Saturday, 27 November 2004

Meet Ghetto

I first heard Ghetto spitting about 18 months ago at the 2003 Urban Music Seminar. And we're not talking any flash stage show here but some hardcore, limb for limb, clashing business. I remember Ghetto appearing from nowhere, taking over the battle already going on and murdering the previous winners. Without a doubt he was the aggiest, most in your face MC i'd ever seen. And he's come a long way baby. Drafted into NASTY Crew soon after this he's been building his ammunition and is currently doing the rounds with Kano and Demon (check this weeks Zane Lowe's show at Here's a quick catch up for the record...

What are you working on?
A mixtape right now called Destined For Trouble which is licking the road soon, probably December time.

Who’s repping on it?
Stormin, you know what the whole scene and couple of outsiders…I’ll let them be a surprise. There’s some known stuff, rap and new bits too.

So what about NASTY?
Everyone’s doing mixtapes at the moment then we’ll come together to get the album on road.

What vinyls dropping soon?
I got a solo tune, my first single called Ghetto coming soon. It’s big!

How would you describe Ghetto?
Ghetto, my name says it all.

I know you’re a nice boy really, but saying that, I had my bum pinched earlier and someone snitched and said it was you?
Nooo…ok It was but it was Kano too. Kano what have you got to say, you were involved too? Look he’s in denial now. Shit it's always me who gets it. One girl over there won't stop laughing at me look. What? What?


Ghetto, originally uploaded by chantelle.

Riko gets Random with Sovereign

Roll Deep Crew’s Riko is still residing at Brixton HMP awaiting trial. But thanks to the wonders of new technology he’s contributed 16 bars for the remix of Random from behind grey walls. “Menta got him straight down the line into the studio” Sovereign explained. “Riko said it was easier to do than he imagined but don’t start thinking he’s the UK’s answer to Shyne. I gotta big him up cause the shits hot. The remix sounds like a totally different tune to the original.” We managed to track Riko down and his letter read “I was happy to lace the track. I Think people will see we’ve come with something a bit different innit? I don’t think I’m the UK’s Shyne, but saying that you never know what’s going to happen.” Free Riko for sheezy. The Menta remix of Lady Sovereign’s Random, featuring MC Riko will be out on promo this month before it’s full release in January. Look out for the feature that soon come in B&S.

Practice Hours

Practise Hours, originally uploaded by chantelle.

Practice Hours Inlay

Practice Hours Inlay, originally uploaded by chantelle.

Friday, 26 November 2004

Heating Up

Another one for the rack, Heat in The Street Volume 3 is now in all good independent stores. Featuring Kano, J2K, Titch, Lethal B, D Double, Terror Danjah, Shola Ama, Maihem, 2 Tuff, Bruizer, Fury and many more get yourself on over to

Added Sugar

Crazy Titch has teamed up with Keisha from the Sugababes and hotshot producer Alias. The result? Gully. Already causing major commotion amongst DJ’s and listeners alike this is set for release on Middlerow sometime soon. While the trend for female vocalists returning to the scene and teaming up with MC’s continues, they’ll be no complaints here. Titch best be set for a hectic schedule as he chucks out bomb after bomb, Sing-a-long still scheduled to land this month.

SLK get Hype

Ministry of Sound have snapped up new garage anthem, ‘Hype Hype’, which has been receiving heavy rotation on Channel U for a quick minute. Produced by veteran and ex-Social Circles main man, Sticky, featuring SLK’s Flirta D, Van Damage and Lady Envi it looks set to do some serious damage on it’s release in February 2005.

Thursday, 25 November 2004

Exclusive MP3's

Distribution company have some exclusives for sale including the never-released Terror Danjah, D Double E and Triple Threat 'Hard Like Nipple.' A comedy classic it's a must have for only 99p. A dubplate at last!


Wiley, originally uploaded by chantelle.

Bet you can't guess who?

Tubby T

Thoughts going out to Tubby T who is in hospital having suffered a stroke. A statement read "Due to many rumours that have been flying around in the last 48 hours, myself and Tubby's family would like to issue the following statement: On Saturday 20th November, Tubby T collapsed at his home in West London. He was rushed to hospital and was diagnosed as having suffered a major stroke. He is currently in a stable, though serious condition. The stroke was thought to have been brought on by very high blood pressure, which it turns out he suffers from, and also from his recent heavy workload. Rumours of him being shot, having taken an overdose and other such wild statements are utterly untrue, and also disrespectful. This has come as a massive shock to all his family, and the people who know and love him. At this time we would like to make clear the truth behind his sudden collapse and also ask everyone to respect his privacy."
Here's wishing him a full recovery.

