to better things. The thoughtful trend continues to a piano driven vibe that holds your attention to a deeply personal journey through the ups and downs of growing up in Dem Days and touching on the struggles of mental health. A pounding heavy beat and deep piano draws you into a darker atmosphere of Life In The Rain. Here is a troubled walk through the pain of internal struggles, constantly turning corners and only finding the rain still falling but, one day you will turn a corner and find that desperately needed shelter.

Music, Food & Sex is a light-hearted skit that just looks at what is most important and the fact that these days the word ‘Porn’ no longer just refers to things of a sexual nature.

The sexual theme continues for the grime fuelled club banger Coochie Slug. A sexually charged vibe that leaves nothing to the imagination. The production is a more chilled beat and piano for Mashup Days which also features the Trombone of Chris Greive which creates the kind of soundscape that allows you to drift while Conscious Route takes you on a journey looking at Drug culture, mental health and more besides.

This skit about Music and Mental Health drops at just the right time.

True Note drops a full-on Grime heavy hitter that provides the perfect platform for Conscious Route to switch it up and give you a Proper Gander at his lyrical skill on a track that will undoubtedly light up the clubs or vibrate the windows in the house or car. Next up, True Note flips to a straight-up Drum n Bass banger putting Conscious Route on the Frontline to switch it again and display his versatility and MC skills once more. Time to chill things out a bit with a laid-back beat, organ notes, and some guitar thrown in for good measure all mixed up to bring you a smooth Hip-Hop vibe that puts you in the Fields Of Hope which sees Conscious Route paying homage to the culture of Hip-Hop in a way that is deeply heart felt.

Our last skit is a Reality Check that sees Conscious Route get deep into just what his reality is.

Don’t Call Me rounds the album off in style with True Note bringing some smooth boom bap Hip-Hop vibes to get your head nodding as Conscious Route flows perfectly over the top and speaks on many social aspects of life around him but, bring it in that upbeat style that brings a ray of sunshine to break through the clouds.

So, lets make no mistake here, that was some journey.

There are a lot of artists out there these days who are creating albums that display differing styles and flows that appeal to a fairly wide audience and Lost Routes is no exception. However, what True Note and Conscious Route have crafted on this album is not only something that will appeal to many as it wraps it arms around the urban music scene but, it also does it in a grown man style with intellect, knowledge and, at times, with sensitivity and respect. This album is like a thinking man’s rollercoaster where True Note creates and powers this twisting, turning track that rises and falls never quite allowing you to see what’s around the corner or over the rise. Conscious Route then puts the carriages on the track and moves you off into the void, here his words permeate your mind and form mental images and emotions which are constantly changing as you experience the music. You leave this knowing you will need to experience this again and again to fully appreciate it.

Lost Routes will definitely have a wide appeal and hats off to both of them. True Note and Conscious Route both display a proper versatility in differing genres here. They both compliment the other effortlessly as they switch pace and style across the 14 full-on musical tracks with those little skits just adding a little depth and pause. The use of the live instruments definitely adds an extra dimension to proceedings too. True Note’s production is slick and polished, showing that he has his finger on the pulse of what is hot with urban street and club music scenes. Conscious Route brings an intelligent rap style and touches on a host of political and social subjects that are reinforced with personal experiences showing a talent for switching pace and styles to compliment the production.

I am not gonna say that everyone will love every track, I’m also not saying that they won’t love them. I, personally, am not a lover of DnB or Dubstep. Having said that, there was nothing on this album I found unlistenable, and it all flowed really well from start to finish. There are also the skits, which not all people are keen on and many feel they detract from the overall flow. For me I can see how this album would flow easily as well both, with or without the skit’s. It depends what kinda ear you are listening with I guess as someone not truly listening to the lyrical content might find the skit’s a distraction, whereas someone with an ear for the depth of the lyric’s will get why the skits are there and not let them detract from their enjoyment.

Lost Routes is definitely one you need to give your time to. It is a confidently constructed album that is diverse and delivers on every level. If you have not heard this already then it is well worth your time and money.

