YO! – KRS-One, Ramson Badbonez, Doc Brown, Rejjie Snow, The Age Of L.U.N.A, Lamarrie Esquire + more

Yes folks! It’s that time again. Hopefully the Monday blues have disappeared but if not, fear not! We’re here to hook you up with a weekly fix of new material and excerpts from new releases over the past seven days. As ever, we’re going to let the music do the talking…

KRS-One – The World Is MIND

Ramson Badbonez & DJ Fingerfood – Verses Eye Spit

Doc Brown ft Natalie Williams – Blighty

Lamarie Essquire – P.R.£.A.M

Danny Brown – Kool Aid

Rejjie Snow ft Joey Bada$$ & Jesse Boykins III – Purple Tuesday

The Age Of L.U.N.A – Coco EP

G Yamazawa ft Joshua Gunn & Kane Smego – North Cack

Poor Righteous Teachers – G.O.D (Game Of Death)

Denzel Curry – Hate Government

Vard ft WalterBlack – Overdrive

DJ Lok – 2017 Part 10

Champion Formation – 1st Form EP

G.RICH – George’s Marvellous Medicine

Jacob Banks – Chainsmoking

J Hus – Common Sense


10 Questions: Vice beats

Vice beats for Wordplay Magazine by Jack Cullis

Welcome back to 10 Questions, and this time round it’s something a little different. Vice beats has been at the helm of the Wordplay Podcast since 2015 and is the Managing Editor for the magazine, but we don’t wanna talk about that! We want to find out more about the music this fella is making. So, welcome fine reader, to 10 Questions with Vice beats!….

1) Contestant, what’s your name, chosen craft and where are you based?
My name is Vice beats, I’m a producer, youth worker and the managing editor of Wordplay Magazine. I’m based in Bristol.

2) How would you describe your sound?
Chilled, Soulful, definitely jazz-tinged. I love boombap, so there’s that influence too. So basically, jazzy lyrical and instrumental hip hop and soul!

3) Who / what do you consider to be the biggest influence on your music?
I used to always say Dilla, but i think as time goes by I’m realising that I’m more influenced by producers who aren’t necessarily creating straight hip-hop but come from that as a root. So artists like Ollie Teeba (Herbaliser / Soundsci), TM Juke, Quantic, Bonobo, Mecca:83, Tall Black Guy. There’s loads, but as a pure head nodding situation it has to still be Dilla beats!

4) What’s the proudest moment to date for you as an artist?
Being played on Craig Charles and getting an AWUGA! was pretty damn cool! Playing a sunset set for BBC Introducing in Birmingham was pretty amazing, but actually, it may sound small but I recently recently my debut solo production project, and seeing the response from that was amazing. Especially seeing people adding it to playlists and saying such lovely things about the tracks. To date i’ve always collaborated with other artists, be it Delegates Of Rhyme / DOR (shout to Donnie!), Genius Collective, Great Scott, C-Froo, Garda etc, it felt great to step out of the shadows and do something for me. I’m produ of my Tribe Called Quest remix actually, i love that track and it took a long time to feel confident enough to create a sample free tribute to Phife. 

5) Do you have any advice for our readers who maybe trying to play the mad game of music?
Be yourself and set your own goals. Don’t attempt to follow in the footsteps of others, people see right through it. Be genuine, develop your own sound and most importantly be kind and polite to everyone involved. It sounds obvious, but burning bridges with promoters, DJs, blogs, artists etc. can stop you succeeding big time. I’ve seen loads of artists get so far and then realise they’ve aggravated pretty much everyone on their rise! This is meant to be fun, creative and developing a community of like minded people.

Vice beats for Wordplay Magazine by Jack Cullis

6) Name 3 people you would love to work with and why?
TY –
Always! I love his lyrics, voice, and dedication to his music. He is incredibly humble, kind and a cool guy, He’s boosted me in so many ways in the past and it would be amazing to work with him!

J-Live – I love his lyricism and creativity, he’s so diverse, and he’s humble, and such a pure ambassador for hip-hop.

Loyle Carner – He’s an artist that’s got me excited about the UK scene. The whole team he’s part of with Tom Misch, Jordan Rakei, Rebel Kleff, OthaSoul etc, it’s an amazing movement. Loyle is an incredible performer. He’s genuine, focused and so good to watch live, he knows exactly how to get a crowd involved and vibing.

7) What have you got planned for the not so distant future?
Well i released DIrections in March, and I’m planning to drop another project later this year, in the meantime, a few artists i’ve worked with are releasing songs i produced. I’m hoping that the Delegates Of Rhyme album – Assemblage, with Donnie Numeric will finally be finished and released, that project is sounding SO good! Plus I’ve been working on an EP with Phil Jeong, the vocalist who features on Sirens on Directions, he’s a remarkable singer and he’s yet to be unearthed, I’m really looking forward to finishing that. PLUS i’ve got a pet project that i’ve been working on for a couple of years now featuring some of my musical heroes, so I can’t wait to get that finished off. So…basically, lots of stuff!

8) What’s the album you’ve played more than any other?
Man! That’s so hard to answer. I think probably TY – Upwards, TM Juke – Maps From The Wilderness or Y Society – Travel At Your Own Pace. They’re all incredible and I’m not sure how to quantify how much i’ve played them, they all just played a really prominent part in my life at different times.