My Bitch

Entering my kitchen I always turn on the radio, one of those cheap plastic retro-rip-off supermarket jobs in pastel blue. I've had hours of fun, cooking pies and mopping floors, with the company of my £10 bitch. Tonight I marvelled at her dirtyness. Bass lines erupted from her one speaker with a sonic beauty, lyrics rolling as crisp as Walkers, not something normally associated with listening to crackling pirate radio stations. But that's because it wasn't. Some f****r had changed the station to Radio 1. I had wondered when Rinse began playing rock, yet this sounded like Palace Pavillion on a Saturday night. Alas it was actually Zane Lowe broadcasting live from someplace, somewhere in Northampton. Lethal B and the boys had performed Pow, Kano was now supplying some of his new album cuts (mind blowing) with the aid of Ghetto and Demon, next up Dizzee Rascal murking...rahtid! The crowd, and I'm talking bare (lots of) girls were going nuts, kinda like the time I mixed loads of chemicals and paint together, vandalised my neighbours shed and my mum found out. I couldn't take the perfect tuning for too long though and reverted to re-watching Practise Hours but trust me, it's worth showing your bitch some love and delving into Mr Lowe's archive (well I would) *N.B if you prefer your bacon crispy*

Time killers

Ghettomixtapes posted a link to an online D Double E interview. Haven't tried it yet but if you have a minute to kill There's also a mix cd at

If you fancy something less noisy then check out some rave and club pictures at No porn, sorry. As for reading material if you want to delve into the world of mixtapes? Check for an article I've just had uploaded. It includes DJ Targets mixtape tips, a run down and some links of where to track down UK mixtapes online. Other features include M.I.A. (going out to Jeff in Seattle on that one), Kano, Animation, Decks & FX and DIY Clubs.

Practice Hours

It's all about Practise Hours, the first of a whole batch of DVD's landing on road. Bought to you by the media gang this is quite possibly one of the best, if not the best, DVD to come out of the grime scene. Media gang themselves are intelligent guys, seomthing that seems reflected in their editing, the two main sections been interviews and freestyles. They've managed to bring a balanced product - there's enough controversial moments to keep the forums alive for months and spark countless wars, but there's also much food for thought provided. JME in particular draws some nice cultural theory while Ruff Squad discuss the hardship youngsters are experiencing in penetrating the higher echelons of the scene. Others among those featured are Meridian Crew, Crazy Titch, J2K, Wiley, Trim, Riko, Karnage, Jammer, Ears, Bigga, Kano, All In One and SLK.
Having taken the best part of a year to compile there's many added bonues including a Wiley and Lethal B clash, pirate radio and rave footage, footage from Conflict, and everyday life in and around the studio. As if that wasn't enough there are also trailers for Creeper Vol 1 and Aim High Vol 2. Phew.

Monday, 22 November 2004

An Existential Movement?

"…Big up all my soldiers in a-da army, from you respect and love Bob Marley, Garnett Silk and Mohammed Ali, Peter Tosh and Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther, King to da Junior, I still hate Malcolm X’s shooter…"

Desperate to instigate enough excitement to warrant the record getting a rewind and retain his reputation, the MC steps up to rhyme for his life. The crowd surge towards the stage, bodies start spontaneously bouncing, energy levels threatening to raise the roof. The thousand-strong army of fans raise their hands in united gun finger salutes as they rhyme along with the MC of the unknown genre, firing his 16 bars at lightening speed, his mission now seemingly accomplished.

"…Biggie, 2 Pac two powerful black men, like Mike Tyson, Jordan, Jackson and Nelson Mandela, Durrty Doogz is bringing hell to your antennae, I’ve told them to free Titch he’s my likkle brother, now we’re gonna switch like English weather, see this ones for the soldiers in the struggle, that have to hustle to make their cash money double, High-grade must juggle, cause white and brown brings trouble and boys get left in blood puddle…"

The riddim track, a culmination of jittery, unpredictable, recondite beats and demoniac bass, a some-what unexplainable backing track, is cued up, and dropped with a no nonsense flair. It’s at raves such as Sidewinder and Eskimo Dance (‘the meeting of the ghetto’s as some refer to them), that there now roams this autonomous, professedly rule-free musical ideology.

