As a kid, Ellen Allien idolized David Bowie. She learned his pop star language–the art of reinvention–early on. More explicitly, he taught her English: “My teacher said we should begin learning English from the translation of our favorite band texts. Bowie was thereby the first pop star for me. Read more »
“He’s just an arsehole/He’s just an arsehole/He’s Dizzee Rascal/He’s just an arsehole.” The original Taz-produced bassline of Dizzee Rascal’s anthem “Jus’ A Rascal” thunders over Britain’s airwaves with a raucous new vocal from 20-year-old East London MC Crazy Titch. Tim Westwood, the legendary BBC Radio One hip-hop DJ, is giving Crazy Titch’s Dizzee Rascal-dissing dubplate a third reload. “Dizzee man, maybe you should ‘low it with this guy,” says Westwood. “He sounds scary.”
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What a long, strange trip it’s been. The Living Legends have grown considerably since 1997, when they germinated in the now-famous San Leandro Avenue “Outhouse” in East Oakland’s Fruitvale District. Now numbering nine members–Sunspot Jonz, Luckyiam, Eligh, The Grouch, Bicasso, Aesop the Black Wolf, Murs, Arata, and Scarub–they’ve been called a West Coast Wu-Tang, more for their Voltron-like collective philosophy than stylistic similarities. Read more »
Outside Sonic Sounds studio, Robbie Shakespeare is gesticulating wildly as he shouts a string of expletives into a mobile phone. Someone owes him money somewhere, and he’s apparently unhappy about it. He’s a big guy with a hefty frame who once served time in a notorious Jamaican prison on a gun charge, so whoever’s on the other end of the line must be sweating. Inside the studio, Sly Dunbar is the essence of calm as he adds some live percussion to a new computer rhythm; once the basic structure is in order, Robbie plugs in his instrument and deeply locks into the groove.
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