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Pear Shaped - BTN Collection

Pear Shaped - BTN Collection

In AW13 we released the BTN Collection. One piece from the collection consistently pops up nationwide and it's proving to be a timeless piece, the BTN 6-Panel. The cap has recently been featured in a editorial shot by Marc SozeTHC Memphis, modelled by ATILLY, S. Check out some of the shots below:

 


Christmas Rap - Hip Hop's 25 Best Christmas Tunes

 

What would Christmas be without great Christmas music?

Every genre has that bit of festive spirit running through its creative veins, and Hip Hop is absolutely no exception. Hitting us with a varied collection of sometimes serious, often humorous, and on the rare occasion, outright bizarre tributes to the time of giving and receiving, it's safe to say Hip Hop loves Christmas. So what better way to get hyped for Christmas time than with a list of Hip Hop's 25 best Christmas tunes!

 

Santa's a busy man, so let's get rolling!...

 

 

TLC - Sleigh Ride




Snoop Dogg - Santa Claus Goes Straight To The Ghetto




Kurtis Blow - Christmas Rappin'




Run-D.M.C., Mase, Diddy, Snoop Dogg, Salt-N-Pepa, Onyx and Keith Murray - Santa Baby




Spyder D - Ghetto Santa




Ying Yang Twins - Deck Da Club




Run the Jewels - A Christmas Fucking Miracle




Ghostface Killah - Ghostface X-Mas




Sweet Tee - Let The Jingle Bells Rock




Eazy-E - Merry Muthafuckin' Xmas




Kanye West, Cam'ron, Jim Jones, Vado, Pusha T, Musiq Soulchild, CyHi the Prynce, Teyana Taylor and Big Sean - Christmas In Harlem




Mr. Lif - Santa's Got A Muthafuckin Uzi




Jim Jones - Ballin' On Xmas




Treacherous Three - Christmas Rap




Ludacris - Ludacrismas




Tha Dogg Pound - I Wish




Killer Mike - Christmas Grind




De La Soul - Millie Pulled A Gun On Santa




Juelz Santana and Starr - Jingle Bellz




David Banner - The Christmas Song




Dana Dane - Dana Dane Is Coming To Town




DMX - Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (Remix)




The Juice Crew All-Stars - Cold Chillin' Christmas




Outkast - Player's Ball (Christmas Version)




Run D.M.C. - Christmas In Hollis

 

 

Done and done. Merry Christmas all. 

Til next year!

 

 

Pear Shaped.

C Lowe.


Jammz, Mic Ty & The Hip-Hop Orchestra - Eskimo

As part of 1xtra's MC month Jammz & Mic Ty take on Wiley's grime classic Eskimo. Who would of thought when Eskimo was made it would one day be played by an orchestra. Jammz & Mic Ty kill this one.

Introducing Deadkings, Manchester's creative hip-hop movement

Pear Shaped Manchester Deadkings Rap Hiphop

Musically, Manchester has always been an influential city. In recent years more and more northern mc's have started to emerge from an ever growing Mancunion Hip-Hop scene. We catch Up with Pete Obsolete, Seymour & NCK, to find out what's going on in the world of Deadkings.

1.Firstly, How did you guys meet and what brought you both together to collaborate on Deadkings?

S: We met at my club night, Golden Egg in 2013, and it came apparent that we both had similar upbringings in boom bap hip hop, poetry and art. 

O: It happened really naturally, I was checking out some local nights and found Golden Egg, we chatted and I ended up being the creative on team for all the promotional material. We started freestlying and writing together, and the rest is history.

2.How did you both get started in the music industry?

S: I’ve been running GE since 2009 as a platform for the hip hop community who wouldn’t necessarily have a stage to perform at other venues. My first performance was at Hogsozzle Festival, which is now in its 5th year and is going from strength to strength. Originally, I performed with BEATSUM which is a hip hop/funk/soul group in collaboration with vocalist Sister Mary and DJ, Tommy K, and over the years have performed and recorded with many of Manchester’s MC’s, but its time for the DeadKings! 

O: I’ve been illustrating and designing for many years under the name of Pete Obsolete, and have worked, as an artist /graphic designer/art director. for a lot of the hip hop families in Manchester on a variety of projects. My love for the art and writing has always been there, but it was writing battle bars for Don’t Flop that got me back into writing hip hop. It has been almost solely down to Seymour (as well as Cheech from The Bluntskins and Leon ETV) that meant I had the fuel and the direction to write and perform officially. My first on-stage experience was choking at a live freestyle battle night for Don’t Flop in Manchester, and it was terrible! It was a good learning curve, and as well as rapping with people like Blizzard and Mothership Connection, you learn very quickly that practice is everything!

3.Why Deadkings? Is there a deeper meaning to the name? 

S: We wanted a name that reflects both our approaches and our interests in a dystopian future. My job gives me a strong political opinion, and we both believe that music should sound good, but lyrical content is important to us. ‘DeadKings’ is a comment on the fact we don’t need to be fearful about death, that life is for celebrating and we can help each other to start new beginnings. 

O: It does exactly what it says on the tin.. By admitting were ‘dead’, we can speak from any chosen perspective, about life, death, the past, present or future. As ‘Kings’, we represent the people, and try to convey this in anything associated (beat, hook, verse, video etc). Together, Me and See want to create a world for DK, overseers observing whats happening, but actively wanting to change things (like a poltergeist)

4. Your track "An Evening With" vents a lot of frustration with current day to day situations/events...If Deadkings were put in charge of the UK for a day...What changes would we see?

