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Yes, yes, it has come to that time, i have written so many reviews on american hip hop type products and really thats what i know most about, i prefer american hip hop to what the uk hip hop scene has to offer, quite simply because the americans (especially east and west coast rappers) have perfected the art of rhyming and alot of rappers that are truly great over there, are intelligent people, what i mean by this is many of the best lyracists in america are A* english students for the time that they chose to actually stay and hang around in school before getting sucked in by street life. Where as the uk well lets just say that the quality is not quite as high FOR THE MOST PART, i'm not gonna say we have nobody that can rhyme because as i am about to prove in a second, we do, but really you don't have to be that clever to be considered to make a record on the uk scene with the likes of grime music dumbing everything down to hooks (catchy chorus' ) and punchlines, however even though the cream of the crop in the uk are few and far between, there is still cream......
I may be a little biased towards Klashnekoff or 'lash' as he likes to be known because he lives literally just down the road from me, but if critical aclaim is anything to go by then this is one of the best lyracists in the uk that we have on our hands here. Unlike most uk hip hop artists he choses real concepts to talk about and doesn't spend the whole 4 odd minutes of a song bigging himself and his crew up naming all the possible way that he could kill you.
No, instead he chooses to talk about a particular subject on the publics mind especially in east london at this moment in time, and that is the violence that is taking place at the moment in as far as stabbing and shootings, to get across his message here he talks of his own experiences of just walking through the streets and what he used to do as a teen,
Intro - A jamaican womens voice is heard, as she speaks of the violence that takes place on the streets, though it is clear she is talking of the corruption and drug trade in jamaica, on a certain level this has a connection to events that take place in london, as gun shots ring out towards the end of this intro people are heard shouting 'revolution, revolution' as they run away from the fire asking for change.
The revolution (will not be televised on channel U) - Lash talks about the urban youth of London, he states what his people (the urban youth of london) have missed out on such as the equality and justice, however he also says that people are no longer proud of who they are, people need to read books instead of chasing girls and trying to prove how hard they are instead of building their knowledge, he also states that to get this across to people you would have to put these messages and knowledge on channel 'U' (an english tv channel that plays most of the crap that comes from the streets underground scene, though this is how some of the uk's best artists get found atleast 70% of it is just crap) however he states that he refuses to teach people through channel U and again re-addresses the fact that they should use education such as books to find this information out for themselves, finally on this track he discusses how even when 'stevens' blood was spilt people still did and are not recognising what we need to do (this is of course referring to 'steven lawrence' who was racially attacked and killed in the early 90's).
My rights like my life (skit)- just a short 18 second clip of a jamaican sounding man stating that his right is his life, leads nicely onto the next track.
My life - This track has a great beat courtesy again of joe buhdha whom i will inform you of later in this review, as the title suggest on this track lash talks of his life and his thoughts, discussing 'inner city decay', he has a catchy type of hook on this song, in one sentence he states 'this is my life' and then proceeds to list the things that feature in his life and surrounding area, drive by's, high rise estates, doors with iron gates, he also uses quite a bit of east london slang that mostly originates from carribean slang, ha ha i'm not gonna go through that all right now. Though that can be a feature with alot of rappers from the uk and usa, that you really need to know the history of the hip hop in that area aswell as the slang they speak to get what their saying fully because sometimes they can say something funny or witty but is only so, because it referes to something maybe funny that happened 10 years ago in hip hop or a famous hip hop line like for example one that you may have heard of run dmc 'it's like that'.
Terrorise the city feat. kool g rap & kyza - The fact that any uk mcee has managed to get 'kool g rap' on a track should alert any hip hop head that dammm this dude lash must be good, because 'kool g' is considered a hip hop legend who along with rakim gave birth to the modern style of intelligent hip hop back in the mid 80's to early 90's he influenced and sparked the seeds for great lyracists such as nas and biggie to come along. Anyway this track is backed by a thumping beat with scratches (vinyl scratching) galore!!!! this is more of a hype song in which all three mcee's talk of how they get the parties started in the cities they visit and how they see this as just terrorising your city, 'i cause terror like suddam and osma/ brings arms to ya yard, its vietnam in ya garden - kyza
Refuse to die - Probably my favourite track on the whole album, i love the beat its got a carribean reggae loop type feel to it, within this track lash's flow is the best i've heard it, the words are literally just rolling off of his tongue, and this track is all talking about LASH HIMSELF, he represents his area (ha ha my area too), and his beliefs as he does this he makes great comparions and metaphors to people such as president bush and other world figures he feels aren't up to standard.
'The call me lash im from the east premices/
and i been reppin this ting from genesis,
yep my click in the venemous,
merk witnesses and leave no evidence, just like president bush....'
his flow on this track is so smooth you could play it on rewind and it would still seem like a song with a rhythm, lol the words would probably even make sense as something else.
Question - Very direct track about what he is trying to get across, in no way shape or form does he try and encrypt the message he is trying to get across, it begins with a clip of two young american aspiring rappers talkin to their mother and others, she asks, you rap about shooting and killing people, and they reply,'well if thats what people wanna hear if they buy it' and then the other states 'yeh it seem like thats all people wanna hear now days, its aggrevating'. The beat then kicks in as lash then sets out about letting young people know that it takes work to get where their heroes are, such as nas 'hard work, grind till its crippling' then asks do you know what your living for, 'what your worth is' 'self respect on the surface', these questions really make the listener question their cause in life and think about what they are doing and how they are doing it no matter what your doing, its not like he just aimed at aspiring rappers (far from it) its only that one time he mentions it takes hard work to be nas, other than that anything he says in this song can be applied to any line/field of work. The voices from the beginning then come back and the voice states, 'you see how rappers are now, they scared to be they self, its like the public won't accept them to be themself', and this song definately made me think, since when did rap become gangsta rap, i mean gangsta rap used to be a sub genre of rap but know it seems the whole of rap is just considered gangsta.