When promoters and major record labels turned their backs on UK garage in 2001, the scene was drawn to a darker alley where quirky, gritty subs and random keyboard sequences roamed, dominated by a fresh breed of MC’s, lyricists who wanted to chat the rough with not a lot of the smooth.

Recommendations in the naming hat included Grime, Eski, 8 Bar and Sublow, while other parties would prefer to stick to the UK garage heritage, deeming the new sounds simply as offshoots. The opposition argue that the sound is too far a cry away from UK garage’s roots and carries false connotations.

The genre with no name.

Championed by the likes of N.A.S.T.Y, Roll Deep and Pay As U Go on radio stations such as Rinse and Déjà Vu, the scene has been bubbling and evolving. The soundtrack to their east London street life is emanating throughout the nations cities, the rhythm of suburbia an indispensable fuel.

Produced by kids and adults in both million pound studios and by first timers on Playstation’s, and born predominantly from the womb of UK garage, it’s tempo marginally exceeds the traditional 130-135bpm. Absent are the resonant vocals and melodies, replaced by, well, not a lot. Because while many of the artists who deserted Jungle in the late 1990’s for the more melodic sounds of UK garage adapted with ease, not all emcees could conform to the slower pace. A handful of producers and MC’s took matters into their own hands, constructing instrumentals that broke from the norm. These MC friendly tracks allowed an elevation into an abyss of unexplored lyrical territory.

A far cry from usual British rapping attempts, instead of imitating American flows and speech patterns, regardless of their assumed ethnicity, the emcees began to play a colourless game as Cockney linguists. Accents become exaggerated and switch between this months favoured Jamaican patois and English slang. Momentum mutates on their terms, not that of the music. It’s true to itself in every way not needing to emanate America, the culture, the rappers or the music in any way.

The majority of this verbally dextrous clique hails from Bow, E3. Tales of day to day events document a life without much form of stability and luxury. Anyone spending just a day in the company of their London estates need not question the motives for the lyrics that would place Kim Howell on that long-ass NHS list for a triple bypass.

This hardship factor, absurd as it may seem, is adding to the scenes appeal. The class basis means the scene is controlled by a multi-cultural peer group who share a universal theme – they have the odds stacked against them. Ask them what they’ve witnessed and it’s scarier than the Clockwork Orange. Shootings, beatings, sexual abuse, crack dens, robberies, death…It’s as worrying, bleak and morbid as underworld Britain gets.

The theory that shit is indeed the best fertiliser is a key theme in their path of musical evolution. It is out of these dire straits that they’ve created a culture with broadening appeal. They use their music as a weapon to gain respect, a voice, a reflection of their world which we tend to ignore but that they don’t want to disregard anymore. It’s a revolt against society and It’s meaningless, wasteful pop music.

Is this a modern day existential movement? Quite possibly. In no other genre can as much stress be put on the individuals existence and consequently on subjectivity, individual freedom and choice.

“Get some drive in your body, don’t feel sorry for yourself just move your body, and set your goals, and score, set the pace and don’t stop, keep going get more, get up and move forwards, go forward, backwards ain’t no good, lazy cause your body ain’t got no fuel it’s no good, where’s your drive, where’s your will to stay alive, where’s your will to survive and be someone somewhere doing something, think you gotta be doing something, you can’t do nothing and think you’re getting something, whatever it’s gotta be we just do it, or somebody else will do it, done the long ting, go just do it.” Wiley – Pick Yourself Up.

Like the writing of Sartre, the prose at work often seems cold-hearted and illogical but they make the meaning themselves, by often revealing situations with the very intention of changing it.

