Review – Drake at the o2

Music, Work

YMCMB’s Drizzy Drake touched down in London for his second show in a row at the o2 arena in Greenwich last night, where he performed to around 18,000 people…

Supporting the emo-rapper was Labrinth. The Hackney-born artist delivered a smooth, futuristic set to compliment his debut album, ‘Electronic Earth’.

Looking suave and supported by great visuals, the singer was received well as he performed his hits ‘Let The Sunshine’ and ‘Last Time’, the latter certainly being the best song of his set, with the Quincy inspired sounds sounding indulgently rich. However, it was when the super producer performed his smash hit ‘Earthquake’ that the crowd went really nuts for the 22-year-old, thus kicking in our adrenaline for the headliner himself.

As Drake hit the stage dressed simply in black, kicking off the show with ‘Lord Knows’, which may seem as a surprising choice of introduction given that he seldom records heavy hip hop sounds.

Drake has kick-started a transition in rap, introducing a more emotive, humble approach to rhyming that has actually been embraced by hip hop. What was evident from the show is that the Toronto artist is midway through a transition of his own.

Taking a Jekyll and Hyde approach on stage, the 25-year-old frequently switched up the contrast from the emotional, love obsessed, brooding character to the arrogant persona that we have been seeing more frequently since his status rose so phenomenally.

Whilst performing ‘Take Care’, he danced around the stage as if he couldn’t believe he was actually living his dream. However, soon after, he stood emotionless in the middle of the stage, hands open and taking in the applause like an alcoholic does wine.

Being the emotionally open character he is, he makes no apologies for the way fame has affected him, in fact it only went in his favour, giving him an edge of realness that sometimes lacks in popular music today.

This allowed him to effortlessly blend tracks from ‘Best I Ever Had’, ‘Practise’, ‘Shot 4 Me’ to more rugged sounds like ‘Stay Schemin’ and ‘I’m Goin’ In’.

Highlights were ‘The Motto’, ‘Take Care’ and ‘Crew Love’, notably being some of the fans favourites.

Drizzy took (perhaps a bit too much) time shouting out audience members, including the ones “in the glasses who can’t see a mother f***ing thang!” The set in itself seemed rather rushed, pushed by Drake’s own adrenaline perhaps. The Young Money artist has not had years of experience connecting to such as large audience, which showed as he didn’t keep the audience captivated consistently throughout the show.

The show seemed to end quicker than I would have liked, but I assumed that this was because time flies when you’re having fun. But was I in Club Paradise? Very nearly.

After his final London show, Drizzy went down to West London’s club ‘The Low’, where he relaxed and partied with his buddies, including Rihanna.

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Listen Here: Chris Brown and Rihanna Remixes Revealed

Music, News

When production duo Da Internz told MTV News that the forthcoming remix of Rihanna’s ‘Birthday Cake’ would “shock the world”, speculation began immediately that the collaborator would be her ex, Mr Chris Brown. After all, unless Ri shot the video stark naked, how much more shocking could she be? [‘S&M’, ‘Te Amo’… need I continue?]

It turns out we were right about this collaboration…

After their altercation before the 2009 Grammy’s, fans have been after Chris’s blood, understandably. However, he did his time in community service (which he is still completing) and appeared genuinely in turmoil over his actions.

The couple were seen leaving the studio a few weeks ago, and the result is the remix of Chris Brown’s ‘Turn Up The Music’ and of course Rihanna’s unfinished album track ‘Birthday Cake’. At the end of ‘Turn Up The Music’ you hear Ri say affectionately “you make me laugh”.

The new blonde is also heard saying “I love you baby” – which caused commenters to angrily (I assume) write “was that necessary?”

I can’t help but find it cute – the pair make a sweet team and after listening to these tracks,  they clearly make sweet music.

Chris Brown also wished Ri an happy birthday on Twitter yesterday [February 20], apparently unbothered by the public’s reaction.