S: How long have we got?? There are too many inequalities in todays world. There are people who live with excessive wealth, whilst others struggle every day of their lives to support themselves and their families. Theres too much to say, but we need to balance the scales of what we really need, and what people actually have.

O: Well See just said everything.. I would reflect that by making sure we address the worsening homeless problems in our major cities, recognise, address and put to bed the flaws in the education system, and start representing the people and the independent companies that make our cottage industries survive (including art, music, food and entertainment)

5. Music's a huge part of Manchester's history...What's it been like growing up there and who were your influences? 

S: Manchester is an amazing smelting pot of talent, and we’ve been lucky to meet and work with some amazing musicians along the way. My fondest memories of gigs are seeing GangStarr (when Guru was still alive), Kalashneckoff at Sankey Soup and Broke ’N’ £nglish at the Mint Lounge. What has really fuelled my love for the scene has been watching people perform who we can now call friends, TNC, Taste The Diff’rence, In The Loop, Mothership Connection and more recently the ETV collective.

O: Well, I’m from Nottingham! My upbringing in Manchester came from my Manc friends at Uni, showing me the usual spots for good hip hop, Sankeys Soup being one of the first places I went to, and the first time I saw what I’d consider a real hip hop night. Seeing Broke ’n’ £nglish, Guru & DJ Premier, Skinnyman, The Executioners, Rahzel, all under the same roof was the best introduction a Notts boy could get. My friends used to run a hip hop label in Nottingham, so moving to and into the Machester scene was a great way of seeing how its done in the north. From there, I’ve been keeping an eye/ear open, and collaborating with as many creative MC’s and producers as possible, delivering personalised artwork and video work whenever possible, which means you’re around the people that both inspire you, and will give you the opportunity to create. 

6.There's a lot of good artists rising from Manchester right now, who should we be watching?

S: Room2 Records and their familia, especially Free Wize Men, Sparkz, Ellis Meade, Deepo, Mothership Connection, Dubbul O and Cheech the Grim reefer should have something up his sleeve in the next few months!

From other collectives, look out for The Natural Curriculum, Conscious Poet, Bobby Hanzo, Chedeye Nights from Liverpool!

O: The Mouse Outfit have been burning stages since 2012, so any of their collaborative MC’s (Sparkz, Dubbul O, Fox, Ellis Meade, Dr Syntax to name but a few), Flex (Room2), the LEVELZ posse, Black Josh & Wordz, and keep one eye on General and Mister O (FORHIDDEN PROPHECIES), as well as the producers behind the music, Kydro, Mankub, Aver (TNC), Pro P (Bluntskins), WRZL, Blu Beatz (Chedeye Nights). 

7. Mankub produced "An Evening With", how did you guys meet and did you record the track locally? 

S: We recorded the DeadKings EP at the Room2 Records studio under our recently created ‘Egg Collective’, Ive known Mankub for 5 years through social media, and whenever we met, we realised we were likeminded in our approach. 

O: I met the man behind the beats in my Arthouse shop in 2014, and since his rep is nothing to shake a stick at, let alone being a gent, it was a natural collaboration. Its an honour working with someone so prevalent in the wider world of hip hop, and we can only look forward to recording more with Mankub and building on the foundations we already have.

8. Lastly, what's next for Deadkings?

S: The DeadKings EP will be out by the end of this year, with more videos and features to come from people around the UK and abroad. We have a collaborative EP coming out with General called ‘Urban Camouflage’, as well as having a number of tricks up our sleeves for 2016! NCK, our live DJ and 3rd member of DK, is a man of many skills, and were very excited about the collaborations he can bring.

O: First things first, the EP needs to drop! Once the videos and the EP are ready, we’re planning a lot more creative link-ups with like minded people, as well as working on videos and concepts that reflect the ideology of the Dead Kings. We’ve had the pleasure of working with so many amazing artists and MC’s, it humbling, and we’re are always looking to collaborate. 

You’re listening to the DeadKings talking.


"Baltimore, Where you at?"

If you love club music, then you’ll love this. A French documentary that explores the world of Baltimore Club music. 

Director : Tim Moreau
DP : Tim Moreau
Sound: Thomas Dumont
Editing: Frederic Vermeersch
Mixing : Julien François & Nicolas Baubillier
Graphics : Félix Godefroy
Subtitling : Vincent Griffaut
Produced by : les films du chat brillant, nayra, goupilsamba.com, Pictanovo
For all inquiries, infos, screenings, please reach : videomite’at’gmail.com


The (Long-Awaited) Ultimate List Of Classic Original PlayStation Games - Part Two

 

It's time to take a trip down memory lane and return to my one true love. Playing video games. Leering over digital women, marvelling over digital violence, boasting over digital achievements... I've, I've wasted my life....

The following is another 20 gems of the PS1 era. Number 17 will BLOW YOUR MIND! …Not really, I hate those stupid click-bait titled lists plastered all over the internet, you won’t see any of that rubbish here. Besides, this list isn’t numbered. Anyway, 20 gems, plus a bonus extra. Most you'll know, others will have you questioning my credibility ...and perhaps, sanity. And they'll BLOW YOUR MIND!

If you missed Part One, have a look Here. Either now, or after you’ve read Part Two, It doesn’t matter. Whichever you read first you’ll soon realise far too much of my life is connected to gaming. In weird and wonderful ways, I might add.

Let's get rolling!