“Shot this man, shot that man, and robbed this man, fuck that…left it rudeboy, conscious time… Life’s a bit hard, life’s a bitch but you gotta stay calm don’t switch…just cool your temper, always try to remember in-a-this game you’re a life long member, so it’s best if you plan for the future, listen to the lyrical lesson and learn from the shooter, just put down your shooter, rudeboy just put down your shooter, cause if you’ve got a shooter, he’s got a shooter, and I know I’d definitely shoot yer, long, talk about wrong, all this arms house I wanna get big from my song…” Riko – Chosen One

Sartre also argued that the changing nature of the social and metaphysical requires development of new styles of expression. And here we are, on the brink of the takeover, yet we remain with no definitive classification.

While the great genre debate has been in full swing for over a year, it was when Dizzee Rascal’s I Luv U hit the mainstream that there was no escaping the dispute, Dizzee himself declaring the war of the genus on.

But does anyone REALLY care what it’s called?

The mystery and buzz that is encompassing this underground dance music is drawing heuristic visionaries likes bee’s to a hive. Never before has there been such interest in these lesser-known record labels, mixtapes, flyers and radical radio shows, the backbone for a scene that’s been fighting an ongoing battle for any recognition and support.

And while people continue to scratch their heads, battling for comprehension and definition, Grime/Eski/8 Bar/Sublow/UK garage or whatever, has a colossal future marked out. It’s un-quantifiable energy makes for the realest music phenomenon we’ve got, it’s THE flag we should all be waving.

Words: Chantelle Fiddy
A version of this article appeared in Tank Magazine

New Crazy Titch biog

Nineteen year old Carl Nathaniel is one man who’s living up to his alter-ego. Crazy by name and Crazy by nature, he’s the true joker of the new MC pack, but a Titch he simply isn’t. Fresh out of the grime (or UK garage scene as he prefers to call it), his ability for hooks and catchy songs is catching the ears of more than just the underground. And for a kid reported at school to be tone deaf, that’s no mean feat.

Crazy Titch describes himself as an uncut, real and raw product of his environment, a product that comes equipped with an unquantifiable energy, passion and sense of humour. Born in Whitechapel, east London in 1983, he grew up in Plaistow with his mum, brother and sister. Among his childhood friends were Wiley, Gods Gift, Sharky Major, Demon, and Storming, who together started exploring the hip hop artform of emceeing.

Like his older step-brother Durrty Doogz (now called Goodz), he went on at the tender age of 13 to collect the renowned Kool FM Kool Skool Award for talent, pocketing a neat £50 along the way. But Titch still saw emceeing as a hobby and like many of todays inner city kids, began to find himself lost at school with no real ambition.

“Because I was like a black sheep in my early school days, I actually read books. It was cause of that, as a young kid, I wanted to be Burglar Bill. He’d always get shifted then there’d be another book so I thought he got away with it. Really, they should ban that book and just teach them (kids) the ABC and times table.”

In keeping with Crazy antics Superman seemed a viable alternative.

“From the age of four I’d been jumping down flights of stairs, thinking I was indestructible. I wanted to save people, I didn’t like seeing the struggle around me. Even though I went to church in an itchy wool suit with my grandma right through my teens, I couldn’t understand that there was a God with the stuff that was going on where we lived.”

Soon a catalogue of misdemeanors would see Titch residing at Her Majesty’s Pleasure. But the youth detention centre proved a blessing in disguise. Lessons in cognitive skills saw him return to life on the outside with a fresh perspective and hunger to pursue new avenues – telesales and music, the latter proving his stronger fortay.

Within a short space of time, he was headlining raves such as Eskimo Dance, Young Man Standing, and Sidewinder as well as club nights at Stratford Rex and Smoove at Ministry of Sound among others.

Titch joined forces with Doogz to form Boy In Da Hood, a garage collective that would go onto become one of the UK’s leading. By January 2003 he had recorded his first track ‘True MC’s with Doogz, and NASTY Crew’s Hyper. Although it never saw a release it wasn’t long before leading producer Terror Danjah (Aftershock Records) invited Titch to appear on ‘Cock Back’ alongside Riko, Hyper and D Double E. It went on to become an anthem both at home and in garage’s summer Mecca of Ayia Napa.

His first solo outing in 2004, ‘I Can C U’, was playlisted at 1Xtra and is recognised as one of Channel U’s most voted for video’s and garage psalms. Since then Titch has become one of the most sought after vocalists, featuring on Shystie’s ‘Make It Easy’ Rmx (Polydor) and Mr Wong’s ‘Orchestral Boroughs’ where alongside JME, and Flirta D they unite the four corners of London. Forthcoming releases include a collaboration, ‘Stop’ with TNT and J2K and Titch's much anticipated second solo single, ‘Sing Along’, currently one of the hottest DJ dubplates.