Chris is still with his girlfriend, model Karrueche Tran. Chris reportedly left her in the car whilst he went to Rihanna’s birthday party, however, the model is determined not to seem bothered by her boyfriend’s mega star ex, and confirmed they are living together. The couple jetted off to Miami for Valentine’s day after Chris attended Ri’s party.

Watch this space – although I think the whole world is going to be keeping an eye on this love triangle/affair situation. For the haters who think Rihanna has made a bad decision with the colloboration – I reckon this would be her response.

The Life and Times of Whitney Houston – R.I.P

Music, News, Work

The world was shell-shocked when over the weekend we received the tragic news that Whitney Elizabeth Houston had passed away – at just 48-years-old. The singer enjoyed a legendary career, defining and dominating the 80’s and 90’s with hits such as ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’, ‘I Will Always Love You’ and countless others.

Music was as natural to Whitney as breathing. Trained in gospel, New Jersey-born Whitney was the daughter of the gospel star Cissy Houston, goddaughter of Aretha Franklin and Dionne Warwick’s cousin – she was quite literally born into a world of legends.

Her phenomenal talent meant that her career flew with the ease of a bird; however humble Whitney had no idea what kind of impact she was making. She released her debut album, self-titled ‘Whitney Houston’ in 1985, which featured ‘Saving All My Love For You’ and other classics, winning her her 1st Grammy. At the time, the New York Times said that Houston “possesses one of her generation’s most powerful gospel-trained voices.” Rolling Stone also chipped in, adding that she is “obviously headed for stardom”.

Houston had a knack of delivering draw dropping vocals with ease, not only jaw dropping in sound, but extreme in lyrical content. The singer set a trend by making her music epically inspiring; discussing love as if she could, and would, beat all the cruel odds of the world. Her love songs weren’t half hearted – Whitney gave it her all or nothing at all.

Whitney broke down many doors accidently by blowing them down with her voice. At a time when black artists were struggling to make it onto mainstream radio and TV, Whitney broke the mould and became the first black woman to regularly feature on MTV. A US magazine editor labelled her “the first black America’s sweetheart”. She opened the doors for artists we could imagine not having now – Mary J Blige, Destiny’s Child, Erykah Badu.

An unconscious feminist, Whitney also broke many records for women in a time where ladies were decidedly, and visibly, inferior. According to the Guinness Book of Records, she was the most awarded female artist of all time. Her bold attitude and voice also meant that she was credited for inventing the ‘pop diva’ culture that has continued to inspire female artists to this very day. In her sweet and turbulent life she won 415 Awards, 2 Emmys, 6 Grammys, 22 American Music Awards, 30 Billboard Awards and sold 300,000,000 albums.

With Houston breaking records and performing worldwide, she inevitably became very rich. 3 albums later, Whitney decided to embark on an acting career and starred in ‘The Bodyguard’ – one of the most famous films of the 90’s. It was at this time she married the love of her life, Bobby Brown and shortly afterwards gave birth to their only child, Bobbi Kristina Houston Brown. Her career continued without any glitches until the late 90’s, when Whitney would arrive hours late for shows and interviews and was seen in public looking gaunt and pale.

In 2002 things were still visibly unstable for Whitney, with rumours of domestic violence and drug abuse occurring within the celebrity marriage. Although Whitney said in a TV interview that “crack is wack” it was no secret in Hollywood that the couple were addicted to cocaine and marijuana. Whitney once described the union between the two as: “The princess marries the bad boy.”

She eventually kicked the habit and divorced Brown in 2006. She said her drug addiction came easy as “there was so much money” and she “didn’t think about the singing part anymore.” It was clear to see the abuse had affected her abilities, when her comeback tour in 2010 caused concern for the breathless Whitney we saw on stage – she wasn’t glowing the way she did prior to the substance abuse.

Whitney endured another period in rehab this year, and also featured in a remake of the 70’s movie ‘Sparkle’ with Jordin Sparks. Tragically and ironically, the film covers the effects of fame and drugs. It will still be released in August of this year.

