I’m a graduate journalist, presenter and creative writer. Growing up in south London, I’m interested in motivating and encouraging young people to do more! I aim to bring you all the latest gossip, deep features and reports on the most exclusive events.
British rap has been in the shadows for too long but UK Rapper Blade Brown is one of the few who is proving that raw British rap is a genre not to be ignored. Since being on the rap scene, double OMA award winner Blade has teamed up with Fem Fel on ‘Fem vs Blade’ and of course Giggs to create what is undoubtedly a street classic ‘Hollow vs Blade’. However Blade proved he is just as great on a solo mix-tape when he released Financial Times in 2011 which reached number 2 on the iTunes rap chart.
With his highly anticipated mix-tape Bags&Boxes 2 now released on iTunes, I caught up with Blade as part of HoodTapes Catch Up Sessions. We talk about everything from his music career success, his plans for the future and we throw in some random questions in a game called Bags&Boxes to get to know him a little better!
The interview proves to be very interesting and shows a funny, charismatic side to Mr Brown not really seen in past interviews.
Asked about what his thoughts are on being labeled as a ‘trap’ rapper, he states, “On a music scale, it makes people not appreciate the lyrics and what I’m actually saying… I listen to a lot of other rappers that people think are the best and I think ‘I’m better than them’ but people want to box you in this ‘trap’ category’.” He also tells us about the sound of his new mix-tape describing it as “real, energetic and raw”, his favourite track on the mix-tape and his ideas on future music videos. Enjoy!
Often thought about as the ‘other one’ in the group, Fazer hasn’t really had his time to shine in the spotlight. However fans will know that he has always been the man behind the great tracks for both Dappy and Tulisa as they went solo co-producing the Number One hit single No Regrets and writing and producing the number one hit We Are Young. And now Fazer has hit us with his own debut single ‘Killer’ from his upcoming debut Album.
I get straight into it. How does it feel to be going solo Fazer? ‘Weird. I look left, I look right, I don’t see them. We’re like family. I’ve known Dappy since I was 7 and met Tulisa when I was 10. But then again, it’s pretty cool because it has given me the chance to go into my own spotlight and really showcase what I’m about.’ And about time too! It seems as if Fazer can manage on his own two feet as he oozes confidence and understands hard grafting will eventually pay off.
N-dubz split when Tulisa announced on her Twitter page that they will no longer be making music together. Dappy later confirmed this was true and was the first to head out and make a solo single. But will N-Dubz ever get back together? ‘Yes.’ Fazer tells me ‘N-Dubz will always be the base. Hopefully around 2014. Give us two years to dominate these charts internationally and nationally and we’ll come back together and be better than ever.’
I’m sure all the ‘N-Dublets’ will be happy to hear that. N-Dubz, a british hip-hop group from Camden Town have sold over a million albums in the UK, won four MOBO Awards and have over one hundred million views on YouTube. The group were managed and encouraged by Dappy’s late father ‘Uncle B’ and soon caught the attention of Def Jam Recordings a few years ago. The band have always been strong about not letting people tell them what to do as writing and producing their own tracks have been an important part of their success. Not surprisingly, Dappy said ‘no to the Def Jam’ chairman as he says in his first SBTV Tarzan freestyle, and continued to push forward as Tulisa was announced as X Factor’s new judge.
We know a lot about Fazer and Tulisa’s upbringing but I want to know more about Fazer’s. He takes a deep breath and puts it very simply. ‘Well my mum used to clean toilets. My dad used to put up market stalls on the weekend. I grew up next to nothing. Rice and corn beef was a regular dish. (laughs) Real talk! I got to 16 and my mum stopped giving me the little pocket money she could and said ‘Look, you gotta stand on your own two feet’. I tried to get a job. It didn’t work. Started hanging out with the right crowd doing the wrong things. Didn’t really do too well at that either. Tried hustling. That weren’t the one for me. Then thank God, we got famous in the end.’
And sure enough they did. From the age of 12, Fazer would be recording music in the studio whilst performing at local events. But I wonder if he knew they would reach the success they did as they recorded music and freestyled on community radio stations. ‘I don’t think we knew. But we had the belief that we could make it. With the drive of Dappy’s Dad and writing songs after songs that were getting better than the one before, we had the belief. It’s the same with everything in this world. If you want something in this world, you can get it. You just really need to want it. Like really want it so bad you could cry.’
Did he ever feel overshadowed? ‘No. Not in the slightest. I’m not a fame junkie. I’m a musician. I just love making music man. All I know is music. So I was never really bothered about being in the limelight. All I know is that I can make great music and if people like and appreciate it, I’ll have longevity in my career.’
New Single: ‘Killer’
Fazer has just introduced his new single ‘Killer’ to the world. It’s a gritty, electro track with a crazy video to match. Lyrics include ‘Cock back/ Lock and load/ I’m ready to aim/I’m ready to go/I hit the target/Right where her heart is’. So what exactly is the song about and what triggered this idea? ‘Ok so I was thinking basically young guy. Seeing a girl. Maybe even a few girls. But he isn’t really looking for a relationship. He isn’t looking to get tied down in anything. As soon as a girl starts to fall for him, he makes a swift exit and becomes a love killer. So the girl is just left broken-hearted like ‘Who does this guy think he is?’ I can’t help but wonder if the track was based on his personal life. ‘No not really. That song wasn’t originally for Fazer when I wrote it. I had someone else in mind at the time. But my vocal sounded great on the record!’
And yes indeed his vocal does sound great on the track but YouTube comments and tweets since the release suggest some people feel the autotune was not needed. ‘You know what I say to that? I say I’m a producer. If I use autotune on the track, it’s purely for reasons of it being a symph. I’m not Luther Vandross. I’m not tryna be no singer. I’ll leave that for the singers. That’s their world. But what I do know is that I can write a great record. And anyway, you need a fairly decent voice to even use autotune otherwise you would still sound pants regardless!’ Fair point there Fazer.
The sound of ‘Killer’ is also quite different to what we have been used to with N-Dubz and the same has been for Dappy and Tulisa’s tracks after going solo which Fazer wrote and produced. Maybe it is a sign of maturity and growth to show mainstream music can also be done. But for Fazer, it is all very simple. ‘I’m a very versatile producer. I can do any genre of music. You can’t really put me in a box. I’ll go rip up an Indie record! Live guitars, live drums, live bass, live piano and make a track for someone like Coldplay. I can execute that. As well as ‘Killer,’ ‘We Are Young’ and even ‘No Regrets’. It’s a conscious decision for me to be versatile. Nobody’s going to expect what’s to come from Fazer. Some people may have not ‘expected’ me to do a dance track but people shouldn’t expect anything because I can do what I like. Next one is going to be completely different so people might think ‘Oh ok this is what he’s about’ but then the next one after that is gonna be completely different.’
Fazer wrote the treatment for the video himself directed by Jak Frsh and visually describes everything he describes the song to be about with an interesting concept. We see Fazer being stopped and kidnapped by girls as they put him in a straight jacket and force him to take his ‘medication’ with what looks to be some love potion.
