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The news that FACT magazine are politely requesting promo companies don’t send them CDs anymore is shocking, from an old school perspective, if inevitable to anyone with a passing interest in modern music. Back in the days when I worked at a cash strapped music magazine I was always amazed by the number of free CDs we’d get sent. Staggering amounts of booty, everyday. I used to wonder why the record companies were wasting so much money making these things, but from our perspective it was a system that worked great in many ways. CDs are easy to use, they don’t tend to suffer from buffering problems, and (I still reckon) it’s easier to get a tangible sense of an artist from looking at actual physical artwork. Flogging them was also a nice income stream. For the writers it helped supplement the pittance they were paid, for the magazine it meant we could afford to buy office furniture. CD racks, mostly.
I’m not sure if this means FACT are doing well enough that they don’t need the money any more, or just that CDs are so worthless they’re not worth selling anymore. I’ll have to research that one. But in the meanwhile, if any of you folks want to send CDs to me instead of FACT, I’ll happily gamble it’s the former. Tell you what: if I manage to flog it on eBay for more than a quid, I’ll write about it. How’s that for a deal?
This Week’s Top Selection Of Streaming Music (UK Edition)
• Forgive me, but I kind of like Tinie Tempah‘s new single with 2 Chainz, Trampoline. Okay, it’s just another second rate regurgitation of Pass Out, but there shouldn’t be any shame in recycling something that great. Even if it is slightly bittersweet comparing the lyrics of the two songs. Back then he was still a wide-eyed boy with so many clothes he kept them in his aunts house, now he’s a callow young man dispensing wack advice about what he considers to be ‘trampy’. Ladies, gentlemen, ain’t nothing wrong with splitting bills and sharing clothes if that’s what works for you. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, especially not an overpaid chancer like Tinie Tempah. Great beat, still. I’m easy like that.
• G by Piff Gang didn’t get me immediately. The beat’s too friendly for that, I tend to take notice more when things are dirty and stinking. Having said that, the line that made me pay attention was a pretty tasteless crack about Madeline McCann, but it wasn’t even the line itself that got me. It was the pregnant pause after, like he’s savouring the moment. Plus the beat is mental, in a demented and genuinely scary sense. That’s a good thing.
• Smallz Deep‘s single Bring It Down is a bit confused but does manage to make a few good points. Like the bit when he says all he wants in life is a hundred mortgages. Really, Smallz? Your one over-riding ambition in life is to owe money to a bank? Wowzers. No surprise that line comes right after one about his eyes being red and another about making a small fortune from weed. But then a handful of bars later he’s got a line about all the hard working schmucks who scream ‘fuck the system’ while they work and pay tax, which…yeah, okay, maybe that’s not the most nuanced point either. Fuck the system! Taxes are for the little folk!
• Five years on from Marvell member Double S’ debut mixtape Money’s Da Motive it appears they still haven’t earned enough to retire. This may have been a bad thing for those who caught them pimping the yawnsome G.R.E.A.T.N.E.S.S earlier this year, but you’ll be relieved to hear they redeem themselves a bit with new single Boom Bam Bing. It will, as they say, take you right back to when grime was a trend. I can handle that.
• I don’t really listen to the radio much these days, but occasionally someone’ll have it on around the house, and so the other day I caught Mistajam on 1Xtra breathlessly describing Context as ‘Middle England’s Poet Laureate’ and playing his new single Small Town Lad Sentiments as evidence. This wasn’t the first time I’d heard that description, but it took me a while to remember the previous time. Scrolling through my notes from the last couple of weeks just now I found this: “Context isn’t bad here, just mediocre to the point where you wonder why?” I spotted it at SBTV, and their original writeup said “Context has recently been titled ‘Middle England’s Poet Laurette and it’s not hard to see why with his latest drop…” That made me wonder. Really? Is that an official position? Paid for by the BPI? GCHQ? In any case, he is signed to a major label, so I’m afraid you’re going to have to remember the name for at least three months. It looks like SBTV have since updated their blurb to remove the title. Guess someome must have realised it’s bullshit. Ouch. I quite like Mistajam as well, usually.
This Week’s Top Selection Of Streaming Music (US Edition)
• It’s 7AM and Reks is waking up the neighbours, or so he says, with the hardcore on steroids of aptly titled new single The Molotov. Lyrical chaos to store order? Distort order? The rhythm must lead us? This is more like it. I’d had Reks filed away as a worthy but dull backpacker, based on half-a-listen to his Grey Hairs album a few years back. Now that’s one hell of a shitty title. No animosity, I’m realistic: might as well call your record Tired And Dull. But, by the same token the fact that The Moltov is trailing an album called Revolutionary Cocktail can only bode well.
• Sometimes an emcee catches your ear because they say something clever. That’s kind of what I expected from the sleeve of Fev‘s Zero, all chic bland industrial tedium. The Smoking Section’s write-up wasn’t initially much help either, ‘gritty knowledge kicks’ and ‘street savvy snares’ aren’t exactly hard to come by these days, but then they hook me by saying he’s ‘smart, with a side of aggressive’ which is pretty much my favourite type of music, so I gave it a go. Fev may be clever, not sure if I’ve got the brain power to figure out if he is or not, but that wasn’t what really impressed me about this track. He’s just one of those guys that describes himself in such an odd way I can’t help screwing my face up trying to figure out what exactly he looks like. ‘Niggas think I’m Jewish’, he advises us, ‘Ladies think I’m fly’. Holy racial stereotypes, Batman! At this point I haven’t Googled him, but I’m assuming from the way he drops the N-bomb that he’s black. He certainly doesn’t sound like any of the Beastie Boys. He’s black Jewish? What kind of racial stereotypes are there around black Jews? Sadly, at the time of writing this is all unresolved for me cos he’s too obscure, has a crap name to google, and has thoughtfully obscured his name on the single artwork. Still, even if my head hurts the track is great. It feels very post-Yeezus, like the backpackers suddenly realised the joys of ignorance. About bloody time, too.
• Rapper Big Pooh used to be into rocking gold chains, driving around slowly oggling females and large piles of money? So he says on Gold Chain. Man, I missed out on that era. Guess he must have been real interesting back then. Someone should point me in the right direction with his back catalogue, I though it was all a load of worthy backpack stuff about vegan knitting patterns and Nat Turner.
• Still haven’t heard it, but I’ve conclusively decided that Jay-Z‘s Magna Carta Holy Grail is shit. With this in mind I’m apalled to hear it’s in line to be his first chart topping album in the UK. #newrules: hype over everything, you’ll never oversell to the British public cos we’re slow as hell. My (obnoxiously snobby, prejudiced) guess is fifty-three percent of the UK sales are to folk who couldn’t tell the difference between it and Reasonable Doubt in a blind test.
• Ringo P