 

 

 

Syphon Filter

I loved Syphon Filter, It felt like Metal Gear Solid, but more action oriented than stealth, which is perfectly fine by me as those of you who read Part One will know stealth isn’t my greatest skill. Syphon Filter allowed you to run around like a mad man shooting bad guys with a huge collection of weapons and gadgets. The AI was awesome and changed every time you played a level. I would play certain areas over and over again just to try out different gadgets and experience the changing enemy AI. It was pointless though, because there was one gadget I used endlessly. The Taser. I swear, there is nothing more satisfying than tasering someone for so long that they'd burst into flames and die. Ah, such innocent times...

 

Colin McRae Rally

'One left. Five right. Long four right tightens into five right. Two left. Square right upper crest. Jump.' And so on. This was all you heard whilst playing Colin McRae Rally, some found it annoying, but I loved it, and often wished I had a similar voice in real life, guiding me about my business. I've lived in little old Brighton & Hove nearly 30 years, and I still manage to get lost on a regular basis. Give me a co-driver. There was a unique satisfaction to Colin McRae Rally, the way you feel after sliding through a muddy course at top speed, following those instructions effortlessly, finishing clean and quick, like a pro. That satisfaction has rarely been emulated by any game I've played since. The term 'Smug Face' came from this game, I'm certain of it.

 

G-Police

I wish the G-Police were real. I wish I could look up into the air and see one of their Havoc Gun-ships hovering by (a helicopter with cool looking boosters rather than rotors). I wish I lived in giant dome-cities, connected by warp tunnels, on Callisto (one of Jupiter’s moons). I wish evil corporations battled each other in the streets using laser guns. I wish I actually finished G-Police. Of all those wishes, finishing the game is the least likely to happen. It got so stupidly hard in the later stages! I hate not finishing a game, it’s something that grates on me for eternity. I just can’t let it go! There’s probably 5 or 6 games I haven’t finished in my lifetime, and all of them have twisted and changed me in ways I’m certain are bad. …Alright, alright, I’m not being fair, G-Police was also full of cover-ups, assassinations and corruption, and there’s no chance of anything like that ever happening in our day and age.

 

Micro Machines V3

Multiplayer gaming has changed a lot, for the worse. People these days think multiplayer means sitting alone, in your pants, in a dark room, with a pair of headphones on, 'quick-scoping' and ‘rage-quitting’ whilst dealing with the sound of high-pitched kids screaming abuse about your mum while they 'tea bag' your dead corpse. I remember the days when friends and I would gather, together, in one room, a few pizzas to sustain our long gaming session, elbowing and jeering each other with good humour and enjoying our gaming time. No chance of that anymore. Every time I die in one of these online games, I feel immediate rage overtake me, because I know the guy who just killed me is actually some smug 8 year old, who thinks he's some kind of god because his kill/death ratio is better than anyone else, and he can say lots of bad words like a big man. Let me tell you, I'm all for people being able to live a second life through gaming, I think it's saved and made better a great many lives, but no 8 year old should ever be able to beat a 29 year old. At anything. Ever.

 

Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver

The vampire. Once feared, once dreaded, once the stuff of nightmares. …Now look at them… Emotional teenagers crying over love triangles while eating vegetables. What the heck happened!? Back in my day (because things have changed so much in such a short amount of time it’s actually ok for someone of my young-ish age to legitimately use the phrase 'back in my day') vampires were cool, they were badass mofos, either old and withered, hidden in castles while leering over virgin brides, or they were Soul Reaver type vampires, rabid animals and deformed monsters. And one thing true of all vampires was the fact they didn’t care about anything. The only emotional dilemma they went through was deciding how violently they could drink the blood of their next victim. I mean, a horror icon, one of the ultimate monsters, feared and recognised worldwide… Forget Soul Reaver, and forget this entire list. What. The. Heck. Happened!?!!?! ….Rant aside, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver still has one of the most brilliant intro sequences ever created. Now is the time to make a Soul Reaver movie and redeem vampire kind!

 

Theme Hospital

I've actually had major surgery before, which means I’ve experienced the hospital environment in all its disinfected glory. Let me tell you, It's EXACTLY like Theme Hospital led me to believe. I saw Bloaty Head sufferers whose heads resembled over-inflated balloons, and heard the pop of their balloon-like heads as they were cured. I spoke to those with Slack Tongue, whose tongues had swollen to 5 times their normal size due to chronic over discussion of soap operas, and they explained how their tongues were cut back to normal using the 'Slicer' machine. Psychiatrists told me about King Complex which had people thinking they were The King of Rock 'n' Roll himself, donning colourful suede footwear and eating cheeseburgers, the cure for this was apparently fairly simple, the psychiatrist would simply tell the patient how ridiculous he or she looked. I saw those recovering from careful surgery to mend a broken heart, caused by the existence of someone richer, younger and thinner than them, causing the patient themselves to weep uncontrollably and spend countless hours tearing up holiday photos. That’s just 4 real-life conditions covered by Theme Hospital. The most realistic hospital simulation game ever made. Other conditions included; Vomit Waves, a wave of purifying vomiting all over the hospital. The Squits, we all know what that is. Invisibility, I never saw anyone suffering with that one. And Jellyitis, people wobbling excessively and falling down a lot. ...I can’t wait to go back!

 

Crash Team Racing

A console without a great karting game isn’t worth anyone’s time. I don’t care what you people think. Kart racers are the bee’s knees! The best Karting game ever will always be Super Mario Kart, but as I was the owner of a Sony console and didn’t fancy playing kids games anymore, (that's right Nintendo, I went there) I spent years waiting for a worthwhile Mario Kart equivalent. Cue Crash Team Racing, The closest any karting game has ever got to Mario Kart brilliance. It didn’t really do anything new, but I didn’t want it to. I wanted Mario Kart, and that’s what I got. The joke is, I rarely played it with anyone else. Mario Kart was THE multiplayer game, I terminated friends for days playing that, well, tried to, but Crash Team Racing, I did my termination solo. I can say this right now, because nobody played against me to discredit this statement, I am the GREATEST CRASH TEAM RACING PLAYER EVER. I’d prove it to you but I’ve lost my copy, and I’ve hurt my hand… and I was struck by lightning a while back so, erm… can’t show you how great I am. But I really am. Believe me. I’m better than you.

