Over the last couple of years, British hip hop producers like Adam F, The Creators and The Nextmen have gained recognition across the Atlantic for their work with American rappers. Considering that the US market for rap music dwarfs its UK counterpart, you might think that in future British beat-makers would be better off attempting to crack the lucrative American market rather than concentrating solely on the UK hip hop scene. Two UK headz who are attempting just that are Midas and DJ Parris who moved from London to New York a few years ago and set up a new hip hop label called Team Music.
This summer, the BBC will launch a new national radio station dedicated to black music. Not yet named, but currently being referred to as Network X, the station aims to etch out its own identity and lead the way in youth radio by supporting new UK talent as well as showcasing the best urban music from abroad. As part of the government plan to phase out analogue radio (FM/AM/MW), Network X will be using a digital broadcasting system. This means that listeners will be able to tune into the station using digital radio receivers, digital satellite television, digital cable television, or the Internet and get near-CD-quality reception.
“It’s based on a personality and a goal,” explains 21 year old Kebbie Conteh about the meaning behind his hip-hop moniker Joker Starr. “’Joker’ was given to me by my cousins when I was younger, and ‘star’ is what I want to be.” Having been rapping seriously for only three years, it is impressive what he has so far been able to achieve.
Due to the modest financial returns it offers the majority of its artists, British hip-hop has had more than its fair share of casualties over the years. One example of this is the defunct collective Lords of Rap. After releasing a string of singles in the early 1990s with limited success, the London-based quartet decided to split up. Eight years on, the group’s main producer and rapper Def G now goes by the name of Soliheen and was the man responsible for producing two of the tracks on Ty’s well-received debut LP as well as crafting beats for new rhyme-slinger Joker Starr.
I have been a fan of hip-hop for a decade now, and over the years, it has played an increasing part in my life. Consequently, I have become very passionate about hip-hop and from the conversations I have with other heads, I know that there are many others who share my enthusiasm. However, despite having millions of followers across the globe, there have been very few studies done on the impact that hip-hop has on its fans. That's why I decided to do some research of my own.
“Get a simple two-bar beat going with 8's on the hat kick on 1 of the first bar and snares on 2 and 4. Build a loop with whatever you’re working with, knock out a b-line, and then knock the kicks up to the b-line. Then work on any different sections if there are any, then arrange it. After that it’s all down to what the vocalist does with it.”