SINGLES REVIEW

Verbals by A to the L
Task Force & Braintax – Rockstarz (Low Life Desserts) (Low Life Records)
The second single from the forthcoming “Food” compilation sees Low Life get um… jiggy with it. Well not really – this tune still has the grimey tinge that Low Life and Task Force have become renowned for, but there’s no doubt that in the right atmosphere this could be clubbified hotness. Raw Dog member Otis lays down some sparse electro-tinged grooves for Farma and Chester to spit their unique shit over. With Braintax adding some mic help-outs and Kylie and Will Young getting namechecked I think you can already tell that this is on some other shit! The remix meanwhile takes thing to an altogether more ominous place, replacing the electro flavour with harder drums and whirling jazz arrangements to great effect. The flip meanwhile? You NEED it! ‘You Know Who You Are’ sees Rodney P, Mystro, Farma G and Braintax linking up over Braintax’s beats and Shortee Blitz’ scratching to provide a veritable who’s who of modern UK Hiphop on the mic. The track just fucking BANGS! If for some strange reason you ain’t feeling Task Force, then this will convince you to pick this up. Go get it fool!
RATING: 9.5 / 10

DJ Format – We Know Something You Don’t Know (Genuine)
Format’s third single sees him teaming up with Jurassic 5’s Charli 2na and Akil for an enjoyable romp throught beatsville. Format’s production on this track throws up instant comparisons to classic Jurassic shit, and its no surprise that he counts J5’s DJs Nu Marc and Cut Chemist amongst his close crate digging chums – this follows the same path of funky jazz breaks, and addictive guitar licks that the duo have trademarked as the Jurassic sound. Of course, with the beats being so familiar-sounding, 2na and Akil both rip the mic, meshing perfectly with the track to produce an excellent end product. The B side has a couple of tracks, ‘Here Comes The Fuzz’, and ‘As The Drum Pounds’, which although pretty nice, aren’t touching the quality of the title track. The latter track sees Format hooking up with old mucker Abdominal, providing him with a set of quick-paced drums and an interesting scratched hook, as Ab comes off a little Divine Styler-ish on the mic. Not bad at all, but like I said – side A is ruling the school here.
RATING: 6.5 / 10

Vintage Imperial – Mic Club (Vintage Imperial)
I love it when this happens. Out of the blue you get sent a 12″. You know nothing about it, or the artists on it. You don’t even remember being in contact with said artists or their representatives. Then you bung it on, and crack a grin – why? ‘Cause usually the dopest Hiphop is the kind that sneaks up on you with no warning and smacks you in the chops. So let me pass on my thanks to Atlanta duo SL One and Kid Kaos for flinging the vinyl at me – this is just illy. Three tracks of hot shit are on offer here – ‘Mic Club’, ‘Boiling Point’, and ‘CPR Part 2’. For ‘Mic Club’ imagine classic cartoonish Biz Markie-styled beats with inane childish chanting on the hook, then drop two muhfuckas with skills all over it. The beats on this are just disgusting, and these guys are even so nice that they included instrumentals on the flip… gracias! ‘Boiling Point’ is a little mo’ mellow, featuring a beautiful string loop, and a haunting female vocal flying in and out of the mix, though the drums still retain the oomph throughout. Again, thank fuck for an instrumental on the flip too, because there’s a sick horn loop that I wanna isolate when I get time! ‘CPR Part 2′ rounds things off, and is a dizzying mix of jazzy piano and thumping drum beats – very KMD-ish indeed, and its little surprise that Vintage Imperial have worked in the past with ol’ Metal Face himself, in addition to popping up on the regular on Bobbito’s CM Famalam radio show, where Doom also puts in work from time to time. If this hasn’t convinced you yet to hunt this down,then there’s really no hope for you… this is sick, and is begging to be part of your collection.
RATING: 9 / 10

Beenie Man – Street Life (Virgin)
The newest single from Beenie’s “Tropical Storm” album, sees him get a touch of the Wyclefs. Scandanavian production team StarGate handle the production here and lay down a chilled out acoustic track for Beenie to spit on that isn’t a million miles away from something the ex-Fugee would come with. Its supremely polished, almost sickeningly glossy, but still there’s something in the hook that makes in annoyingly catchy. On the B side you get a So So Def remix that hardens things up a little with JD biting down hard on the Neptunes production style, as he witters inanely in the background with Da Brat – the harder edge of the track is cancelled out by the inclusion of this annoying little dwarf’s mumblings throughout. Methinks that Mr Dupri may well be the one who will top my poison pen list this year – he has no mic skills, his production style is straight bitten from whatever other hot acts are doing at the time… he must be destroyed. Oh, and Beenie Man? Well this will get chart play, and he’ll make his dough. But apart from that, I suppose I can really take this or leave it.
RATING: 5 / 10

Hidden Talent ft. S’oreal – The Indian Tune (Virgin)
This single is making it onto the playlists of several DJs from the UK’s digital station 1Xtra – God knows why. Maybe its a London thing or something, as this sounds like a So Solid Crew type of jam with its growling electronic bass and witless grunting on the hook. I just can’t see the appeal here – but then, I don’t see the appeal of a lot of London things – jellied eels, Harrods, Buckingham Palace, West Ham Football Club etc. Add ‘The Indian Tune’ to the list – let the facking cants in the Big Smoke keep this to themselves. (*Makes mental note to insult entire cities more often*)
RATING: 1 / 10

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