The day before the Grammy Awards, on Saturday 11 February, Whitney Houston was getting ready for her mentor’s Clive Davis‘s pre-Grammy party which was happening downstairs, in the Beverly Hilton hotel in LA. Before the event, Whitney’s aunt Mary Jones went to check on Whitney, finding that she had passed away in the hotel’s bathtub.

Family sources told TMZ that although it has not been confirmed what caused her death, the L.A County Coroner officials have said it was not from drowning in the bath, but from a combination of Xanax and other prescription drugs mixed with alcohol.

Whitney Houston is survived by her mother, two brothers and daughter. Like she once said “We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.” I pray that she rests in peace knowing that she certainly did achieve that.

 

This piece is an amended version of my feature on Whitney on MTV.co.uk, which can be read here.

Princess Nyah : ‘Destroy and Rebuild’ EP

Music, Work

Princess Nyah has been working hard in the studio to hit us up with a new EP, and it has now been revealed that it will be released on January 31. The Princess of UK funky has named the EP ‘Destroy & Rebuild’ – a short but sweet mix bursting with futuristic productions, smooth vocals, rowdy verses and dirty, dubby beats…

Production on the 5-track EP comes courtesy of ChampionIll Blu and DJ Wonder. Not only are there some promising productions on there, but also a couple of great collaborations. Wiley joins Nyah on the EP with their track ‘Soldier’, which you may have already heard bubbling on BBC 1Xtra.No Lay also features on the new offering to deliver some bold bars on ‘Artillery’, which makes the completed track an absolute frenzy of heavy bass with a strong, girl power vibe.

Other tracks include ‘Crazy’ and ‘Do What I Want’, which take us a little way down memory lane, reminding us why Princess Nyah was the vocal star of the UK funky scene. The EP ends with ‘Around The World’, a head-banging drum & bass re-work of Lisa Stansfield’s classic song of the same title. Whilst we soak up her fab new EP, Nyah will continue to work on her debut album, ‘Patience & Persistence’, which is expected to drop later this year.

Don’t forget to download ‘Destroy & Rebuild’ for free on January 31 over on the leading lady’s website.

4/5

Stay up to date with Princess Nyah on Twitter.

*This review originally went live on MTV’s website. Check out my MTV work here *

Kids of Grime Present…

Music, News

2011 was a special time for fresh, quality, free music. Tinie Tempah dropped his EP ‘Happy Birthday’, Dizzee Rascal released the ‘DirteeTV’ mixtape, Giggs and Skepta hooked up with DJ Whoo Kid… the list goes on.

Now Kids Of Grime have teamed up with DJ Spooky to record a super mix of the best, most played tracks of 2011 to summarise the epic year Grime had.

‘KidsOfGrime presents: Best Of Grime 2011 – Mixed by DJ Spooky’ can be downloaded HERE for free.

The crew said we can “consider it homage to the whole scene, producers, MCs, journalists, filmers, photographers and especially to the supporters who are making it happen.”

Hear hear! Or Brap Brap; whichever works. Download now.

 

 

Kano Showcases ‘Not 4 the A List’ at ILuvLive

Music

I Luv Live hosted their biggest night of the year so far on Monday night, with Kano performing an exclusive set to promote his new EP, ‘Not 4 the A List’. It looked like it was going to be a promising night as I approached the XOYO venue in East London to see a queue was already spilling out onto the street – at 8pm.

I Luv Live was held in a smaller room that I imagined; or maybe that was because it was so heavily rammed to the brim. Holding onto our belongings tightly, we were skanking as soon as we hit the door, with a great mix of funky house, Hip Hop and Garage on spin.

First up, presenter DJ Ras Kwame introduced Manchester bred Ruby Ann Patterson to the stage. The 18-year-old used her soft, calming vocals to sing a song dedicated to her ex called ‘Goodbye’, describing it as a ‘big f*ck you’. After the jump, Rose Gabor grabbed the mic and literally tore up the stage performing her featured track with producers Redlight, ‘Stupid’.

After another skanking interval, Ghetts came out of nowhere and started spitting his verse from Wiley’s ‘She Likes To’. Finally, the several guys who had been leaning against the wall all night regained consciousness; the venue was buzzing. He then dropped ‘Who’s On the Panel’ and ‘Artillery’ – looking back at the whole night, I can definitely say that the audience connected with Ghetts the most.

