Prancehall’s Bass Odyssey, Part 25

July 31, 2008

Either by very clever engineering, or (more likely) because they bought the cheapest possible CD-Rs they could get their hands on, the copy I was sent of the new Roll Deep album, Return of the Big Money Sound, cannot be imported to my iTunes. It skips and dances around in my CD drive like a little mouse having a fit while being electrocuted.

I had planned to sit back, crack open a three-pack of Ribena, add a few pithy comments here and there, and let the music do the talking. But it looks like that won't be happening now. Luckily, I already had one of the better songs off the album as an mp3, which you can listen to below:

Roll Deep, "Give Up"

Since you won't be able to hear the album, I might as well give you a quick rundown. It starts with a completely pointless track announcing "Roll Deep is back" over and over for three minutes. Next is some type of dancey electro number with an annoying vocal, followed by a song so forgettable I won't even bother to mention it. The album manages to pick itself up from such a poor start with "Get Up", which has something of the Pay As U Go era of garage about it. Aside from a dodgy poppy ska number that sounds like The Mitchell Brothers doing a Madness cover and the brilliantly wistful "Nightlife", the rest is the album is depressingly anonymous.

The album is neither full-on commercial nor stark and grimey. In theory, this should give it just the right balance to keep everyone happy, but this isn't the case. Instead, it makes you wish they had stuck their neck out and gone for something, either way. If this was an indie-rock album it'd probably be hailed as a pretty big success, but this is grime and you want people to take risks.

Moving on, who remembers the phenomenon of the grime DVD? The first one I ever saw was Conflict. It's still my favourite. If you haven't seen it, it's the one where Dizzee and Crazy Titch almost get into a fight at the end. My friend Elias — who I haven't seen in ages, actually — gave me a copy. That reminds me, his favourite dancehall MC was General Degree. I have never met anyone before whose favourite dancehall MC was General Degree. While we're on the subject of Elias (hope you guys don't mind me casually introducing him to the column like this), I remember he kind of fell out of love with grime soon after he gave me Conflict and then only really started getting back into it when he bought a copy of Ghetto's 2000 & Life mixtape.

The above footage was taken from Ghetto's birthday set last year and features on the recent Fuck Radio DVD, out now in about three record shops. Watching this has reminded me how great grime DVDs are. That whole fly on the wall/white guys getting to enjoy some live MCing action from the safety of their home computer factor is what really makes them good.

The things to keep an eye out for on here are: DJ Unique attempting to roll a spliff while mixing, how young Chipmunk looked last year, how much Devlin has lost it (take a breath, dude, please!) and how much Little Nasty looks like Marcus Nasty.

Talking of Marcus Nasty, he recently did a two hour mix show special on 1Xtra, which you can download below. There are quite a few cheesy vocals to overcome and the whole thing is definitely a bit hit and miss, but the hits are GIGANTIC home runs (do you like how I am pandering to your culture, America? Do you like that?). When you find a good tune it's a total gem. The standout track — which comes around 13 minutes and 40 seconds — recalls early Ruff Sqwad and XTC productions and also has a curdled cumbia accordion riff. Maybe this will mark the start of a new scene called grumbia (I can hear some people squealing with excitement already). Or maybe not.

Download: Marcus Nasty on 1Xtra


Rolex Sweep (special) - Skepta, Wiley & Donaeo

Seasons – Little Silver

Frontline – Eye Blue / Princess

Sirens – Hard House Banton

Reign – Hard House Banton

Bongo Jam – Crazy Cousinz

The Way We Get Down – Vibe

Jungle Boy – Intramental

Tell Me – DJ NG (Geeneus remix)

Marcus Special – Lightning Exclusive

Would You Mind – Kyla ft. Crazy Cousinz

Quick Time – DJ Naughty (VIP Mix)

Piece Of Heaven – Beat Players ft. Lara McClarren

Stomper – Seany B

Gimme That 08 Remix – Mario Productions

Mr Seduction – Seany B

Brazillia – Baby Face J

Post Room Remix – Little Silver (Marcus Nasty special)

Sheaneka – JP2

General remix – Malice

Liberty – Scotty D

Live Wire – Norris Da Boss

Bad Habits – Marc Ambience

The Music – Hard House Banton

In The Air – Perempay

Yellow Yail – Geeneus

Mario – Mario Productions

Terminator – JME

Funky Flex – Little Silver

Take Over – VIP Mix (Invasion Recordings)

Devil In A Blue Dress – Donaeo

African Warrior – Donaeo

Believe In Love – Roska

Climate Change – Roska

Speechless – Mystery

Flawless – Malice

Blanka – JME

Bad Habit – Malice

Make You Move – Seany B

Topper 5 Remix – Swif Joy

Im Right Here – MA1 (Naughty remix)

Visions – Malice

Mind Body And Soul – TNT

Rock 2 The Beats – Kurupt Recordings

Girl Like Me – Naughty ft. Addictive

Rising Sun – Invasion Recordings

Level – Fuzzy Logic

Mr Bean Remix – Spyro

Take It The Top – Misa Mix ft. Nia

Take It Low – Lev

High – Donaeo

Things Have Changed – Mattalic

Prancehall’s Bass Odyssey, Part 25