Monday, February 28, 2005

Chantelle gonna clean house, y'heard?


FORKSCLOVETOFU SEZ: Chantelle Fiddy is the Hut's overseas correspondent on the UK hiphop phenomenon that is grime.
Visit her site for more pearls of wisdom.
Chantelle has become one of the Hut's greatest draws these days, attracting come-ons from the critics and love-ins on the message boards. Here's the lady herself, back again to prove that she's more than just a purty face.

Crazy Titch - "Freestyle from 'Lord of the Mics'

Crazy Titch - "Scorpion Freestyle (DJ Target Mix)" from 'Aim High Vol. 1'

Crazy Titch with Keisha from Sugababes - "Gully" from 'Gully', also available on 'Garage Anthems 2005'

Twenty-one year old Carl Nathaniel is one man who’s living up to his alter-ego. Crazy by name and crazy by nature, he’s the true joker of the new MC pack, but a Titch he simply isn’t. Fresh out of the grime (or UK garage scene as he prefers to call it), his ability for hooks and catchy songs is catching the ears of more than just the underground. And for a kid reported at school to be tone deaf, that’s no mean feat.

Crazy Titch describes himself as an uncut, real and raw product of his environment; a product that comes equipped with an unquantifiable energy, passion and sense of humour. Born in Whitechapel, east London in 1983, he grew up in Plaistow with his mum, brother and sister. Among his childhood friends were Wiley, Gods Gift, Sharky Major, Demon, and Storming, who together started exploring the hip hop artform of emceeing.

Like his older step-brother Durrty Doogz (now called Goodz), he went on at the tender age of 13 to collect the renowned Kool FM Kool Skool Award for talent, pocketing a neat £50 along the way. But Titch still saw emceeing as a hobby and like many of todays inner city kids, began to find himself lost at school with no real ambition.

“Because I was like a black sheep in my early school days, I actually read books. It was cause of that, as a young kid, I wanted to be Burglar Bill. He’d always get shifted then there’d be another book so I thought he got away with it. Really, they should ban that book and just teach them (kids) the ABC and times table.”

In keeping with Crazy antics, Superman seemed a viable alternative.

“From the age of four I’d been jumping down flights of stairs, thinking I was indestructible. I wanted to save people, I didn’t like seeing the struggle around me. Even though I went to church in an itchy wool suit with my grandma right through my teens, I couldn’t understand that there was a God with the stuff that was going on where we lived.”

Soon a catalogue of misdemeanors would see Titch residing at Her Majesty’s Pleasure. But the youth detention centre proved a blessing in disguise. Lessons in cognitive skills saw him return to life on the outside with a fresh perspective and hunger to pursue new avenues – telesales and music, the latter proving his stronger fortay.

Within a short space of time, he was headlining raves such as Eskimo Dance, Young Man Standing, and Sidewinder as well as club nights at Stratford Rex and Smoove at Ministry of Sound among others.

Titch joined forces with Doogz to form Boy In Da Hood, a garage collective that would go onto become one of the UK’s leading. By January 2003 he had recorded his first track ‘True MC’s with Doogz, and NASTY Crew’s Hyper. Although it never saw a release it wasn’t long before leading producer Terror Danjah (Aftershock Records) invited Titch to appear on ‘Cock Back’ alongside Riko, Hyper and D Double E. It went on to become an anthem both at home and in garage’s summer Mecca of Ayia Napa.

His first solo outing in 2004, ‘I Can C U’, was playlisted at 1Xtra and is recognised as one of Channel U’s most voted for video’s and garage psalms. Since then Titch has become one of the most sought after vocalists, featuring on Shystie’s ‘Make It Easy’ Rmx (Polydor) and Mr Wong’s ‘Orchestral Boroughs’ where alongside JME, and Flirta D they unite the four corners of London. Forthcoming releases include a collaboration, ‘Stop’ with TNT and J2K and Titch's much anticipated second solo single, ‘Sing Along’, currently one of the hottest DJ dubplates.

From pirate stations including Rinse FM, DeJa, Heat, Freeze and Silk City (in Birmingham), to the legal airwaves of Choice FM, BBC 1Xtra and even Radio 1, all have welcomed Crazy Titch’s unique technique and energy. Even the heads at NME have discovered Titch and named him one of ‘The Coolest People on The Planet for 2005’. A rare invitation from Tim Westwood to join him on the rap show recently, following his ongoing lyrical battle with Mercury Prize Winner, Dizzee Rascal, gave Titch the official salute of approval and acceptance to a mainstream audience. His stint on D12’s UK tour, warming up alongside Lady Sovereign on several dates across the country further highlighted both current and potential popularity.

While he’s is in the studio putting finishing touches to his self-initiated mixtape and DVD series, ‘Crazy Times’, he is still managing to dream about getting Ludacris, Pharell and Cliff Richard on a track together while also working on his debut album. Producers on the album include Target, Wong, DaVinChe and a host of new names creating a fresh blend of garage, grime, and hip hop to compliment Titch’s plans for verbal domination.