Conscious Route has a new single out now titled ‘Father and Son’ alongside producer Tzusan. This is one of those tracks that you will need to get deep into over a couple or more listens. There is also an accompanying remix of the track with a slightly darker edge to it that has been remixed by Konchis.

Lost Routes is also currently receiving the remix treatment with a full remix album out later this year. That will be one you will definitely want to watch out for after hearing the original. So, be sure to check out those social media links below.

Lost Routes is released through True Hold Records and is available now.

On that note,

I’m out,



Get Lost Routes from Bandcamp Here:

Check out Conscious Route and the album on Spotify Here:

Listen to the album on Soundcloud Here:


Conscious Route on Facebook:

True Hold Records on Facebook:

Conscious Route on Twitter:

True Hold Records on Twitter:

Conscious Route on Instagram:

True Note on Instagram:


Everything Test


Cat's Out The Bag

Don't Call Me

Tuesday 18 May 2021

Album Review: B-Boys Break by Long Lastin'


B-Boys Break


Long Lastin’


If you’re like me and you grew up in the early days of Hip-Hop in the UK, you probably became fascinated by Breakin’ which is the athletic street dance that is one of the true elements of the Hip-Hop culture. Breakin’ is as popular today as it’s always been even though you don’t see as much on the streets as you once might have done.

Breakin’ grew out of the early Hip-Hop block parties where the likes of Kool Herc would just play the break of a song and those who moved to really dance to this became known as Break Boys and Break Girls which was shortened to B-Boys and B-Girls. As Hip Hop became the focus of media attention, they quickly coined the term Breakdancing to describe what they were seeing. The term took hold and the breakdance phenomena was born, with it quickly switching from music videos, like Buffalo Gals, to the big screen in movies like Beat Street and the Breakdance series. But, for many within Hip-Hop it only is, was and ever could be one thing and that’s Breakin’.

The style of music associated with Breakin’ was always high octane that fueled your energy and got you pumped up and ready to throw down. As I said it was that original style of playing the instrumental break, backward and forward between two turntables that started it all but, soon tracks were being put out inspired by or created simply for Breakin’ with tracks like: Break Dancin’-Electric Boogie by West Street Mob, Breaker’s Revenge by Arthur Baker and Breakin…There’s No Stopping Us by Ollie and Jerry. More recently the likes of Zeb Roc Ski and Def Cut have produced some classic tracks including On The Run by Zeb Roc Ski featuring legendary UK Emcee Blade.

So, if you are looking for that authentic Breakin’ sound, is there any better way to get it that by an album produced by a straight up B-Boy who oozes Breakin’ and Hip-Hop from every pore. Well, that’s what you are about to hear as B-Boys Break comes from UK Producer and Breaker Long Lastin’.

I’m not gonna leave you waitin’ a moment longer, are you ready…?

Straight outta the gate this one is high energy and hits you with Rock Steady, something every Breaker had to be, and the vibe instantly took me back to the mid eighties and watching crews like the Rock Steady Crew, New York City Breakers and later the UK’s Second To None. There are so many elements here from drums, claps, and cow bells to Freddie Keys on the Hammond organ. I dare you to try and sit still. Like all Hip-Hop music the inspirations behind what makes a great track to Break to are many and diverse. The inspiration behind Man I Am Ready is the JB’s and that funky vibe and the dance that went along with it back in the late 60’s and early 70’s really shines as what would serve as the building blocks of Hip-Hop and Breakin’. There is just that instant feeling of wanting to get up and then get down. Just enjoying yourself and letting the music take control. Breakers are often part of a crew, even if they break individually and to see who the best is, you had to battle, and Ladies & Gentleman puts you right into that experience. There is a slightly harder edge to the beat, as you would expect, to get the crowd and the Breakers fired up. Battles would see the breakers pull out all their moves from Top Rock to Foot Work, Down Rock to Power Moves, The Freeze and so much more…

Taking you back to the early days of breakin’ is Break It Down, the double bass heavy beat is mixed with horns, guitar vibes and cuts that take you back to those early days and the foundation of breakin’, you can close you eyes and drift away to this one as the beat controls your body. More bass, more drums and more cuts drag you to the dance floor where there is no excuse not to Get Down. On the dance floor it’s all about the moves, the footwork, the flares, windmills and the head spins. It’s about getting out there being the best you can be and expressing it through you own style. Time step up for the title track of the album where B-Boys Break has that heavy beat, claps, electronic notes and cuts galore. For me it really took me to the essence of breakin’ and dancing the break and truly being moved by the music and turning that into its own true artform.

