Category Archives: Hip hop / Urban

SIMON JEFFERIS: ‘Vibrations.’

It would be terribly insensitive to say there’s anything ‘good’ to come from this dreadful situation the world finds itself in right now.
We have to accept that, for the immediate time being at least, Nature holds the upper hand but we need make best of the position we find ourselves in.

In my case, that means Saturday afternoons sat in the house listening to the radio instead of following my local football team. And that has resulted in my experiencing new sounds via the Gilles Peterson show on Radio 6Music.

Which, in turn, when skipping through Bandcamp the other day, I for the first time, checked out a forthcoming album that was portrayed as straddling the ‘jazz fusion,’ ‘hip-hop’ and neo-soul’ categories.

Now, I’m just a beginner when it comes to these genres of music. I’m more of a shallow, in your face, punk / rock kinda guy, but even I can tell ‘Vibrations,’ by SIMON JEFFERIS is pure class.

Brixton based multi-instrumentalist Simon has garnered a burgeoning reputation throughout London hip-hop circles these past few years for not only his music, but also his production skills.

This new album would appear to be his first since the ‘SJ’s Pockets – Vol 1′ EP back in 2017, though there have been several other digital tracks released along the way.

From the four tracks currently available to stream, ‘Vibrations‘ would certainly seem to be worth the wait. ‘White Rabbit,‘ is slow-funky, featuring the warm vocals of Rosie Lowe, while ‘High Grade,‘ is a smooth, slow burner which has the feel of a lovely, deep, chilled pillow for your head to sink into. There’s a lot going on in this track and each listen brings something new to the fore.

Something In The Water,’ makes me think of early Saturday evenings as I listen to Craig Charles’ show on the radio, and groove (in a very inelegant and sort of bad Dad Dancing way) around the kitchen with a couple of beers in hand as I prepare the meal. Like I’ve said, I’m new to this style of music, but this track, reminds me of The Meters and Deodato. (Apologies if I’m way out on this!)

My favourite track though, so far, is ‘Back 2 Ours.’ Featuring the rapped vocals of Abhi the Nomad, this one fuses a laid back jazz groove with hip-hop rhymes and beats.

I know I’m old, and only just about getting my head around accepting the concept of digital music – but THIS album is surely one to be listened to in its physical format. Some music is made for vinyl – this is one.

Oh – and thank you Gilles Peterson / Simon Jefferis for opening my ears to differnt styles of music. I’ll definitely be back for more.

Vibrations’ is released in both vinyl and digital formats via DeepMatter on June 12th 2020)

STRIZZY STRAUS: ‘Hieroglyfics.’

Strizzy Strauss reveals the second single ‘Hieroglyfics’ from his upcoming debut album
‘Trust The Process’ .

Hip Hop producer Sik Sense takes the helm on this one,
laying down a jazz tinted piano driven beat with punchy boom bap drum patterns. There’s
also a melodic quality to be heard in Strauss’s rhyme style, coupled with the slow-and-
steady boom bap beat and it’s a recipe for a hypnotic head-nod.

The track speaks on the adversities experienced growing up in a single parent home, around
neglected neighbourhoods and under constant pressure to be drawn into the mud. Having been “to hell, back and got the bucket hat”, Strauss describes the ever-present impetus to swerve the surrounding negative influences and move toward a higher calling.

From a purely personal perspective (and it is my blog, so it counts!) LOUD HORIZON has not in the past really embraced the Hip Hop / Rap scene, concentrating more on punk, rock, reggae etc.

But you like what you like – no boundaries and all that.

And I like this. A lot!

GIANT: ‘Catalyst.’

This is the second track released by the UK collaborative, Giant. Featuring the rapid-fire vocal delivery of rapper 24Vision and the multifaceted electronic / trip-hop band Archive, this is a five minutes long, bitter tirade, about the current state the UK finds itself in.

Five minutes? Yeah – when I saw the track length, I did wonder. But it absolutely races along at a breathless pace.

There’s something about UK rap that in general, and in my humble opinion, sets it apart from other counties’ interpretation of the genre. Perhaps it’s because I can identify with the accent? Maybe because it’s sharper, more spikey, than that from across the water? Perhaps I’m being unkind – my knowledge of hip hop and rap is limited, after all.

But ‘Catalyst,’ stands out immediately because of the image it creates. Although 24Vision is venting in the present, the sound is of the future. Of a grey, black and white future in a dystopian, soulless society controlled by guns (check the snare drum) and robots.

There is a video, shot by David Levine, due for imminent release, and it will be interesting to see how it portrays this track. (I’m probably miles out!)

Whatever – the combination of a young rapper with a long-established (twenty-five years) band of Archive’s standing, confirms that UK rap is still well ahead of the game when it comes to inventiveness and development of the sound.

RYTIOUS: ‘Style Som Golo’

WARNING! EXPLICIT LYRICS

Lunga Sithole aka Rytious was born 2nd of January 1988. He was raised in
Umlazi N-section in Durban Kwa Zulu Natal, and given the name “Rytious” by his dentist who looked up the meaning of his name Lunga and discovered it translates as ‘Righteousness.’

Rytious however changed the spelling to mean yin and yen, a balance between good and bad.

He moved to Johannesburg and since 2010 has been grafting and crafting his style. Since then, he has been picking up stacks of airplay not only across his own native country but heavy rotation in USA and South America as well as some of the more specialist radio stations here in UK..

‘Style Som Golo‘ is a fusion of hiphop & old school kwaito (South African rap.) It’s a song about confidence, the message being to stay confident through Life’s ups and downs. 

Now, quite obviously I’m no authority on hip hop, but LOUD HORIZON is always on the look-out for genres that widen our personal musical perspectives, and Rytious, here, does the trick.