9) What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to? And where?
Hmmm, that’s tricky. seeing Bonobo perform whilst the sun set at Mostly Jazz Festival was pretty special just for the atmosphere. Maybe KRS One, years ago at Space 2 in Birmingham for the BASS Festival, he’d recently lost his son and it was a really small crowd, so he just freestyled, got into the crowd, started getting the breakers involved, it was crazy. That or seeing Jazzy Jeff with a full live band at The Jazz Cafe, the voalists started doing each others parts, that was so much fun, and he was super chilled and nice to talk to after the show. I think i judge good shows on the vibes of the artists. Certain musicians do amazing shows and then they come across really stand-off-ish aftwerwards or just disappear! I hate that!

10) Name 3 things you can’t live without?
My daughter Alex –
she is an inspiration, a whirlwind and the coolest little girl in the World, i can’t imagine being without her.
My incredible family –
My wonderful, beautiful, talented and perfect girlfriend Sam, my Mum and my Grandma who are both massive role models and two of the kindest and sweetest people i’ve ever known, alongside my Dad, Step Dad, all of my grandparents and my uncle and cousin who have always been in the background pushing me on.
Passion – I think it’s the key to everything, if you’ve got passion then you can achieve anything because it gives you that drive to overcome fears, challenges, anything. 

Lastly, can you nominate another contestant and provide us with a question for them on your behalf?
There’s a number of artists i’d love to hound! The one who spring to mind is Ollie Teeba. I’d like to ask him –
“You’ve collaborated with so many artists over time, have you got a favourite?!”

Any last words/shoutouts?
A huge shout to my Wordplay family and especially Nev-Neville-Tha Boss! my musical friends and everyone I have had the pleasure and experience of collaborating with, my family, and YOU for taking the time to read this! 




YO! – Booda French, Split Prophets, The Mouse Outfit, Gift Of Gab, Brother Ali, MC Eiht, Flobots + more

Yes folks! It’s that time again. Hopefully the Monday blues have disappeared but if not, fear not! We’re here to hook you up with a weekly fix of new material and excerpts from new releases over the past seven days. As ever, we’re going to let the music do the talking…

Booda French – 6am Coffee Club

Split Prophets – Roadhouse

The Mouse Outfit ft Ellis Meade – Bring Me Down

Gift Of Gab ft A-F-R-O & R.A The Rugged Man – Freedom Form Flowing

4orce ft Gee Bag – That’s How It Is

Charles Edison – Waking Up EP

Earth2Tom ft Confucius MC – ROBOTZ

MC Eiht & DJ Premier ft WC – Represent Like This

Subculture Sage ft Illaman – Happy Like The Sun King

Brother Ali – Never Learn


A$AP Ferg ft Remy Ma – East Coast

D.Begun – Nasimoto

Stanza Divan – Until The Internet Kills The Videostar

Awon & Dephlow – Sleep Is The Cousin Of Death

Big Sean – Jump Out The Window

Sons Phonetic – Deloreans


Interview: Big Daddy Kane

The word legendary gets banded around far too freely these days that on many occasions, it loses it’s majesty. In this instance, it’s unquestionably correct. Hearing that Big Daddy Kane was heading to our shores for a series of five UK dates was enough for Jessica Daly to cast aside her beloved lenses and get the Brooklyn-native on the blower for a bit of a history lesson…

First of all – where did the name Big Daddy Kane come from? 

The name came from two different things; an old Frankie Avalon & Annette Funicello movie and my fascination of martial arts and the David Carradine character Caine from the tv show Kung Foo.

You started battle-rapping in ’92. What drew you to that?

It was something I got into. I wanted to rhyme with my older cousin but he told me I wasn’t old enough! He already had a crew so I thought if I could write rhymes better than his crew members he would put me down.

After that you got involved with Biz Markie. How did you link up?

Me and Biz met at this Mall in Brooklyn and we battled. After the battle, Biz thought I was dope and told me I should get with him and perform. He guaranteed me a record deal.

Biz had a bit of a comedy sketch type thing going on. I heard you had a little song on his shows?

It was sort of a sketch – the Stacey Lattishaw routine. We changed the name of one of her songs from The Perfect Combination to On Her Menstruation; it was a like a comedy stage routine.

You then joined Cold Chillin Records. When did you first meet Marley Marl and the rest?

It was through Biz. He’d somehow connected with Marley out in Queens and ended up doing the human beat box with him. They clicked and through that, he met Shan. They made the Def Records crew song with Shanté and started touring together; it was him beat-boxing and Shante rhyming. Biz then put out some of his own music and the rest is history.

Do you think there’ll ever be another Juice Crew album?

I don’t know man. There was talk about doing a song so an album is always a possibility, you never know.

I‘ll keep my fingers crossed! When you started touring you brought Jay Z and Positive K out at some of your shows. What attracted you to involving them?

