Various – Channel U Presents: Underground Chapter 2 [Long Lost Brother Records – LLBUD1]
This release is probably not for my demographic. British, white suburban kid, early 20s. I’m not a big grime head, and for some reason find it difficult to find UK hip-hop that I actually enjoy – so a release that consists of a lot of grime and UK hip-hop will always be a difficult swallow for me. However I can appreciate good production, talent and general passion. Now most of the acts founds here are so underground that they barely registered on anyone’s radar, and gave up after a few releases – however there may be good reason behind that. The first half of this compilation is pretty good going – featuring names that were already or were going to become big names in the UK music scene. However the second half is terrible. Production is usually poor, singing/rap talent is sometimes so bad it’s X-Factor audition cringey and then the music videos are just something else. A lot of these acts do feel very lo-fi, they almost all feel like media student projects. I guess if you dig this type of music you can find something here, but I cannot and find the second half of this release brings it down.
Various – Loud Rocks Advance Sampler [Loud Records / Columbia – RPROCD 4435]
This album is a pure product of its time. I don’t think such a record could ever really exist at any other point in time in music history. Growing up through this period, and feeling strangely nostalgic for all things from the turn of the millennia I find this record very interesting. Yet although interesting, in the aspect of how it came to be, I do not find it in any way enjoyable. I love hip-hop from this era, the emergence and popularity of hardcore hip-hop. I love metal from this era, nu-metal and funk metal taking the throne of the heavy metal scene. Yet when some record execs at Columbia decided to actually combine the two, I feel that it sounded better in the board meeting than it actually does in the flesh.
It feels like I am listening to a constant loop of early 2000’s action movie trailer soundtracks.
K7 – Hi De Ho [Big Life – BLRD 108]
Rap was still finding its feet back in the early 90s, at this time there were two main contenders in the arena – gangsta rap and pop rap. This release, new to me at the time of writing, fits into the latter. Both genres at the time had issues with producing a lot of sub-par records that sounded very similar to each other, and this record fits into this category.
This is your typical cringe-worthy pop rap that is nice enough for mainstream radio play, doesn’t upset grandma and is fun for the kids. With nonsensical lyrics, a stupid chorus and uninspired beats this track is just naff – pure and simple. I think what annoys me most is that this type of innocent rap is intended to be marketed towards people like me, young white guys. Yet I find it horribly boring and much prefer the harder lines found in gangsta rap of the same period.
Luckily this style died out by the turn of the millennium, with a few stragglers into the 2000s. And honestly this is one style I never want to have the pleasure of a revival.