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Mental Combat 907

Author: Blaze
Monday, 5 May 2008
While I’m online scrolling through rottentomatoes.com reading the astoundingly positive reviews for Iron Man, I’m also about to embark on my own superlative-laden review of the new album from Rashaan Ahmad, The Push (Om/Stomp). Yes, it’s his first full-length headliner, but after putting in years of work with The Mission, who then morphed into Crown City Rockers, as well as featuring on DJ Zeph’s two albums. Now Rashaan is one of those gifted MCs who has a more than pleasant mic manner, matched in turn by an equally gifted talent at lyric writing. His straight-up, gimmick-free prose is always captivating and blessed with a quick wit, as well as having the ability to turn the mundane into the fascinating. He makes it all sound so damn easy.  Even the beats on this album are mind-blowing. They really got into my skin and warmed my pores, making me feel emotionally elevated. Thankfully humans were born with ears instead of horns.

The whole album is a highlight, but I’d have to pick Descry’s production for If I. Everything I want/need in a track is in here. Chugg-al-ug drum break, horn lines, captivating bassline, soulful chorus, rhythmic flow, dynamism… it’s all in here. Amazing tune. One surprise was DJ Vadim’s beat for Weight. It utilises familiar parts from those Liverpudlian lads The Zutons’ 2004 hit Pressure Point including parts of the original chorus. You’ll know the track I’m referring to once you hear the down-tempo ‘hooo, hooo, hooo’ refrain. Headnodic’s rolling drums for The Crush not only gives me reason to bust a few air flares, but when that mesmeric soul-delivered chorus and the totally enchanting magic keys drop, I thought that my head had been massaged by the cheeky Thai lady at my local parlour. Yeah, it’s that good. Had me wanting to keep it on repeat and get those shoulders a deep and thorough workout. But then what happens, Crown City Rockers crew bounces in with an amazingly evocative track for So Close. C’mon guys. Steady on. A man can only handle so much goodness without a fluoride check on the horizon. Heckamundo! This album is stunning and another modern classic.  But wait, there’s more. Coming from the rear guard is mix-tape master DJ Platurn of the Oakland Faders with a drum classic cut n paste-styled mega DJ monster that dramatises the ready to rumble lyrics of Fight. I can’t really wax poetically enough about this album. One of those releases that reinstates your love for this style of music. 10/10. Brilliant stuff.

If you like your music more than the average person and want your kids to appreciate various genres you might have come across the Baby Loves (insert genre here) series. Previous releases have been for jazz and disco, so a hip hop one always looked to be a potential direction. They even have releases for salsa, reggae and blues on the cards. Now of course I can sense a degree of trepidation. Sounds well corny, eh- Something that would be as fulfilling as a Hi-5 CD perhaps- Well no. They’ve really done their research and gathered the right people for the job. The Baby Loves Jazz had Sharon Jones as Ella the Elephant, so you know they have their finger on the pulse. Now if you were to think who would be most suitable to attempt a hip hop oriented kids album, wouldn’t the most appropriate person be… Prince Paul- Well for me it would’ve been more than obvious. His sense of ridiculousness and playful demeanour are perfect for the job. He not only produced the album but also plays the role of DJ Stegosaurus. His surrounding cast for the project include Chali 2Na (MC T-Rex), Wordsworth (Billy Brontosaurus), Ladybug Mecca (Tracy Triceratops), and Scratch of The Roots (Teo the Beatboxing Pterodactyl). Even Paul’s De La Soul cohorts Trugoy and Posdonous turn up on a track. Choices songs include the infectious 808 Miami Bass joint Jump as well as the collaborative quest for a numeral What About 10- The album is narrated like a storybook by Tracy Triceratops about five dinosaurs who are working towards performing at a school talent show. Genius. Utter genius.

Still no word on when the kid’s show Yo Gabba Gabba will be released on DVD. The action figures released by Kid Robot have been quite successful, but I suspect that the audience for them have been the adults. Er, me included!
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