Yo! – Jehst, Upfront, Action Bronson, Domo Genesis, Joyner Lucas, Kabaka Pyramid, Cypress Hill, Big Zuu + 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…

Jehst – Billy Green Is Dead

Ramson Badbonez & DJ Fingerfood – Hypnodic

Upfront – Contagious

Action Bronson – Let Me Breathe

Domo Genesis – Red Corolla

AZ ft Raekwon & Prodigy – Save Them

Joyner Lucas – Keep It 100

Run The Jewels ft Joi – Down

Cypress Hill – Reefer Man

JR & PH7 x St. Joe Louis – Coral Cadavers

Remulak ft Melody Myla – Passing Time

Kabaka Pyramid – Accurate Mixtape

Zedo – Late Nights & Lucid Dreams

Rejjie Snow – Unborn

Ray Of Light & Mook – 5000 Kelvin

Ill Dando ft Physiks & Datkid – That’s Life

Jyager – 100k Ain’t Enough

Big Zuu – Grenfell Tower Tribute

Dizzee Rascal – Space

AJ Tracey ft Swoosh & Sloane Evans – LA4AWEEK

Capo Lee x P Money – Mula

Bugzy Malone – #NoBigDeal Freestyle

Mr. Mitch ft P Money – Priority

Dash Villz – Long Time Coming

Yungen ft Yxng Bane – Bestie


Ramson Badbonez & DJ Fingerfood – Hypnodic

Few domestic labels have as much clout or an ear for adding talent to their roster as High Focus. We could spend ages reeling through the list of names but let’s get straight to the point in hand! After enticing the underground workhorse that is Ramson Badbonez to drop his conceptual colloborative project with Charlie Mac on their imprint a few years back, Badbonez has re-surfaced to follow up A Year In The Life Of Oscar The Slouch with his brand-spanking new release, Hypnodic. This time around, he’s teamed up with Squared Roots head-honcho DJ Fingerfood to set the backdrop for him to weave his raw and gritty verbal tapestry over.

For heads in the know, Badbonez has been grafting within the scene for an absolute age and will be accustomed to his signature hard-hitting delivery. To that extent, Hypnodic doesn’t deliver any surprises. Don’t get it twisted though, he’s still “greazy like graffiti on these London streets” – perhaps even more so than ever. From front to back, he attacks each beat as if it’s the last one he’ll bless; with his complex and intricate wordplay taking us deep into his psyche and surrounding environments.

The other element to the project that impresses the most is Fingerfood’s prowess behind the buttons. To put it crudely; the beats bang. Hard. Whilst the melodies and samples vary throughout, the foundation of the album is built on his ridiculously heavy drum loops. We were reaching for the neck brace about 30 seconds into the second track and by the time we reached the Gadget assisted Sideways, we’d been signed off work with concussion.

Sometimes joint releases don’t deliver and one of the artists outshines or overshadows the other. This definitely isn’t one of those instances. Both Badbonez and Fingerfood knew what they needed to provide and in turn, well and truly delivered. Dope beats, stellar verbals; what more could you ask for? If you’ve got any common sense then make sure you cop Hypnodic now. If you’d prefer to indulge in something a little more physical, then head over to the High Focus store.


Yo! – Ice Cube, Vic Mensa, Remulak, Damian Marley, Dotz, Heavy Links, Illa J, Jammz + 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…

Ice Cube – Good Cop Bad Cop

Vic Mensa – The Manuscript EP

Damian Marley ft Stephen Marley – Dedication

Remulak – Earth

Must Volkoff ft Adam Koots, Joe Snow & One Sixth – Haze

Dotz – I Bootleg My Own Shit!

Heavy Links – Represent To The Fullest

Dutch Mob – Little Brother

Illa J – Home

Nyck @ Knight – Off The Wall

Darrell Cole – BOATS

Vince Staples – Rain Come Down

Marlon Craft – Showoff Radio Freestyle

Obdadiah – Thoughts Manifest Reality

Jammz – Oh Please

Cashtastic ft Moelogo – I Remember

Compa ft Footsie – No Hype

Lethal Bizzle – Wigback Ting

Charlie Sloth ft Giggs – Wake Up


Yo! – Datkid, Benaddict, Kool G Rap, General Steele, Jay Prince, Juga-Naut, Jack Jetson, Blay Vision + 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…

Datkid – Honey I’m Home

Gensu Dean & Wise Intelligant – Game Of Death

Benaddict ft NuphZed – Does Anybody Care?