Myself and others have noticed that Ghetts has recently adapted a smoother flow; whether that is because he is trying to evolve or become more versatile, I don’t know. However, that night, he was Ghetto again. Maybe that was because he was drunk; therefore he let go and did what he does best.

Kano soon joined his friend on stage for their collaboration ‘House Of Pain’ (cue the screaming ladies). They were also accompanied by Kano’s musical sidekick Mikey J. Kano then performed some songs from the EP, which were, in honesty, slightly above mediocre. I say this because I wasn’t the only one who pulled out their phone to fiddle with during this time.

However, when ‘ET’ came on, it changed. The crowd went nuts again and I lost my view of the stage with all of the chaos around me. I started jumping manically when the screams became deafening and as the crowds shuffled I saw why – Wretch 32 was on stage, spitting his verse on the track.

After ‘ET’ we got taken back to the early noughties with some classic bars being dropped. The crowd got more hyped with every wheel up; gunfingers were all over the place. It was clear to see that Ghetts and Kano have a great chemistry; after the performance many people were talking about the 2 of them doing a joint EP.

After about 10 minutes of wheel ups, I got a bit fed up with waiting for the drop; I guess you could call it an anti-climax. In honesty, it looked as if the crowd would have screamed at them doing the alphabet and I think they knew it; therefore, they were just having fun towards the end of the set.

Therefore; it was time for me to go home. Kudos to the ILuvLive team; the event ran on time and it was well executed. I will definitely be attending the next one.

Make sure you don’t miss the next event by checking out their event listings here.

 

 

Maz Chats to Crisismusik

Interviews, Music, Work

Hailing from North London, Crisismusik is a rapper, song writer and university student. When talking to the 19-year-old, he said his inspirations ranged from Michael Jackson, Tupac and UK Grime on a whole, whilst saying his music holds many elements, from Indie to Hip Hop.

Oh, and he loves RnB. It seems his eclectic tastes are the way forward, because in turn Crisismusik has a fresh single out and an EP on the way, all whilst building up his independent record label, Soulitary Records. Flavour gets to know the rapper a little better.

So, who is Crisis Musik?

I’m a recording artist and I’m part of a company called Soulitary Records. I’ve released my debut single called ‘Criteria’ which features P Mensah, and my next single ‘Fit Me In The Picture’ is out now.

So what inspired the name?

When I was 14 it was just Crisis, because everyone was using random tags back in those days… so it was just random. As my music started to grow and I started to make music that meant something, I changed it to Crisismusik. It’s saying that I’m here to bring a Crisis in Musik; not in a bad way though! I wanna bring something new; something others can’t do.

What genre would you class your music as?

My foundation is Grime. But I started experimenting with Hip Hop in 2008 and now days my music has picked up a lot influences, from Dubstep, Hip Hop and Indie styles.

Most UK urban artists have jumped on the European dance beat trend. Will we see you hopping on board soon?

Ummm… it’s not the type of music I would make! But I do appreciate the music though.

What’s the deal with Soulitary Records?

Me and my friend started the independent label and we’ve been working hard. I was in a few Grime movements, but some people just weren’t as serious about it as I was. The people I’m working with now have the same goals and work ethic -we’re on the same page. So, things are looking up…

How did you go about starting the label?

We did a lot of research. You know, how to get distribution companies to put your single out for you – this and that. I also had my older family giving me a lot of advice; not just on music, but in life and business – how to manage yourself.

You’ve been rapping for over 5 years. What do you think about the progression in UK music?

Grime was really big back in the day, but when people started charting they weren’t really embracing who they were and other people’s success. But now there’s a whole new UK thing where people are putting their head down and making good music; I think the scene is almost where it needs to be…

Can we expect an EP from you soon?

I’ve got my mix tape ‘The Goody Bag’ out now and it’s available for a free download. I’m in the process of creating a new EP for 2012, with Cass Beats on the production. My first official single will be out in January hopefully.

