london

Live Review: Azealia Banks @ Hoxton Square, London – 6 November

“I’m a bit nervous, y’all a good looking crowd.” Despite this shy admittance (modesty being an uncommon trait in Hip-hop), Azealia Banks has little to fear. Beginning entirely acapella, her flow is seamless and visceral; she barks and bites whilst retaining an alluring coyness that’s utterly compelling. The beats are predominantly minimal, almost tribal, full of bitter wit…

New Release: Nu Brand Flexxx – Spellbound

“Nu brand flexxx is not just a group, it’s a lifestyle”. So reads the about-box on the group’s Facebook page – an elaborate claim, but one that is justified in the video of their latest release, Spellbound. In a world where rappers have a lot to say for themselves, the message of this drug and Haribo fuelled affair is simple: sit back, relax and take time to enjoy life. With a chilled, hypnotic beat and lyrical flow to match, Spellbound creates the perfect soundtrack for such an occasion. Given their approach to music, Nu Brand have drawn comparisons to Wiz Khalifa, but these guys have been doing their thing for much longer. If any connection is to be made, it should be to Outkast, simply for the variety of material they produce. With a Conservative Party anthem, a poppier ode to London Fashion Week, and more traditional grime tracks backing up Spellbound, all are produced with a touch of style and humour that makes Nu Brand a very interesting prospect.

New Release: Ghostpoet – Survive It

Since entering the music scene, Ghostpoet has been showing Hip-hop how to calm down. His debut LP Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam is so refreshing in its approach you would have to go back as far as Original Pirate Material for an album of similarimpact on UK Hip-hop. Survive It is Ejimiwe’s latest release and acts as a reminder that the 24-year-old is refusing to conform to the blueprint of brash and boastful lyrics. With a lisped voice and storytelling stlyle, Ejimiwe adopts the persona of a modest 44-year old and transforms a tale of a mundane existence into a hopeful tune, aided by Fabiana Palladino’s uplifting chorus. This is a track that will certainly fit various moods, and if you’re interested in hearing a style less conventional, then don’t let Ghostpoet go unnoticed.

Jai Paul – BTSTU

Jai Paul has to be one of the most enigmatic artists in new music. Since the incomparable BTSTU blew up on the blogosphere last year, Jai has signed to XL Recordings and was long-listed in the BBC Sound of 2011. Yet no more than this is known about him: he’s 22, from north-west London and he’s displayed three disapprovals of his music on his Myspace. How wrong those critics are. Like nothing you’ve ever heard, there really is no easy way to pigeonhole BTSTU; The Guardian’s Paul Lester perhaps does the best job, describing it as J Dilla remixing Hot Chip. Made through a combination of manipulated samples, beats and harmonies, BTSTU shouldn’t work, but it just does. We would recommend you monitor Jai closely for more information or music in the future, but there really is no second-guessing him.