Ramson Badbonez & DJ Fingerfood – Hypnodic

4orce & Jae Mann – Everyday Struggle

Jay Prince – Late Summers

General Steele ft VVS Verbal & Napolean Da Legend – Err’Day

Kool G Rap – Return Of The Don

Big Boi ft Killer Mike & Jeezy – Kill Jill

Juga-Naut & Micall Parknsun – Know Your Worth

Mongrels – Attack The Megalith

Jack Jetson x Sleazy F Baby & Toshiro Steel – Demon Dash

Joe Blow – The Smoking Ace

Denzel Curry – Ultimate (BADBADNOTGOOD Session)

Binary Star – Water World 3

L’Indécis – Plethoria

Dave – 100Ms

Blay Vision – Turner Ave.

Milli Major x Manga – No Check

Scrufizzer – Chill Out

Subten ft Double S – Oh What A Shame

Fekky x Ghetts – Call Me Again

Sinead Harnett – Chapter One


Dutch Mob – Passport EP Review

Bristol, stand up for your biggest and best hip-hop duo since… ever.

Introducing Dutch Mob, consisting of home-bred veterans Res One and Mistafire, representing Split Prophets and Se’Fire respectively. Together they are set to enhance Bristol’s hip-hop acclaim to new heights with their hard-hitting debut, the ‘Passport’ EP – Which is out now!

The Dutch Mob alliance formed over many years of friendship, as both rappers have known each other since back in the days. Although Res used to be considered Mistafire’s younger, they shared a brotherly relationship as strong connections tied them together from early. In 2015, both lyricists jetted to their first visit of New York City, exploring overseas culture and taking influence from underground elements of America’s modern and old-school hip-hop styles.

Afterwards, Mistafire moved in with Res and the makings of the ‘Passport’ EP unfolded from there. After completing their first collaboration track, the ‘One Take’ single, they decided to find a name for themselves. As their research turned to century-old gang names, they discovered stories about a pickpocketing collective formed in the 1860’s, the Dutch Mob, which became one of the biggest pickpocketing gangs in America before they disbanded by the 20th century.

Bristol’s Dutch Mob returned to New York to record more of the Passport EP in Spring 2017, taking DJ Simiah with them as he handles the cuts throughout the project. Dutch Mob were invited to Fred One’s studio, meeting with multiple underground NYC rap affiliates such as Kgaines & L.I.F.E Long, each playing a part in inspiring and influencing the recording process, ensuring the debut would sound as relentless as possible.

Bin Juice is the intro, setting the stage for the lyrical onslaught to come. Illinformed drops some murky bass, booming alongside classic boom-bap cymbal and snares, before Res One spits with “swagger like Mcgreggor” but “still lacking cheddar.” Mistafire follows like a loose lyrical cannon, firing multiple shots again and again before the rowdy duo finish sneering, “We let the madness begin / We living in the gutter like kings / Never beg forgiveness for the sins / We got that juice for your bins.” Simiah spins out with slick, rhythmic cuts to finish.

Track two is Dead The Soundsystem, leaving little pause for breathe, featuring a six man cypher: Dutch Mob, Kgaines, Slack Jaw, Lifelong & Mac Motion. There’s few things rarer in hip-hop than hearing a New York accent back-to-back with a Bristolian emcee, however the transatlantic connection doesn’t sound twisted in the slightest. Wordplay separates boys from men, Dutch Mob keep it as rugged and raw as their collaborators do. It’s incredible how much heat is contained within two and a half minutes. Don Piper surely played a major part in this, as he handled production throughout the track. The beat bangs like a Bronx-recorded cypher should. A badass hood anthem which demands a reload.

