REVIEW: Plus One – Champion Sounds

Champion Sounds

Artist: Plus One

Album: Champion Sounds

Label: DMC

Rating: 9 / 10

Reviewer: A to the L

The average Hiphop man in the street may not have heard of Plus One. You see he’s got a few things going against him. Firstly, he’s from the UK – that dark, cold rainy place that has many a US artist complaining about the food, the accent, the black people who don’t speak in ebonics, etc etc. Secondly, he’s what is popularly known as a “turntablist”, a term which conjures up the image of grown men frantically searching through bargain bins for another dusty copy of ‘Get Out Of My Life Woman’to destroy with the needle in a burst of crabs and flares (see – now even I’m using the appropriately nerdish terms.)

Despite the best efforts of DJ Craze, Q-Bert, and the X-ecutioners, turntablism has barely dented the major Hiphop conciousness. To many, its a technical step too far, which has resulted in a million wannabees forgetting that the main reason for turntables is to rock a party, and instead introducing excruciating static and feedback into their unlistenable mixes in an attempt at “art”. However in the hands of someone who actually knows what they’re doing, an attempt to combine the arts of party-rocking and needle-dropping (see? another term!) can seem like the easiest thing in the world to do.

Enter Plus One. A member of the Scratch Perverts (a name that WILL ring many bells), Plus One picked up another trophy for his mantlepiece last year by becoming DMC World Champion (and in the process making a move from being part of a DMC Championship winning scratch team with the Perverts, to becoming a champion in his own right.) On the back of this success, and following up an outing with Killa Kela on the “Wordlab 2” compilation, Plus One has now released a double mix cd in conjunction with DMC, with one half featuring a Hiphop set, while the other features Drum’n’Bass. Oh and one other thing – this mix cd, in keeping with Plus One’s UK roots, promises to showcase the best of British. (How could it be anything else though when Rodney P is all over this, introducing tracks, and dropping impromptu freestyles in usual riddim killa style?)

Best of British Hiphop then? As well as Rodney, you’d expect to see cats like Skitz, Blade, Roots Manuva and Jehst on here… and Plus One doesn’t disappoint, tossing the bass heavy Skitz collaboration with Dynamite and GQ, ‘We Make Em Make Noise’ into the mix with effortless ease. The appearance of Jehst’s ‘Return Of The Drifter’ on here only serves to illustrate that he is now counted as one of the UK’s elite, before Plus One perfectly blends it into Roots Manuva’s fabulous single from late last year, ‘Witness.’ Sometimes you forget how good certain tracks are when you haven’t checked them for a while, and ‘Witness’ does a good job of hammering its way back into the brain with its electro-tinged bassline. Blade meanwhile makes his appearance on an exclusive mix of ‘No Strings Attached’, flowing over heavy rock guitars as Plus One is joined by fellow Scratch Pervert Tony Vegas for a vinyl demolition session.

Incredibly though, there ARE even better joints on here. Skitz and Rodney P join forces again, combining with Die, Dynamite and Tali for the uptempo ‘It’s On’, a hardcore track built around a simple jazz loop, that is off the fucking hook. Also worth checking out is the bouncy ‘Something Beautiful’, an exclusive cut to this album which features the Cold City Rockers and Skeme. Elsewhere strong appearances from Blak Twang, Fallacy & Fusion and New Flesh, make this cd a crucial must-have.

The other cd, I’m not so sure about. I’m not a fan of Drum’n’Bass at all, and so most of the names here are unfamiliar, and the tracks quite frankly, not my cup of tea. Also, I know that Rodney P has expressed a fondness for Drum’n’Bass in the past, but even he sounds a little uncomfortable rhyming over the fast, electronic beats. If you dig a little variety in your life, then you may recognise and enjoy tracks from DJ Clipz, Origin Unknown, and J Majik (to name a few) but I’ll pass thanks very much.

As a Hiphop fan, I’m telling you – you gotta pick this up. The first cd, makes this a neccessity, not only because of the strong track selection, but because Plus One has deliberately stayed away from exhibiting too many turntable tricks, instead choosing to let the music speak for itself. Props on that move. And if you ever need somewhere to rest your beer while you’re vibing to this, then the second cd makes a perfect coaster. Thoughtful chap that Plus One!

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