Browsing All posts tagged under »underground rap«

Chattabox – They Call Me (hip-hop)

August 16, 2012


As I’ve come to expect from a Chattabox release, this one goes in hard from the start. I often go to some lengths to counter the idea that musical quality is a matter of technical skills being exploited at full stretch, but there are times when an impressive display of compositional and performance gymnastics makes a positive aesthetic contribution to the music. This is one such: the very fact that this shit is hard to do is a part of its strength, and since Chatta never takes his eye off the ball in terms of his lyrics and beats it never comes across as smart-arsed, or as empty formalism. A highly developed skill set, in areas completely unvalued by the cultural elite, is a challenge to hegemony, and an assertion of personal agency …

H.L.I. – Omniglyph (hip-hop)

June 20, 2012


Rap is a form of spoken language; perhaps more than any other discursive art, it has no independent existence on the page; semantics are central to its meanings, but flow and orality are its material substance. It’s interesting then, that H.L.I. have chosen to title this release in a way that ascribes universal significance to a visual mark, and even seems to suggest that as a work, it intends to either represent, or present itself as equivalent to, such an infinitely polyvalent grapheme. It’s fair to assume that they’re not too hung up on the specific definition of a ‘glyph’, but all the same, taken as a general term for a sign or symbol, it clearly implies a static, atemporal locus of meaning, in stark contrast to the sequential unfolding of rap…

Copywrite – God Save The King (Proper English Version) (hip-hop)

May 26, 2012


Underground hip-hop takes distinct forms on either side of the Atlantic, to the extent that it’s arguable that ‘British underground hip-hop’ refers to a genre distinct from the American equivalent, rather than a geographically differentiated variety of the same thing. Arguable, but that doesn’t mean I think that’s necessarily the case… I do think that there are some important cultural differences (place and ethnicity both have very different functions in the construction of American and British identity), but I also think that the adherents of hip-hop’s undergrounds probably have more in common globally than they do with their local mainstreams. That being the case, transatlantic collaborations seem to be a little thin on the ground…

Rick Fury – Fist Of Fury (hip-hop)

April 4, 2012


I’m going to force myself to write this review without quoting the lyrics; there’s nothing necessarily wrong with quoting lyrics in a review, but with Rick Fury it’s too tempting a cop-out. When I find it hard to put my finger on the right words, his are so eloquent that it’s easier just to put them on my page, and stand back and admire them; but without the beat, the flow and the context it’s impossible to convey their impact, and you have access to his lyrics by following the link above. My job is to tell you what it sounds like, what it feels like to listen to it, and what I think it means.