This excites me and makes me think about what kind of tracks he is planning to do next. That confidence streak just continues to ooze out of him. There’s no pause. No contemplating what type of music he will do. He just tells me straight. ‘I’m going to do an Indie record.’ I think ‘nice’. ‘I’m going to do a gully side record.’ Whaaaa. ‘I’m gonna do a street anthem.’ Keeping it real! ‘I’m going to do a Ladies tune for the girls.’ I cant help but smile and nod whilst a ‘hmm’ slips out as I nod in appreciation. ‘Mmhmm. Get the ladies gassed!’ (laughs) Damn. I so should of stopped there.
‘We should have the album done by the end of September or early October. Killer obviously starts the campaign for this album. Conscious decision. Summer anthem. Partying in Ibiza. Everyone gets slushed. ‘Killer! Killer!’ Straight shutdown. I can play that anywhere this summer and it will shut it down. We got the second single there ready to go.’ So shall we expect the unexpected?
‘Just expect an alternative album. The features on the album are not the usual suspects. People will be like ‘oh wow, I would never expect him to be on the record with him.’ I’m really really hitting the shock factor and the wow factor.’ Did I hear features? Who can these possibly be? UK or U.S artists? Or maybe even both? Understandably, everything is top secret and so I move on.
Not only is Fazer a great rapper and producer, he has showed us he can play the piano beutifully whilst featuring in Dappy’s video for ‘No Regrets’. He also showed his multi-instrumental talents with his involvement in ‘Urban Classics’. A collaboration with some of the biggest names in the UK urban scene and the 80 piece BBC Symphony Orchestra, to produce a one-of-a-kind performance to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Barbican Centre. ’I learned drums through school. I had a mini casio keyboard which had that little demo track on it. (sounds out the demo and pretends to play) So I used to play along to the track. And I really just taught myself to play the piano really. Of course being in the studio all the time and getting really hands on with the equipment and stuff you really just pick it up naturally.’
He is so musically talented. It’s almost as if Fazer breathes music. There is no denying that his musical talents are far from one dimensional. If music is his life I’m eager to know what he would be doing if he couldn’t rap or make music. ‘I’d be repping for Great Britain in the Olympics!’ This takes me aback. Really? ‘Yeah I’d be an athlete. I’d be bringing gold back home for us. I was unbeatable man. I still got all the trophies and medals from doing long distance running.’
Not one to focus on one thing at a time, Fazer will be entering the fashion world. ‘I’m literally mixing music and fashion. All my visual stuff like videos are going to take a more artistic approach and will be paying attention to detail.’ Sounds very interesting. ‘Im gonna execute this by using fashion directors that work on things like Christian Louboutin adverts and not the people that work on urban, RnB videos. I’m steering away from that completely and really making something different. Mixing fashion and music was natural. I love fashion. I love mixing clothes and materials. I like the way things are put together. Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of money and now I can afford to look good. Its not about brands for me. It’s about the art and the style and how I feel when I wear the clothes.’
I check out his outfit again. A navy blue T-Shirt with striped sleeves, jeans and Ice-T style Gold chains. ’My style is very open. I like trying new things. I read French magazines and have a look into the Italian styles. I really just pick little bits out of everything and piece things together to work for me. I’m really really focused in the fashion side of things because at some point next year I’m bringing out my own fashion line for Men.’ Fazer leads on to my next question smoothly about what business prospects he has in the pipeline. There is no hesitation. ‘Ok I’ve got a 5 year plan. First thing is first. Fazer. Solo. I’m making that as big as I can internationally. Then start signing my own acts through my production company which I’m releasing my own songs through my own label STL music (Sky’s The Limit). So yeah its about getting myself out there as a solo artist than bringing new talent in.’ He pauses. Perhaps people have tried to water down his dreams in the past or maybe he feels like I’m only interested in current topics. ‘People wont even know what I’m talking about. Seriously. It’s a different type of business. Different world. But I pull it off, I’m gone.’
And hats off to you Fazer for even thinking about the five years ahead with so much conviction. Dream big and have the confidence to chase them and you’re already a step closer. I decide its time to move on and find out what he feels about the recent twitter beef between the two cousins Dappy and Tulisa. Who ever knows about N-Dubz will know its nothing new. They are family and have grown up together. ‘If they wasn’t having arguments, I’d be worried! The minor feuds is just how it is. It’s all love.’
What keeps Fazer so motivated? ‘My hunger to succeed keeps me motivated. If I was to define success it would be getting to a certain age and being with my family and kids and being able to forget I had ever wrote lyrics. Definitely not in this country. That means I havent succeeded. somewhere out in the sea, little boat out the back, my kids running around on the beach happy days! If I can take my family out the struggle we had to come up in, that is success to me.’
Is Fazer single?
We all know Tulisa and Fazer were once a couple and now for whatever reason, they are not. Big deal. Its now Fazer’s time to shine. On behalf of all the ladies, I had to check up on his love life. ‘Yes I’m single and no I’m not looking to change that.’ Oh what a blow! ‘Honestly right now I’m focusing on my career and my plan for the next five years.’
There is now more reason to buy the single ‘Killer’ as Fazer recently tweeted that N-Dubz would make the guiness book of records if it goes to Number 1 as they would be the first ever band to have all leading singers go to Number 1!
Charlie Hedges is from Essex and currently presents KISS FM’s weekday Breakfast Show with Rickie and Melvin catching up with celebrities such as Nicki Minaj, Cheryl Cole and Rihanna. At only 25, Charlie stay focused and worked hard towards achieving her dream job. Her story can inspire us all. We decided to have a chat to find out about how she got started, being a female DJ and her plans for a new TV Show.
Firstly, what was your inspiration to start DJing? Well I’ve always loved music. I’ve got videos of me dancing around to Micheal Jackson when I was about 4! I remember listening to KISS FM when it was a pirate station when I was still very young with my parents and I remember asking what that job was. I have basically just gone for the job ever since I was a kid. I didn’t look at any other career other than that.
How did you get started? Well I went to Uni and did a Journalism degree after getting a freelancing job at school for a magazine when I was 13. It was basically as a back up incase the radio or the DJing didn’t work. So I studied for a BA Honours whilst working at KISS which was pretty mental! But it was a wicked experience and a wicked course.
Do you remember your first ever gig you played at? Oh yeah! It was a little bar which isn’t open any more in Kent. And it was just a friend of mines event but I was so nervous. But they let me play and that was my first ever gig. First of many which I am very grateful for.
What was the first record you ever bought? Oh you’ve done me over here! Ok I was madly in love with Peter Andre with his fake 6-pac and it was one of his tracks. I still got a photo of me holding the CD which I got for Christmas I sadly admit. I still like the bloke but the love interest has slightly faded a little bit.
Being a female DJ
Music is universal enjoyed by both men, women boys and girls. So why do you think there are so many more male DJ’s? You know what, I don’t actually think there are less female DJ’s. But I think there are not enough female DJ’s that people know about. A lot more women are becoming more confident and thinking ‘Yeah sod it, I want to do this as a career’ so people are becoming more aware that they are out there. It is of course a male dominated industry and it takes a lot to walk into a club and think yeah I can do this even though I’m surrounded and dominated by men.
As a female DJ, do you feel like you need to work twice as hard to prove yourself as a credible DJ? I think with any career you have to prove to yourself but also to other people. Everyone cares about what other people think. At the end of the day I want people to enjoy and appreciate my music. Obviously there is that pressure. I walk into the club and the last thing the guys want to see is me walking into the DJ booth! I have to go up there and do a good job no matter what.
