Tag Archives: jungle

Mystro | Artist Profile | 17th January 2013 | BeatCulture.net

Artist Profiles: Mystro

Mystro is one of the most underrated MCs and rappers in the UK. His style is well assured, confident with a witty London edge that runs deeper than most MCs in the ever growing UK hip-hop and rap world. He has collaborated with and continues to collaborate with artists such as Rodney P, Skinnyman, Task Force and Hilltop Hoods and has dropped the UK Rap Up yearly series every year since 2009.

BeatCulture.net and Urban Hit Promotions therefore decided it was right that we linked up with one of London’s best and profiled his background and influences. We even get to find out about his history as a jungle/drum & bass MC.

Mystro – UK Rap Up 2012 (video)

Location?
West London, UK

Where did your name come from?
When I was young a friend said I shouls be called Maestro because I was always in to music so when the time came I ran with that but spelt it with a Y instead just to be different but little did I know that later on in my career there’d be a bunch of other mutha luvaz trying to call them selves that so I’m slowly dropping it and will just be known as MysDiggi

What artists inspired you to make music?
James Brown, Michael Jackson, Minnie Ripperton, NWA, Big L, The Roots to name a few…

Was there a defining moment that made you want to make music?
Yeah I nearly died from TB in a gland in my neck which was slowly closing my windpipe. Laying there learning how I was almost gone, made me wonder if I’d be happy with my life so far and I wasn’t so I decided to go for something I always wanted to do and I’m glad I did.

How influential was reggae culture to you in the development of your style? Any artists?
Well I grew up around the being that my area had a mixture of so many different cultures and we all got a long so there was an influence from the stage show clashes we used to watch (at my baby-sittters) as well as when old enough going to events and hearing the music then. I used to watch a lot of the shows so people of influence back then were Capleton, Junior Reid, Ninja Man, Super Cat to name a few…

What sort of influence did jungle/drum and bass rave culture have on you as an MC growing up in London? I heard at one point you used to MC under the name BK?
Well I started out rapping very young after hearing about groups like London Posses & Gunshot and a few others who sounded to me like they were from London, (my 1st name’s Kevin so being the youngest all the time I had the name Baby Kevin aka BK) but it felt for the most part that this was an American thing so when Jungle came it felt like it was more our thing, MC’s with their own accent etc, the UK Hip Hop I heard where people put on an American accent never really sat well with me to be honest.

In the area I was living in there was a pirate station and some of my friends I rapped with used to go there so they invited me and after a number of sessions I developed a style that was more jungle MC than rapping and we were little hood stars on that station. It closed down after a few years then we managed to get on a ‘little’ pirate station in East London called Rinse FM where we had a slot and had shows along side the young Wileys’, Targets’ & Maxwell Ds’. After a while though I just lost the love for it & was hearing more Hip-Hop I was into with lyrics that I appreciated rather than Serbutio & Grand Prix lyrics. It felt like Jungle heads just wanted to hear ‘Budubudubudu’, not actual lyrics just rolling tongue so I was enjoying it anymore.

DJ Target – Mc’s, Maxwell D, Skitz,, BK (Mystro), Carmen, Wiley, Rinse FM 6th October 1996 (Audio)

How aware, how much of an influence was Stevie Hyper D to you?
I knew him well enough that he would encourage me any time we saw each other. To me, him [Stevie] and IC3 were the best at what they did in that world.

How influential were London Posse, Blak Twang, Roots Manuva?
[I knew about] London Posse from before I even knew what rapping was so it runs deep with them. And when I started to be more aware I realised how prolific Bionic was, till this day I think he’s probably the pioneer of sounding straight UK but still maintaining a style none could touch. I heard about Twang more so than Roots in the early days but in our area MCD was the main influence being from West London also. I remember before I got really ill listening to a Silent Eclipse tape of MCD’s and thinking ‘WOW this guy sounds like he lives round the corner but his rhyming is on point’, from then on I just started working on how I could use my own accent which wasn’t too yardie or cockney but still sound cool.

