I kicked off LabelGroovement, a digital and Bandcamp focused label, last year with a release from LA’s Depakote. Mecca:83. Kuartz and Tehbis have all put out stunning releases on there, and I’m really proud of the ‘Volume One’ compilation that so many talented beatmakers contributed to.
I’m chuffed to be able to rep Manchester with this new one, courtesy of two of the city’s finest hip hop heads. Seymour runs community hip hop night Golden Egg, currently at Fallow (formerly Trof) in Fallowfield, and Cheech is one third of The Bluntskins, who are building themselves a hell of a reputation.
Manchester hip hop from two of the city’s most well known characters. Seymour runs community hip hop night Golden Egg, a harbour for creativity, cyphers and good times. Cheech is one third of the Bluntskins, as well as part of local supergroup Mothership Connection.
released 10 May 2014
Production on tracks 1, 3 and 4 by Misc Jockey
Track 2 by DJ Rasp
Track 5 by Bat FunkArt by Ed Duffill www.edduffill.co.uk
Mastered by BumNotes at Drop Studio
Notes from Seymour:
produced by Misc Jockey
Why teach the children to read when they can watch moving screens? Infectious Laughter is a dark message about consumerism and advertising, with samples of the late comedy genius Bill Hicks.
Predator in Danger ft Spider Jaroo
produced by DJ Rasp
Predator in Danger: pretty simply, enjoy music and don’t be a whopper. Featuring the raps of Spider Jaroo from Northern Structure and the legend DJ Rasp on production.
produced by Misc Jockey
‘When feeling super human, remember it’s just words’ – Sigh Chief is a deconstruction of the party, don’t take things too seriously, life is bigger than bass and waiting in lines.
Spud ft Dubbul O and NDB
produced by Misc Jockey
A bouncy drunken excited track about being drunk and excited. Spud makes you question what goes on, on the Mothership. Featuring the raps of Dubbul O (Mothership Connection, Voodoo Black and The Mouse Outfit) and a cameo from longtime friend NDB of Taste the Diff’rence.
Tax Those ft Benny Diction
produced by Bat Funk
We are a part of the disenchanted masses; the people in power and influence aren’t representing those who need help the most. Featuring the raps of Benny Diction from Punning Clan.
A hip hop and soul head all day long, Gez Miley is a music lover with taste. His blog, Watch Deez, is his outlet and I’ve asked him for a choice selection for Groovement – he hasn’t disappointed.
He says, “There isn’t really any rhyme or reason to the selection here. The majority here is Hip-Hop but with a little soul in the centre of the mix.
Just a few of my favourite artists and a lot of tracks that I listen to often from years back. A mix of old and new side by side. Honestly, this playlist could’ve been four hours long so it was difficult to shorten it to a little over an hour.
It was a pleasure putting this together for Groovement. Music fans first.”
1. Skyzoo – The Opener 2. Mood – Info For The Streets 3. Mobb Deep – G.O.D. Pt. III (Cookin Soul Remix) 4. L’Orange & Stik Figa – Smoke Rings 5. Finale – Motor Music 6. Ratking – Canal 7. Onyx – Raze It Up 8. Asamov – Standing Room Only ft. J-Live, Wordsworth & Cassidy 9. Naughty By Nature – Written On Ya Kitten (QDIII Remix) 10. MC Lyte – Ice Cream Dream 11. The Doppelgangaz – KnowntchooTahLie 12. Nas & Jay Z – The World Is Yours/Dead Presidents/Where I’m From (Live at Coachella) 13. Miles Bonny – Salmon Steaks 14. Raphael Saadiq – Different Times ft. T-Boz 15. The Revelations & Tre Williams – I Forgot To Be Your Lover 16. Amerie – Why Don’t We Fall In Love 17. crumb – Walkman Flavour 18. The Cool Kids – 88 19. Shad + Skratch Bastid – Homie ft. Cadence Weapon 20. MED – Can’t Hold On 21. Cormega – Sleep Well ft. Dwele 22. Tanya Morgan – All ‘Em ft. Outasight 23. Big L – MVP (Tom Caruana Remix) 24. Devin The Dude – Cooter Brown 25. The Beatnuts – Look Around ft. dead prez & Cheryl ‘Pepsi’ Riley
Escape Music is available now on digital, CD (also try Eastern Bloc in Manchester) and vinyl.