Has the fact that your name is unisex ever helped? It’s funny you say that! A couple of months ago, I sent an email to quite a big company who distribute songs for DJ’s to play and he emailed me back thinking I’m a bloke. He still don’t know I’m a girl! I think it’s hilarious. I mean eventually I’ll be playing some of the tracks he sent me and it will be so funny to think he’s going to go on my website and realize I’m actually a girl.
What are some of the hardships in being a female DJ? I’m not a man hater. But it is hard. It is full of men. It’s hard to go out there as a female and do a good job, continue to get recognition for it and get booked. But I go out there and do the best that I can do.
Life as a DJ
What genre of music do you most enjoy playing and why? Electro and Tech house. There’s no reason other than I love it. It’s my life. I love it more than anything in the world. I was brought up around it. I respect a lot of the DJ’s like Carl Cox who has been around for years and are still doing it.
Do you produce tracks as well? Is it important for DJ’s to be able to produce as well as play music? I haven’t done but I’m talking to other producers at the moment thinking of a few ideas and seeing who will be up for collaborating. I don’t think it’s really that important for DJ’s to be able to produce. But I do think if you can make a track that reflects you and the sort of music you play out, it is an easier way to get your style out without having to play at a club every weekend. If a track goes out and it’s massive then that is representing you and who you are and that’s why it is so important to get the right track.
Where is the best country you have ever played and why? Well the obvious one is Ibiza. But another one would have to be Egypt. I played there October 2011 and they are trying their best to make it a clubbing destination as well as a place for families or couples to go to. I’m hoping I can play there again.
Out of the records you own, what tune never fails? Insomnia by Faithless! It doesn’t matter where you are around the world. I think it brings back a lot of memories for people that have been clubbing for years and maybe some before me but its also brought out a new era for people just starting the clubbing scene. It brings people together.
D.J stands for disc jockey and originally someone who plays vinyl records. How strong is your vinyl collection and what do you think of the transition? The saddest thing is I don’t have any vinyls that I use to DJ with. But basically I started DJing on vinyl. That’s how I learned how to DJ. Times and technology changes so much and so fast that by the time I had my first set, I was using C.D’s! I also play it on USB now, more so than on CD’s which is obviously great for travelling. But oh God I’m grateful for CD’s and USB because I’m abut 2ft tall so I’m glad I’m not in that era having to carry around vinyls to be honest!
When you play, is it a pre-planned set? No. Never. People assume it is because it would be a lot easier to do that. But it really depends where your playing. I always play a house set but you might have people that are into house music but you might have to change your set slightly, maybe play a bit more vocal house for example. When I put a track on, I can see within 15 or 20 seconds whether that is going to work or not and if it aint, you get the hell out of it!
What is the worst thing that has ever happened to you whilst playing a set? I was playing in front of a few thousand people. So there I am playing along and the next DJ who was playing sticks his SD card in and puts it my set I’m playing from and he just cuts the music! So anyone looking from the crowd would think it was me. I nearly dropped kicked him! (laughs)
How did you feel when you were told you would be presenting the breakfast show on Kiss FM? Well I’ve been at KISS for about five years now and that day was the best day of my life. I’ve been listening to KISS since I was a kid, it’s my dream job and I remember thinking ‘Blimey! I’ve actually made it.’ Even now, I wake up every morning knowing that I am lucky to be working in a job I’ve always dreamt of working in. It started off with a week’s placement behind the scenes making coffee, a week before I started Uni and then they said they wanted to keep me on!
What’s it like working with Rickie and Melvin every morning at Kiss? Wicked. It’s really good fun! We are like family really. They obviously come as a pair so I was like the odd one out but no it’s really good. It’s nice to even argue and put girls’ points of view across sometimes. Nothing serious because you can’t really argue with family.
Who is the best celebrity that has come in for a breakfast chat? Recently Will.I.Am. He is honestly the nicest bloke I think I’ve ever met in my life! He’s so cool and yet geeky but he’s just the cutest bloke. He can tell stories for days! He came in and he was there longer than the 5 minute time slot just telling us stories after stories. But yeah he is so cool and very talented.
What 5 tips would you give to people out there wanting to become a DJ or a radio presenter?
1. Don’t give up. Everyone says it but it is so easy to take it on board and then completely forget it when you get a knock back. 2. Don’t take no for an answer. I was told no so many times and I didn’t take no for an answer! So be persistent. 3. Have fun with it. I think people think it’s quite easy. It is long hours and it is hard work but just enjoy it. 4. Always be nice to people. I can’t be fake anyway and you’re going to meet people you don’t like in this industry but never be a bitch. It doesn’t matter who it is, just always have respect. 5. Remember where you came from. This is the most important. Even on my Twitter and Facebook, I always respond to people because without them I wouldn’t be here! So if anyone becomes a successful DJ, just remember how you bludy got there! If I ever did forget, my family would give me a kick up the backside to be honest.
What’s the best thing about being a DJ? It’s fun. It’s random. And you don’t get no sleep! So if you like your sleep, this is not for you. That’s why my favourite song is Insomnia because I can’t get no sleep!
What does the rest of this year have in store for you? My first mixed CD is on sale July 16 which I mixed the club part to it. I’ve got gigs in Ibiza and Majorca. Loads of gigs throughout the summer. I’ve got a Saturday night mix show now (2-3am) playing exactly what I love; Electro and Tech. And I’m also in the early stages of discussing doing TV shows so watch out for that! Follow me on Twitter for all news and updates!
Doors opened at The Big Chill House, in the heart of London’s Kings Cross, as it was time for an evening full of fun in the presence of great people, good music and oh not to mention free drinks for the Flavour team! It wasn’t long before the horrible, drizzly rain outside was completely forgotten about and the night turned into one not to be forgotten about.
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It was time for the first performance of the night by Sam Garrett managed by Flavour Magaizne’s publisher Leonard Foster. A few minutes into his performance and there were problems with the sound so it was back to the music by DJ Chef. The Big Chill House staff got to work to try and resolve the in-house problem as the very apologetic Sam tried to do his best to help.
Once over the technical difficulties, Sam Garrett got straight into his set performing with his guitarist brother Tom. He performed two of his tracks ‘None the Wiser’ and ‘Memory Lane’ before finishing off with Bob Marley’s ‘One Love’. Despite the hitch, Sam Garrett killed it and provided a great singalong opportunity for everybody setting the mood for the rest of the evening and forthcoming 50 years of Jamaica’s Independence Day celebrations.
DJ Melody Kane and DJ Chef continued to give us the bangers in between performances playing everything from classic hip-hop bangers, dancehall and funky house. Next up was the talented Anisa. Dressed in a fitted black top and jeans and a funky hairdo, Anisa took her seat at the keyboard to show off her sultry voice against the backdrop of the keys. The first song was understandably Alicia Keys ‘More Than A Woman’ making the song her own. It was then time to introduce us to her own song called ‘Music’ which she has Wretch 32 featured on. The crowd were completely engaged as we were taken on a journey with the emotion felt songs similar to the songs she has on her ‘Music EP’.
It was then time to get the energy back up with dancehall singer Lee-Anna and next up was Mr Midas performing his current single ‘Snapback’ and his forthcoming single ‘Not going Home Alone’ from his new mixtape MidasTouch. As Mr Midas rounded up his performance, the audience were warmed up enough for the night’s headline act Stylo G, the UK’s biggest dancehall artist.