Dutch Mob come through with another illicit anthem on track three, Lift Music. Packing a loud BadHabitz production, Mistafire spits first with a “head spinning, jaw spinning like a rubix cube” whilst Res is “dabbing acid til I’m passive and the room shifts view.” If you hadn’t realised by now, the chorus confirms, “This ain’t lift music / it’s drug music / lift you up music / … straight from the heart, true music.” A bumping tune which was made for good times.

Boasting a homemade visual shot on a GoPro is track four, Clouded Thoughts, featuring Jman & Datkid over a gloomy, headbanging instrumental from Illinformed. Simiah spins the listener in with sharp cuts, before Jman commences with conscious wordplay and quickfire flows, rhyming with an edge of militarism. Mistafire follows, laying down rhymes which profess his supremacy. Simiah separates the verses with more neat cuts, before Res swings through with a smooth flow and mature wordplay, asserting his dominance over rival rappers with rhymes portraying his explicit perspectives. Datkid makes clear that he’s not to be messed with, then sprays clever metaphors to finish, “work will make a breh king / the same way a bird will make a breh sing / only a certain type of breh though, beware / even words can clip a brehs wings.” A tight UK collaboration which would be hectic to witness live.

Taking the edge off with a more heartfelt topic, track five Little Brother sees Res One address the youngers on his ones, instilling some sensibility as well as self-respect. Laying down lessons lifted from his own misdemeanours, without barking like a bulldog wanting attention, Res relates to those who went through similar upbringings, emphasized by the chorus, “I’m not your father or mother / but I’ve been through the same as you / I ain’t trying to patronize you / because we been through the same issues.”

Have you had enough of the political system? Are you ready for war? Then get prepared to ante up against the One Percent alongside Edo G, spitting over another bleak yet riveting beat by Illinformed. Res expresses anger for social situations, calling out the political peado rings escaping jail through payouts, and people left starving on the streets without Government aid. Edo G follows on the same political tact, however addresses issues closer to his home over the pond, such as immigration. Then Mistafire finishes, spitting with utter contempt for our nation’s dire financial inequality.

This leads into Remedy. Mistafire leads the intercontinental connect before L.I.F.E Long matches the verbal finesse, with his own unique, quick-fire flow that sounds too fresh on the crazy Badhabitz production banging hard in the background. King Raa comes through a more conscious approach, unafraid in the face of hate, keeping it cold as ice before Res finishes the cyper in trademark fashion.

Drawing towards the end, the spine-chilling beats and bars don’t cease. Rolls Canardly features another greazy, mouldy beat blessed by the infamous Illinformed. Mistafire displays his riveting storytelling and remarkable lyrical finesse on a solo steeze, believe me when I say that it is one of the hardest tracks on the record. Even if I could summarise the depth of the topics he approaches, really no more need be said. Do not sleep on Rolls Canardly.

The finale is hopefully recognisable by now, it’s the classic 1 Take track produced by Illinformed, which dropped September 2016. Booming bass bangs alongside rhythmic snares, raising the momentum for Dutch Mob to tear up the track one last time. If one track could encapsulate the vibe of the EP, it would be this one. A hard-hitting demonstration of their combined lyrical ability.

The Passport EP surpasses expectations with flair.

Words by Ethan Everton


Yo! – Must Volkoff, Vinnie Paz, Jehst, Conway, Swet Shop Boys, Big Like Baz, Cadet + more

Yes folks! It’s that time again. The extended bank-holiday weekend and has been and gone but don’t let the return of the working week get you down! 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…

Must Volkoff – Aquanaut

Vinnie Paz – Nineteen Ninety Three

Jehst – 44th Floor

Conway – Reject On Steroids

Swet Shop Boys – Sufi La

Big Like Baz – Ormond

Cyclonious – What’s Your Fate

Disorda – Cold Lampin’

Dezzy Hollow – Outkast

FKJ & Masego – Tadow

Jacob Banks – Mercy (A Colors Show)

King Grizz – West Coast (Mash-Up)

Cadet ft Konan – Instagram Girls

YGG – Three IC3s

Eyez x Maniac – Smoking Fine


Jehst – New album and single announcement!

Some artists really don’t need an introduction. Jehst, one of the biggest and most influential artists in homegrown Hip Hop, is back with a bang after announcing his new album Billy Green is Dead and has decided to share with us it’s first single, 44th Floor.