What do you think of the transition of Foreign Beggars from straight UK hip-hop to bass music?
Not much man. I’m not really a bass head so I don’t know. If that’s what they want let them do it I guess. I’m not in to it but I doubt that matters anyway they’re having fun.

What sort of influence did soul; jazz and funk have on you? Any artists?
A lot, my neighbour was a sax player so I grew up with a lot around me, Miles Davies, Herbey Hancock, Pharaoh Sanders are names I remember being mentioned. I still listen to a lot today for inspiration.

What was the album, artist or song that made you want to make music? (Most inspirational).
Ice Cube – Amerikkkas Most Wanted

Top 3 MCs of all time?
Black Thought, Big L, Big Pun

Top 3 albums of all time?
Ice Cube – Amerikkka’s Most Wanted,
The Roots – Illadelph Half Life
Big Pun – Capital Punishment

Most successful track to date?
I don’t know to be honest but the 2 people talk about the most are ‘Around My Way’ & ‘Who You Gonna Blame?’ I used to base that question off which people talk the most about but now it seems it’s to do with how many people view it on YouTube.

Mystro – Around My Way (Video)

Mystro – Who You Gonna Blame? (Video)

Plans for the future?
More LP’s and releases from my label Don’t Bizznizz and also a Radio Show/Podcast called ‘FDT Radio’ plus a BUNCH of material on my youtube.com/mysdiggi channel.

Current favourite artists?
Homeboy Sandman, Ab-Soul, Nathan Flutebox Lee.

Current projects?
‘Mystrogen’ my debut LP is out now

Be sure to check out Mystro and his various social media outlets at his website. www.mysdiggi.com

Words by Jamie BC

RackNRuin | Artist Profile | December 19th | BeatCulture.net

RackNRuin: Artist Profile

One of the first artists to release on the now infamous independent label – Black Butter Records. RackNRuin is an artist to keep your eyes on. ‘Righteous’ with Navigator, Illaman and Serocee along with ‘Territory’ featuring Navigator and Slarta John (Basement Jaxx) were two of the first release on Black Butter and since he has collaborated with P Money and been dubbed by DJ Magazine ‘”One of the most exciting producers working in the UK Bass scene…”

In this artist profile, a further collaboration between Vancouver, Canada based company Urban Hit Promotions, we get to find out what influenced this artist and what his plans are for the future.

RackNRuin – ‘Righteous’ ft Serocee, Navigator & Illaman

RackNRuin – ‘Territory’ ft Navigator & Slarta John

Location?
Hackney, London.

Where did your name come from?
An old English saying that I thought fitted my sound!

What artists inspired you to make music?
The Clash, Bob Marley, Michael Jackson.

Was there a defining moment that made you want to make music?
When I bought decks and started buying vinyl. And then hearing all the underground UK sounds.

How influential was reggae culture to you in the development of your style? Any artists?
Played a big part in my productions over the years. Sampling roots and dub has helped me develop my sound. People like Horace Andy, King Tubby etc… Modern reggae & basement also influence my style a lot.

How influential is rave culture to your style? Any specific artists or albums?
Very influential. jungle, d&b and garage all were massive influences. Albums like Roni Size – Reprazent and Adam F – Colours.

What was the album, artist or song that made you want to make music? (Most inspirational).
Too hard to say! Probably a Michael Jackson tune…

Top 3 DJs off all time?
Jazzy Jeff, Jackmaster, Klose One.

Top 3 Producers of all time?
Quincy Jones, Phil Spector, Photek.

Top 3 albums of all time?
Michael Jackson – Thriller, Notorious BIG – BIG, Wu Tang Clan – 36 Chambers.

What set up do you use? Any specific equipment?
Logic, loads of soft synths and a Micro KORG XL.

Most successful track(s) to date?
RackNRuin ft P Money – ‘Signal’

RackNRuin ft. Jessie Ware – ‘Soundclash’

Plans for the future?
Carry on with RackNRuin and my new project with Foamo: Gorgon City. As well as producing for other people.