 

Jersey Devil

Every console generation has a leading type of game, the 1st and 2nd was dominated by point-based arcade games like Donkey Kong and Pac-Man, the 3rd and 4th were side-scrolling 2D platformers like Mario and Sonic The Hedgehog, the 5th generation (PlayStation's era) was taken by 3rd person 3D platform/adventure games like Super Mario 64. Though my favourite will always be MediEvil, a game I covered in vast detail in Part One, a hidden gem of a game which few people played was a little title called Jersey Devil. I can’t remember the premise at all, only that you played as the infamous Jersey Devil, running around a 3D cartoony world, dispensing justice on man-eating plants, giant boxing spiders and dinosaurs dressed as rappers, while jumping around in graveyards, dockyards, junkyards and other places ending in ‘yard’ …none of it made sense. Which is why it was great.

 

WWF SmackDown! 2: Know Your Role

Good ol' WWF, or WWE as it's now known. The way us kids always tried it at home, even though we were constantly reminded not to. We would all choose a wrestler, and then emulate them. Though my wrestler chose me. I was told I looked like Road Dogg, which, let me assure you, is not a compliment at all. In fact, I have a history of questionable comparisons. Apparently being told you look like someone is a good thing, I'm not so sure. ...By all means, tell someone they look like someone else, just do it when it's someone in some way desirable. Please! I’ve been compared to Theon Greyjoy, the dirtbag, prostitute-fiddler and back-stabber from the Game of Thrones series. The actor Matthew Lillard, specifically for his role in the movie Scream as the more comedic of two psychotic, serial killers, 'IT'S A SCREAM BABY!'. Andy Murray, the most unlikable tennis player ever. And finally, Shaggy, of Scooby Doo fame. Because... people hate me. Oddly enough, Matthew Lillard also plays Shaggy in the Scooby Doo live-action movies, so at least people are consistent with their comparisons. ...which actually makes them even more unbearable.

 

Command & Conquer: Red Alert Retaliation

I have a fascination with warfare. Warfare fascinates me. I am fascinated by war. The command structure, the tactics, the honour, the bravery, the masterminds and master nemissis'ss's... is that a word? the fight against good and evil, the way normal human behaviour and warfare share many similarities. It's been with me a long time. I once made a shoebox diorama back in school, when I was 7 or 8, depicting the D-Day landings, using toy soldiers, toy tanks, and the like. Yep, people were truly lucky to have me as a friend. Mr Exciting they'd call me. I've been into war since an age I probably shouldn’t have been, and when C&C: Red Alert Retaliation came along I was finally given the ability to act out warfare, and I did, for hour after hour after hour, everyday I'd come back from school, chuck my bag to one side and become the greatest general the world had ever known, Napoleon had nothing on me, until dinnertime, a generals gotta eat! And then after dinner I’d continue playing til bed. Everyday. For months on end. It should be unhealthy. But understanding warfare has given me an acute ability to understand people, and how to manoeuvre and strike when dealing with idiots. Try it. The next time someone pushes into the line at the local shop, loudly declare war.

 

Dino Crisis

Who cares about zombies anymore? Isn't everyone bored yet? Zombies have been the 'big thing' for way too long, it's boring! What the heck is the fascination with people imagining how they would survive something which isn't going to happen? Ever. The simple fact that every tv show, film, game or book these days seems to go out of their way to avoid the 'Z' word and instead call them 'Roamers' or 'Infected' or 'Stupid Boring Unthreatening Dead Things' is proof that even the people creating the media you so willingly lap up are sick of the word. Move on! Capcom could clearly see the stale zombie-crammed future ahead, way back in 1999, and went and created a zombie-like survival horror game, except instead of zombies, you fought against dinosaurs! The Walking Dead would be a million times less boring if zombies were replaced by Dinosaurs. I'd love to see that Daryl idiot try to deal with a group of hungry Dino Crisis-style velociraptors with that crappy little crossbow of his. …He would die. I just want to make that clear. Because he'd be dealing with dinosaurs. Not pathetic brain-dead zombies. Yawn.

 

G-Darius

If you like fishing you’ll love G-Darius! That is, of course, if your fish are gigantic, flying, robotic, fish-monsters that fire lasers at you, and your fishing rod is a space ship which can collect enough power-ups to allow it to spew rockets, beams and lasers all over the place like some kind of military grade sprinkler. Oh no? That’s not what you consider fishing? Well screw you then. G-Darius is freakin awesome! And the adventures I had battling through side-scrolling screens filled with weapons fire to dodge, enemies to kill and collectables to… collect, far outweighs the drama of standing alone in a cold, stinking lake, in your waist striders …waiting… weeping…  Play G-Darius! The explosive intensity is like experiencing a 1980s Sci-Fi Anime. Imagine Akira, then imagine Akira fishing. I believe I’ve just made the best comparison ever.