The crowd shuffled closer to the stage as he kicked off his set with ‘Call Me a Yardie’ along with his brother and producer Kodi Starr. The response was crazy and was an obvious call for a pull up as he started the song again on Drake’s ‘Motto’ beat showing how versatile his music could be. A quick shout out to Chip’s management team who were also in the building meant it was time to drop his most recent hit featuring Chip ‘Dash Out’. Girls seized the opportunity and jumped on stage to get their chance to whine with Stylo G himself which he didn’t look too upset about. Appreciating the crazy love from the great crowd and of course the love Flavour always show him, Stylo stuck around for some drinks and some laughs before heading down to another performance.
Other DJ’s who took to the decks included Shorty Bless, Melody Kane and Corey spinning the best tracks as drinks were flowing, people were vybzing and everyone began dancing the night away. Flavour proved yet again that we know how to party hard and provide great entertainment whilst also making the night FREE for everyone.
Multi platinum selling superstar Nicki Minaj, who is currently celebrating yet another top ten hit with her new single ‘Pound The Alarm’, has announced that Misha B will be joining her on her previously announced ‘Pink Friday Reloaded’ UK Arena tour this October/November as special guest.
Minaj, unarguably the most exciting, colourful and larger than life artist to emerge in recent years, recently wowed crowds with her main stage performance at Radio 1’s Hackney Big Weekend on Saturday and two sell out performances at HMV Hammersmith Apollo, Birmingham NIA Academy and Manchester O2 Academy.
As well as these added shows, it has also been announced that Young Money’s latest rising star Tyga, has been announced as special guest on all European dates.
Misha B will be joining Nicki and Tyga on the bill, for what is sure to be one of 2012’s most spectacular tours. Misha B is one of the UK’s hottest artists of 2012, she recently released her debut single ‘Home Run’ through Relentless Records, which entered the UK charts at number 10 last week. Having amassed a huge following, including A-listers lining up to work with her, she has 237,000 followers on Twitter, 66,000 fans on Facebook and has already had over 7 million views on YouTube. Speaking on her addition to this incredible tour, Misha said
“I’m over the moon to be Nicki’s support on her UK tour! Really looking forward to catching a vybz and gettin out there and performing new songs. Woohoo Woop Woop!”
2011 was an incredible year for Nicki, with her multi-platinum selling debut album ‘Pink Friday’ boasting the most charted singles by any female rap album in Billboard history. Nicki also became the first artist to have 7 singles on the Billboard HOT 100 chart simultaneously. Nicki was recently nominated for three Grammys for Best New Artist, Best Rap Performance, and Best Rap Album.
Her second studio album ‘Pink Friday…Roman Reloaded’ was released in April this year, crashing straight to number 1 in the UK charts. It has already boasted one of the most successful singles of the year, ‘Starships’ which was top 20 on iTunes in more than 40 countries and to date has received 41 million views online. Her latest single ‘Pound The Alarm’ will be released July 9th.
Rapper Karl Hinds is from East London. ‘I love living in London because it is the epicenter of British youth culture.’ Karl pursued his music dream at the age of 15 and began his venture by setting up his own record label ‘Assasin Records’ spurring him on to start another record label whilst making award winning tracks.
Karl started off in the influential jungle scene with songs such as ‘Cock Out and Ride’ but has established himself as a hip-hop artist. ‘Hip-hop is my life, a vehicle for my pain, the reason for my growth and the fucking death of me’. It seems as if the transition into hip-hop was the plan from the start. ‘I always intended to make hip-hop. My jungle and drum & bass label ‘Assassin Records’ was originally a hip-hop label that made Jungle music to raise money to kick start my hip-hop career, but we had released so many tracks trying to get the doe up that I had to create a new label as Assassin had unwittingly established itself in the jungle/drum & bass scene’.
“I went broke. Now I have to start all over again. But I guess God wanted to see how bad I want this.”
This new sister label was infact ‘Ill Flava Records’ where hip-hop was the focus and a classic record ‘Don Gramma’ was born. This track earned Karl UK Hip Hop Awards for Best Newcomer, Best Single and Best Video of 2001. Karl had created a unique sound that began to challenge the conventional sound of UK Hip Hop. Some have gone as far to say that he has influenced many UK artists that have come after him but which UK artists is Karl rating right now? ‘I’m rating English Frank, K-Koke, T.K, Mic Righteous, Black Da Ripper, DurrtyGoodz and Benny Banks because they keep it authentic. Street music not Pop music that’s packaged to appear street.’
It is fair to say that the UK has a long way to go but will UK hip-hop ever reach the same level as it is in the US? ‘It’s happening right now,’ says Karl ‘I don’t know if it’s because US hip-hop has got worse or if the UK has got better but we’re making the same money now. Creatively the UK still hasn’t made the master pieces the Americans did that got hip-hop noticed and I don’t know if we ever will as most of these UK artists aren’t even interested in leaving that type of legacy, they just want to get paid.’
Having record labels set up means one must be able to spot real talent and often have artists collaborating on tracks with one another. But I wonder what four artists Karl Hinds would have if he could make a super group. ‘Minnie Riperton, Nas, Jay Z and Dr Dre. Minnie is the greatest ever female recording vocalist in my opinion, Nas is the greatest Rapper in history, Jay is the greatest hustler to ever Rap and his influence in pop culture can’t be exaggerated. Dr Dre is the greatest hip-hop producer in history. So could you imagine the album?’ Needless to say yes it is imaginable and it would be amazing.
Karl has recently dropped his mixtape ‘Black Timing’ showcasing a raw hip-hop sound and collaborating with artists such as Genesis Elijah, Mr Midas and Durrty Goodz who ‘compliment the diversity on the mixtape’. As well as great collabs, the mixtape also features a skit of an interview Karl did where he talks about a deal he was offered when he was 15. Un-regrettably, refused he refused the deal as he tells the interviewer, ‘I thought if he can do it without an education I can do it. I got an education. So fuck him.’ Clearly proud of all the tracks on the mixtape he states, ‘I couldn’t single out 1 favourite tune. I genuinely love them all.’ He adds, ‘The video for the track ‘Greatest’ featuring DurrtyGoodz is crazy and is out soon so look out for it!’
Although he is now settling into the UK rap scene nicely, Karl has been away from music for 8 years rebuilding his business and teaching himself how to adapt to the fast developments of technology so he can become successful in having a business that could serve the internet. He has undoubtedly been experimenting with different sounds as a producer so what producer does he take inspiration from? ‘Dr Dre was my biggest inspiration, I think we shared the same view that hip-hop could be produced with a clean sharp finish and still sound gutter and grimey. Also Timbaland, DJ Premier, Havoc of Mobb Deep, Alchemist, and Liam from Prodigy who is probably the best producer Britain has ever produced!’
Most artists who are asked to think of a career they would have if they were not doing music usually still consider themselves to have been doing something in the entertainment industry but Karl says he would probably have been a ‘psychiatrist or physiologist or something to do with the study of mind or human nature’ proving he is not your typical ‘bad boy’ rapper and adds has some depth to his character.
Karl is clearly very sure about what he wants and seems confident enough to make it happen. But the vision hasn’t always been as clear as it is now and he has had to overcome some hurdles Karl considers to be ‘embarrassing’. ‘I went broke. I’ve fallen before I had the chance to cement my entry into the game, and now I have to start all over again. But I guess God wanted to see how bad I want this.’
