Sunday, 23 March 2014

Mixtape Roundup, Volume 1

After the success of Joe Sherwood's 'Cassette Roundup' series, I figured that I had also better host a set of reviews for my own series that is based on my primarily-rap-orientated personal taste, because let's be honest, who doesn't like a mixtape or two?

The way in which hip-hop has functioned as a genre has transformed dramatically over recent years due to the introduction of the internet and the wider advertisement that artists are able to get as a consequence of this, and although mixtapes have been knockin' about since the 70s, the birth of the internet mixtape was a pivotal point for the music industry due to its easy accessibility. I am here to make this an even easier journey for you by bringing the hottest mixtapes straight to your screens on a regular basis, and I've even thrown in a couple of links and what not because I'm just that nice a guy.


Big Narstie What's The Story? Brixton Glory (Dice Recordings, 2014)

Whether it's his vibrant vocabulary of London slang or his comically nonchalant approach to slating the week's latest singles for FACT magazine, there has always been something undeniably lovable about MC and founder of the Base Defence League, Big Narstie, and his latest EP, What's The Story? Brixton Glory, is testament to his charming presence in the UK grime scene. Sure the beats aren't exceptional, and there are some more than questionable sample choices such as 'Clocks' by Coldplay and of course '(What's The Story) Morning Glory?' by Oasis, the track by which the entire mixtape is based around, but Uncle Pain continues to have no difficulty in persuading avid grime enthusiasts nationwide that he is in fact one of the founding fathers of this generation of grime; his energetic vibes and tongue-in-cheek bars are qualities to be admired by any emerging young rapper. A word of advice: make sure that you take as much as possible from the experience of listening to Big Narstie, and whatever you do, do not fuck up the base.

CyHi The Prynce Black Hystori Project (G.O.O.D. Music, 2014)

In a recent interview with Complex, Cydel Young revealed that his inspiration for Black Hystori Project was actually his nephew's school teacher who claimed that he wasn't 'monumental' enough to be considered for a report in black history month at the school. So, to retaliate to this claim, CyHi got on the phone to his close friend Kanye West and began to work on his own project that would cover historic milestones that changed the way in which blacks were seen in society with an inevitable G.O.O.D. Music spin on things. Not a bad way to prove a point, huh?

Of course, the influence of West is almost inescapably obvious, especially on tracks such as 'Mandela' whereby CyHi refers to himself as being "Muhammad to the rap game", similar to Kanye's God complex personality that shines through particularly strongly on his controversially titled Yeezus. However, this powerful lyricism is more than fitting considering the strong nature of the thematic imagery as Young schools the listener about the uprising of black community figures such as Desmond Tutu (the first black Archbishop of Cape Town) that contributed to the resolution of apartheid in South Africa, all over TEC BEATZ and Sekou Muhammed's hard-hitting drum loops.

Black Hystori Project is easily CyHi The Prynce's greatest work as of yet, and with Hardway Musical scheduled to be released later this year, I shall be eagerly waiting to see whether it lives up to the high expectations set by his latest tape.

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