If you’re in Manchester on Saturday, they’re hitting up Hit and Run with Mr Thing over at Antwerp Mansion – grab tickets here.
THE MOUSE OUTFIT BREAK AMERICA!
Well, kind of. Topping off a year that has seen the release of their debut album finally catapult them towards wider recognition with support from the likes of Wordplay magazine and Mary Anne Hobbs, Manchester’s Mouse Outfit saw themselves land in ABC’s top 50 albums of the year this week. Their patience has paid off – they waited a fair few years before releasing any tracks, honing production being of utmost importance.
I’ve dipped in and out of involvement with the Manchester hip hop scene over the last few years, with our club night In The Loop enabling me to touch base with the cream of rap and production talent that the city’s got to offer (which I certainly won’t attempt to list here, but any regular Groovement reader would already be familiar with – click the Manchester tab). In my humble opinion, Manchester is ready to step up once again – I realise and will continue to love the wealth of electronic/beats/non-genre aligned music which already killed it in 2012 and 2013, but rap is ready to make its (don’t call it a) comeback and it’s great to see this lot’s hard work paying off.
The fallout of the above will hopefully be that rappers and their crews associated with the Mouse Outfit project (I’m looking at you Ape Cult, Mothership, Voodoo Black and the like – on a wider scale LEVLZ rep this fully) will be inspired to drop some bangin’ new music to rival, if not better, content from other cities.
(Scroll down for more from Manchester)
The cypher we run at Loop is nothing new but always will be a core element of the culture, and the Mouse Outfit were there from the start (indeed bass player/MO mastermind Defty was one of the initiators, making sure the band were there to back the cypher whenever possible). In the last four years the Loop nights have provided one of (definitely not the only – shouts to community oriented nights Golden Egg, Taste the Diff’rence, Freestyle Fictionary, Contact and my short lived Hip Hop Sunday Social to name a few, as well as all those promoters doing their thing) hubs for hip hop lovers to hook up, and it’s this spreading the love element that pervades the Escape Music album, with a variety of elements on the vocal front complementing the band’s musical range.
The Mouse Outfit back the cypher at In The Loop, 2011:
If the ‘produced’ music itself wasn’t fresh enough, their unmatched multi-member live shows continue to cement their reputation for talent. They’ve wowed audiences at festivals and local gigs for a fair few years (I’ve even played triangle in Wales with them, which was obviously one of their best gigs), having settled into a third (or maybe fourth) generation of the crew centred around a tight production unit of Chini (keys and producer), Defty (bass) and Pitch (MPC) with a proliferation of non-permanent MCs that keeps things fresh. Whether or not this is a sustainable model remains to be seen, but Dr Syntax and Sparkz seem to be a constant in terms of touring. Seeing the Mouse Outfit live is an experience, rekindling many an interest in hip hop, and I seriously recommend you get round to it in 2014.
This year will see the Mice continue to grow in various ways I’m sure, and the ABC article is hopefully an indicator as to how this may play out. I may be wrong in thinking that ‘breaking America’ isn’t a thing that bands aspire to these days – surely global domination via internet infiltration is the way forward? The ABC article, placing the album above the likes of Bowie’s The Next Day and Ghostface/Adrian Younge’s Twelve Reasons… (in essence a very similar concept of instrumentation and rap – with its own comic! – catch Ghostface talking about working with a live band a few years back on Groovement here), will hopefully be a game changer in furthering not only the Mouse Outfit message, but that of Manchester hip hop in general. This lot are prolific and some are very nearly at the top of their game – keep an eye on Groovement in 2014 to find out more. Manchester, show us what you got.