From pirate stations including Rinse FM, DeJa, Heat, Freeze and Silk City (in Birmingham), to the legal airwaves of Choice FM, BBC 1Xtra and even Radio 1, all have welcomed Crazy Titch’s unique technique and energy. Even the heads at NME have discovered Titch and named him one of ‘The Coolest People on The Planet for 2005’. A rare invitation from Tim Westwood to join him on the rap show recently, following his ongoing lyrical battle with Mercury Prize Winner, Dizzee Rascal, gave Titch the official salute of approval and acceptance to a mainstream audience. His stint on D12’s UK tour, warming up alongside Lady Sovereign on several dates across the country further highlighted both current and potential popularity.

While he’s is in the studio putting finishing touches to his self-initiated mixtape and DVD series, ‘Crazy Times’, he is still managing to dream about getting Ludacris, Pharell and Cliff Richard on a track together while also working on his debut album. Producers on the album include Target, Wong, DaVinChe and a host of new names creating a fresh blend of garage, grime, and hip hop to compliment Titch’s plans for verbal domination.

Crazy Time it is.

Words: Chantelle Fiddy.

Wednesday, 17 November 2004

Vote Kano!

Well that's what the email said... Vote Kano To Win - T4 / Smash Hits Award...Text 83188 - Vote A - Phone Lines Open On Saturday!!  Get Voting! Apparently he's also now got his own forum at

Tuesday, 16 November 2004

Small Pleasures

In the past I've been very reluctant to buy the Observer on a Sunday specifically for the Music Monthly as it can be pretty swag (nb favourite word of moment) and I struggle enough to get through the Sunday Times. (I do acknowledge, however, that I am a hard-to-please, rather petulant child).

But blow me down like one of those inflatable dolls my flatmate owns. This weekend I found myself in a cafe on Hackney Road doing a disjointed cheer leader routine as I spotted Simon Reynolds review of Run The Road. It gave me great pleasure to see The Observer had got someone more than decent to write it, then the realisation struck that it also sat above the likes of Eminem, Gwen, DC etc...Ecstatic.

The review itself in my eyes was spot on. And (Martin Clark aka Blackdown) can back me on this, I rarely agree with much. Picking out Chosen One as a/the standout track was a sentiment echoed by many of us. Target of course, for the record, is chuffed with it. As to is Riko. I frantically got onto his solicitor to pick up a copy and I think the review looks set to gain prime position in the 'Free Riko File.'

Rolling not so Deep

An update on the Rolling Deeper DVD, turns out it's not going to get a proper release. The 30 minute car-fest and tour of the manor will instead be used as promotional material (for Vauxhall one assumes). However, Target's Aim High Vol 2. is nearly finished and will come complete with a bonus DVD. If you've been listening to Logan Sama on Rinse you may have already heard some of the selection and as expected it's of equal stature to the Aim High debut. I've been promised a copy tomorrow so more to follow no doubt...

Sunday, 14 November 2004

Wong To Watch

Your new track Orchestra Boroughs is out now and selling like spare ribs on a Saturday night. What’s the concept?
You’ve got myself repping South, Crazy Titch from East, JME from North then Flirta D from West. The video’s out now, the hypest video on Channel U right now.

Who is Mr Wong then?
Mr Wong is basically a Chinese boy, very energetic, crazy at times, quiet some of the time, melodical, raw and just real. My music is coming a bit different to other people out there. The way I write and the way I deliver them has character. I even do love songs.

When did you start out?
At secondary school but shit fucked up and I had to go my own way. No one around me has ever been serious, I can relate to JME’s track trust me! But now I’m 20 years old, stronger and doing me. I feel old though, I’m checking for grey hairs. I’ve released bits with Jammer and that before but this is my first big thing I feel.

What’s next?
I’m going to be doing a video for the next track, So Many, which I’ve done with a singer from North London called Charlie. It’s my secret weapon. I’m hoping to have that out by the end of the year. I’ve given Titch a track for his album and I’m trying to finish mine off too. The Getting Stronger Mix CD is coming out at the end of the month, it’s needed to be out there for a while.