Current favourite artists?
Dusky, Gorgon City, Kidnap Kid.

Current projects?
RackNRuin releases on Digital Soundboy, Black Butter and the collaborative project with Foamo.

RackNRuin Twitter
RackNRuin Facebook

Don’t forget to check out the free download from RackNRuin available now.

Words by Jamie BC

Drum and bass MCs on tracks? (part 1) | Weekly Features | BeatCulture.net

I am one of the biggest fans of jungle and drum and bass emceeing. It is a very difficult skill to master, it requires as much attention as any of the other genres. It also provided the blueprint for the garage MCs, then the grime MCs and so on.

There are some seriously talented rave MCs out there, from Stevie Hyper D (RIP), Skibadee, Navigator, Ragga Twins, Trigga, Spyda, Fearless, Shabba, Det, Dynamite, Harry Shotta, Eksman, Herbzie, Shorts, Fatman D, Foxy, Evil B and the list goes on.

There are also some brilliant host MCs from GQ, SP, 2Shy, ID, Rage, Verse and Jakes.

The differentiation between these two styles of emceeing within the genre is wide – one style (the host) is purely there to support the DJ or producer (shows like Chase & Status etc) and the other style (the rave MC) is there to both support the DJ and show off their lyrical prowess.

Unfortunately the latter, has never really broken out of the underground. Skibadee was signed to Relentless (Virgin records) in 2002 and the legendary Stevie Hyper D was signed to Island Records before he passed away in 1998. There have been some vocal releases which have made some waves but all in all, the acclaim has never really been given.

In my opinion, knowing the history between the ragga vocal and jungle in the 90s, consistently it appeared that vocals involving MCs of the genre had been pushed to the back by the big name producers. Of course the exception to the rule was ‘Mo’ Fire’ by Navigator & Rawhill Crew. This was produced by DJ Fresh and Bad Company.

Will we ever see an underground drum and bass MC become a star? will we see a ground breaking MC based tune outside of ‘Brown Paper Bag’, ‘Mo Fire’ or ‘Tarantula’?

The subject of the drum and bass MC and rave MC is something we will continue to explore over the coming weeks.

Roni Size & Dynamite MC – Brown Paper Bag (full vocal version)

Navigator, Spyda & Soultrain (Rawhill Crew) – Mo Fire (Bad Company Remix)

Pendulum (Pendulum vs fresh ft Spyda & Tenor Fly) – Tarantula

Examples of how it could be done, but never reached the full potential hits they could of been.

The legendary track and one of the stand out tunes from Stevie Hyper’s posthumous album.

Dfrnt Lvls (Feat. Stevie Hyper D) – Flexin Today

The below track is not by a drum and bass MC, in fact it features legendary UK MC – Million Dan from groundbreaking hip-hop crew Demon Boyz. What is apparent here is the style in which he is spitting, very clearly a jungle/soundboy style.

Deekline & Ed Solo – Paella (Blaze It Up) ft. Million Dan

Or the Eksman track ‘Na Blood’ which in an odd way became a rave anthem (lyrically) despite never really being played at raves. This is about the closest you will get to road rap on a drum and bass tune.

Eksman feat. Shortston & Herbszie – Na Blood

Words by Jamie BC.

Image taken at OTM in 2001 by Duncan Longden.

Navigator | Artist Profile | 4th December 2012 | BeatCulture.net

This series of artist profiles or mini-interviews is about connecting the past, present and future of a wide range of artists from a variety of genres. A collaborative project between Vancouver, Canada based company Urban Hit Promotions and BeatCulture.net.

We will be talking to artists from drum and bass, jungle, hip-hop, dubstep, reggae and more. We will be showing the connection and history of artists across these genres and the common bonds between all beat driven music, whatever the genre.

Navigator is a legend. Check the below documentary (in 2 parts) we released this summer for evidence. A massive supporter of Beat Culture and Urban Hit Promotions, it was only right that when we united to deliver this project Navi was the first artist we profiled.