Karl Hinds is not stopping for anyone and will be dropping his third independent album soon as well as another mixtape and has some ‘crazy videos’ in the pipeline.
Fazer is set to make an explosive return to the music scene this summer with his eagerly awaited debut solo single ‘Killer’, released on August 26th.
[Scroll down for 'Killer' video]
Fazer has written and produced the track himself alongside his studio partner, Roc Nation’s Pete ‘Neros’ Ibsen. ‘Killer’ is a gritty, fast-paced piece of urban electro and the infectious chorus is set to a pulsating baseline and club beats which perfectly showcases Fazer’s writing and production prowess.
Fazer has already achieved massive success as a member of N-Dubz, without question one of the most culturally significant groups in contemporary British pop music. Their albums ‘Uncle B,’ ‘Against All Odds’ and ‘Love.Live.Life’ have to-date sold over 1 million copies in the UK. With over 100 million views on YouTube, a No.1 best selling book and four MOBO Award wins, Fazer is definitely a musical force to be reckoned with.
The video for ‘Killer’ was directed by Jak Frsh withFazer writing the treatment. Set in a disturbing ex-military mental asylum once inhabited by those haunted by the demons of war, the video shows a straight-jacket bound Fazer struggling to escape from his padded cell.A talented writer, musician and producer, Fazer has had huge success in his own right, having written and produced Tulisa’s recent No.1 single ‘Young’ and co-produced Dappy’s No.1 single ‘No Regrets’. He also showed his multi-instrumental talents with his involvement in ‘Urban Classics’ – a collaboration with some of the biggest names in the UK urban scene and the 80 piece BBC Symphony Orchestra – to produce a one-of-a-kind performance to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Barbican Centre.
‘Killer’ is the first single to be taken from Fazer’s debut solo album and is released on August 26th
On Saturday 30th June, the local community in Brixton had the chance to experience and participate in the one day celebration of the Nike World Basketball Festival. Big Boi from OutKast headlined the event with support form UK grime act Dot Rotten. Team Nike from New York competed against a specially selected GB ALL-Star team, world famous Team Flight Brothers members Guy Dupuy aka ‘Easy Jumper’ and Kendall Boyd-Hill aka ‘Kasper’.
From 9am, the free daytime festival kicked off in Windrush Square which was transformed by the installation of a full size basketball court and bleachers. From 12pm onwards the festival invited the wider community to have a true basketball experience through high-energy 3-on-3 competitions, open participation pick-up games and unforgettable slam dunk contests.
Watch highlights from the festival below.
The climax of the free festival was an international 5-on-5 game between the infamous Team Nike from New York and a GB all-star team as Nike continued the festival at O2 Academy Brixton.
For more information about the World Basketball Festival click here
We usually try to separate an artist’s personal life with their music career unless its a scandal, an incredible power couple or them acting out of character. It isn’t really our business whether Frank likes boys or girls so then why is it such a big deal?
Well, the genre of music is a good place to start. Frank Ocean sings songs with an old-skool 90’s hip-hop feel inspired by men seen in music videos using sensual lyrics to seduce a woman and talking about a woman’s beauty. In his single Novacane, Frank sings: ‘I blame it on a model broad with a hollywood smile/Oww stripper booty and a rack like wow’.
These lyrics ‘fit the mould’. So when news recently emerged that Frank uses ‘him’ instead of ‘her’ on tracks such as ‘Bad Religion’ and ‘Pink Matter’ in his new debut album ‘Channel Orange’, set to be released July 17, it has become a huge deal. Not because people are disgusted or ashamed but surprised. Frank Ocean is not only a key musician in music’s most heteronormative genres but in music as a whole. Giving a reason for his new album name, he says, ‘Orange reminds me of the summer I first fell in love. Awww…’
Not only is Frank Ocean an artist, he is also a black man. Studies have shown that black men who are gay or bi-sexual say they often find themselves the targets of constant harassment, discrimination and negative attitudes. The black community are not very accepting of homosexuality whether its through society, church or communities.
‘I don’t know anything, & neither do you’- Frank Ocean. These are the words that sit on Frank Ocean’s Twitter profile which then prompted a massive unveiling as Frank took to his tumblr page to address the flying rumours with an emotional letter which was meant to be released as the credit lining of his album cover.
The letter was typed using notebook, dated December 27 2011 as Frank Ocean eloquently describes the time he fell in love with somebody of the same sex. He says:
“4 summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19 years old. He was too. We spent that summer and the summer after that together. By the time I realised I was in love, it was malignant. It was hopeless. There was no escaping, no negotiating with the feeling. no choice. It was my first love, it changed my life.’
The love of his life pats Frank on the back and rushes back to his girlfriend leaving Frank feeling vulnerable and exposed. Anybody who has been in love with somebody who they feel they shouldn’t whilst being given the constant reassurances that everything will be fine whilst the other partner gets all the love you long for will instantly relate. The fact that they are both men in this case doesn’t seem important. But the letter unleashes a subject that often comes and goes within the world of hip-hop: homophobia.
Frank ocean was born Christopher Francis Ocean and is from New Orleans, Louisiana. He started his career as a ghost-writer for artists such as Justin Beiber, John Legend and Beyonce but in mid 2010, became a member of OFWGKTA (Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All). In February 2011, Frank decided it was time to release his own material and released his mixtape ‘Nostalgia, Ultra’ to critical acclaim. He released two singles ‘Swim Good’ and ‘Novacane’ and both singles achieved chart success.
Fellow Odd Future member Tyler the Creator might have to reconsider using homophobic lyrics in the future as he congratulates his friend for being honest. Tyler the Creator’s last album Goblin uses the word ‘faggot’ and other anti-gay lyrics a total of 213 times. In 2011, Tyler addressed the homophobic accusations: “I’m not homophobic. I just think ‘faggot’ hits and hurts people. It hits. And ‘gay’ just means you’re stupid. I don’t know, we don’t think about it, we’re just kids. We don’t think about that shit. But I don’t hate gay people. I don’t want anyone to think I’m homophobic,” Asked by MTV News whether he is worried about what his gay fans may think, he adds: “Well, I have gay fans and they don’t really take it offensive, so I don’t know. If it offends you, it offends you. If you call me a ‘nigga’, I really don’t care, but that’s just me, personally. Some people might take it the other way; I personally don’t give a shit.”
Frank Ocean has been trending on Twitter about ‘coming out’ and ‘being gay’. Infact, the letter doesn’t say anything along the lines of ‘Hey I have something to tell you.. I’m Gay.’ The tweets reflect society’s lack of sensitivity towards human sexuality as Frank only said his first love was a man and describes how strong the love was. Stronger than any relationship he has been in with a woman.
Let’s hope that Frank Ocean continues to live, laugh and love whilst continuing to bless us with his amazing voice and beautiful music. At last he is a ‘free man’.
It’s very windy as I drive into a quiet road just off the bustling streets of Stratford. Having been slowed down by traffic, I feel relieved to finally enter one of the private apartments to interview Afro Beats sensation Ice Prince. Having just performed at Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend, sharing the stage with acts such as Jay-Z, Rihanna and Nas, it seems Ice Prince is ready to take Afro Beats to a whole new level.
