Last Saturday saw the second Boiler Room Fives football tournament take place at Hackney Downs. BNTL got invited down to kick some ball but it was peak season for us man as we didn’t make it past the group stages. A goal got wrongly disallowed and the rest is history. Either way it was a good day with good vibes and beer flowing.
Shouts out Present for winning and to all the other teams and players. Big up to Umbro and the Boiler Room guys for making it happen!
We’ve got 5 copies of this heavyweight UK Hip Hop compilation to giveaway, all you have to do is follow @B_N_T_L and tweet us #UKRAPVOL1 for the chance to win a copy.
Put together by DJ Fira, the compilation features a wide range of road rappers and the very best artists in the UK. Finally a CD has arrived that caters to the real Rap heads on these shores featuring the likes of Giggs, Blade Brown, K Koke, Benny Banks, Ja Ja Soze, Margs and Boss Belly among many other notable names.
Few of you will know, but I got my start in the creative industries through a love of Hip Hop and a near obsession with UK rap records from the early 2000′s. I worked for a few years helping out a pirate radio station named Itch FM and a record label called Kemet Entertainment Records. The glamorous side of things was getting my name in print and adding some copy to sleeve notes and such forth, the odd biography for an artist here and there. I owe a lot to the scene and still have very fond memories of my teenage years rolling around London flyering and pestering artists, labels and whoever would listen as to why they should give me a job, a helping hand and just generally something to do.
Recently Itch FM has resurfaced online with Twitter, Facebook and Youtube chronicling its past and pushing those still flying the flag for UKHH. With a few of the old heads such as Biggerman championing and leading a mini-movement to bring the station back in some shape or form. If that happens, who knows what guise it will take in the future but it certainly deserves more recognition than it gets. With DJs such as MK and IQ alongside many others having shows, it played a huge part in establishing careers for some of the pivotal players in todays scene. Running for 7 years, a whos who of artists, DJs and producers passed through its varying North London studios and many believed, due to the strength of the management team and the professionalism shown throughout, that it was a legal station. Itch even had adverts in Hip Hop Connection!
Reminiscing about the “good old days” I went digging through some boxes and found a few gems amongst the junk. From classic albums, to flyers, posters and sleeve notes and photos all from around 2002 to 2007 it charts a pretty important time for UK rap music and it’s great to have been involved, no matter how small a role I played.
The first UK Hip hop jam I ever went to was a night in Cambridge called Rawganics at The Junction. Every month the very best UK artists would perform and the vibes were truly amazing, one of the few UK Hip Hop nights with a fair few girls and with US acts also passing through it was one of the destinations for Hip hop fans in the South East, especially outside of London and Brighton.
I conducted my first ever interview backstage there with Terra Firma. Under the alias Orsini (don’t ask) I interviewed Klashnekoff, Kyza and Skriblah pre- Sagas and Murda in Parrowdice. I was 16 and the writing is pretty abysmal but a great experience. I would go on to work with Kemet after that interview and was fortunate enough to be at the mastering session for The Sagas Of… record with A-Cyde and others. Sagas is arguably the best UK rap record to this day and will be looked back upon and revered for its influence for many years to come. The artwork of this release is what stands out to me now, looking at the 12″ release for ‘Murda In Parrowdice’ you can see the professionalism and quality put into the release, pretty unrivalled in todays world of digital only output.
Continuing to work with Kemet over the next five years, I’d help organise, promote and produce their annual birthday bashes and would also work on their Lost City mix cd releases, which for anyone who has them, are pure fire. The first being hosted by Skinnyman is pretty amazing and still holds its own today.
I could lament about this period of UK music for a very long time, and Itch are now picking up the slack and as such you can find them on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube digging out old footage, stickers, tape packs and much more. In recent weeks plenty of the old heads have been talking about the station and it makes me proud to have been a part of the movement and associated with the crew during my formative years. With the likes of MK posting old shows on his Mixcloud and discussing the growth and success of the station, it still holds weight, it is relevant and provided the best pre-digital platform for UK Hip Hop.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be digging through more of the old archive and posting about UK rap from 2002 to 2008, delving a little deeper than the classic cuts by Task Force, Jehst etc.
And there’s a part of me… that can’t wait for the sun to return. So I can be that ignorant brother in the blacked out fiesta with all the windows down, blazing this banger.
The beat is incredible!
Loving bntl like a fat kid loves cake.
Visuals to go alongside Kid Acne’s recent show in Bejing. The original UK Hip Hop illustrator extraordinaire.
ItsNate: I started off MCing when I was about 14. I had a crew, Keeping it North, and it was all of the boys from Holloway and couple from Finsbury Park, and I used to go and MC at Axe FM back in the day. But then my boy, who kind of started it, his DJ died and that was all mad, so I stopped MCing. I lost a lot of love for it because, when I was spitting, I liked MCs like Dizzee Rascal, Kano and Wiley, who had proper lyrics, but then this whole ‘reload culture’ came in and it was a lot of screaming bars and getting wheels – it just didn’t stimulate me enough.
Check it out by just a (click)
Loving bntl like a fat kid loves cake.