In The Loop host Bedos with the Mouse Outfit, pre-Escape Music
The Mouse Outfit with former members D Dot X and Rags on vocals at Raw Festival, Wrexham in 2009
Christmas shenanigans on Groovement’s Unity Radio show, 2009
A stomping soulful remix from UK producer Imperial of this staple Kanye tune to kick off the new year. Imperial’s recent killer EP with K.I.N.E.T.I.C. – Pencils Not Pistols – is also still available for free.
Manchester is standing at the forefront of a hip hop and beats revolution at the minute. The Mouse Outfit have disturbed the underground with their brand of funky hip hop, while the Room 2 imprint (download debut label release Kydroponics Vol 2 here) looks set to be a prolific representation of the Manc underground over the coming years – more on that below.
Stalwarts of the Manchester hip hop community over the past few years have been Ellis Meade, Sparkz and Dubbul O. I got to know them well through our night In The Loop, where they were (and still are) regular attendees not only to show off their skills on the mic, but as lovers of the music. While they’ve all remained independent and carved their own paths, they were all members of ‘The Kollektive’, and eventually released the Digital Textures EP (currently not available) as a trio. Things then went quiet for a couple of years as they followed their own projects, but this year Voodoo Black arrived…
Ellis: Voodoo Black was formed around the start of the year shortly after myself, Dubbul O (Vidal) & Sparkz got a chance to get back in the studio. After a long break since all working together on Digital Textures, we also have Joe “Cutterz” on the 1’s and 2’s now, so I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do, in the studio, & on stage. We just put out our first EP, you can download this here @ http://www.VoodooBlack.com
What are the origins of Voodoo Black? You three have worked together before, so what makes this different from the Kollective or Digital Textures?
Voodoo Black’s origin was from the Kollektive & Digital Textures project. Back in late 2009, I shouted Sparkz & V to get on a hip hop beat I’d done at the time which we ended up recording at The Cutting Rooms Studio in North Manchester. With me already buzzin’ with how the instrumental sounded by its self, they hopped in front of the RE20 & Neumann- running though the Avalon Pre’s & Raindirk desk, it just sounded proper.
The main difference now from the Kollektive or the Digital Textures EP is that we have DJ Cutterz also producing and supplying the cuts. As well as this, Cutterz is gonna be putting down a couple beats for the next release. Needless to say, they’re sounding pretty dope.
You’re releasing this on Room 2, Kydro’s new label. How did you hook up with him and how does the relationship work?
Well… first things first. Room2 was an idea I came up with after having been producing and recording in Estate Recordings’ Second Studio at Wellington House. It was around this time last year they moved in, and not too long after, I heard they had a second space there they wanted some of the younger lot usin’. It wasn’t too long after this I shouted Skittz (Skittles) who helped out with the Vaagon, and I had all my nice recording shit moved up there. So really, I see Room 2 as symbol of what can happen when artists work together and support each other.
So… for a short while it was really just me, Sparkz & we eventually got Dubbul O down to the spot for a couple sessions. Not too long after, Dom Hz moved some of his gear in and we were off. So thats how the “Room 2″ name came about really, the concept behind it was to bring together and unite artists who know and work with each other on a regular basis, and this was an idea myself & Kydro had discussed in the past, but could not think of a name or point at which we could link it all together, so I thought Room 2 was a solid through line in where we could bring together as many artists & talents as possible. And to clarify, Room 2’s main producers are, in no particular order… myself, Kydro, Dom Hz, Metrodome & Pro P. There will definitely be more, but the idea is that we have enough content between ourselves alone that we can continue a steady stream of underground music, while not compromising quality.
Have Sparkz and Dubbul O become divas since working with the Mouse Outfit? Seriously though, have you seen a change in their performances since you started working with them?
Nar, they’re very down to earth people, which is why I get along with them so well. I think working with The Mouse Outfit has made them more clinical in writing and performance, which you should expect from working with such high calibre musicians. I don’t think you get to have a live show as good as The Mouse Outfit’s set without every musician excelling in their own way. The MO do this well.