As I walk in I greet the publicist Rickie, another member of the team and of course Ice Prince himself as they are gathered around the table eating. Ice Prince is quick to invite me to join him in which I politely refuse. ‘This is Nigerian rice! Its very good!’ he says and I quickly reassure him that I am very familiar with the delicious dish ‘jellof’ rice but had lunch on the way down.
I settle with a bottle of water and look through my questions as they enjoy their lunch. I find myself laughing at some Nigeria vs. Ghana banter as his Ghanaian PA tries to convince Ice Prince somebody they both know is Ghanaian. Ice quickly retaliates, ‘He is very good so I’m telling you he is Nigerian!’. Rickie turns to me rolling her eyes ‘You see this is how they are Debbie. Nigerians think everything good must be from Nigeria!’
It seems Ice is ready for the interview and turns his chair towards me clearly energized and content from his meal. Or maybe it’s the excitment of London City? ‘I’ve been here a few times and each time I come down, people always show me love which is a great feeling. And there are so many pretty girls out here. The only thing I would say is that London clubs shut at 3am. In Nigeria, there is no time we shut. When your tired you go home!’ Ice’s bubbly, charismatic personality allows him to answer all questions in depth and with ease flowing to the next question without prompting.
He was born Pankshak Zamani in Niger State, Nigeria 25 years ago to Nigerian parents but became an orphan after losing his mother in 2009 and father in 1999. He is the only son of four siblings and now lives in Lagos, Nigeria. Ice speaks with a soft Nigerian accent mixed with a slight American twang having being ‘around white people most of the time’ whilst growing up and learning English in school.
I congratulate him on being nominated for 2012 BET ‘Best International Act’ Award!
“I wish my parents were still alive to witness this but I know God knows best”
‘Thank-you. It makes me feel like a superstar. It makes me loved. It makes me feel appreciated. It makes me feel welcomed into the world industry of music now. It’s so important for me and I cant hide my excitement. I wish my parents were still alive to witness this but I know God knows best.’
Ice Prince will be going up against the likes of fellow african artists Wizzkid (Nigeria), Camp Mulla (Kenya) and Sarkodie (Ghana) for this years BET Awards taking place on July 1 in L.A and will undoubtly take his name to new heights regardless of the outcome. There has clearly been a sudden rise of Afro Beats in recent years and I ask Ice Prince why he thinks this is.
‘We’ve been listening to too much of American music, European music and the Caribbean sound. I think its time for Afro Beats to also find a spot on the world stage. That’s what has started to happen now.’ A chance for a slightly rhetorical question here; Is there a particular artist responsible for this movement? ‘Me! (Laughs.) No but really, it’s the contribution of all the artists together from Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya. The videos we are shooting right now are getting better and the sound quality is improving. There are more interesting sounds coming from Africa and that’s what is pushing the genre more and more.’
Afro Beats Takeover
Ice Prince has had a love for music from a very young age and has been influenced by everything from South African music and Calypso to mainstream music from Jay Z and Kanye West. Ice started out making music by miming at social events and learning the lyrics from 2pac to perform it. ‘That’s really when the love of rapping started.’ He explains. ‘Then I thought I could write my own lyrics and even though they were rubbish at the time, I started going to the studio to record the lyrics and gradually I grew into being a better musician. I also joined a church choir and BOOM, here I am!’
And boom he sure is. Being the first Afro Beats artist to have his debut single (Oleku) playlisted on BBC Radio 1Xtra, Ice Prince has just graced the 1Xtra stage after of London’s biggest free ticketed event on June 24 alongside Nas, Jay-Z, Dbanj and Wretch 32, Ice tells me about the performance with reggae artist Gyptian. ‘Hackney Weekender was massive for me! I was excited to see thousands of people jumping and singing along, appreciating the music. I saw it as a blessing, not just for me but for the whole Afro Beats movement. Shouts out to BBC for giving me that platform and all my UK fans.’
Ice Prince is making it sound all too easy to be where he is at right now but Ice Prince has definitely earned his place at the forefront of African music. He began his career in 2004 and after making a name for himself on the music scene, he joined the award winning entertainment company and independent record label Chocolate City in 2008. He lived up to the Hype and released his award winning song Oleku and recently won the GMA (Ghana Music Award) for best international act.
Having put in the work for so many years and gaining fans mainly in Nigeria, the song called ‘Oleku’ propelled Ice Prince to a new found audience (including myself) and gained an even wider following from fans all over the world now with a huge following of about 300k on Facebook and Twitter.
‘Sometimes I go to some places that I didn’t even know existed on the map and I will have a huge following over there. Recently I was in Malawi and it was a crazy packed show. I go to Asian countries and have lots of people coming out to see me perform. So sometimes I think my immediate fans are in Lagos but I have fans all over the world.’
Although I found myself singing along to the lyrics of the beautiful song, I wondered what the meaning behind ‘Oleku’ was and what it was like recording the track. ‘The beat was actually made in 30 minutes! Can you believe it? I swear on everything it was done in 30 minutes!’ Explains Ice excited as he reminisces about making the song in the studio. ‘The studio process is a very spiritual moment. ‘Oleku’ means ‘hard’, it means ‘strong’. It represents every young man as strong, vibrant, ready to get up and go and do their thing. It’s a Yoruba word.’ (One of the major Nigerian tribes)
I feel a great vibe from Prince but am eager to know what he would be doing if he couldn’t rap or sing. ‘I would just be a businessman really. Me, I love money!’ Don’t we all! ‘I’m a money kinda guy. I probably would be a full time landlord. I’m a landlord now but on a small scale. I have some apartments in the northern part of Nigeria where I collect my rent from tenants. But if I wasn’t doing music, I would have taken that on a bigger scale and probably build some more estates around it and stuff.’
Ice Prince recently collaborated with Reggae artist Gyptian on a remix of his song off his previous album ‘Everybody Loves Ice Prince’. So is this important for artists from different genres to collab on a track? Ice Prince clearly thinks it is to promote Afro Beats. ‘That’s what puts the music on the map really. When you have artists from Jamaica or America collaborating with us. That’s what blows it up more. So collaborations with Akon and Wizkid or like Kanye and Dbanj helps African music a lot.’
And too right he is. After recenty signing with global superstar Kanye West, Dbanj has taken an Afro Beats song ‘Oliver Twist’ to amazing success and has us all singing ‘I have a confession/Don’t take it personal’. Currently signed to Independent label Chocolate City, would Ice Prince consider a similar move to his fellow afro beats artists and hope to be signed by a huge artist?
‘Well yeah as long as the deal is right and the contract is good, I would do it. Of course. But right now Chocolate City is my group, it’s where I belong and its where I wanna be. I mean if other opportunities arise than yeah we could collaborate.’
Speaking of collaborations, I immediately imagine how great it would be if Ice teamed up with a UK artist and it seems as if Ice has already been thinking of it too. ‘I wanna work with Chip. I’m a big fan of Chip. Tinie Tempah as well. And I’d like to see an Ice Prince and Adele collaboration. There’s work being done towards working with Chip.’
The African sound of Afro Beats and the Caribbean sound of Reggae and Dancehall are quite similar but which came first? ‘I think the people that can answer this question properly is Fela or Bob Marley! I always see music as African so I will keep giving credit to my people. Fela is really the guy who started this whole Afro Beats movement and the rest of us are basically reproducing what he created when he was alive.’