What can we expect from you in 2012?

More visuals, more music and videos online, more interviews… I’m just gonna be trying to put my face to the music, a lot of people know my music but they haven’t seen me yet.

Follow CrisisMusik 

It’s a Brummie Ting: Maz and Shireen meet Lady Leshurr and RoxXxan

Interviews, Music, Work

It was the filming day for the UK BET cypher and Lady Leshurr and RoxXxan were both outside on a break; it was a blazing hot afternoon. Whilst my Flavour buddy Shireen and I were reporting on location, we got the chance to interview the emcees; so we asked them for some snaps. The photographer asks them to stand back to back, to which they both burst into laughter.  ‘I’m too short compared to RoxXxan, no way am I doing that!’ Lady Leshurr says firmly but sweetly, before they laugh again and change pose.

The ladies both hail from Birmingham, but Lady Leshurr and RoxXxan could not be more different. RoxXxan is sporting yellow khakis and Adidas for the shoot; her hair fanned out for volume. In contrast, Lady Leshurr was quite literally pint sized and girlie. Not only different in physical form but with her smooth and husky voice, RoxXxan’s flows could definitely not be mistaken for the cute, hyper presence of Lady Leshurr.

However, the two MCs do share the knowledge of what life is like for a female MC out of London. We sat down with the West Midlands ladies to talk about the Birmingham music scene, being a female in Grime and why you shouldn’t air intimate issues on bars…

As we talk to both the MC’s separately on how they feel about the Birmingham grime scene their views are quite different, with RoxXxan exclaiming, ‘DEAD.’ The reason for her response is because, “what they tend to do is instead of just supporting Birmingham talent, they bring down all the grime or underground MC’s from London, like your P Money’s.” Leshurr seems to disagree with RoxXxan. “It’s progressive. It used to be small, now it’s like a lot of people are on it and people are doing their thing such as Trilla and Slick Don. There are a lot of people that are representing in Birmingham, and a lot of people that know them down in London too. It’s really good it’s healthy at the moment.” RoxXxan believes that Birmingham don’t support their own artists; that’s why she moved to London. “There’s no BRIT School, there’s no labels in Birmingham only Punch Records which is an artist development, kind of like the Urban Development in London. Apart from that there’s nobody.”

We move on to discuss how their Birmingham accents might be difficult to understand, especially with Leshurr, (who is known for spitting fast) and how it could deter them from getting further, especially in the States. Leshurr agrees that sometimes it’s hard for her to be understood by some. “I mean I know a lot of people can’t understand what I’m saying when I spit fast. I don’t worry when I’m in the booth, I just do what I do and hopefully people can understand me. It’s not just my high-pitched voice like a little kid, but my accent is completely different to London. I know it is hard to understand something’s that I say.” RoxXxan tells us her opinion on making it in the US, “I just believe in good music, look at Tinie’s ‘Written In The Stars’, although it never got No.1, he sold a million records over there so it’s platinum. Although it wasn’t straight away, it’s happened now and he’s very easy to understand. They didn’t really get Dizzee Rascal though, he’s really fast. People accept it or they don’t.” They both agree that good music is good music, they don’t think about people accepting it, they do what works for them.

RoxXxan tells us how she uses her roots in her music… “My family are Irish and Jamaican, there’s a lot of slang, ‘Go On The Horse’, that’s what the Irish say, and ‘Bumbclart!’ for the Jamaican’s. I just have fun with music, I don’t really take it too seriously, unless it needs to be.” Whilst she is often in London to become more integrated in the UK music scene, Leshurr thinks that a permanent move would not be the right decision for her right now. “I did want to, but I don’t think I’m going to now because I know that it’s possible to get back and forth between where I need to go. It’s a little bit of money, but it’s a lot of money to live and stay down here and get a house down here. I prefer to come back and forth, but I really do love London it’s my second home.”