Crazy Time it is.

All of the above cuts are on records available at UK Recordshop. Check 'em out.
Hobnob with another crazy Titch.
For those who'd like to learn more about grime (and the gnarled roots from whence it springs), exploration of these "pirate" London radio stations is sure to satisfy.


Josh Ellis from Mperia dropped a line to the musicblog community recently and I have to admit that I was much impressed with what he had to say.

What IS Mperia, you ask?

"Mperia is basically the Internet version of an indie record store. We allow artists to upload, price and sell their music. We don't charge them any fees for this; instead, we take a 30% cut of each sale, for which we provide hosting and streaming and useful tools for indie artists, like free mini-blogs and the ability to post their upcoming gigs where fans can see them and optionally be reminded of them via e-mail. We also provide nice tools for listeners, like the ability to form groups based on similar tastes, create Mperia Mixtapes of tracks they dig, download free samplers of tracks -- all kinds of goodness."

Sounds a lot like my late, lamented audiogalaxy (rip); only with nominal fees.

But Josh, I can't say as I recognize any of your artists...

"Not everything on the site is a staggering work of heartbreaking genius, but there's a lot of genuinely amazing music there that nobody's ever heard, that deserves to get out there, including several hundred thousand tracks from CDBaby.
I'm hoping that you'll take the time to check out what we have to offer, because I believe that what we're doing -- and what you
(as a musicblogger)are doing -- is the future of music. Here is a list of artists I personally dig; it's as good a place to start as any.

Check out Rad Ho (ambient), New Weapons (garage), Brad Sucks (indie techno), Big Friendly Corporation (slowcore/emotronica), Axis Infinite (alternative hip-hop), Curiosity (goth/industrial/singer-songwriter), Immortal Technique (hip-hop), Chion Wolf (singer/songwriter) and (just to put my money where my mouth is) Joshua Ellis(downtempo, Morphine meets Tom Waits meets Tricky).

Hope to see you there!"

This might not be the final destination, but it definitely looks like the right direction.
Welcome to the Flea Circus!
In the proud tradition of pingu and yeti, here comes Nanaca Crash!
I'm unable to knock the guy past 1791, but that won't stop me from trying.
Good ol' Tuwa directs us to a story and music by the Soweto Gospel Choir, including a lovely cover of "Many Rivers to Cross".
Nothing tickles the open wallet reflex quite like good design.
Jon at Jon's Jail Journal talks a bit about his own musical tastes and gives shout-outs to two of his old faves that he (rightly) supposes must have made it big in Europe by now: DJ Keoki and Sandra Collins.
One Man McDonalds.
I like the McShotgun.
Chris Porter at "The Suburbs Are Killing Us" is justifiably excited about a recent post on trumpeter Dizzy Reece.
Plenty of info and music and hype, so go check it out.
Mashup king dsico tries a different tactic with his new album, You Fight Like a Girl. Loads of DLable material at both links, so hop to it and consider shelling out shekels for the disc if you like what you find.
As noted earlier, I couldn't have been less happy with Ray. All hype aside, I found it overblown, dramatically unengaging, historically inaccurate, badly directed (looked like a Lifetime special to me), HORRIBLY written and generally atrociously acted. Yes, Regina King and Booger were just fine and Fox's astonishing stuntjob of mimicry was plenty impressive (if a bit hollow); but the overall quality of the performances otherwise was woeful.

My thoughts are maybe best represented in this Slate piece by Ray biographer David Ritz.

This says it all:

"The truth is far more complex and far more interesting. Ray's womanizing ways continued. His marriage to Della ended in a difficult divorce in 1976. And while he never again got high on heroin, he found, in his own terms, "a different buzz to keep me going." For the rest of his life he unapologetically drank large quantities of gin every day and smoked large quantities of pot every night. While working on his autobiography he told me, "Just like smack never got in the way of my working, same goes for booze and reefer. What I do with my own body is my own business." Ray maintained this attitude until his health deteriorated. In 2003 he told me that he had been diagnosed with alcoholic liver disease and hepatitis C. "If I knew I was going to live this long," he added with an ironic smile, "I would have taken better care of myself." Whatever Ray was—headstrong, joyful, courageous, cranky—he was hardly a spokesman for sobriety.

The producers of Ray make much of the fact that Ray himself endorsed the movie. That's certainly true. He wanted a successful crossover movie to mirror his successful crossover music. He participated and helped in any way he could. In one of our last discussions, Ray reminded me that the process of trying to sell Hollywood began 26 years ago when producer-director Larry Schiller optioned his story. Since then there have been dozens of false starts. It wasn't until his son, Ray Jr., producer Stuart Benjamin, and director Hackford stayed on the case that cameras rolled.

"Hollywood is a cold-blooded motherfucker," said Ray. "It's easier to bone the President's wife than to get a movie made. So I say God bless these cats. God bless Benjamin and Hackford and Ray Jr. Weren't for them, this would never happen. And now that it's happening, maybe I'll have a better chance of being remembered. I can't ask for anything more.""

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