Friday, February 27, 2015
Going forward these posts will increasingly stray into a zone where tracks contain not rapping so much as an element of non-sung or semi-sung vocal. This tune by Laid Blak is a good example: less a case of "garage rap" and more what used to be called "singjay" - the vocalist sliding smoothly and sweetly back and forth between melody and chat.
"Scream and Shout" reached #4 in the Blissblog Faves of 2002, a high-rising late entry. Not sure it quite deserves such a high placing, but it's still a charmer.
Here's what I said about it then:
LAID BLAK – “Scream & Shout” (Moist)
It’s not all darker-than-thou UK gangsta menace, this garage rap biznizz. All kinds of voices—playful, humorous, downright affable—can seize this moment. There’s room for Busta Rhymes dementia (see Robloe & Kin featuring Nor-T Jack Fever’s “Bounce”....), for Shaggy-style comic loverman braggadochio, for Barrington Levy-like tender charm. Flitting between the last two modes, here’s Bristol crew Laid Blak and this overlooked gem of a tune, which is about as far from garage rap’s customary skrewface as possible. The bit where a tipsy-sounding Mc Joe Peng mumbles mawkishly “he is a nice and decent fellow, I am a nice and decent fellow, we’re all nice and decent fellows” might be my favorite vocal moment of the year. He’s such an amiable sort he can even get away with a move-on-up positivity sermon without making you cringe: “I don’t mean to make you paro/but what about tomorrow?/If we continue with this way of life we’re heading for pure sorrow/And what about our children?/What future have we gave them?/Enjoy it now ‘cos when it’s gone expect a little mayhem/I’m talking to my brethren/I’m talking to my sistren/It’s time for us to pick up the fight ‘cos we want our children to live right.” The jaunty “Original Vocal Mix” is the one to go for, reminding me slightly of prime Madness, but the more garagey DJ Lewi Dirty Vocal Mix is also good.
Thursday, February 26, 2015
The G in N'n'G is producer Grant Nelson, who's pretty much the hardcore continuum incarnate: started out making banging rave tunes at the start of the 90s under the name Wishdokta for Kickin' (also produced Xenophobia's "Rush In the House" - ardkore + rap - courtesy of one MC Scallywag), followed its logic through to happy hardcore and 2step. But in parallel with the early 90s ardkore Nelson was also already making garage tunes, long before "speed" got affixed at the front.
Under his own name, Nelson released 1998's slinky-yet-slamming "Step 2 Me" - best in this auto-remix by alter ego Bump 'n' Flex. But GN's entrance to the UKG Pantheon really comes with 1999's "Liferide", his collaboration with Norris Windross (the N in N'n'G). It's a classic plinky xylo-bass groove over which Soul II Soul's Rose Windross (sister of Norris) sprinkles her angel dust and MC don Creed spins out dizzyingly assonance-thick rhymes in his trademark clipped’n’prim style.
Strange and marvelous how something so compressed and inhibited-sounding is so cool. But what's really notable about "Liferide" is that Creed is rapping proper verses - it's no longer about a few catchphrases. Although nothing could be less grimy than "Liferide" - all criss gloss and dainty swing - this is a step on the road to grime.
Bonus bump -
with MC niceness this time from Neat