The true enjoyment for anyone is in honing you craft and for the breaker that is practicing those moves, developing new variations, and then taking it to the dance floor or that piece of lino on the street and being able to Buss It for all to see and the bass driven beat just fits that buss-a-move vibe perfectly. UK B-Boy legend, Dolby D, introduces the next track and his words ring so true as the drums, bongos and guitar hit. When you step up to battle, you need to practice but, even more than that its all about how you conduct yourself and the confidence you have in your capability to Battle Anybody and serve the competition. As we step into Yea‘Y’all with some funky guitar and piano driven vibes, it’s all about your individual character. As Hip-Hop has elements, so does the breaker and its that which sets them apart from other members of the crew. It’s all about you and type of moves and style that make up you and your place in the crew.

It’s on the floor where the breaker is most at home. It could be lino laid out on the street, the club dancefloor or the floor of a huge stadium but, when the those pounding drums, cuts and electronic notes hit and you Get On The Floor, the music fuels your mind body and soul and nothing else matters. Time it’s now to Listen to the cuts, claps, and synth of this electro driven vibe. This one really put me in mind of the way breakers can rock that body poppin’ and robotic style movement, perfectly replicating and merging those smooth or jerky movements just like their body is controlled by motors with a specific purpose. Moving into the final track of the album, we are asked How Could You Spot A B-Boy? The musical backdrop is again on that electro vibe with bells and synth vibes. It really reminded me of the days when you knew who the B-Boys were, dressed in tracksuits, often matching ones, and rocking trainers such as Adidas Gazelle or Puma Suede with fat laces. Sometimes they would have their caps on backward or sideways while others rocked ski goggles or even white gloves but, always one would be carrying a large boombox with the volume up. I mean, yeah, that’s where it takes me but, truly would you know a B-Boy or B-Girl if they were stood next to you?


 I have to say that this was 12 tracks and 45mins of pure breakin’ gold. I have had this in the car, on headphones and just booming out the speakers and this is just perfect anywhere for any Hip-Hop lover but, for breakers, this has got to answer their prayers cos if you had this in your box, it’s gonna have you dancing to the beat as long as you want…

I mean, the sound, the cuts and the classic samples are not only a B-Boys wet dream but, they have an element of that Cut n Paste vibe too that will have the Hip-Hop lovers out there rockin’ their bodies till the cows come home. Being more instrumental this album does not have a particular message to each track because they are built for the breakers to dance to. But the lack of a spoken message is replaced by a purely musical one. Each speaks to you differently or maybe the same? The breaker will hear and feel the vibe of the music and know how to use each move to its best advantage as the vibes fuel their adrenaline. For those who are not B-Boys or B-Girls the musical vibe still talks to you eliciting memories of movies or seeing some breakers at a club, on the street or large event, it may even speak to you in other ways. What it does for all of us collectively is to bring a huge wave of positive emotional responses not just in your mind but, also in your body as you just wanna get up and move, I do advise you don’t do that in the car though…

For me it reminded me of the 1987 Def Jam Tour I went to in Brighton. On the bill was Public Enemy, Eric B and Rakim and LL Cool J and during that night there was a moment when a section of the floor cleared, and the breakers stunned the crowd with their display. It also reminded me of how this was also a non-violent way in which disputes were settled, simply by dancing, something both sides could appreciate in a positive manner.