Sayonara feat. kyza - Another hype up song in which lash discusses his crew tera firma, but its funny how all these hype up type songs feature kyza, the beat is one of the best things about this song, if there is a weak link on this album its this song.
Music is his (skit) - just a short skit talking of revolution in jamaica.
Bit by bit - Here he talks of his workrate, and how this bussiness has made him 'conciouss' yet 'corupt as hell' he also discusses subjects such as wahy are footballers being paid more money than nurses, and you ecpect a great nhs service', and how people are being raped of wealth by the system. This song is full of similies and double meaning metaphors to compare the injustices in life.
Rest of our live (part2) - black rose part 1 is featured on one of las's earlier albums, but this part starts basically from the beginning of his life, discussing his upbringing though this time not his area but his family and the struggles he saw in front of his eyes of a young child, like the break up of his mother and father, furthermore how he felt as a child when his mother got a boy friend and this man treated her terribly bad. Nice beat to this song.
Lord help me (skit) - uses an old soul sample that goes with the theme of the album.
Can't you see - This song features a very very famous hip hop sample by nas that fits perfectly with the track, on how people can't see what their doing and how it effects the people around them and they do it all to act hard, also how if they want to do this klashnekoff will expose them.
Two guns blazing feat. 45 - This gives and avid decription of klashnekoff's mentality at the start of this year, after years of not being recognised for his talent in this song he is heard to be pshycing himself up, ready to take the scene not by storm but by the throat of its neck and tell it to listen.
Bun dem feat. capleton - Great steel pans beat, and this track is the first that really addresses the brilliant prodcuer of every track on this album joe buhdha album, talking of how he met joe and how he (lash) got signed to his label, and funny enough he also rhymes about his rhymes and why he talks about what he does.
Make P's feat.skriblah - One of, if not the best beat on the album a real layed back usa west coast type of beat that dre may have produced, but not, its all buhdha's prodcution and this track is simply DOPE, he talks about the trials and tribs, of making paper (money), and how especially today people in high places judge a book by its cover so its hard for the homeless/disadvantaged to get anywhere, he also uses some great comparisions in this one, AND OMG the beat chorus just kicked in as im listenin to it now and this has got to be a great SUMMER ANTHEM the kinda thing (if i was old enough) that if i was able to drive i would bang in my car with the top down sliding past many girls wearing little clothing on their body coz its HOT, and everybody is just chillin on the street, even though he talks about a serious matter especially at the beginning, this is a real chilled out song for the summer, whats impressive is he managaes to do all this WHILE GIVING KNOWLEDGE TO THE 'YOUT' (youth) telling them straight up,'money don't make the man, so when you make it make sure you got a plan', 'so i can teach them that any self worth is far more precious', DAMMMMM i've listened to this album so many times i forgot this track was like that!!!
Outro - Speaks for itself, really once you have listened to it need no explain, it is basically a sample of news shows and political shows that discuss young people 'black or white' born into violence, its states, 'young people black or white, are not born with a sub machine gun in their hands, and the truth is, if they feel valued and accepted if they've got a job and educatation and a future then their unlikely to aquire, so this is about more than drugs and crime, its about a deep sense of alienation, felt by many young black men', among another couple of statements made by the bbc.
Overall this is a great album and even though it was released this year it is considered one of the greatest uk hip hop albums of all time, which you make think is not sayin alot and even though great artists are few and far between in the uk their has been some great albums released over the past 20 years and the number one uk hip hop magazine 'hip hop connection' gave this a perfect 5 stars, personally as a uk album i would give it 5 stars but as a hip hop album, i would give it 4.5 as there is just that one weakish (not really weak) track on there. But still this album is just another representation of Klashnekoff's lyrical brilliance and an example that you don't have to have gone to Eton to be able to write with great critical analysis while using a broad range of vocabulary and language techniques. He brought us a range of themes all centred around the main one that i mentioned at the beginning of the review, while adding in a street gangsterish touch along the way but maintaing a concious side aswell. Great Album.
And on a final note Joe Buddha did brilliantly producing this album and 'Nottingham' where he was born and raised should be proud, as he was able to produce all kinds of different sound beats not just techno computerised sounds not just jamaican reggae sounds not just old skool beats and neither just using classical instruments, he made use of everything. I'll leave you with this small excerpt taken from wikipedia about klashnekoff:
p.s i picked flawless for tracks coz it would be unfair to pick theres a couple of weak links coz theres not its just one tiny song.
'Klashnekoff (pronounced K-Lash-Nek-Off) (also known as Ricochet Klashnekoff and K-Lash) is a British rapper from Hackney, London. He was the founding member of the Terra Firma Crew. He is widely regarded as the best lyricist from the United Kingdom and is seen to be hugely talented.'
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Revolution (Will Not Be Televised On Channel U)
3 My Rights Like My Life
4 My Life
5 Terrorise The City - Klashnekoff & Kool G Rap/Kyza
6 Refuse To Die
8 Sayonara - Klashnekoff & Skriblah/Kyza
9 Music Is His...
10 Bit By Bit
11 Rest Of Our Lives
12 Lord Help Me
13 Can't You See
14 Two Guns Blazing - Klashnekoff & 45
15 Bun Dem - Klashnekoff & Capleton
16 Make Ps - Klashnekoff & Skriblah