Navigator: Artist Profile

Background?
I am a UK reggae soundboy, jungle, ragga MC and versatile artist that can integrate my vocals into practically any genre of music.

Where did your name come from?
The name Navigator was given to me by a friend who said I am a leader who has a profound ability to show people the way forward in music and life in general. I am always setting the pace and staying ahead of the game by virtue of my executive creative artistic skills.

What artists inspired you to make music?
Dennis Brown, Bob Marley, Barrington Levi, Sugar Minnot, Gregory Isaac, Lone Ranger, Ranking Joe, David Rodigan, Killamanjaro Sound, Jah Tubbys UK sound, jungle music, Busta Rhymes & Biggie Smalls. To name a few.

Was there a defining moment that made you want to make music?
Listening to Lone Ranger on a Killamanjaro sound cassette tape and his album M16 in 1979 when I left school.

How influential was reggae culture to you in the development of your style? Any artists?
Rocksteady, Bluebeat, Ska & Studio 1. Jamaican and UK Reggae Dancehall/Lovers Rock and soundsystem culture is the whole reason why I make music. Most Influential artists: Dennis Brown, Bob Marley & King U-Roy, and Brigadier Jerry & Lone Ranger. Sounds: King Stur Gav, Killamanjaro, Metro Media, Stereo One, King Jammys, and Youthman Promotion.

What sort of influence did soul; jazz and funk have on you? Any artists?
Soul & Jazz, Funk were also big influences for me. James Brown, Al Green, Steve Arrington, Herbie Hancock, George Benson, Evelyn Champagne King, Tom Tom Club etc…

What was the album, artist or song that made you want to make music? (most inspirational).
Bob Marley ‘Exodus’ Album & ‘Redemption’ Song. Dennis Brown ‘Revolution’. John Lennon ‘Imagine’.

Top 3 MCs of all time?
Brigadier Jerry, Lone Ranger, Busta Rhymes.

Top 3 albums of all time?
Exodus – Bob Marley, M16 – Lone Ranger, Ready to Die – Notorious BIG.

Most successful track to date?

Ruffneck – Freestylers feat Navigator

Plans for the future?
To make original classic music that gives people a positive and uplifting vibration and to spread a feeling of well being in general.

Current favourite artists?
Taurrus Riley, Christopher Martin & Etana

Current projects?
Promoting and marketing my label and brand ODT Muzik and recording new music in any genre that gives me artistic/creative inspiration.

Links:
www.navigatorofficialartist.com
www.odtmuzik.com
Navigator Facebook

Navigator – The Evolution Of A London MC (part 1)

Navigator – The Evolution Of A London MC (part 2)

Underground Vs. Overground Part 1 | BeatCulture.net | Weekly Features

A couple of weeks ago, deep house super DJ Jamie Jones and his group Hot Natured entered Britain’s top 40 pop chart with their track ‘Benediction’ – much to the criticism of some fans who accused him of ‘selling out’. He responded on Facebook saying:

‘Personally I’m very proud that with the Hot Natured band project, we were able to touch so many people with this record. But I also want to assure people that this in NO way selling out. Selling out is making music that you don’t particularly like purely for money. We just make songs we love (this will never change) and it seems that a lot of people like them, So for us to then turn around and say you cant like my music your not cool enough is ridiculous’.

HOT NATURED & ALI LOVE – BENEDICTION

House and dance music is a global phenomenon nowadays, whether you consider David Guetta to be credible or not. He is one of the biggest pop stars of the moment. The money in music these days lies within urban or the newly coined EDM term – specifically designed for North America. The relationship between dance music and the UK charts is long standing. Remember classics such as ‘Ebenezer Good’ by The Shamen, ‘Charlie’ by The Prodigy. They were all perceived to be ‘credible’ artists and born out of the rave scene of the late 80’s. So a balance can be achieved. But not always. We shall explore this later.