With Positive K, it was his energy on stage. Pos liked to jump around, very energetic and he had a lot of funny rhymes which put me in the mind of Biz in a sense. With Jay Z, he had this real fast rapping style which was new and unique and it really opened up people’s mind on stage. I was recording new music with both of them, trying to get Positive K a new record deal and trying to get Jay his first one. I figured if we could get them on tour, we could get people to see them live and get them some credibility.

You certainly did that! You were involved in one of the most infamous shows in Hip Hop history. Madison Square Garden. The legendary show with you, Biggie, ‘Pac, Shyheim and Scoob. What does the show mean to you now knowing what we do now? 

It was great to be able to see ‘Pac and Biggie together on stage and as friends. They came together. ‘Pac was in New York filming Above The Rim and Biggie called Mr Cee and asked if he could bring ‘Pac with him. They came together to the show it was nice seeing them sharing the stage. ‘Pac was like the hottest Hip Hop artist at that time and Biggie was the up and coming one. It was part of the Budweiser Superfast. It was cool man; especially as the recording is still out there and feels live even today.

I know you’ve had to squash a rumour or two like the classic ‘Kane and Madonna’. I’m sure you’ve had to tell a lot people that you didn’t actually sleep with her – are there any other rumours you’ve had to squash like that one?

Not that I can think of. There’s been many but none really come to mind at the moment. There’s always going to be rumours; sometimes they’re good and naturally, other times they can can be negative or get personal. Whatever the situation; your name’s still in the limelight. Madonna’s such a sweetheart; I wouldn’t want to lie and pretend like yeah we had sex. That was never the case.

I appreciate your respect! Let’s talk about touring – which one have you enjoyed the most?

Probably my tour in ’93 – Chocolate City. I’d learned and experienced a lot from touring previously – the headliner making you feel like your music was at a much lower level, restricting your access to certain parts of the stage to keep you at bay. When I took my own tour out I went with MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, 3rd Bass and Digital Underground (this was when Tupac was still one of their dancers!) I made sure that their music was just as loud as mine, made sure they had access to the whole stage and after the show, we’d kick it, go in the parking lot and have water gun fights or head into the city and play basketball during the day. I’ve seen the tours where the headliners distance themselves from the on other artists so I wanted to make it more more like a family thing; that whole Motown feel to the tour.

I heard on one of your tours with Digital Underground that there was a little issue with MC Serch. Didn’t he have to hide on your tour bus a few times?

Ha Ha! Yeah, I believe it was somewhere like Mobile or Birmingham, Alabama. He got onstage and gave his speech about the black man being God and the rednecks down there didn’t take to it too kindly!

I’m guessing that didn’t go down too well?! It’s like they’re only open to hearing what they want to hear! Before I go off on a rant, let’s talk about your last album Veteranz Day. You produced a lot of the beats – what equipment did you use and how long had you been producing?

I’ve been producing stuff pretty much since the first album. There’s a lot of stuff there I didn’t get credit for so I started to learn how to work drum machines on my own after that.

Compared to your other projects, did Veteranz Day have the biggest collection of your own beats or had you just not been credited for others? 

In terms of beats, the only album I didn’t get credited for was Long Live The Kane. I have credit for other songs I’ve produced like my album It’s A Big Daddy Thing – it’s probably either that or Veteranz Day that includes the most self-made beats.

The UK leg of your tour sees you take in five dates. When were you in the UK last?

I think I was here last year at some point.

Have you heard any UK Hip Hop recently?

Not in a long time! It’s been a while.

From what you have heard, what do you think of it?

What I’ve heard and what I’ve come to love is where you have the UK MCs that are heavily influenced by Boom Bap. What I’ve heard either has that bit of Drum & Bass vibe to it or that really gritty Boom Bap like back in the 80s, with a little twist; I like that. It’s  Boom Bap but at the same time but they kinda I dunno put that jazzy, sort of Soul 2 Soul type of feel to it as well. I don’t know how best to explain it but it’s a unique blend and I love it!

Hopefully you’ll be getting a taste of some new stuff when you’re over here with the tour. Would you ever be interested in working with UK artists?

Sure! I would if it was the right project.

I’ve heard talks of possibly an album coming out with you and DJ Premier? Is that still happening?

That’s something that we’ve put in the back. We spoke about it and then I got wrapped up in some stuff and now he’s super, super busy with projects. It’s something that I don’t know if it’s still even a reality. We both really want to work on something together but it’s a matter of finding the right time; everything’s pretty hectic right now.

Finally and most importantly, will we be ever getting another Big Daddy Kane album?

That’s the question! I’m not against doing one but again, it’s a matter of finding the right time and whether I’m feeling it.

We need more Kane !!

Ha Ha! We shall see. We shall see.


Big Daddy Kane’s tour sees him take in Whitstable, Bristol, Norwich and London from this evening. If you want to catch the man in action, cop your tickets here


Chemo interview (talking about Jam Baxter & Chemo – Mansion 38)

The interview you are about to read contains exclusive details concerning Jam Baxter & Chemo : Mansion 38.

For the first time, Chemo reveals the creation process of the Mansion 38 LP –  starting from Chemo’s first encounter with Jam Baxter at a London warehouse party, all the way to Bangkok, Thailand where they recorded the entire album which released 10 March, 2017.