What are the strengths of the Manchester hip hop scene in 2013?
I think the variety & versatility defines Manchester hip hop scene at the moment. From Kydro, Skittles ‘n’ that, Ape Cult, Mothership Connection, TNC, MOSH TEAM, The Bluntskins, ThisIsDA, The Mouse Outfit, everyone’s coming with something different. One thing that will define Manchester hip hop now, is how well we work together from paper to stage. I think for the first time in years I hear local music where people are allowing new influences to the sound, which makes for more authentic original tunes, & more unique artists. And what are its weaknesses?
I’d say that the main weaknesses to the hip hop scene in Manchester are artists who think they have “made it” and continue to put out the exact same sound UKHH has been dealing with for years expecting to blow up, as well as taking every opportunity to post bitter Facebook updates about how “certain people” get this ‘n’ that attention. To those who are inside this bracket, and hopefully reading now, cheer up yo, go make some tunes.
None of us involved with the scene tend to be involved in solely ‘traditional’ hip hop – how influential is the electronic element in Manchester?
Of course the electronic music scene has had a major influence on Manchester music, but I wouldn’t say its affected the way in which people make hip hop music, not directly at least anyway. Growing up in and around high school I was always one to be listenin’ to hip hop, not grime, so I didn’t get influenced in the same way it has influenced a lot of UK rappers, particularly in the tone and flow delivery.
Without a shadow of a doubt tracks like Strategy’s Marka w/ Dub Phizix & Skeptical, Chimpo & Enei’s Headtop & Dom Hz’s Remix work with Skittles & The Mouse Outfit have influenced the Manchester scene to some extent, but I truly feel that hip hop in Manchester is in its own thing, and will continue to grow & develop in its own way. In terms of electronic hip hop specifically, and who’s bringing fire, I think Metrodome is holding the torch right now, with Dom Hz & Sparkz sat on a few gems there, hopefully more producers will step into this arena and let loose.
How do you perceive the national scene? Is there one?
The National Hiphop Scene… Hmmm… Yeah I guess there is a scene, a pretty shit one. At one end everyone is concerned with snapbacks and the fashion of it all, at the other, you have little scruffs in hoodies wantin’ to rap and act hard. I think there is a lot to be done in diversifying the audience and letting people know who go out to nights, that yes, there is hip hop music you can vibe and chill to, and yes, there is (some) that you can go sick and mosh out to. As opposed to the predictable situation… having MCs spit their generic Mr Badman-wise bars, and maybe actually spit at you because he/she’s too close too your ear, shouting down your ear, etc. High Focus have turned some of these stereotypes on its head, shifting the focus to quality control while keeping the sound raw, letting artists have creative freedom while also bringing new, younger acts to the fore. Are you working on your own solo stuff at the moment? Last we heard from you was the Conceptions mixtape, how was the response to that?
I have a solo project I am working on with Kydro which will be a Room 2 release due to go out this year. There is also a self produced solo project which should be ready for around the start of 2014, so stay locked.
The Conceptions mixtape had a decent response I thought for a first free online release. It had a simple purpose, a very clear aim to let heads know, I am here. I think it did that.
Never mind James and Chance cruising round the countryside with no seat belts in a low rider, this here is what should getting that ridiculous amount of views! Enjoy.
Album The Foremost released 28 October 2013 on Project Blue Book Available on Vinyl, CD and Digital Download
DJ Food says: I was lucky enough to hear this in full the other night and it is stunning. Straight up Hip Hop, the way you like(d) it but far from an old school nostalgia-fest. One producer, one MC and only one track featuring guests – it’s 10 tracks of no nonsense beats, rhymes and the odd scratch. Fast and funky as fuck with a Mr Krum sleeve to boot – another addition to the ever-growing list of great albums released this year.
Video conceived and directed by PAINTSHOP STUDIO and JEFF METAL
Filmed and edited by JEFF METAL
Artwork by PAINTSHOP STUDIO
After Effects by AMELIA CULLERN