The reason this album works so well is due to the fact that Long Lastin’ is a B-Boy himself. He knows and feels the music and so is able to put that into creating a vibe that perfectly encapsulates the feelings and energy of that sound that is so instantly recognisable as the Breakin’ sound and it is that perfect sound that has already given B-Boys Break some huge positive feedback from some huge figures here in the UK. What more could you ask for, when you have put your heat and soul into crafting something that so perfectly mirrors that vibe, than to have those you respect for their own standing in the Hip-Hop/Breakin’ world to give such feedback, it must certainly allow you know have done what you started out to do, if nothing else.

I’d like to give a quick mention to the live instruments on this album, something I feel always adds depth and feeling and props goes out to on the Hammond Organ FREDDY KEYS and on Bass & Guitar BOBBY BLUES.

The last thing to say is that the album is polished off in style by the awesome cover art by Bristol graff artists TURROE and SHADE ONE who have produced what could be one of the dopest covers ever…

I’d like to see this style of Hip-Hop music given far more exposure than it currently is and B-Boys Break, being such an honest expression of a deep-rooted love of the breakin’ scene takes one more step to that happening. Long Lastin’ is a supremely talented producer and so I humbly suggest that if you have not heard this yet, you do so now and let your body rock…

B-Boys Break is out now, and I’d like to give some huge props to Long Lastin’ for sending this over to me.

I’m knackered from all that,

See Ya,



Get you copy of B-Boys Break Here:

Saturday 15 May 2021

Single Review: Wounded (feat. Randall Rush, Grandsome, Ruste Juxx & JabbaThaKut) by Wounded Buffalo Beats


Wounded (feat. Randall Rush, Grandsome, Ruste Juxx & JabbaThaKut)


Wounded Buffalo Beats


Since releasing the album Black Magic & Horns last year, UK producer Wounded Buffalo Beats has keeping that dope Hip-Hop coming with a few single releases including The Victor (feat. Ruste Juxx & JabbaThaKut) and A Serious Threat (feat. Ruste Juxx, El Da Sensei, KD & JabbaThaKut) both of which are serious bangers, trust me. There is also another forthcoming track with Randall Rush and JabbaThaKut, So Mote It Be, that you need to watch for. But we are here to talk about the latest single Wounded which features a stellar international line up in Ruste Juxx (USA), Randall Rush (USA), Grandsome (Canada) and JabbaThaKut (UK).

There is no doubt that Wounded Buffalo Beats is one of the UK’s premier Hip-Hop producers and with a line-up like this there is no doubt this one is gonna be huge but, lets just dive in anyway…


Musically Wounded has a deep feel with boom bap drums and an acoustic guitar that has a mariachi feel, sprinkled with emotive cuts, giving the perfect backdrop for some reality focused storytelling. With Randall Rush up first followed by Grandsome and rounded off by Ruste Juxx, Wounded takes hold of the deepest reaches of your mind and immerses you in tales of the struggles of emotions and the trauma that comes with that. Our recent experiences of lockdown’s, being separated from those we love and the on-going fear-based society that is being perpetrated is having a huge negative impact on so many age groups seeing a rise in mental heath issues and suicide, struggles that are very real and affect us all in different ways as we are all affected differently by what happens both around us and to us. It needs highlighting so that moves can be made to help those so desperately in need who have not been able to easily access they need. But Wounded is not just about looking into the darkness, it also brings light too and shows that there is a way out and we can get through this.

For me, listening to this touches on things at a personal level But, it also shows there is no better way to open peoples minds to struggles and ultimate road to recovery, than to do it via the medium of music, which in this case is Hip-Hop music. Wounded definitely creates a perfect balance between entertainment and focused conscious expression and I salute Wounded Buffalo Beats and JabbaThaKut for crafting that deeply focused musical vibe and the emcees for bringing such hard-hitting tales that are rooted in the societies we all live in.  

The theme of the track is also reflected in the artwork, created by @grafik_e, it depicts a CT Scan of a human brain displaying emotional trauma.

Wounded is definitely one you should check out and see where it touches your soul. It is available now via Bandcamp, Link below.