Inspired by Gil Scott-Heron’s song of the same name, the ambitious Billy Green is Dead record follows fictional everyman character Billy Green on his solitary journey through an uncaring, individualistic world.  Lead track 44th Floor – produced by Zygote of Strange U, aka The Maghreban – comes midway through the records’ narrative arc and finds protagonist Billy at breaking point; “feeling like my life’s a major fail, standing on the platform waiting for British Rail”.

We caught up with Jehst to press him for more information…

“I don’t want to say too much about the album at this point. I’d prefer to let the music speak for itself. But I will say that ’44th Floor’ is pretty much the lynchpin, the centre of gravity that the rest of the album revolves around. So it kind of makes sense to give people that track when they pre-order the album. Because it draws you into the wider narrative, not necessarily the musical direction but the concept – the story of this everyman Billy Green character.”

Billy Green is Dead is Jehst’s first album of original material in 6 years and will be released on 16th June through his YNR Productions imprint.  Co-executively produced by Beat Butcha and featuring further production by Paul White and Jehst himself, alongside guest vocals from Eric Biddines, Strange U and mysterious R&B man, Ennio Lion, this really isn’t something you’re going to want to miss. Your can pre-order Billy Green Is Dead here


Renegade Brass Band – Totems (Review)

Sheffield based collective, Renegade Brass Band are back once again with their latest album Totems.

Consisting of 8 horns, 2 percussionists, a scratch DJ and an MC, this 12-piece hip-hop collective certainly know how to capture the unmissable, electrifying energy from their live shows and compose it into a sophomore studio album.

Packing punchy rhythms and a tight brass, Totems delivers the perfect blend of hip-hop, funk and jazz. Stand out tracks from the album include Vicarious Visions and Torches and Pitchforks, echoing sounds of Capdown, Rage Against the Machine and Hot 8 Brass Band combined.

Whilst trying to avoid a cliché review, it’s really hard to deny RBB’s latest album Totems is perfect for this year’s summer playlist.

Renegade Brass Band once again prove they are one’s to look out for with this release, whilst continuing to lay the path of success for other brass band collectives across the UK.

Totems is available now on limited edition CD, vinyl and digitally via Bandcamp.

Review by Abi Lewis



Children Of Zeus Interview

Children Of Zeus have been making some serious moves within the Uk and beyond of late, and finally the dup are preparing their debut album, which we’re serious excited about at Wordplay Towers! We checked in with the duo to see what they’ve been getting up to and what’s on the horizon. 
How’s 2017 going so far?
Things are building, We just released our second official single as Children of Zeus – I Cant Wait/ Don’t Say a Word and we’ve been busy up and down the country doing shows and trying to find time to record some more music. Tyler is about to be exposed to a whole new audience as he’s all over Goldie’s new album so things are moving and we’re constantly getting new fans every day hit us up which is more than we could ask for. 

The singles you’ve been dropping sound amazing! When’s the album being released?
Thank you! It’s the one thing we constantly get asked. Time is a real struggle for us; we’re not kids any more and the unfortunate reality is music doesn’t take priority over other commitments. We might see each other twice a month so trying to get an album finished isn’t something that will happen overnight. Unless someone throws enough money for us to sit in a studio for a few weeks, it may take longer than everyone hopes. It will be worth the wait though 

Manchester has been releasing some great new talent recently. How are you finding the local scene? 
We’ve both been around under various musical guises for a long time and when we formed COZ, the Soul/ Hip Hop scene was really dead and D&B/Grime/Bass music was killing it. There were a few making similar music to us but not much more than on a local level. Thankfully there seems to be lots of younger musicians doing big things on a similar vibe to us and there’s a little soulful scene emerging. 
Crown is much more of a traditional lyrical Hip Hop track than some of your previous tracks, including Still standing. What kind of sound can we expect from the album? Any features or producers that you can tell us about?!
We really didn’t think anyone would like Crown that much. It was just to get some shit off our chest but it ended up being a lot of people’s favourite COZ track which was surprising and lets us know we don’t have to stick to one formula. The album will probably be similar to what you’ve already heard from us but we don’t pre-plan any sound. We produce everything ourselves and really only fuck with outside production if it’s something we can’t do already. Saying that if we could get a beat off Madlib/MNDSGN/Knxwledge etc we would snap that up in an instant!