 

Diablo

Is there anything more enjoyable than slaughtering the denizens of hell? Eliminating the undead and collecting endless treasures and loot? Diablo started an addiction that is still yet to leave me. An interest in the occult and the praising of our Dark Lord. …No, wait, I mean, an addiction to loot games. Yeah, loot games… With every monster you killed you would wait for that sweet sound of something collectable hitting the ground. Is it worth money? Is it a rarity? Will it make killing even easier!? And so, your pack full of items to trade, you travelled back to the town of Tristram, and whilst there you would always hear the same thing 'Pssst... Over here!' the simple words uttered by Wirt the peg-legged boy. The irritating little one-legged runt who would make you pay to see what he had to sell, and most of the time it was useless. Though you still payed every time. Like an idiot. He reminded me of myself. Annoying, unimportant and expecting people to actually want something from him. In my case, stupid articles about video games…

 

Hogs of War

Worms, with pigs instead. That just about sums up Hogs of War. Well, that and the fact it was 3D. Which was probably more important. We've all played Worms, The addictive, turn-based, team-combat game. I chose to play Hogs of War over Worms. It had a piggy-centric World War 1 theme, and it mercilessly stereotyped each nation it portrayed, which I found downright hilarious. The pigs were also heavily voiced by the legendary Rik Mayall. That was the biggest selling point for me. If you don't know who Rik Mayall is then I don't need to know who you are. Conversation over.

 

Quake II

I like music, all sorts of music. Scrap that, I LOVE music. I live for it. There’s something for me to love in each and every genre out there. One of my favourite areas for music joy is within games, no joke. Some of the best music I’m hearing these days have come directly from games. There’s orchestral pieces out there which sound more professional and more emotional than any top quality movie. Electronic scores more awesome and more powerful than any club anthem. And an utter joy in the gaming world is dirty industrial metal. Want music to make you feel like an unstoppable killing machine? Play Quake II. There is no better soundtrack while terminating alien scum, using double-barrel shotguns and rocket launchers. I remember spending almost an entire Christmas Day retiring to my room in order to rock out and turn evil Strogg into chunks of meat. And to think, the pitiful N64 version didn’t have any music, just crappy ambience… Ambience!?

 

Rayman

Though side-scrolling 2D platform games were a thing of the past, it didn't stop their continued creation, and of the bucketload that were released for the PlayStation during its lifetime, Rayman was the best. 'Yeah!' There was something about Rayman, it was so bright, so colourful, its levels and characters were like pure artwork, the music, so whimsical, and of course the character of Rayman, the foppish French freak. What was he? What did he mean? Who cares? I loved the music so much and the novelty of being able to play Ps1 discs in a CD Player to listen to the tracks was so great I used Rayman music almost in its entirety for a homemade radio station a friend and I made. My station was a bit crappy. It was just me playing Rayman music, occasionally jumping in between tracks to crack some potentially awesome, but most definitely terrible, jokes. My mate recorded real radio adverts and even news reports for his station. Bloody show off. Who the heck does he think he is!? One upping me!...

 

 

Overboard!

Overboard is one of those games nobody knows about apart from that one person who reacts with utter joy that another human being would even mention such a rarity ‘Overboard! Oh man, I loved that game!’ hence the exclamation mark in the game’s title. Even the designers knew what was up. That’s good game design as far as I’m concerned. They should do that with more games, add a little sub-note or punctuation which allows buyers to understand what they’re getting themselves into. Take FIFA, we know what FIFA is (a football game for those who don't), it’s always FIFA and then a number. Every year. Why no vital information? FIFA - ‘ The same as before but this time with a few more commentary lines!’ FIFA – ‘Now with revolutionary linesman animations!’ FIFA – ‘All new player spitting engine!’ FIFA – ‘Erm… More realistic grass?’ In the day and age of sequels and annual installments, consumers should be given vital information like that. FIFA – ‘It’s the same game since 1993. There’s really no need to make a new game every year. Or for you to buy it. Really!’, Call of Duty – ‘It’s different this time, it’s got dynamic swimming fish’ (That one was a genuine comment), Assassins Creed – ‘Extra stabby’, Need for Speed - 'Extra needy', Battlefield – ‘New modes! Which we’ll release as separate downloadable content… which is online only… which you have to pay for …plus the campaign still sucks.’ I could do this all night… 

 

Tenchu: Stealth Assassins

Being a stealth game, I was naturally terrible at Tenchu, but I did like the setting of Feudal Japan. Anything Feudal Japan is auto-cool in my book. The real reason Tenchu gets a place on this list is because it won me and a group of friends a Drama Competition at my school, way, way back. That’s right, a line an evil merchant screams moments after you assassinate him was brilliantly payed homage to in our play, and although my masterful acting and Shakespearean writing skills clearly played a key part in our victory, that line was undoubtedly vital to our success. ‘My money, my mmmoney!’ Wonderful line. Our play was a comedy based around the famous Agatha Christie novel (whoever that is) Murder on the Orient Express. The death of a money obsessed banker the perfect opportunity for a friend to apply his love of Tenchu to an already incredible piece of comedy. We utterly crushed the pitiful opposition that day. I remember one play about a time machine, and there was some dancing… Pathetic really… ‘My money, my mmmoney!’

 

Ape Escape

The reason shooters, strategy games and other genres didn’t have a place on consoles in the early days is down to precision. You need precision to play those types of games, and early controllers were clunky, slow and stiff. Everything but precise. Ironically I had become so used to those stiff controls I didn’t see the future use of controllers when it was placed right in my hands thanks to Ape Escape. No no, I wanted to remain stiff. I like stiff. Stiff felt good in my hands. Real good. ...Fast forward to now and you'll find Ape Escape was one of the earliest games to use a gamepad's analog sticks in a way that has now become the norm. This opened the flood gates for games like first person shooters to not only become playable on consoles but become currently the most popular type of game. You see, that was quite informative. I am capable of seriousness you know. What? Stiff? What’s funny about that? Seriously, people, grow up.