He mentions Bob Marley and I press on to ask him some more about the legend that is Bob Marley as Jamaicans celebrate their 50th year anniversary with a new Marley film coming out soon.
‘My favourite Bob Marley song ever would be One Love. I know that’s very cliché because everyone would say One Love. (pause) Oh no no no actually Redemption Song! I love that song!’ Bob Marley is still one of the most played reggae artists in the world and continues to influence music today. ‘It is because his music is the truth,’ explains Ice. ‘When you listen to Bob Marley, you know he is speaking from the heart and not just fabricating words, not tryna just sell records. He is actually making music from his heart. You feel the passion. That’s what puts Bob Marley above any other artist.’ Will his music live forever? ‘Yeah. Bob Marley’s music will live forever. I think even when you get to Heaven, there will be a Bob Marley store somewhere up there.’
As the genre of Afro Beats is pushing forward, so will the culture of the people behind it and attitudes towards African people will vary. ‘People still think Africans are backwards or uneducated. Like one time I was in America at the airport security. The lady there was a black American and as she was going through the bag, she heard us communicating in English obviously and she turned around and said where are you guys from? I said Nigeria. She said (scrolls eyes and sighs) ‘Where did you guys learn how to speak English?’ I though that was quite demeaning. We are very educated.’ I wondered what the biggest misconception people have about Nigerians specifically. ‘Well of course the whole 419 fraud think and Nigerians being theifs! That is not what it is at all. It’s a thing of the past.’
‘What motivates me is that there are so many people looking up to me. There’s so many that pray for me and wish me well. I wouldn’t like to disappoint those people at all so that keeps me going. When I think about being the most successful artist from my city, that alone is motivation to keep going’.
SBTV founder Jamal Edwards will not be regretting his decision to have Maxsta as his first ever artist to sign under his Sony label ‘Just Jam’. Produced by Show’n'Prove and using a sample from the classic Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock song ‘It Takes Two’, Maxsta first official single ‘I Wanna Rock’ is sure to get you rocking! Still keeping true to his self, there are hard hitting bars and a loud modern twist to the classic banger.
We caught up with Maxsta to talk about how he feels about being signed by Jamal Edwards, why he likes older women and what collabs we can expect in the future in an exclusive interview coming soon.
Check out Maxsta giving us an exclusive freestyle and hilarious First and Last answers:
Here is the official video teaser for ‘I Wanna Rock’.
Meleka brings you the House of Alt web video for her first single, Love You Baby, from her upcoming EP release, Next. Meleka really made herself known in the music scene with the catchy funky house tune ‘Go’ in 2009, produced by Crazy Cousins which still gets everyone on the dance floor today. Other singles include Miss Me and Ain’t 4 Me which received radio support from the likes of 1xtra, Choice FM and Kiss and cemented her within the dance and funky house scene.
After winning the HUGO Urban rules competition in 2008, singer and songwriter, Meleka, went on to work and feature alongside major artists and producers including Basement Jaxx, Kelis, Chipmunk and Donaeo.
More recently Meleka has been working with the likes of Bless Beats, Dan Dare, K Koke and Wiley and features on the current Machines Don’t Care banger by Beat Dun Drop.
Now it’s on to the next venture with the release of her second EP, entitled Next, featuring her current single Love You Baby which is receiving 1xtra support and airplay.
The popular black British sitcom Meet The Adebanjo’s, which showcases the ups and downs of a Nigerian family living in Peckham, south London, is set to hit the stage this Summer Saturday 14th July, after thousands of viewers emailed the show’s producers, demanding a live theatre production in celebration of the show’s one year anniversary.
We are giving two lucky Flavour readers a chance to win a pair of tickets by answering the simple question below:
Cousin Femi is played by the popular comedian T-Boy. What is T-Boy’s phrase and online series called? Is it:
A: Don’t Love Me
B: Don’t Jealous Me
C: Don’t look at me
Simply Email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org. Winners will be announced on Tuesday 10th July so keep an eye on your emails! Good Luck!
The story behind how ‘Meet The Adebanjo’s’ got to be where it is now in just one year is an incredible tale of the power of technology and new media tools coupled with a visionary team who were passionate about bringing British viewers a slice of their own experience of life, as first-generation born British children of African immigrants. It has gone from being an online phenomenon which now has over 750,000 views, to a TV hit seen by millions of people on several SKY TV channels, a winner of 3 TV awards, international acclaim and is now making a highly-anticipated debut on the London theatre scene.
Debra Odutuyo, the show’s creator and executive producer “Our plan for the live show is to take the same comedic fun that our viewers have enjoyed in their living rooms to the live stage. All the actors will be there and fans of the show will be able to get to see and
meet their favourite stars in the flesh”.
Many have already come to know and love the show’s characters: the hapless Dad ‘Bayo’ who tries to instill his traditional African values into his children, the romance-wanting Mum ‘Gladys’, cheeky brother ‘Tobi’, sassy sister ‘Sade’, the troublesome ‘Aunty Funke’, the wannabe ladies man ‘Femi’ and mischievous next door neighbour ‘Kevin’. For them and for those who are just getting to know the show, Meet The Adebanjo’s promises its audience a great time watching the family and their friends play out their antics on stage.
This show is definitely worth going to watch and great for the whole family to watch!
There will be two shows exclusively on Saturday 14th July 2012:
Afternoon show (3pm): Tickets are priced at £10 for children, £17.50 for adults.
Evening show (8pm): Tickets are available for £15 and £20.
On Tuesday 19th June at 5:10pm BAFTA Award Winning Actor and Director Noel Clarke will be answering any questions Flavour readers have using the hash tag #AskNoel from our @FlavourMag Twitter page.
Noel will also be encouraging everybody to join him and come up with some tweets for the hastags #UrMyExCos and #IfAliensAttacked in line with his new Sci-Fi horror film Storage 24 about a group of friends trapped in a maximum security warehouse unaware London is in chaos after a military cargo plane crashes into London; released in UK Cinemas Nationwide June 29th 2012.
Make sure you are all ready for this great opportunity and have questions ready to ask Noel anything you want!
Following on from the release of his critically acclaimed ‘Scrapbook’ mixtape in 2011, Guvna B returns with a vibrant summer anthem and a new eclectic sound from his sophomore album, Odd One Out.
The familiar chorus featured on ‘Free’ pays homage to R&B artist, Ultra-Nate’s 90’s hit single entitled ‘Free’ and features lead vocals from Ladonna Harley-Peters and produced by GKid. The infectious track is a certified summer jam! ‘Free’ will sit well with listeners of all ages and will inevitably empower fans to truly embrace their individuality and enjoy personal freedom.
The single will be featured on Guvna’s upcoming album entitled, Odd One Out, which isset for release in July 2012. This album encapsulates the essence of pushing musical boundaries, embracing talent and standing out. An altogether rich blend of dance, pop, indie and house, Odd One Out is a certified stand out album for 2012 which sees an abundance of collaborations with many esteemed artists.
It has been 40 years since the legendary three-leafed logo, the Trefoil, was introduced. Since 1972, the products that bear the Trefoil have brand values of authenticity, creativity and originality. Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Trefoil, adidas Originals is proud to introduce a limited-edition watch, a numbered series of 500 timepieces. Complete with a polished finish and a rotating bezel, the watch features a 50-mm case constructed entirely of solid steel with gold-tone plating. Each dial is hydraulically stamped to showcase the Trefoil, and the limited-edition numbering is displayed on a plaque mounted to the left side of the watch case.