I’ll leave you on that thoughtful note,

See ya,



Get Wounded from Wounded Buffalo Beats on Bandcamp Here:




A Serious Threat

The Victor

Friday 14 May 2021

Single Review: Bricolage 1 - DJ Destruction & DJ Specifik


Bricolage 1


DJ Destruction & DJ Specifik


For those of us who grew up in the early years of Hip-Hop music, especially around the early to mid-eighties, there was an exciting sub-genre of the music that came to be known as the Cut n Paste mix.

Most of you will be aware of how the Hip-Hop music grew from Kool Herc mixing the break beat of two records from turntable to turntable and then we had such things as Remixes and the Megamix. But, in 1983 the duo of Double Dee & Steinski would enter a Tommy Boy contest to remix the track ‘Play That Beat Mr DJ by G.L.O.B.E & Whiz Kid. The track they submitted was Lesson 1- The Payoff Mix which would sample early Hip-Hop records, Funk and Disco but also included samples from such diverse sources as movies, tap-dancing instruction records and records by Little Richard and The Supremes. Double Dee & Steinski would win that contest and would go on to release Lesson 2- The James Brown Mix in 1984 and Lesson 3- The History of Hip Hop Mix in 1985. The Lessons would quickly gain legendary status and go on to inspire such acts as Coldcut and MARRS in the UK and many more around the world. In fact, Coldcut’s first white label release ‘Say Kids What Time Is It?’ from 1986 was another entirely sample driven track which was hailed as the UKs first breaks record.

Tracks like these were often produced using the Pause button edit, something that Coldcut did exclusively with ‘Say Kids’ and ‘Beats + Pieces’, where you would pause the tape record the section you wanted then pause again and what you were doing was essentially cutting on piece of a track and pasting it into a new mixed track, hence the monocle of the Cut n Paste mix. This became popular among teenagers, like myself, who spend hours on a dual tape deck with a pile of cassettes trying get our own mix just right. I probably still have some of mine lying around somewhere…

This idea of the Cut n Paste mix still lives in the heart of many of the old skool headz out there and has been kept alive by those such as DJ Yoda with his How To Cut and Paste series and the Unthugged albums with Dan Greenpeace, just to name a couple. DJ Specifik also did a Cut n Paste competition through his Cold Krush radio show receiving some awesome submissions and being won by one Jabbathakut.

So, what DJ Destruction and DJ Specifik have done is to bring that vibe back for a new generation so, without further ado let me dive into these two tracks and if there is time afterward, I might include a few questions I asked both DJ’s…


The A side is Opus #1 (Test Of The Emergency Broadcast System) By DJ Destruction which takes you on a journey which almost redefines the idea of the cut n paste mix. An Opus, in musical terms, can be defined as a set of compositions and an artistic work, particularly one on a grand scale and here DJ Destruction takes a wealth of differing musical compositions and, through the medium of DJing, creates his first Opus. There is everything you would want here to get your body moving. You have you Hip-Hop, you funk, disco and soul and everything in between from the plethora of James Brown samples and other well know sounds from the likes of The Rimshots and Toney Lee to some more eclectic choices like Fun Boy Three and a collection of sounds, sound bites and even the appearance of Zippy from the UK children’s show Rainbow, which just goes to show there is nothing you can’t cut and paste with. This one really feels like a homage to Double Dee and Steinski and their Lessons style of mix. 

DJ Destruction

Flipping to the AA side we have Pause 191 (85 Prime Factory Reset) By DJ Specifik which packs more into a smidge over 4 minutes than most pack into an entire album. Specifik pulls no punches and hits you with break after break from the likes of Hall and Oates, Herbie Hancock, Mantronix, Art of Noise, Full Force, Digital Underground, Eric B and Rakim, Hasim and a whole lot more to boot. Add into that some scratching and a dash of sound bites and Specifik has you up on your feet bouncing around like a Mexican jumping bean on speed. The shear amount of what is packed into this mix is off the charts and took me back to the days of listening recordings of early DMC mixing championships on the John Peel show it takes you back in the days and pours molten liquid audible treat directly into your ears and before you know what’s happening it’s all over, now breath…


DJ Specifik

Overall, what can you really say about these two mixes?

