Welcome to the South Easy
And now, introducing a new writer who’s jumped onboard here at The 273. I first spotted his writing a while back, and I’ve been bugging him to come and write for the site for quite a long time. I guess he must have finally got fed up with my persistent whining, because he’s agreed to flex his typing digits at last. He’s not one to pull any punches when it comes to reviewing releases, and I may not always agree with him, but please extend a warm welcome to the one and only Ringo P.
Hi, my name is Ringo. I’m a miserable old git, white guy with grey hairs waddling clumsily towards middle age, mostly unremarkable apart from a tendency to get over-excited when discussing rap music. I’ve been writing about rap for about ten years. I used to be a fan of mostly indie and alt rock type stuff but then I had a moment of revelation when I realised life’s just too short for that. Not to diss indie or anything, it’s just there’s so much rap out there, and even when it’s bad I find rap interesting, if only for the energy. I can’t say the same for the type of posing and whinging that usually goes on when people get hold of guitars these days, especially of the acoustic sort. No to diss indie or anything, of course, but, y’know… That’s kid stuff. When it comes to real music there’s nothing like beats and rhymes, right?
I live on the outskirts of the 273, I think that’s why Koaste’s asked me to do a column. That and cos he liked some of the stuff I did on my occasional blog over at Ringometry over the last couple of years.
There’s no real concept here beyond a weekly update of new stuff I’m interested in. Most of the time it’ll be things I like, occasionally it might be something that’s riled me. I guess it’s going to develop a bit the more I write it, but at the moment my main angle is generally being pissed off at the music industry. It’s partly sour grapes cos they don’t pay me a wage anymore, partly anger at how debased the role of the music critic has become over the last few decades, how music magazines these days seem to be little more than a circle jerk for the drooling geriatric capitalists running things. Life would be much better if I was one of those drooling geriatrics, obviously. Vote for Ringo.
If I could put one thing in Room 101, it would be the PR industry. All of them.
• For some reason Jarren Benton’s mixtape Freebasing With Kevin Bacon irritated me. Can’t recall exactly why, just a vague impression of humour wearing desperately thin over an hour or so, like expecting (early) Eminem and getting Mac Miller. Or recent Eminem, for that matter. But ‘Cadillacs & Chevys‘ is good enough to make me doubt my memory. No, really. Even despite the way he says he’s ‘finally’ sucked how own dick on the intro. It’s how he claims to not give a fuck with a ferocity that leaves you in no doubt that really he does. No belly laughs, but a fair few grim smirks here from ‘I penetrate a nigga with a ninja blade‘ through ‘I fuck a nerd down at comic con‘ down to ‘my girl says her period is really late/ I got a home abortion kit let’s get it straight‘. Or am I the only one who smirks at stuff like that? Ummm… Maybe I shouldn’t publish that last bit.
• Trek Life’s ‘Just The Music‘ is a series of visual and musical cliches of the west-coast hippy shit variety, but I’m kind of in the mood for that today so I’m not complaining. Kind of funny hearing him refer to Death Certificate in this context when he’s more Del than Ice Cube.
• It looks like the hype is rising for Lady Leshurr. I shouldn’t let it put me off, but at the same time it’s important to keep in focus the fact she doesn’t have a whole heap of great records under her belt. Her mixtapes have been patchy, and a track like her new ‘Upset‘ freestyle does nothing much more than re-establish what we already know: that she can freestyle for days. Probably in her sleep. All the while looking painfully beautiful with her insouciant swagger.
• The line that caught my attention on Messy’s ‘Murder The Mic‘ was the one where he’s slagging off veteran grime emcees. The bit where he says ‘stop clinging on to 2005’ as if that were ancient history. Made me feel ancient.
• …and now, the moment I’ve been waiting for ever since I agreed with Koaste to write this column. An excuse to write about the sounds of our hometown. Didn’t think it would come so soon, to be honest. I did, sort of, pitch an article called ‘Why I Hate Brighton Rap’ and he said he’d like to see it but I’m not ready to write that yet. Cos it’s not even outright hatred, more frustration most of the time, I need to find a way of expressing that provocatively but fairly. But there are a few cases where hatred isn’t too much of an exaggeration, and a few more where I’m starting to drift in that direction. Dizraeli’s in the latter camp. At one point I heard a song of his called ‘People Taking Pictures’ and I even, sort of, kind of admired his honesty and intelligence. To be fair, nothing I’ve heard since has proved me wrong on that score, but I’ve also started to find his music smug, his instrumentation offensively bland, his sensible careerist aura ever so slightly offputting. It bothered me so much I asked my son’s opinion, and even though our taste isn’t really that similar he nailed it for me on this one. He said Dizraeli’s videos reminded him of David Brent’s ‘Equality Street’. So… uhhh… yeah. He’s got a new video out this week called ‘Sailor‘. I wonder if I’ll like it? Cos truth is, after writing all that I really, really wanted to. Maybe cos it would make a good punchline, prove my growth as a human being, but…. nah. Horrible, ponderous crap. Guest emcee Jam Baxter and Dizraeli himself both seem to say a few interesting things but musically it’s so mannered I don’t have the stoumach to rewind their verses to pick out the nice lines.
• Riff Raff boasts ‘I Can Tell Stories‘ and indeed he can. About writing lyrics on the back of the Mona Lisa in a nightmarish Munch landscape. He may not be as clever as Dizraeli, there may be the constant threat that, as an acknowledged Bon Jovi fan, he might feel the need to unleash some horrible soft rock stylings at any minute, but I know who I’d rather rewind right now.