At twenty three years old, ex-bus driver Bashy is one of the most appreciated British role models of recent times. And rightly so. Following the incredible impact of Black Boys, it was hard to see if strength could follow strength… But strength sure came with ‘Kidulthood To Adulthood’ the lead track to one of the biggest British films of the year, Adulthood. Now we’re donning our headphones and opening our minds that little bit more in anticipation for Bashy.com.
My reaction is a mixed one. There’s an internal civil war of consciousness vs reason and morality vs beatality… “See People” demonstrates a rare aptitude with the chipmunk voice sample, and is a generally charged, clever and well constructed track. The album itself is full of power and confidence. With Black Boys we had this idea of motivation and inspiration. And, with perfect timing, as Barack steps up, Bashy shows us how his intentions are now accomplishing actions. “See People” is about breaking boundaries between our communities and a sense of unified faith.
“Bashy” is honing in to this current techno tone we’re getting from Kanye and Diddy. It’s too original and meaningful to be affiliated with the pointless daring of Wiley. Though the references and Boy Better Know influence will understandably remain with Bashy a bit longer. He’s clearer bigger and better than wearing a rolex and being a badman…
“Whatever I Like”, correct me if I’m wrong but it must be using a Lil Wayne or T Pain sample, or something from the same family of fools… Course the lyrics are better than Lil Wayne’s, but the beats seem to have a negative influence on Bashy because these aren’t really his best work.
There is some interesting playing around with samples though, including Sam Sparrow’s ‘Black and Gold’, Amy Whinehouse’s ‘Rehab’, Tinchy Stryder’s ‘Stryder Man’ and some nice ol’ M.I.A. and Kanye West. The play on language with both of these is brilliant. “Blacks and Gold” and “Just Say No” carry some clever connotations. But unfortunately the majority of lines on these tracks have sunk back into that very typical grime mix tape rambling that leaves me wondering if Bashy thinks that a good idea for a name means the rest of the track will reign anyway. Or perhaps he thinks he’s at a stage where no more work is required because he’s good enough. He’s allowed an ego. He’s one of the top artists in this country. He’s still fantastic. He does more than make mixtapes, he attends Love Music Hate Racism events and positive campaigns. He just needs to act more like an activist and less like a careless ‘badman’.
However, the old school dance sample on ‘Ugly Slums’ is ingeniously used, and respectfully spat over. The irony of such a feel good inertia track with a deep street reality narrative of weapon use is highly effective and stays with you long after. ‘Take Your Money’ uses a sample from Sri Lankan legend M.I.A.’s ‘Paper Planes’. Again. Hello. I’m irony. ‘Happy Slaps’ is a generally fun, simple track with some really boss lines. “Niggers dying without the help of the BNP, same shit just different endz B…”
‘Drive’ uses that eerie sample of the kid from the ‘Watch Your Speed’ adverts… you know the ‘if you hit me at thirty miles…’ I know most of us have lost someone to these roads, so this track is especially haunting and I hope it a wake up call to a few road racers somewhere cause too much blood is being lost for nothing. Isn’t bad enough your little brothers are carrying guns? Irony still hasn’t outstayed the welcome, and is making itself quite at home. ‘Until Then I’ll Suffer’ is one jazzy, lovely number. The lyrics are mainly meh. But it’s worth it for the chorus. The Bashy pride is still evident. “You just wait and see…”
So it’s got to be said yet again, come on people. Make some noise for Bashy!
Bashy.com will be available in two half’s, part one will be available in all the regular retail outlets from HMV to Zavi, with the second half being exclusively available to download free from the Bashy.com site.
Bashy.com goes live from the 17th November look out for the full album ‘Catch Me If You Can’ released early 2009.