For those of us who know this style of mix then it takes you back and really does give you a deep nostalgic feeling. Two different styles that bring the same warm injection of adrenaline on hearing all those great breaks from those tracks and instantly identifying them or, in some cases at least, trying to remember the source track (Damn old age). I mean, what a way to pack as much of your favourite sounds into just four or five minutes.

For anyone not familiar with this style of mix then this is about as perfect an introduction that you could want to this genre. Hearing these two tracks will make you want to go out and listen to the likes of Double Dee and Steinski, Coldcut, DJ Yoda etc and then hunt down the original tracks that those samples come from and that is the joy of this, if these is a track you are not familiar with, you can probably google it these days, it was a little harder for us back in the days you know…

I give huge respect to DJ Destruction and DJ Specifik for taking it back to the old days and creating two seamless Cut n Paste style mixes that really do keep that original Hip-Hop sound but for a new era and for bringing back great memories and emotions.

I understand that these days it is a little easier to create you own mixes with the advent of digital software but, that said I know there are still plenty of people out there keeping it analogue too. So, perhaps you might wanna hunt down an old double tape deck and a few tapes and have a go or alternatively there will be a program on your pc or even an App for that these days, why not give it a go…

You really won’t want to miss this release. This is also a brand-new collaboration with Wise Cut Records and will their first ever release. Released through Wise Cut Records, the pre-orders go live today, 14th May, and I doubt these will be around long…

On that note,

There is just enough time for a short Q n A with DJ Destruction and DJ Specifik:

Guys, thank you for taking the time to answer a few quick (well I hope they are quick anyway) Questions.

1.     Can you remember the first time you heard a mix of this kind, which one it was and which artist?

Specifik: If the truth be known I can’t actually remember which one I heard first! Age is taking its toll but what I can say is very early mixes on the radio by people like Chad Jackson, chopped up bits in the mix on the street sounds records, Double dee and Steinski, Coldcut all played a part. Now I think about it was probably more about producing a mix of records that just happened to be at a rapid pace rather than creating a patchwork. We were basically using tape players and pause buttons to re-create what was spliced. So maybe you have to credit the New York radio and club djs who did this first, It was natural progression.

Destruction: The first two Hip Hop albums I purchased were Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five’s Greatest Messages and Tommy Boy’s Greatest Beats. Both LP’s contained amazing cut ups that blew my 12 year old mind ’GMF’s Adventures on the Wheels Of Steel’ & 3-D’s ‘Tommy Boy Megamix’. Roughly around the same time (84/85) I was religiously listening to Mike Allen on Capital Radio every Friday and Saturday night, he would regularly play Double Dee & Steinski’s Lessons and various other mixes like ‘Fusion Beats’. The Third Lesson (History Of Hip Hop) really fascinated me and I started to try and replicate that by creating my own pause button mixes. Little did i know that in 87 Mike Allen would play one of my early megamix’s on his Sunday afternoon ’Street talk’ show. I still have a recording of it.


2.     Going one step on from that and thinking of your inspirations, DJ Specifik you note Michael Provis as an inspiration for your mix could you explain why that is and if you have any other inspirations for the mix.

Specifik: Yeah, big up my old mate Michael Provis who defiantly played a big part in me being interested in making pause mixes. He was a bit older than me and his brother a bit older again, so we had access to his brothers records although he probably didn’t know. Anyway, apart from breaking and graffiti we were also into having mix battles. We only did this a couple of times, but it was something I couldn’t get enough of. While I’m at it, happy birthday Mike !

DJ Destruction do you have any particular inspirations for your mix you could tell us about? Destruction: During lockdown I had a lot of time on my hands so thought I’d go back to my roots by creating a series of live cut and paste video’s for my social media channels. These were basically a salute to the pioneers such as Flash, DST, Double Dee & Steinski and Coldcut etc who inspired me to start DJ’ing and producing music. One video in particular had a Lessons feel about it so I decided to cut a studio version together which then became Opus #1.