The question of being a female in a male dominated game comes up. Leshurr tells us, “When I started listening to Shystie, No Lay and Ms Dynamite, I knew there was hope and it was possible to get your name out there. People respect you for being a female, as well as an all round great entertainer and artist. Right now though I don’t think it’s hard because a lot of other female MC’s are doing it. It’s a very good time I love it.” RoxXxan explains to us her feelings on the subject, “we are born how we’re born, and it is the way it is. It’s a male dominated scene, it’s hard, you just have to step up and prove yourself. Even today being at the BET Cypher, there were Ghetts, Bigz, Chipmunk and G Fresh, it was hard so as a girl you just have to go all out even just to get noticed. You have to hold your own and become comfortable with it.”

RoxXxan talks to us about another Birmingham female MC… “Can I just say about OG Niki, I just want to apologise to everyone who watched the YouTube video, I don’t even know her personally. I see what’s she’s tried to do, and I just hope it is because she is young. I know she’s trying to create a buzz, and do what hasn’t been done before, or to the extent it hasn’t been done before. I just think respect yourself though, not even respect women, but respect yourself, your 17. Not being rude, but she’s not going to find a decent guy now; you’re not helping yourself. She was on the news looting and stuff.” RoxXxan is a strong believer in keeping her private life private, and how she keeps her image and bars real, “I don’t do the whole sexy thing, obviously I’m 22 I have sex, but I take the Beyonce route in my bars. I think you don’t have to give it all, music is what I do it’s not me. If I couldn’t spit anymore, for instance if I lost my voice, I’d still be able to do me, it doesn’t make me who I am. I love it and it’s in my bones, but it doesn’t make me.”

The question now on everybody’s lips is what these two ladies of grime are going to be doing. With Leshurr’s co-sign on the Neva Soft track, we wonder if the 367 ladies who include herself, Lioness and A Dot, will be doing anything together. “Definitely. We want to do tracks together. Were going to do an EP soon, I told them a long time ago we need to do this, so were definitely going to do it now. Were going to have a launch party for it, I’ve even got a top done up with 367 on it. A lot of people are jumping on the wave. It was a mess about thing, but we’ve got to take it seriously now as a lot of people are saying 367 a lot.”

As for RoxXxan? “There’s a lot of females in the game right now. There’s a lot around now because there’s the space, not even a space there’s spaces. There was Dynamite she’s coming back and she’s still got her spot, because when she came she came so well. I think people are looking for new, fresh and exciting talent. The next step for me is to go total left field. Everybody’s on the dubstep, the drum n bass, the slowie, the popie, whatever. Good music is good music; I’m not knocking anyone’s hustle, but for me just expect the unexpectable. I’m experimenting in the studio, writing an album, trying to bring a completely different sound. Obviously you can’t really do what hasn’t been done before, but I’m just taking it somewhere left field.”

NXG Magazine Review: Friday @ Hyde Park’s Wireless Festival

Music, Work

On the tube down to Hyde Park Corner, the excitement mounted as I thought of the acts I was yet to see. This year was different. For once, there was a strong presence of British artists and not just ones who were ‘fillers’ for the ‘real acts’ i.e – the American artists. British music has had an amazing time over the past few years, which has led to our own sound being spread and eventually accepted across the globe. Although the festivals first headliner was The Black Eyed Peas, I was more pumped to see Example and Plan B.

Fellow NXG team member Emma Knock and I arrived fashionably late, only picking up pace after my sister called me screeching “The queues here are ABSURD, Maz! Hurry.”

Arriving in somewhat of a fluster, the queue had completely vanished, so we walked straight in. Phew. It was my first time at Wireless and I was surprised to see how relaxed it was. Its location told me to expect pure mayhem, constant barging and other typically London mannerisms.

I was massively disappointed to see that we although we had dodged the queues, we had arrived towards the end of Example’s set. I managed to glimpse a regrettably small portion of his performance of Changed the Way You Kissed Me, which was electric. We also managed to have a little groove to Far East Movement’s performance of Like a G6, which was undoubtedly one of the best high energy performances of the Friday. Although I previously doubted their longevity as artists, I could not doubt their stage presence. We then went to explore the park, which was filled with food stalls and bars of extortionate prices. I instantly regretted not smuggling a bottle in my bag as I reluctantly purchased a plastic glass half filled with rosé for £4.