During the 90’s the term ‘Super DJ’ was coined and DJs such as Fatboy Slim, Judge Jules and Pete Tong toured the world and got paid fortunes for sets. They were the new rock stars. Groups such as Daft Punk, The Prodigy, Basement Jaxx and Faithless flourished but retained loyal fan bases. They had large devout audiences and still retain a solid following to this day without letting go of their credibility. Perhaps this is what Jamie Jones can achieve with his fan base and also his new side project? His sound definitely has that ‘soulful house’ commercially viable (dare I say it Daft Punk) vibe to it.

DAFT PUNK – ONE MORE TIME

With these genres classified as underground music, the musical styles are not generally exposed to the ‘masses’ through advertising, radio, TV play and other mainstream media source. This helps to produce fan bases that are dedicated. Rave and dance culture much like hip-hop culture thrives and is born from underground media such as pirate radio (although not as common these days), events, club nights or raves, independent digital media such as Beatport, HipHopDX, ThisSongIsSick, UKF, DNBA, SBTV etc.

The follower and fans of these genres have to ‘search out’ the music, it is not just fed to them on a plate. Once these same fans see artists sacrifice their musical integrity for financial gain, artists are often labeled ‘sell outs’.

Nicki Minaj, once a highly revered MC from Queens, recently got a lot of attention for her withdrawal from legendary NYC hip-hop show – Summer Jam. This reaction was in response to the, ‘in your face’ and out there pop tune ‘Starships’ being slated by one of the DJs on the station.

Whilst hyping the crowd at the infamous NYC Summer Jam gig, Peter Rosenburg, the Hot 97 hip-hop DJ told the crowd, ‘I see the real Hip-Hop heads sprinkled in here. I know there are some chicks waiting to sing ‘Starships‘ later, I’m not talking to y’all right now. F*** that bulls***!’.

Following his outburst, just hours before her set, Nicki Minaj pulled out!

PETER ROSENBERG DISSES NICKI MINAJ AT SUMMER JAM

NICKI MINAJ – STARSHIPS

Nicki hit back with a live call to Funk Master Flex. Her most poignant point was probably highlighting her 3.5 mill records sale total and being number 1 in four countries, explaining this is why she has to go beyond ‘the hood’ and make pop records, whether people like it or not. But it seems that her following has now moved beyond hip-hop and into the pop arena. Has she lost touch with her roots as an MC?

When MC Hammer brought out ‘Can’t Touch This’, released from the album ‘Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em’, it was to define his entire career. He became untouchable with 10 million album sales, one of the best selling records of all time. He cashed in on every opportunity, dancing for everyone from Pepsi to Kentucky Fried Chicken. His peers believed he had sold out his rap roots. But he also carved a path into the mainstream and gave rap (in whatever form) a mass audience appeal.

MC HAMMER – CAN’T TOUCH THIS

Lets not forget the other most successful white rapper of all time. Not as credible as a certain Detroit MC named Eminem.

VANILLA ICE – ICE ICE BABY

In 1986, rapper Kurtis Blow appeared in a Sprite advertisement, marking the first Hip-Hop artist to represent a brand and expose rap to the public on a massive scale.

KURTIS BLOW FOR SPRITE (1986)

This started a trend that artists from Run DMC to Biggie jumped on.

RUN DMC NEW COKE COMMERCIAL (1988)

BIGGIE ON ST IDES COMMERCIAL

The conflict lies between artists remaining loyal to their fans and maintaining their essence, and wanting success and money.

Remember these fans watched their favourite artist grow via the non-traditional media. Whether that was pirate radio, mixtapes, and live sets in grimy clubs – they are dedicated to the culture.

But what is the key to striking the balance? Is it about finding the credibility with the music and never forgetting the roots of the culture? Look at artists such as Jay Z, Chase & Status and Daft Punk as evidence.

We shall see when we explore this matter further in the coming weeks.

Check out Part 2 next week on BeatCulture.net.

Words by Vickie Fox