3.     What was the motivation behind putting this release together?

Specifik: I was introduced to Ross aka Destruction through a mutual friend who knew I would be interested in his cut and paste videos. What I saw blew my mind and I went on to champion Ross through my radio show and CKTV. Obviously, we both have a mutual love for cut and paste so the natural progression was to do a record and here we are.


4.     How do you both go about deciding what tracks, sound bites and so on you are going to put into something like a Cut N Paste mix?

Specifik: For me it’s similar to Djing but applying a producer’s head. Find loads of tracks you want to work with and try to make them work together. There is defiantly a certain amount of fluke in the process as well. All the soundbites are adding to fill voids and add to the experience but all with familiar references, I guess.

Destruction: My approach is very similar to Specifiks. When planning a mix, I try to visualise a musical journey with multiple colours and shades, It’s a bit like putting a musical jigsaw together.


5.     How did the collaboration with Wise Cut Records come about and are there any future releases of this kind planned at all?

Specifk: The two guys behind Wise Cut are probably two of the nicest people you would ever meet. If this one goes well, I assume we will be back for more . .


6.     Lastly, if you’re up for it that is, could you tell us what you each think of the others mix? Destruction: I was totally blown away with what Specifik created and even more by how fast it was made. I seem to remember him doing the whole thing in a couple of evenings plus a video version too. His mix is full of cool samples and soundbites which brings back so many nostalgic memories from the 80’s & 90’s.

Specifik: I only have one word that sums up Ross’s mix and its Genius. Everything is so well crafted and works as one track which is what it should do really. I love working with people that inspire me and push me to work harder. When the video’s drop you will see the same energy again but visually.

Thank you both again for this, very much appreciated.

So, there you have it everyone, a little look into the story behind this awesome release. There is one last thing for me to do, which id to send huge props to Specifik for sending this over to me.

I’m outta Here,




Get your copy via Wise Cut Records Bandcamp Here:


Opus #1 (Test Of The Emergency Broadcast System) - Premieres on 15th May

Pause 191 (85 Prime Factory Reset) - Premieres on 15th May

Wednesday 12 May 2021

Album Review: Dead Man Walking: Deluxe Edition by Tylr C


Dead Man Walkin’ - Deluxe Edition


Tylr C


Dead Man Walkin’ is the debut solo album from Tylr C who is one half of the Cult Encounters Co out of Michigan USA. I was impressed by the single Another Planet which featured A-F-R-O and so was interested to see what Tylr C would offer on this solo excursion.

The first thing of note was that this was titled as a deluxe edition and, initially, I was not sure what made it deluxe as there does not seem to be any other editions available at the moment. However, after having a brief chat with Tylr C he explained that he had already released four previous editions of Dead Man Walkin’ and he went on to explain “this was like the last edition a compilation of all the best songs from the series put together as a cohesive project and I just liked how the name clicked”.

Tylr C has enlisted some decent features that include Cult Encounters label mates $adflcko, Tommy Darko, DMTree (from Illinois on Production) and AllButtonsIn (from Canada on Production) plus appearances from A-F-R-O, Big Sharp and Warna Beats.

Let me take you through the album and then give my thoughts…

First up Tylr C gives us the Dead Man Walkin’ Intro over a pounding beat which is loaded with cuts. This short intro gives you a feeling of rawness that sets tone as the idea of a dead man walkin’ creates a quite dark and heavy atmosphere. That heavy atmosphere eases somewhat as we enter the Dungeons Of Rap. The beat is still heavy but, takes a back seat to the acoustic guitar vibe and horns. Here we find Tylr C focusing on that raw rap style to seek to lock the game down. One thing you might find in a deep dark dungeon is A Murderous Weapon and in this case that would be your vocal rap style. The beat is more head nod here with some horns and organ nates that bring an almost church music vibe. Tylr C pays respect to some legendary figures who have walked before and are no longer here. He also shows the need to bring a harder edge to your craft in order to stand next to those you revere.