But that’s not all. Read on to discover what became of Chemo’s pet pheasant, where to find the recipe for Baxter’s morning Elixir, why Lee Scott got a gun pointed in his face and many intimate insights into the chemistry Chemo & Baxter shared whilst creating the sensational release.

Chemo first encountered Jam Baxter at a warehouse party, near the London M25. They shared a social circle, so down the line became introduced by mutual friends. Although their friendship quickly solidified, Chemo admitted he was initially cautious about the newly acquainted lyricist.

When I found out that he rapped, I actively tried to avoid him so that he wouldn’t rap into my ear all the time, eventually I realised that he was actually really good at words. Once I had convinced him to stop screaming into the microphone, I realised that he was in fact one of the most brilliant poets I had come across. I guess he just sees and describes the world very differently to other people, he approaches hip-hop music from a Gonzo / Hunter S. Thompson perspective and that really resonates with me.

Their shared passion for freakish psychedelia helped instigate their first critically acclaimed collaboration, Baxter & Chemo’s now-infamous ‘…So We Ate Them Whole’ LP which released December, 2014 on High Focus Records. Afterwards, while the aftermath of their shared success simmered, Chemo began plotting his next adventure. Having grown up in London and lived there his entire life, he pounced when an opportunity arose to leave for Bangkok. However, his decision did not come without painstaking sacrifice, as Chemo had to leave behind his beloved pet pheasant, Peter.

Alas I could not take Peter with me to Thailand for fear of him being devoured by wild dogs, Before I departed, I set him free in a large National Park in Kent where he lives to this day – we chat occasionally on WhatsApp.

After saying final goodbyes, Chemo boarded his plane across the world, journeying tirelessly until reaching Mansion 38, an apartment on a back street block in central Bangkok.

As you enter the mansion, you are greeted by a glorious middle aged Thai receptionist who always smiles at you – even if you are at that moment carrying a squealing pig and being chased by a biker gang. The Mansion comes replete with swimming pool, statues of 90’s action film characters and an erotic museum, therefore we always had something to stimulate the mind.

Chemo and Jam Baxter started the creation process for ‘Mansion 38’ before Baxter set foot in Thailand. With a couple track concepts laid down, Baxter became increasingly impatient to record the project, so spoke to Chemo about joining him in Thailand.

Baxter took a while to convince me of his plans, I had already embarked on a project amassing various field recordings from rural hill tribes, and I was reluctant to embark on another sweaty rap album with a known degenerate.

Regardless of Chemo’s hesitancy, Baxter put his plan into action by allegedly ringing his label boss whilst heavily intoxicated, frenziedly requesting a flight to Bangkok to rejoin Chemo forthwith. Suddenly Baxter was regurgitated from the belly of a jet airliner into the surreal surroundings of Mansion 38.

As soon as I met the dishevelled Jam Baxter in the Mansion, I realised that this would be both the best and also worst place for him…

…Chemo says, reminiscing Baxter’s arrival….

Looking out from his room onto a scale model of the Washington, D.C. White House in the middle of a powerful Monsoon, I knew that we were in for a month of delirious times and relentless creativity, whilst at the same time noting the proximity of the Pharmacy and the Liquor Store that were to put us both in danger of implosion.

Thus began Chemo and Baxter’s Mansion 38 experience, an impulsive month long duration laden with seedy, tropical hedonism. To get creative juices flowing, besides from Baxter’s morning Elixer – the recipe of which can be found in the liner notes of the ‘Mansion 38’ album – together they drank a lot of Hong Thoong, a sweet Thai rum that Chemo claimed;

mystically has very light hangovers. Either that or Ya Dong, a rural kind of moonshine enriched with Chinese medicinal herbs and spices. It is supposedly an aphrodisiac which is good, but also can make you blind which is obviously bad, so it’s best to drink it responsibly.

Baxter managed to find his pharmaceutical supply within his first 24 hours, whereas I preferred to drink coconuts and fly hand made kites off the roof.

Once suitably intoxicated, Chemo and Baxter would transform into workhorses. While Chemo would endlessly craft riddims, Baxter would write furiously up to 24 hours a day, to anything and everything Chemo offered up;

This approach made me feel totally free to experiment, It perhaps led to the quite contemporary and unusual sound of the LP.

You only have to hear Chemo’s prior collaborations to notice his impulse for breaking boundaries when it comes to creating contemporary hip-hop melodies. However, Chemo personally refuses to accept he is breaking boundaries, claiming his motivation is…

…to have a varied sound for my work.

When it came to working with Jam Baxter, Chemo recognised a potential for limitless creativity.

“I know that High Focus has a lot of fans who particularly like beats with a boom bap flavour, which is absolutely fine and I respect people’s taste, but I think that Jam Baxter is such an important cult artist that his fans will follow him wherever his creativity leads to. And that can result in some really exciting music……

…..I’m really happy with some of the more personal tracks on the album

answering which were his favourite aspects of the ‘Mansion 38’ album.

I have been subtly trying to nudge Baxter towards slightly more introspective subject matter along with his observational descriptive stuff, and on this album I think he has got a near perfect balance between the two. Its self referential without being narcissistic but he still has the ability to construct the vivid imagery and savage description that he is so good at.