 

Bishi Bashi Special

Bishi Bashi is the best party game ever. Why? It doesn’t require any real skill or any time to explain controls. Just sit down and let the game blow your mind! You take it in turns to play speedy mini games, lasting 20 or 30 seconds, against each other, earning points as you go. The winner is the person who earns the most points. Simple. The single best thing about Bishi Bashi you ask? The utter, utter, madness! Games included; 'Hyper Pie Throw', in which you play a bride who has to throw a cream pie as far into the church congregation as possible, 'Perma Mania', where you play a dancer who has to dance in rhythm, and the better you do the bigger your glowing afro gets, 'Uncle Bean', in which you have to catch coloured peas being thrown into the mouth of a Japanese cave man, wearing glasses? And 'Jump For Meat', where you play as a body builder on a pogo stick jumping as high as possible to catch meat.  Madness. I didn't even know what was going on half the time during games and wasn't able to compete thanks to inputs often requiring colour coordination and me being quite heavily colour blind. But that just added to the feeling my mind was unravelling in front of my eyes while playing, and it gave me excuses if I lost. Which was never!

 

Dishonourable Mention - Bubsy 3D

Bubsy 3D is widely considered one of the worst games ever made. I disagree. Bubsy 3D is THE worst game ever made. It's the kind of experience that would have you quite happily attempt brain surgery on yourself in order to remove the inevitably painful memory of playing it. The character of Bubsy is so obnoxious and his quotes so irritating you want to pluck the legs from kittens and stuff them in your ears. The 3D level design so basic and school-boy you would think they'd been created by a piece of wood with slightly above average intelligence. The colour pallet so garish and messy the visuals look as though they'd been created by someone who had downed an array of brightly coloured cocktails and then vomited them all over a tv screen. The inability to do something as simple as jump from one platform to another so utterly impossible it made you imagine what it would feel like to have your face melt like the Nazis in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Bubsy 3D is a game that would be better enjoyed without any senses, including taste and smell. Because burning rage stinks and tastes horrible. The fact the developers made this game to compete with Super Mario 64 is, well… It’s beyond words. Still, the biggest travesty is the fact I actually bought it… What a monumental idiot!

 

 

Done. Another very professional list of PlayStation favourites complete.

Will there be a Part Three? ...Yeah, probably... Got nothing better to do...

Til next time!

 

 

Pear Shaped.

C Lowe.


Great Hip Hop Duos - Part Two

Great Hip Hop Duos

 

If you haven’t read Great Hip Hop Duos - Part One, then go ahead and have a gander here

Now let’s get straight on with Part Two, and likely break some Hip Hop hearts in the process.

 

 

Jedi Mind Tricks

Jedi Mind Tricks are a greatly esteemed duo within independent music. Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind is rightly considered one of Hip Hop’s most talented producers, and Vinnie Paz is just as well known for his gritty, insightful and thought-provoking lyrics as he is his recognisable delivery. ‘Violent By Design’ released in 2000 is widely considered a masterpiece of production, and their 2006 release ‘Servants In Heaven, Kings In Hell’ is equally acclaimed and revered.

Choice Tracks – I Against I, Heavenly Devine, The Deer Hunter, Shadow Business, Verses Of The Bleeding, Design In Malice, Target Practice, Razorblade Salvation, Fraudulent Cloth

 

Smif N Wessun

Making up one part of supergroup Boot Camp Clik, Smif N Wessun’s debut ‘Dah Shinin’' released in 1995 is an influential classic. Containing multiple well known tunes, as well as the huge underground hit ‘Bucktown’, the album also marked the official debut of Boot Camp Clik as a supergroup. Though forced to change their name to Cocoa Bruvaz to avoid being sued by firearms company Smith & Wesson, the duo would unofficially revert back to Smif N Wessun with the release of their third album, this time the name stuck and is now synonymous with respected Hip Hop.

Choice Tracks – Bucktown, Let’s Git It On, Sound Bwoy Bureill, WontimeGunn Rapp, Black TrumpWipe Ya Mouf, Get Up

 

M.O.P.

Active since 1992, M.O.P., short for Mash Out Posse, remained heavily underground until the release of their fourth album ‘Warriorz’ in 2000 exploded in popularity and gave the world two huge hits in ‘Ante Up’ and ‘Cold As Ice’. MCs Billy Danze and Lil’ Fame have become well known for their rugged beats and uniquely aggressive delivery, a style which they essentially pioneered alongside the likes of group Onyx.

Choice Tracks – Ante Up, Cold As ice, How About Some Hardcore, Rugged Neva Smoove, World Famous, Stick To Ya Gunz

 

People Under The Stairs

People Under The Stairs have never tried to be more than what they are, straight up Hip Hop. Though strictly underground, in terms of record sales, the duo are well known and respected among Hip Hop artists and fans alike, thanks largely to regularly touring the world out of love for their craft. Their music is pure head-nod music, their beats are soulful and varied, and their rhymes are generally upbeat, and based around personal experiences and enjoyment of life.

Choice Tracks – Blowin Wax, We’ll Be There, July 3rd, Earth Travelers, Acid Raindrops, The Double K Show, The Breakdown, The L.A. Song

 

Outkast

Outkast are a well known name inside and outside Hip Hop music, that’s because the duo is one of the most successful of all time, with multiple awards between six albums and huge worldwide sales. Composed of Andre 3000 and Big Boi, the duo helped popularise South Coast Hip Hop, otherwise known as ‘Dirty South’, in the early-90s, with their music incorporating a varied style of musical influence including soul, funk, jazz, techno and gospel, giving them widespread appeal.