Emma and I then tottered along to the main stage to check out Tinie Tempah’s highly anticipated performance. This was our second time seeing the Plumstead born rapper, after initially seeing him at the Hammersmith Apollo earlier this year. I had expected that the Pass Out star would have perfected his performances with the amount of practise he’s been having. I was disappointed to say this was not the case.  I was taken aback when Tinie freestyled over several current pop chart instrumentals and the DJ set was exactly the same as when he has performed at the Apollo, several months ago. Was he playing it safe or was he simply lazy?  Who knows, but it did not impress me. The rest of the set lacked charisma and confidence, but was overall acceptable. First time Tinie Tempah attenders would have been more than satisfied with the set; perhaps I expected too much.

Dressed all in black, I was boiling. Emma had a spare white t-shirt, so after a change of clothes right in the middle of the park (“Rock n Roll behaviour – thus totally acceptable at a festival” Emma promised) we went to find some munch before the next set, David Guetta. We grabbed a tiny portion of chips for £3 to share and sat down on the eroded grass for supper. David’s set began earlier than I realised, so we hastily finished our humble meal and tried to get a good spot in the ‘rave tent’ which was dazzling with lights, confetti, occasional fireworks and unbearable body heat. We were unlucky in this pursuit (which suited me, I was hot and my new pink shoes had been trampled on enough) so we watched from a distance. With his large audience, I was surprised that he was not on the main stage, but the rave tent was perfectly suited for him; it was almost made for his vibe of music. Mass amounts of bodies grinded, swayed and jumped about to When Love Takes Over, Sexy Chick, I Gotta Feeling and many of his other dance floor fillers.

Restless, we moved along to witness the remainder of Plan B’s set on the main stage. Dressed in his signature black suit and tie, he looked, sounded and acted the part. His song choices had a slight alternative music/rock edge, which prompted me to question which genre his future album will reflect. Although I prefer Plan B’s urban sounds, it was clear that he knows what he can get away with in terms of diverse music and he also knows what he is comfortable with and it works for him. Witnessing his set was to see a true artist perform, one with as many layers as an onion.

Next up was the headliners, what most people were here to see. The Black Eyed Peas.

For the rest of my review, please go to the NXG website where the original article can be found: http://bit.ly/obZ1Ux

Maz Meets Talib Kweli

Interviews, Music, Work

Talib has been standing strong in the hip hop scene since 1998, when he and fellow rap genius Mos Def released the classic album Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are Black Star. Since then, the Hip Hop general has released four albums, worked with the legend Mary J Blige and with Hip Hop’s favourite rapper, Kanye West. I chat to Talib to find out what he has planned for us next.

Hey Talib. What have you been up to recently?

My focus at the moment has been all about Gutter Rainbows. I am about to work on the album Prisoner of Conscious for Blacksmith. I am excited about the group Strong Arm Steady’s new album, Arms and Hammers. have also been working on Jean Grae’s Cake or Death LP and some more Idle Warship material with Res.

You have a loyal but exclusive UK fan base. Do you plan to try and break the mainstream UK market?

I do concerts in the UK at least twice a year. I sold out at two concerts last year; I did Roundhouse in Camden in October. I am not sure when the next one is, but I will keep you guys in the loop for sure!

You have worked with major artists, such as Kanye West. How was that experience?

I happened to meet Kanye when he came to my recording sessions looking for Mos Def. Back then, he was just a producer making beats for everyone. Nobody knew he had it in him to rap. It was great to work with him, we had and we still do have a lot of mutual respect for one another.

You also worked with Mary J Blige. How was that?

Mary was one of the most gracious, professional artist’s I have ever worked with. I would love to work with her again.

You quite a socially conscious rapper. What influenced you to take that alternative path?

The music I make is not alternative hip hop, it is REAL hip hop. All that other stuff they play on the radio is the alternative…

 What advice would you give to up and coming rappers?

Ignore the industry and create your own legend.