Instrumentally, Chemo took influence from the local music culture, trying to replicate the settings in which the album was devised.;

I used my Phin guitar, which is a Thai folk instrument from the Isaan region on a couple of the tracks, I try to always use new sounds and techniques so I don’t just make the same beat over and over again till I die.

One of the most hauntingly engrossing atmospheres that Chemo created during Baxter’s stay was the self-titled ‘Mansion 38’ single, most of which Chemo played himself. Answering what sounds he used to form the instrumental;

As usual, there’s some little prog-rock sampled bits, experimental 60’s electronica and some rare Thai folk music. It all goes into the soup.

The Mansion 38 single, which was sold independently on 7″ white label vinyl, and contains features from Blah Records founder Lee Scott and Bad Taste icon Trellion. When the news emerged that the two rappers were set to accompany Chemo and Baxter out in Bangkok, the excitement levels intensified.

It was a wild night at the Mansion with the winds howling and Baxter told me of his plan to fly his two buddies out to Bangkok for a week to shoot some videos and record some tracks,

Chemo explains, reminiscing of when Baxter suggested bringing the Scott & Trellion to them.

“I thought the plan was insane, but if there’s one thing I know in this life, it’s that you don’t question a man when he is swinging from the chandeliers. These two comedians had never really left the UK much before I don’t believe,”

Chemo says, recalling Scott & Trellion’s arrival.

“I think they were initially overwhelmed by the heat, the smell and the frantic nature of Bangkok. Combined with severe jetlag they in fact coped surprisingly well and dived straight into the process of procuring intoxicants and rapping loudly at each other in an air conditioned room.”

The Mansion 38 single contains multiple illicit stories, many that left listeners dumbstruck at which were parody and which were reality. It turns out that all of those stories are in fact, true. Although many precise details of their explicit endeavours were deemed too scandalous for print, Chemo could reveal when Lee Scott got a gun pointed at him.

The gun thing was a guy on the same floor in the Mansion who had obviously had enough of Section Boyz on loop at 3am, he arrived at the door with a handgun shouting ‘YOU GOT A PROBLEMMM?’ Pretty scary stuff to be honest, as the fact is that once a Thai person loses face in a situation, they can totally flip and start shooting or stabbing. I think Baxter only listened to Chopin till 9pm from then on.

By the end of the month, Chemo pondered if perhaps Baxter’s stay wasn’t in fact the spiritual venture he probably needed:
To call it anything resembling spiritual would be grossly inaccurate, but by hook or by crook, we ended up with some brilliant music written and recorded in the midst of a whirlwind of questionable activities, deranged human animals and emotions.

Although it’s unlikely that Chemo will make an appearance back in the UK to tour ‘Mansion 38’ anytime soon;
Baxter has a great performing relationship with Sammy B Side so I’m happy to let them do their thing, live shows are not really within the realms of my expertise – I’m a studio man. I have been working on a new solo album for 3 years but I keep getting confused and losing track of what my purpose is in making the music. One day I might think I am making a Grime/Drill album, the next day making a psychedelic Jazz album. I’m sure you can understand my confusion.

Chemo, thank you for your time. Have you got any final shoutouts?
Thank you Ethan for letting me do this interview, it was very therapeutic. Shout out to Baxter for making this body of work with me. Thanks to Fliptrix and High Focus for entertaining our lewd vision and putting money down to make it all happen.

Interview by @EthanEverton


Defenders Of Style – Auxillary x Elements – The Old Red Bus Station – Leeds – 04-03-2017

Once again bringing a heavy selection of homegrown hip-hop to Leeds is the Elements crew; tonight sees a line-up packed with local talent, and the healthy West Yorkshire scene is showcased upstairs at The Old Red Bus Station, a venue which has become a staple destination for rap and electronic music since it’s emergence back in 2016.

Opening up is local duo Lyrical Alliance; the crew are gearing up for the release of their ‘Piffy Clyro’ LP, which is scheduled for release later this year. These boys have been a regular on the live circuit around the city, and it’s great that Elements have got them on board. After some technical problems and a couple of delays, Whitey Boy and Dr. Mellow take hold of the mics and begin their set from behind the decks. They deliver their quirky boom bap beats and unorthodox flows which warm the crowd up nicely, and there’s a clear chilled nineties influence; they’re perspective is a fresh one though, and the inventive writing is jam-packed with Yorkshire charm.

Upcoming collective Budrat Records are next on the bill, and the six piece Sunderland collective pack themselves behind the mics and begin the mic-juggling. Their intricate flows and raw attitude make the hard-hitting beats and gritty lyricism a winning formula. The North East crew bring consistently banging punchlines and charisma and chemistry in abundance. The energetic, rowdy performance is very impressive, and with a series of sets at some dope shows in recent months, Budrat Records are certainly ones to keep your eyes on.

Rising two-piece The NorthaZe are at this stage a staple at pretty much any hip-hop gig in the city. Their unique mixture of uptempo flows and mellow beats have helped the Mellow Thrills movement to hold the huge buzz that it currently does. The signature sabre sound is delivered with polish and professionalism, and Kosi and Swish display natural chemistry as soon as the first beat drops. Kosi’s shades can’t really go without a shout-out either; don’t get it twisted though, The NorthaZe aren’t bringing any gimmicks though, it’s pure lyrics from flows from the exciting pair of lyricists.