Choice Tracks – Ms Jackson, Hey Ya, Roses, The Whole World, ATLiens, The Way You Move, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik

 

Black Star

Before their solo careers took off, Mos Def and Talib Kweli came together to create a key recording which led to the dominance of Independent label Rawkus Records at the time. Released in 1998, ‘Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star’ is revered for its meaningful, intelligent, socially aware lyrics, and incredibly well crafted beats. Making an immediate impact, the album is now widely recognised as one of the most acclaimed in Hip Hop music, cementing both Mos Def and Talib Kweli as deeply respected masters of the verse.

Choice Tracks – Every Track On The Album.

 

Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth

Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth are a Golden Era duo whose 1992 debut ‘Mecca And The Soul Brother’ and 1994 follow-up ‘The Main ingredient’ are considered influential and acclaimed works, not least thanks to Pete Rock’s inspired production. Their single ‘They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)’ is not only the duo’s biggest hit but is one of the most highly regarded and well respected tunes in Hip Hop.

Choice Tracks – Straighten It Out, Take You There, All The Places, The Creator, I Get Physical, They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)

 

Run The Jewels

Consisting of MC/producer El-P and MC Killer Mike, Run The Jewels made an immediate impact on the Hip Hop scene with the release of the self-titled ‘Run The Jewels’ album in 2013 receiving universal acclaim. The duo’s lyrical style fits perfectly over El-P’s bass-filled, electronic-leaning production. Releasing a successful follow-up last year, and a third album already in the works, Run The Jewels are going places fast and could well be looked upon as pioneers of something truly unique in a scene some might argue is growing stale.

Choice Tracks – Banana Clipper, Oh My Darling Don’t Cry, Crown, Blockbuster Night Part 1, A Christmas Fucking Miracle, Get It, Lie Cheat Steal

 

Eyedea & Abilities

Eyedea is widely regarded as the best freestyle/battle MC to ever hold a mic, winning multiple high-profile tournaments. However, when Eyedea started recording with DJ Abilities, his content wasn’t just clever punchlines and put-downs, it was also some of the most philosophical, poetic and socially-conscious verses put on record. The three albums the duo created are highly acclaimed works, with DJ Abilities’ trademark experimental production the perfect frame for Eyedea’s now legendary wordplay and story-telling ability.

Choice Tracks – Exhausted Love, Star Destroyer, Big Shots, Act Right, Glass, Sky Diver, Junk, Smile, Now, Powdered Water Too, Burn Fetish

 

Black Sheep

Black Sheep’s debut ‘A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing’ released in 1991 garnered them immediate recognition in the Hip Hop community, the duo’s intelligent, witty, satirical and imaginative lyricism blends perfectly over their infectious and recognisable beats. Since then Black Sheep have become influential and respected members of the Hip Hop world, with lyrics and beats regularly sampled and given homage by other artists. Their debut is rightly considered a must have album.

Choice Tracks – Strobelite Honey, Similak Child, Flavor Of The Month, North South East West, Pass The 40

 

 

Well that’s it. 20 Hip Hop duos done. Pretty varied list if I say so myself.

As it’s Friday, here’s an extra duo. Not so much a great duo but a duo whose debut album remains a personal favourite…

 

 

The High & Mighty

Consisting of MC Mr Eon and Producer DJ Mighty Mi, The High & Mighty made an instant name for themselves with the release of their classic album ‘Home Field Advantage’ in 1999. The recording is notable for featuring multiple now legendary artists in the early stages of their careers, with names like Eminem, Cage, Mos Def and Evidence, alongside established legends like Mad Skillz, Pharoahe Monch and Kool Keith, among others. Thanks to Mighty Mi's inspired and, at times, brilliant production, the album is filled with timeless, unforgettable tunes, and remains a fitting end to the 90s and perhaps Hip Hop's finest decade.

Choice Tracks – B-Boy Document ’99, Top Prospects, Hands On Experience Pt.II, Dirty Decibels, Friendly Game Of Football, The Last Hit, More In Outs, Cranial Lumps

 

 

Pear Shaped.

C Lowe.


Great Hip Hop Duos - Part One

 

The duo. Perhaps Hip Hop in its purest form. But what makes a duo truly great? The following is Part 1 of a list of 20 great Hip Hop duos compiled for your viewing/listening pleasure.

As with lists before, this isn’t a countdown, just a list in random order. 

Perhaps once you’ve been through them all you’ll be closer to understanding duo greatness, or perhaps you’ll just be enraged by the lack of a certain duo or the inclusion of one you think sucks. Either way, try to enjoy yourself. It’s Friday after all.

Let’s get rolling…

 

 

Gang Starr

Is DJ Premier the greatest producer in Hip Hop history? It’s possible. But one thing undeniable about the man is the fact he is by far the most consistent. Active since the late-80s, Premier is still putting together incredibly well crafted tunes to this day, with a large portion of his best and most timeless works easily as part of Gang starr. Alongside the legendary and gifted wordsmith Guru, this duo has become one of most well respected and well known in music.

Choice Tracks – Mass Appeal, Code Of The Streets, Above The Clouds, Skills, Moment Of Truth, Full Clip, Mostly Tha Voice

 

Atmosphere

Slug’s lyrics are notable for his heavy use of metaphor and symbolism, openly examining his own thoughts, feelings and personal experiences when it comes to drugs, alcohol and relationships, giving Atmosphere a relatable and down to earth feel. Ant’s production is varied and perfectly complements Slug’s delivery, be it understated, powerful, or simple head-nod inspired. Together Atmosphere have created a unique and ever-present place for themselves in the Hip Hop world.

