Really excited about this BRAND NEW project under the alias Arkade 81 bringing ‘modern boogie’ to the masses. For more info check out their soundcloud page at www.soundcloud.com/arkade81
Sick promo video for Channel 4’s upcoming ‘Street Summer’ season featuring Mz Bratt, Faith SFX, Wretch 32, Ms Dynamite and Professor Green.
This August, Channel 4 celebrates Britain’s vibrant urban culture. From street dance, urban sport, street art and graffiti to rap/spoken word and hip hop, Street Summer explores the world of contemporary urban cool.
So as my festive boredom has reached it’s climax….through my zombie like surfing on the world wide web, I somehow stumbled across this cool little site called ‘Coggles.com’ that sells loads of interesting, unique bits of clothing for both the mandem & galdem with alot of the stuff made by young independent designers.
It also runs an ongoing feature called ‘Street Style’ shining a spotlight on the current UK street fashion trends….you can check out their lookbook via http://www.coggles.com/store/street-style
This was Mos Def’s first live show in the UK since 2007, so it is more then fair to say expectation was at a premium! The build up hype came from Kiss 100’s Dj Shortie Blitz whose crowd interaction consisted of encouraging everyone at several points to ‘make some f**king noise if you love hip-hop!’ and then barking ‘Who’s here to see Mos Def?’ Urmmm, yes Shortie, I wonder who would be here to see him at his own gig?
Mos appeared under a bolt of white light, bashing away on his sparkly drum kit (which he returned to throughout the night to have a little play on – or so it seemed!) After running through a couple of tracks including ‘Quiet Dog’ and Bollywood influenced / Madlib produced ‘Auditorium’ from his latest album ‘The Ecstatic’, the classics began dropping thick and fast. Mos was backed by two dj’s, who did a good job, but having a full live band would’ve been even better.
The almost 2 hour long show had some great moments including the whole crowd singing along to Simply Red’s – Holding Back The Tears Years and his rendition of Billie Jean, a standout moment especially his execution of the infamous moonwalk which naturally drew a big cheer!
Mos Def is an artist who has managed to combine charisma, humor, skill and passion yet still remaining true to the origins and fundamental sensibilities of real hip-hop! “London we love you”, well Mr Mos Def, I think the admiration is reciprocal!
INTERVIEW BY Rob Khan / IMAGES James Adabie
The Illersapiens are a seven piece hip-hop collective from South London. They merge stunning instrumentals with soulful vocals and intelligent rap and at nearly two years old have already made big strides in reigniting the dormant UK hip-hop scene. They have a number of live performances under their belts and their very own night, upstairs At The Ritzy in Brixton is a regular success. Rob Khan caught up with them to find out more…
Firstly where does the name originate?
Mr. Man: The name Illersapiens comes from ‘homosapiens’ which means humans, for those that are silly, and then we’re obviously ‘illa’ which is a hip-hop term for ‘better’. So we’re basically saying were better than humans. But not to sound big-headed, it’s more like we are the best humans we can be.
How would you describe your sound?
Louis: Soulful London hip-hop.
As talented artists in your own right how did you get
Mr. Man: Well Louis and I had a passion for hip-hop and we wanted to start a hip-hop band, to bring live music and incorporate it into hip-hop and create something new that wasn’t really being done on the London/UK scene. We got in contact with a few musicians with a passion for good soul music and we brought them in. The Illersapiens
So did you guys feel a little bit disillusioned about what was happening with the UK hip-hop scene before you formed?
Mr. Man: Definitely…I grew up listening to UK hip-hop artists like Klashnekoff and Jehst who I have a lot of respect for because they pioneered and were on their grind for many a year. But I just felt hip-hop wasn’t really moving forward, it felt like it needed an injection of freshness.
You all grew up listening to UK Hip-Hop, do you think it’s going through a bit of a dead period right now?
(General hums of agreement from all…)
Mr. Man: I’d be lying if I said no to that question and I still do go to hip-hop nights because I want to believe that everything will be alright but you know…
Olly (cutting in): I think I speak for a lot of people when I say there is a kind of general dissatisfaction with music that is popular whether it’s hip-hop or r&b; we all feel some dissatisfaction with ‘the scene’. So I suppose all we are trying to do is provide something a bit more natural.
So when you say your dissatisfied with the whole scene would you say current trend of artists like Tinchy Stryder and Chipmunk dominating the charts is a bad thing?
Mr. Man: I don’t want to come out here and blast all of these artists and say ‘they’re not doing what they should be doing, they’re not trying to move this music forward’ because that’s not the case. I’m not feeling what those guys are doing because that music is not made for me. I want to make music for people who want to hear something with soul, not the same old played-out crap about the
typical club scene or the typical ‘if you leave me my heart will break and die and melt away.” That’s just not true to me. Those guys are doing their thing…trying to fit in to what is already happening, but we don’t want to do that, we want to do what we want to do!
Now you have a night called ‘Upstairs At The Ritzy’ what’s the vibe like there?
Katy: Our nights is The Sapien Soul Jam at The Ritzy in Brixton. We’ve been running it for about a year and it’s just a way for us to express ourselves. It’s free entry. It’s not about the money, people don’t come there to impress anyone.
Mr. Man: At the same time, The Ritzy is quite an intimate venue. We’re not there to try and pack it out, it’s a night for people who are passionate about their music to come through and show what they are doing.
What are the best and worst bits about being in a big group?
Mr. Man: Having such a big group allows us to act as a democracy.
Katy: We all respect each other so we know if someone is saying something it’s not because their trying to be
malicious, we’re just trying to help each other out.
Mr. man: Although I do like to criticise sometimes, I find it very hard to because these guys are fucking talented, man. It’s not like we’re only thinking about this when we’re
together. People are out on their own, going to nights and practising their craft. They’re thinking how they can make it better and they’re thinking about The Illersapiens. So when we do come together we’ve got things to discuss. Apart from that we all get along and even if we are not working on our music we’ll go out together, we’ll chill at the same flat, smoke a spliff together whatever. In a way we operate as a sort of family, a close-knit unit.
What are your hopes for the next year?
Louis: Basically we want to get our new E.P. out there. Keep writing, keep coming up with new ideas, new tunes and record as much as possible.
Mr. Man: I want to get all over this flipping town, all over this country I wanna show the people all up and down the UK that there are fresh things going on and we have that to offer.
The Illersapiens Eleate EP is out now on
Gorilla Tech Records
The Sapien Soul Jam is on the first Thursday of every monh ‘Upstairs at the Ritzy’.