Headlining tonight are the veteran Leeds crew Defenders of Style. Their most recent release ‘The Death Of Meaning’ was a critical success, and the crew haven’t stopped working since. With some banging Upper Echelon tunes courtesy of Disgust and Jack Danz, and Joe Snow’s 2016 solo EP ‘I Know You Know Me You’, the DS Fam have kept up their prolific grind from all angles. With a new LP rumoured to be somewhere on the horizons, Prys, Danz and Disgust showcase their West Yorkshire attitude with silkilky delivered verses. The joints are consistently raw, and the new material the collective play tonight is some of their best work yet. We also get a dope performance of ‘Rhyme Or Crime’ from the latest album, along with the anthem ‘One Four Seven One’, and every bar from the three-piece incarnation of Defenders lands with intent and precision.

So we leave after one too many red stripes and stumble home after an eclectic assortment of just a few of the exciting prospects producing quality hip-hop around the LS zones. The local scene has been building and building over the last few years, and the music on offer tonight shows why crews like Defenders and The NorthaZe have received some pretty powerful cosigns, and there are so many other talents just around the corner.

Words by Sam Bennett


Love Saves The Day (Preview)

Man! It’s crazy to think that we’ve hit May already! Sure, 2017’s blessed with some epic albums thus far but where has the time gone?! Apart from delivering one of our best issues yet, here at Wordplay HQ we’ve done nowhere near as much of the stuff we’d conned ourselves into saying we’d do at the start of the year! However, fear not! As the old adage declares- every cloud has a silver lining!

We may nearly be halfway through the year but for the music fraternity that means one thing; festival season! Kicking things off at the end of the month is one of our firm favourites, the Bristol-based Love Saves The Day. Now into it’s sixth year, the festival once again descends on Eastville Park over the upcoming Bank Holiday weekend (Sat 27th & Sun 28th May) for another dose of good vibes and great music.

This year’s line-up is one of it’s most diverse yet; celebrating a whole host of soundscapes and stylings. Saturday plays host to the more electronically and experimentally inclined, with the likes of Mura Masa, Zed Bias, Crazy P, Fatima Yamaha and Nao playing the undercard to it’s headliners, Little Dragon. The weekend then further ups the energy levels as it rolls into Sunday that a includes a feast of Grime and Soundsystem heavyweights in the shape of Kano, D Double E, P Money, Shy FX and Toddla T, alongside the leaders of the next generation, the likes of Novelist, AJ Tracey, Stefflon Don and Nadia Rose. Local favourites My Nu Leng and Eva Lazarus will undoubtably draw crowds before Fat Freddy’s Drop see out the weekend’s finale.

That’s just a small sample of what’s on offer. If last year’s atmosphere was anything to go by, you’re in for a treat. If you’ve heard enough, it’s time to act. Tickets are now down to limited numbers so do the smart thing and grab yourself some from here. Once you’ve done that, check out last year’s highlight reel below and the festival from our perspective in preparation for the festivities.


Yo! – Dutch Mob, Phoenix Da Icefire, Snoop Dogg, Conway, Beat Butcha, Westside Gunn, A.G. + more

Yes folks! It’s that time again. We’re here to hook you up with a fix of new material and excerpts from new releases over the past seven days. As ever, we’re going to let the music do the talking…

Dutch Mob – The Passport EP

Phoenix Da Icefire – Ruff, Tuff & Raw

Snoop Dogg ft Redman, Method Man & B-Real – Mount Kushmore

Beat Butcha – Rhythm Roulette

Daringer x Westside Gunn x WS Pootie – Raw is FlyGod

Conway – Cooked In Hell’s Kitchen

Snowgoons ft Big Twins & Hex One – Queens Thing/ Tight Team

Showbiz & A.G – Take It Back 

Gas-Lab & Traum Diggs – Know A Little

Jesse James Solomon – City Lights

J.PERIOD – Outkast: ReFixed

Sullee J ft Kxng Crooked – Crooked Justice

J.Cole – 4 Your Eyez Only (Documentary)

Coco ft Scrufizzer – Ingredients

Treble Clef ft Elf Kid, Big Zuu, PK, Jammz & Ruby Confue – Trumpet Boom

Lady Leshurr – Juice


WORDPLAY EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE – Nubiyan Twist – Dance Inna London

Wordplay Magazine are super excited to present the exclusive premiere of London / Leeds based Funk / Dub / Soul behemoths Nubiyan Twist’ latest release. Currently midway through their UK single release tour, the band have returned to the fray with the amazing Dance Inna London, a reworking of Supercat’s Reggae classic. The band explain more:

‘Super Cat is arguably one of the most influential reggae artists of all time, so when we were given the opportunity to rework his 1982 track ‘Dance Inna New York’ we jumped at the chance. The vocal was originally recorded at King Tubby’s studio and was licensed to us by Jah Thomas, founder of Midnight Rock records and writer/ producer for Greensleeves records. Super Cats lyrics describe his love for performing around the world which made us think about the situation in London whereby 35% of grassroots music venues have been shut down since 2007. The track is a reflection of the enjoyment and importance of live music and the importance of keeping creative spaces alive for up and coming artists.’