Choice Tracks – Trying To Find A Balance, Scapegoat, She’s Enough, GodLovesUgly, Guns And Cigarettes, Sunshine

 

7L & Esoteric

7L & Esoteric are an influential and respected duo in the independent circuit. Active since 1996, they made a name for themselves with 7L’s throwback, boom bap style beats and Esoteric’s versatile subject matter and intricate, deeply impressive, wordplay. Ever active and involved in many important projects, their pioneering, predominantly electro-influenced album ‘A New Dope’ released in 2006 was a huge step away from their usual style and is often compared to The Beastie Boy’s ‘Paul’s Boutique’ with its influential and ambitious mix of eclectic samples and experimental production.

Choice Tracks – Precision, Operating Correctly, Word Association, Watch Me, Mic Mastery, Graphic Violence, Terrorist’s Cell, 12th Chamber, The Most, Daisycutta

 

Organized Konfusion

With the release of their self-titled debut in 1991 Prince Po and Pharoahe Monch of Organized Konfusion made an instant impact due to their intricate and complicated lyricism and delivery which was nothing less than ground-breaking at the time. However, it was their follow-up ‘Stress: The Extinction Agenda’ released in 1994 which solidified their cult status as one of the most gifted and acclaimed Hip Hop acts of the 1990s, that album now regarded an out and out classic.

Choice Tracks – Fudge Pudge, The Extinction Agenda, Thirteen, Black Sunday, Stress, Stray Bullet, Releasing Hypnotical Gases

 

Eric B. & Rakim

Erik B. & Rakim are widely considered among the most important duos in Hip Hop history. Between 1987 and 1992 the duo released four albums, with their debut ‘Paid In Full’ released in 1987 and their follow-up ‘Follow The Leader’ released in 1988 going down as two of the most ground-breaking and influential albums of all time, thanks to Rakim’s pioneering flow and wordplay, and Erik B’s inspired production.

Choice Tracks – Juice (Know The Ledge), Paid In Full, Follow The Leader, I Ain’t No Joke, Let The Rhythm Hit ‘Em, Microphone Fiend, I Know You Got Soul

 

Mobb Deep

Mobb Deep is one of the key acts to contribute to The East Coast Renaissance in the early 90s, a movement which emerged to counteract the dominance of West Coast Hip Hop at the time. Alongside the likes of Nas and Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep helped re-establish East Coast Hip Hop, making a name for themselves with their dark, gritty style. Their second album ‘The Infamous’ released in 1995 and their third ‘Hell On Earth’ released in 1996 are influential and acclaimed works.

Choice Tracks – Eye For An Eye, Hoodlum, Shook Ones Part II, Street Life, Thug Music, Drop A Gem On ‘Em, Animal Instinct

 

Das EFX

With the release of their debut ‘Dead Serious’ in 1992, Das EFX introduced the Hip Hop world to their unique and hugely influential flow, which consisted of often adding non-words like ‘iggedy’ to the end of actual words and delivering them in a fast-paced style. This type of delivery became hugely popular at the time and is now iconic of 90s Hip Hop, solidifying the duo’s debut as an acclaimed classic and the duo themselves as important pioneers.

Choice Tracks – They Want EFX, Baknaffek, Mic Checka, No Diggedy, Straight Out The Sewer, Change, Jungle

 

Blackalicious

Everybody knows the name Blackalicious, and everybody recognises Gift of Gab, his style and ability is among the most complex and tongue twisting in Hip Hop music, possessing rhymes filled with metaphors and insane feats of lyrical skill untouched by his peers. Producer/DJ Chief Xcel is an accomplished beat maker, producing tunes with a classic and infectious vibe. Together the duo have released four incredibly well received albums and are one of the most original and respected acts in Hip Hop.

Choice Tracks – Make You Feel That Way, Deception, Blazing Arrow, If I May, A To G

 

EPMD

EPMD is widely recognised as one of Hip Hop's greatest duos. The release of their debut ‘Strictly Business’ in 1988 marked the beginning of a long and respected career (though not without a few break ups). From 1988 to 2008 MCs Parrish Smith and Erick Sermon released seven albums together, three of which, including their debut, are considered important, influential classics and regularly feature on top albums of all time lists.

Choice Tracks – Symphony 2000, Give The People, Strictly Business, You Gots To Chill, Crossover, You're A Customer

 

Cannibal Ox

Cannibal Ox’s debut ‘The Cold Vein’ released in 2001 is rightly considered one of the top independent Hip Hop releases of the 2000s, and is also a key album in the influential Definitive Jux label’s early success. Consisting of Vast Aire and Vordul Mega, the two MC's intricate lyricism has rarely been equalled with the duo often praised for their profound content and ability to work on multiple levels. Releasing their follow-up 'Blade Of The Ronin' earlier this year, no less than 14 years later, the pair haven’t lost any of their mind-bending chemistry.

Choice Tracks: Blade: The Art Of Ox, Pigeon, Thunder In July, Stress Rap, A B-Boy Alpha, Raspberry Fields, Atom

 

 

That’s it. Part 1 complete. Make sure you tune in next Friday for the potentially controversial conclusion to this top duos list. Same time. Same place.

 

 

Pear Shaped.

C Lowe.


Skepta "Top Boy"

Noisey presents the new visual from Skepta for the track 'Top Boy' off his recent Tim Westwood mixtape. The footage is all taken from his recent tour of North America and Canada culminating at Drake's OVO Fest in Toronto. Hold tight for the full length documentary dropping soon.

Listen to the full track here: https://soundcloud.com/skepta/top-boy