A more simplistic beat with multiple elements combines for a more mind-bending vibe that opens a portal to the 47th Dimension which allows $adflcko and Big Sharp to join Tylr C for a twisted look at Street culture, drugs and the things people have to do just to get by and also how they view themselves and their reps. A dark heavy beat with some piano notes drops and three emcees gather for what is an almost freestyle flow vibe as Tylr C, Tommy Darko and $adflcko step up to display their own individual style that could well give you Back Spasms. It’s time to get a bit funkier with a mix of bells and synths over a boom bap beat. Here we find Tylr C speaking on those who style is Braggadocios speaking about what they do and how go they are, he counters this by simply showing his style and where he is coming from in a humbler vibe. The tracks ends with a chilled out piano heavy instrumental which is the intro to Piece Of The Pie (Murderously Curious) which retains a chilled vibe with the piano over a head nob beat. $adflcko joins Tylr C for a track that looks at getting out there and doing what you love and working hard just to get a piece of the pie.

Some nerve tingling electronic notes over a heavy beat finds Tylr C looking at what it is to be an Equaliser in Hip Hop music and by that, I mean getting all the elements of your music right. From the beat to the story and your own style and being able to create something that will stand the test of time. $adflcko again joins Tylr C as a heavy beat drops with some synth notes intertwined. They each take on the role of the Murderous Storyteller as they drop those deep, graphic street tales, the kind that come from the mind of a streetwise Stephen King and all stories of this nature, especially violent ones, will have an ending of some sort and The Aftermath (skit) is just that as details what happens after the previous story.

Synth, organ and a head nod beat provides the back drop for Tommy Darko and Tylr C to take a Night Stroll and take us along for the ride. This is a ride through the dark nights and dark days of the mind where anything can happen, seemingly on a dice roll. If you needed a bit of time-out from the street vibe then this is it as A-F-R-O and $adflcko join Tylr C. The beat is straight-up head nod but, with a spaced-out jazz atmosphere where its all about the bars and the wordplay taking you on trip through Constellations, just like the places you might go amid a purple haze.

We come back down to earth to a simplistic beat over which is a mind tingling piano and slide guitar. $adflcko again joins Tylr C to examine the Problematic ups and downs of day-to-day life. We drift into the final track of the album to a dark laid-back vibe of the Cult Clan (outro) which makes it plain and simple that you gotta be part of the clan to associate with the clan.


Sometimes it is easy to get into the vibe of an album and other times it takes a few listens. Being from the UK I have to make it plain that I know nothing about life in Michigan. So, there are certain aspects of this album that are more difficult for me to comment on as I often draw on personal experience and knowledge in my writing and so not being familiar with life in Michigan means I am not able to be so detailed and so, will get a deeper feel for some things as you listen. Having said that, overall, I found it to be an enjoyable listen. Production wise the album flows well and takes that boom bap Hip-Hop and gives it some nice twists along the way.

At times the album has an almost gritty and raw edge to it sounding not as polished as it could do but, then if you are reflecting that street life vibe it will have that raw unpolished note to it because there are experiences out there where the streets are tougher that are not easy to reflect without leaving it with an undiluted edge to it. I did feel that at times musically and vocally. Now some might feel this detracts from the album and shows a level of unprofessionalism, for me this shows a hunger to get out there and to show your potential. This is especially so as Tylr C fully engineered, mixed and mastered the album and shows that there is limitless potential to continue to grow and evolve. What I do note is that working with A-F-R-O does seem to bring out a different side to him and allows him to raise it up a few notches.

I do feel this one will appeal more to the US Hip Hop heads but, that said, this still an enjoyable Hip-Hop album that is produced by those who have a genuine love for the music and to reflect the trials and tribulations of everyday life through that musical medium.

For me Tylr C and the whole Cult Encounter Co are definitely ones to watch as I am sure that the  experience of getting their music out to the Hip-Hop community worldwide will only serve to further their careers and widen their fan base.

Huge thanks to Tylr C for sending this over for review.

Dead Man Walkin’: Deluxe Edition is available now.

Time for me to be out,




Buy Dead Man Walkin': Deluxe Edition from Cult Encounters Co Bandcamp Here:

Tylr C on Soundcloud:

Tylr C on Apple Music:

Tylr C on Spotify:

Cult Encounters Co on the Web:

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