Alongside Dance Inna London, the 12″ release features All The Pieces, which is an intricate future jazz vibe, complimenting the more up beat, raw sounds of the A-Side. The vinyl is available for buy now through Wormfood Records on a very pretty and very limited yellow vinyl! You can cop the vinyl here:

SO! WIthout further a do! Here is the brand new, exclusive premiere of Nubiyan Twist – Dance Inna London. ENJOY! (and go cop that vinyl!)

Words by James “Vice beats” Kennaby


Yo! – Nas, Kendrick Lamar, Leaf Dog, Merkules, O.C., Curren$y, Verb T, Big Boi + more

Yes folks! It’s that time again. We’re here to hook you up with a fix of new material and excerpts from new releases over the past seven days. As ever, we’re going to let the music do the talking…

Nas – Systematic

Kendrick Lamar – DNA

Leaf Dog – Glass Eye

Merkules – Conor McGregor

OC, David Bars & Majestic Gage – In The Paint

Gen Uchicha ft Isaac Thursday – Dope

DJ J Hart ft Rim, HDBeenDope & Chris Rivers – Trinity


JR & PH7 x St. Joe Louis ft Roc Marciano – Driven

Urban Click x Verb T – Doorway

Big Boi ft Killer Mike & Jeezy – Kill Jill

Stro – The Cool Kid

Mac Miller ft Ty Dolla $ign – Cinderella

Curren$y – The Fo20 Massacre

Kuartz – Shurikens

Wrigz – Under Arrest

Lethal Bizzle ft Skepta – I Win

Culprit – Real Love

Anik Khan – Kites


Outlook Festival x Cazer – 2017 Line Up Announcement visuals

Outlook Festival is back! Now in their 10th year, the Croatian based festival situated in Fort Punta Christo has become a stalwart within the annual festival calendar for music lovers everywhere. 

2017 has an even crazier line up than normal, with headliners including (and far from limited to!):
– DJ Shadow
– Ghostface Killah
– Pharoah Monch
– Roots Manuva
– Loyle Carner
– Foreign Beggars 

and just about any other dope artist that you can think of!

As ever, the festival features a mixture of stages, arenas, beach and boat parties and the ampitheatre. If you’re unaware of the festival, check out the walk through video here (it says 2015 but the setup is the same!):

This year the festival is running from the 7th September – 10th September 2017. Coined as Europe’s largest celebration of Sound System culture, the emersive combination of Sun, Sea, and gigantic sound systems is truly hypnotic, offering vibes and good times for music fans across the board. Whether you’re into Dub, Breaks, Hip Hop, Reggae, Roots, House, Techno, Grime or more, this is a must-do for all festival enthusiasts.

To celebrate the line up be unveiled, Outlook joined forces with Cazer to create a creative and quirky graf visual, accompanied by a track by the ever fresh Children Of Zeus (who will also be performing at the festival):

Check out the artists involved in the billboard design here:
Cazer – www.instagram.com/cazerone/

After 10 years, Outlook know exactly how to run incredible, awe inspiring and life long memory creating festivals, which we would HIGHLY recommend you attend. You can find out more about the festival, and secure your place for just £20 here:

We’ll keep you posted with the festival over the coming months, but be sure to get your ticket fast to avoid disappointment!

Words by James “Vice beats” Kennaby


Nubiyan Twist + Sounds Of Harlowe + Worm Disco Club – Live at The Fleece, Bristol – 13-04-2017

Since their self titled debut in 2015, Nubiyan Twist, the powerhouse 10 piece London and Leeds based collective have been tearing up live shows across Europe. Their unique fusion of Dub, Funk, Soul, Jazz, Afro-beat and Hip Hop creates a truly extraordinary sound that is a must hear for fans of truly original, impactive and creative live music.

When I saw that Nubiyan Twist were on tour and gearing up for their new project, i was, as you can imagine, excited to see a group that we’ve been supporting since their first single released in 2014 (Figure Numatic) and they did not disappoint.

With the Worm Disco Club DJ’s holding down the good vibes and getting the crowd in the right mood for the evening the stage was set for Bristol based Sounds Of Harlowe, who in their own right have been doing some huge things of late. Their lead vocalist, Solomon OB is the reigning UK Slam Poetry champion, has been mentored by Kate Tempest, and is currently working on a solo album which is due to be released early 2018. The band are super tight and are great at getting a crowd hyped up and moving. Solomon was Wordplay Amplify Artist Of Month in 2016, and we’ve been keeping a close eye on Sounds Of Harlowe, who are set to make big waves this festival season.

Then it was time for the main event. Nubiyan started playing and immediately the crowd responded with a tangible rise in energy. The players level of musicality is incredible. Every member being of an incredibly high level, and every one seeming to be completely in the moment, enjoying themselves and not missing a note, well, if they did, they did it in style!

After a short instrumental piece, Nubiya stepped on stage and the crowd went crazy. She was completely emersed in the music, slowly moving, winding and grooving to the vibes and seemingly unaware of the jam packed venue. She began to sing, and from that point onwards the band created a constant wall of sound, fusing vibes and sounds from each members influences.