Bring some DKNY glamour to your look, with this gleaming white strap watch. Its round white dial features sleek silver hour markers and matching silver bezel, adorned with diamonds. It’s white so goes with any colour outfit and great for the summer.
Founded in 1989 in New York, DKNY continues to give us sleek yet glamorous designs for an affordable price.
A classic men’s design perfect for any occasion featuring rectangular champagne coloured date dial, and brown mock crock strap a change from the usual black leather strap.
Rotary Watches Limited was founded in 1895 and is an award-winning worldwide brand of classic timepieces. Rotary are dedicated to creating beautiful watches with timeless elegance and specialise in designing affordably stylish timepieces, blending the ‘old with the new’ and the ‘contemporary with the classic’ to achieve a distinctive range of watches.
Soul Independence: Liberated showcases the very best of independent soul artists lovingly put together on one album with a special bonus track from Grammy Award nominated Syleena Johnson- The Makings of You with Syl Johnson’s legendary Band.
Artists have been carefully selected in the months leading to this incredible release and the independent label have expressed how they are ‘continually inspired by these artists who just get out there producing their music with integrity remaining true by following their heart’. After all this is the essence of Soul music.
Soul lovers should be excited, as this is definitely an album, which won’t leave you disappointed! Staying true to the title, I found myself feeling liberated after listening to the chilled out and soulful tracks thoughtfully put together for our pleasure.
My favourite tracks on the album would have to be the first track on the album Kendra Cash – ‘Smile’, Soulfruit – ‘In Love’ and Nathaniel ‘Night and Day’.
So whether you want to reach for the candles for a romantic night, a soundtrack for a relaxing night in the bath or a simply some real soul to brighten up your long travels this is a must have to add to your music collection!
1. Kendra Cash / Smile
2. Honey Larochelle / Be My Baby
3. Opaz featuring Cartier / Mr Lost
4. Melodie Nicholson / Stay Gone
5. Slakah The Beatchild / The Cure
6. Wildcookie / Serious Drug
7. Smoke E. Digglera / Say U Really Luv Me, Baby
8. Darrius / Say All The Right Things
9. Emdee Brown / Nothing Will Prevail
10. Soulfruit / In Love
11. Nathaniel / Night & Day
12. Noel Gourdin / Sex In the City
13. Gloria Ry’Ann / Wait A Minute
14. Ebony Marks / Girlfriend
15. D. Reed / One Chance
16. (**Special Bonus Track) Syleena Johnson / Makings Of You with Syl Johnson’s Legendary Band
To listen to some of these tracks and purchase this incredible album click here
Urban Music Award winner for ‘Best Newcomer’ and Brit Reggae Awards Nominee Mr Midas drops his anticipated Mixtape ‘Midas Touch’ Mixed by the No1 Mixtape DJ in Jamaica ‘Mixtape Yardy’ and hosted by DJ English Fire from the Grammy award winning Black Chiney Sound.
Staying true to his music roots, Mr Midas keeps the dancehall feel throughout the whole mixtape. The ladies man is known for his line up of tunes dedicated to the sexy ladies out there and he doesn’t disappoint with tunes like ‘Ooh Whoa Whoa’ and ‘Dirty Pictures’ ft rising female rapper Shimmer Baby and Blemish. The mixtape includes many other features including RV, Scotch Bonnet (Miami), Jai Amore, Reddman UK and Blackstorm.
Mr Midas also decides to make a serious point with his music and includes a skit of a BBC news report of the many young people that were arrested after the London Riots and dedicates a tune ‘Rise Up’ to his fellow ‘ghetto’ people to pay be better than what the media portrays young people to be. Lyrics include ‘Mi ah go sing for the poor people, Ghetto people rise up, True they wanna hide us, hate us and despise us’.
No matter what mood you’re in, this mix is sure to get you up and busting a whine or two.
Download Mr Midas- Midas Touch mixtape exclusively here
Legacy Trust UK funded project, somewhereto_ are working alongside Bafta Award winning actor Adam Deacon to give young people a chance to show off their talent for a chance to fly out to Brazil!
Check out Adam Deacon explaining what the scheme is all about in his own words in this promo video below:
So it’s that simple! As the name of the project suggests, talented young people aged 16-25 across the nation are being given somewhereto_ perform, share and more importantly shine! All they have to do is show up and show off or send in a video and a shortlist of ten lucky people will get to perform at a high profile somewhereto_ secret location in during the London Olympic games in August. One lucky winner will be given the chance to feature in their very own short film in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, home of the 2016 Olympic Games which will be directed by Adam Deacon himself. ‘I mean ultimately, one lucky person is going to perform out in Brazil which could actually change their life and help them pursue their dream career forever.’
With his incredible acting career starting at the age of 12 and great talent for music, Adam Deacon feels his experience in music and acting has given him the ‘confidence needed to be able to talk to young people and be vocal about things’.
Five acts had the chance to showcase their talent this morning (7th June) at the national launch at London’s St Pancras International hosted by Adam Deacon and SBTV’s Georgia Lewis Anderson. The acts ranged from soul singer Dionne Reid, champion beatboxer Bass6 and British National Yo-Yo Champion Krisztian Kaluza. So what is the main thing Adam looks out for when people go on stage? ‘Because its not one specific talent, I guess I look for confidence and self-belief. You gotta believe in yourself or else no one else will.’
So why did Adam want to be a part of this scheme? ‘When I thought of the Olympics, I thought are they actually doing anything for the community?’ says Adam ‘This was a way for me to ‘give back’ to the community. Everyone can get involved. It gives young people the chance to showcase their talent which has always been important to me.’
He goes on to say, ‘Today has been great. I loved the Yo-Yo guy! I never knew you could do so much with a YoYo! I also loved Dionne. She has an amazing voice. I think there’s gonna be a lot of talent to watch out for over the next couple of weeks!’
Adam Deacon has had a successful career so far, first hitting our screens with ‘Kidulthood’ and the follow up ‘Adulthood’ before making his own comic movie ‘Anuvahood’. Adam concludes by saying, ‘Music and acting is my life. It’s not something I can turn off and on. It’s about perseverance and focus. What I would say to any young people in the entertainment industry is that nothing happens over night. It’s a constant case of hard work. If its not worth working towards then its not worth dong.’
Young people 16-25 have until 11 July to enter the competition.
Affinity Arts Entertainment and First Creation bring you the first ever stand up urban comedy show to be performed in the open air at Regents Park Open Air Theatre on the 24th June. The line up is immense with the first ever black comedian to sell out the O2 arena Mr Eddie Kadi, Choice FM’s Kojo, USA’s bad boy of comedy Will E Robo, the people’s champion Slim plus many more taking to the stage.
Two of London’s biggest stand up comedy promoters have joint forces to create history and elevate urban comedy to another level. ‘First Creation’ have brought you the classic Comedy Roast and the sell out event Comedy Warehouse at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire.
Affinity Arts Entertainment have brought you sell out events such as Credit Crunch Comedy and Touch of Class at the Catford Broadway Theatre, Wahala at the Indigo o2 and the weekly Comedy Club event at Streatham’s Hideaway Bar.