High Five: Oneman
Earlier this month, Rinse FM mainstay Oneman dropped the excellent Fabriclive 64 mix CD, which is just the latest documentation of his widely celebrated skills as a DJ and selector. The London DJ's eclectic taste has long been one of his biggest strengths, ensuring that his sets always contain a few surprises as he effortlessly moves between garage, grime, dubstep, house, hip-hop, R&B, and whatever other sounds happen to strike his fancy. With such a diverse musical palette to pull from, we knew Oneman would be an excellent candidate to participate in our High Five series, and gave him free reign to select a theme. He certainly didn't disappoint, selecting five of his favorite "hood" videos. As one might expect, some gritty grime clips make the cut, but Oneman's also savvy enough to know that the idea of "hood" can mean very different things in different places around the globe.
The Gories "There But for the Grace of God"
This is probably one of the only punk tracks I go back to often, and as much as I really love the track, it's the video that brings me back. It's filmed on some Michigan wasteland, the site of what could have been major factory in the motor industry or something. Just three punks playing their music—you can see the depression. Their car (or maybe they walked) obviously couldn’t fit a drum kit [along with] two guitars and three band members; as you can see, the drummer is using overturned cans and bottles as a kit for the video.
M16 Productions "Round Here (Da Estate)"
In about 2001-2003, Channel U on Sky was a new platform for young UK urban artists to get their music heard. This is Moss Side (Manchester) at its grittiest, captured on film. A big community video, it's like the whole Estate has turned out to be in the clip. I actually think the track is pretty decent; there's not much to be said for most of the MCs, but Tyler is good. Half the place looks boarded up, real grim. This is a lot grimier than a lot of videos from London [that were coming out] at the same time, and I think they knew that and what they were doing when they made "Round Here."
Snoop Dogg "My Heat Goes Boom"
This is from 1999, when Snoop was signed to Master P's No Limit Records, which was a big influence on me growing up—not as much as London pirate radio, but I still found something in it. The video is a 'night on tour'-style clip shot in Japan, showing them doing everything they normally do, like smoke weed and pose with hoes, but IN JAPAN. It provides insight about what it was like for those guys going over to places like Tokyo in the mid-to-late '90s. (Another great clip of rappers in Japan is Wu-Tang's part in The Show, which features Ghostface Killah getting a massage.)
Esco "Practice Hours (Freestyle)"
This is the best piece of the darker side of grime MCing we will ever see or hear, in my opinion. He was a huge talent, part of East London's Slew Dem Crew, where Tempa T also came from. It's a great clip—so calm, but deadly. RIP Esco Big Barz.
Southside Allstars "Southside Riddim"
At the time this came out, every side of London had its own local grime track. This was the South's one. There are loads of shout outs to the various neighbourhoods in the six or seven boroughs of South London; I actually went to school with one of the MCs on this tune (MC Kiss). The beat was by Alias, another South Londoner, who produced classic grime riddims "Warriors" and "Gladiator." Pure energy!