You’ve been supporting a wide array of artists live. Have you got a favourite gig to date? 
We’ve done some big shows but one of the highlights was a pretty small jam in our home town that we put on when the first single had just come out and everyone was singing along; that meant a lot to us. Outside of that we did a couple of surprise walk on gigs with Yussef Kamaal! The Manchester show was vibes. Then a couple days later they announced they were splitting up which was a real shame as we’d love to work with them again
What’s your plans for this summer? Many festivals on the horizon? 
Summer is just trying to get this album on the way. We are doing Soundwave, Outlook, Trajections etc but we still aren’t on the radar to a lot of promotors. We’re patient but if they don’t hurry up soon they won’t be able to separate the blue M&Ms fast enough. 
You mentioned you’re playing Outlook this year. Are there any artists you’re particularly looking forward to seeing perform? 
We never really check the line up of these things until we get there. Outlook is an excuse to be with hundreds of other Mancunians in the sunshine and end up wherever the crowd takes us. It’s such a good festival that no matter where you end up there’s something dope going on on stage. 

You’re signed to First Word. How are you finding being on a label and what do you feel are the advantages of artists signing when so many releases are now fully independent?
DJ Gilla is the head honcho over there. Good guy to work with. Once it was announced we were putting records out with them a lot of people congratulated us and said it’s good home for our music so we knew then it was a good label to be with. As we mentioned earlier; time isn’t something we have a lot of so we can just about manage to make music but we definitely don’t have time to push it out there or press vinyl like a label would. I think in an ideal world we’d have time and money to make music and release it ourselves but for now most of our listeners probably wouldn’t even hear our music if it wasn’t on a label. 
Can you suggest 3 artists that our readers should be checking out? 
Well 3 from Manchester we’d recommend are DRS, LayFullStop & Levelz. Outside of Manchester, Conway, Mndsgn & M9
Are you guys on the vinyl or digital vibe?! What are you finding you’re steering towards when you’re listening to music?
Tyler is on a Children of Zeus/Tyler vibe so not too many outside influences! Konny is the total opposite. Still buys lots of new/old vinyl. And constantly listening to Spotify/podcasts/blogs for new stuff
Finally, is there anyone you’d like to shout out? 
Just everyone who has ever supported us in any way. From record buyers, to promotors, the people who share all our music on social media, the DJs and everyone who spends hard earned money coming out to our shows. We love you all!
Interview by Vice beats


Taskforce (full crew interview)

It’s rare you catch the whole of Taskforce in the same room these days, but our man Ethan caught up with them all back stage at The Fresh Kids event in Huddersfield. Talk of new material as Taskforce and individually, this is an exciting time for the collective!


Yo! – Danger Mouse, Micall Parknsun x Mr Thing, Flying Lotus, Rye Shabby, Earth2Tom, Conway + 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…

Danger Mouse ft Run The Jewels & Big Boi – Chase Me

Micall Parknsun x Mr Thing – The Raw

Vince Staples – Big Fish

Apollo Brown & Skyzoo – On The Stretch & Bobbito Show

DJ Shadow ft Nas – Systematic

Rye Shabby – Trench Coat

Flying Lotus – Night Grows Pale

Joyner Lucas – Just Like You

Not Humble – Conway

Earth2Tom ft FRSHRZ – N_WRD

Nyck Caution – Element x DNA (Remix)

Rejjie Snow – The Moon & You

Buddy x KAYTRANDA – Find Me

Saint – A Lovely Bargain (A Colors Show)

Leaf Dog ft BVA & Kool Keith – The Reminder

Lazy Eye x Nega – Lost Souls

Amine ft Missy Elliot & AJ Tracey – REDMERCEDES (Remix)

Bugzy Malone ft DJ Luck & MC Neat – Through The Night

Slay x Coco x Chimpo – Mek Body

Manga St Hilaire x Lewi B – Outbursts From The Outskirts


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