A really nice touch was Nubiya stating which of the band had written certain songs, and the authentic feeling continued when a few times the band went to play a track and Nubiya planned to do something different, and they just laughed it off, and interacted with the crowd. The set lasted for well over an hour, with certain more recognisable songs being tweaked and changed to expand the sound, allowing the band to enjoy their performance even more. Sometimes, seeing technical players won’t be all that enjoyable, but these guys kept everyone involved, jamming with each other and constantly looking to and interacting with the crowd.

A highlight was the bands arguably best known song, Work House which sounded incredible. For any fans of live horn sections, the combination of Tenor, Alto, Soprano Sax and Trumpet was incomparable.

The band are currently on their Dance Inna London Tour, and on that tip, be sure to check out their brand new single in anticipation for their new project later this year on Wormfood Records.

Words by James “Vice beats” Kennaby


Yo! – Homeboy Sandman, Kyza, Westside Gunn, NxWorries, Split Prophets, Jay Prince, Avelino + more

Yes folks! It’s that time again. There’s been plenty of big releases over the extended weekend and hopefully you’ve found the time to indulge. We might all have to head back to normality today but fear not; we’re here to hook you up with a fix of new material and excerpts from new releases over the past seven days. As ever, we’re going to let the music do the talking…

Homeboy Sandman – Bamboo

Kyza – Miverione Vol.2

Logic ft Damian Lemar Hudson – Black Spiderman

Westside Gunn ft Mach Hommy & Keisha Plum – Easter Gunday 2

Split Prophets – The Samadee Remixes

NxWorries – Scared Money

Jay Prince ft Avelino – Peace Of Mind

Abstract Rude & DJ Vadim – The Owl’s Cry

Masego – Navajo

Elz – July (Freestyle)

Kuartz – Shurikens

Avelino – F64

Phat Kat & DJ Dister – The S.O.S Project

Travis Scott ft Kendrick Lamar – Goosebumps

Petrelli Brothers – Ghost Diaries

Blay Vision ft JME – Gone Mad

Rageouz – Limbo

Ghetts – Regulate (1Xtra Live Lounge)

Flo – Mirrors

Kojey Radical x Rebecca Ferguson – Forbidden

Denzel Curry ft NELL & Twelve’Len – Goodnight

Cherée – For Me

Noname – Tiny Desk Concert


Leaf Dog – Dyslexic Disciple (Album Review)

Tomorrow finally sees the hotly anticipated release of Leaf Dog’s Dyslexic Disciple, his second full length solo offering. A practiced artist knows how to take time over a project and Dyslexic Disciple is a prime example of this. Leaf’s last album From A Scarecrow’s Perspective was released back in 2011 and this time around he takes us on a new journey but still with that distinctive, passionate and familiar voice. From cussing out the arrogance he abhors (Big Egos) to nostalgia and love offered to his life (Today), Leaf Dog always brings honesty and realness in his bars.

But what really gives him the edge as an artist is the fact that he knows what he likes when it comes to the production side-of things. Partly self-produced, alongside link ups with regular contributors, the likes of Naive and Illinformed, Leafy’s beat selections are laden with soulful vocals and sun-drenched piano and drum samples. Songs like It’s On You and Good Times were made to be blasted on a sunny day; arms swinging, heads nodding and smiles beaming. The ever-growing legion of diehard High Focus fans are bound to be frothing at the mouth over the monster posse-cut The Legacy, whilst we’re equally as proud of Leafy for his staggering list of collaborative artists (Kool Keith anyone?)

No need to just take our word for it; pre-order your physical of Dyslexic Disciple from the HF website or if you’re on the digital tip, place your early orders here. If that’s not enough, catch Leaf Dog launching the album at Electric Brixton along with the entire HF roster (and some special guests) this Sunday.

Sophie Macaroni


Yo! – Evidence, DANGERDOOM, Cappo, Mothership Connection, AZ, Frank Ocean, Moreone + more

Yes folks! It’s that time again. Hopefully the Monday blues have disappeared but if not, fear not! We’re here to hook you up with a weekly fix of new material and excerpts from new releases over the past seven days. As ever, we’re going to let the music do the talking…

Evidence – Throw It All Away

DANGERDOOM ft Black Thought & Vinny Price – Mad Nice

Cappo ft Juga-Naut – 15-10

Mothership Connection – This Train Goes To Junkleberry Junction

AZ ft Raekwon & Prodigy – Save Them

Apex Zero – 21st Century Enslavement

Ray Vendetta x Tesla’s Ghost – Spinal Sword

Frank Ocean ft Jay Z & Tyler The Creator – Biking

Jam Baxter – Just Us

AG & John Robinson – They Watching

Lunar C – 10k Punch Combo

Gorillaz ft Pusha T & Mavis Staples – Let Me Out

Moreone – Wake Up Call

4orce – Set Standards

Dave East ft Beanie Sigel – The Real

The Last Skeptik ft Scrufizzer, Micall Pane, Dream McLean & Al The Native – Drumroll Please

Rude Kid ft Ghetts – Banger After Banger

Raekwon ft P.U.R.E – M&N

Dave – Revenge

Little Dee & P Money – JDZ B2B