Your mixtape is definitely different…
Yeah you know what I’m like, I’m broke as hell so I’m doing it cheaper. I don’t care about the money I just want to get it around. I feel the pressure, there’s a lot of competition out there, so I just got to do me and work hard.

Favourite track on it?
I don’t have one to be honest, I love everything I do and everything I produce so everything is a favourite.

Got some fresh bars for us Wong?
Yeah, try this for size…“Hello that’s what I said to your girl, she wanted a wok so I gave her a wok, she said I was sweet but she was sour, that’s why it lasted half an hour/ After the wok I took out the wok and made her some egg fried rice she was still hungry the big fat bitch so I gave her my big prawn balls/ So look at you boy, your girl wants me, she doesn’t like you, she likes me cause I can give her what you can’t, and that’s blackenese kids, I can take her China and buy her a big fat plasma tv and spring rolls, instead of the £1 chicken and chips you buy her…”

Mr Wong “Getting Stronger” is out now.

East Connection quickie


What’s going on today then?
Double O: We’re behind the scenes at the East Connection track ‘The Link Up’. It’s got a nice garage/R&B lick. There’s various artists here like Demon, Bruzer, Kano, Lethal B, Fumin, Bashy, Sadie Ama, Major Ace, Kele Le Roc, Sharky Major, Nicky Slim Ting (who produced the tune), Jookie Mondo, Demon, Diesel, myself…the list goes on. It’s an all-star link up!

So when’s the track out?
Double O: So official release date yet but the video will be on Channel U soon. The concept is us all hitting three clubs and the nine artists on the tune will be doing their thing at Aquarium, Opium Lounge and that, then in-between just count those cameo’s.

What else are East Connection working on?
Double O: We’re finishing the mix cd, more R&B and rap based, the album then the garage video’s for the underground.

What about radio?
Diesel: Raw Blaze is back on now, I know people have missed it. But well and truly I just needed a break, I’ve been running radio for eight years now, I got DeJa where it is today but it’s all changed up now and I’m concentrating on Raw Blaze. There’s a new schedule and you’ll catch all of the biggest names from the underground on there.

Will Raw Blaze be here next year?
Diesel: Of course! They’ll be more video’s, we’re hoping to drop another one before Christmas. And don’t forget the frequency, nine grand…

Hear East Connection on Raw Blaze 90.00FM and lookout for The Link Up hitting stores and Channel U soon.

Friday, 12 November 2004


OVERGROUND will take place on Wednesday 17th November 2004 at Cargo, 83 Rivington Street, Shoreditch, London. Performing on the night are Swiss of So Solid (Hip Hop/Garage), Karl Hinds (Hip Hop), Lain Grey (Soul band), Tor (Garage/Hip Hop), Chukki Starr (Roots reggae), Roll Deep (Grime), RDB (Bhangra), UK Warriors (Dancehall), Japlin (Soul band) and Perry Morgan (R’n’B), DJ: Frisky (De Ja Vu Fm) & Turnamuffin (Wide). And it only costs £5! Support homegrown!

Thursday, 11 November 2004

Get Random

The Solid Groove mix of Lady Sovereigns new track Random will receive it's first play on Steve Lamacq's show this coming Monday (15th). This will be followed by a 30 minute documentary that Radio One have made with Sov called Sovereign Nation. The Medasyn mix of the track is available exclusively on while the Menta mixes (one of which features a special guest MC) will be revealed soon.


Demon, originally uploaded by chantelle.

When I saw the i-D staff wearing cardigans I laughed. Now I realise I am late and they're obviously the look for this season. Well if Demon can bust it...


Bruzer, originally uploaded by chantelle.

Caught up with Bruza and he's been busy laying down more tracks with Terror for his album. Get Me is on heavy rotation on Channel U so check it out if you haven't yet. Also listen for for the mosh track, Da Rush produced by the Big ED featuring Demon and Bruza

Wednesday, 10 November 2004

New Lady Sovereign biog

She’s the self proclaimed white midget with a barely there 5’1 frame. The alternative microphone vandal her witty lyrics hit like left hooks to the proverbial face, subject matter dashing between flirtations with McDonalds, smoking hash and swigging Pernod. With a moniker that reflects her love of cheap cigarettes and pikey jewellery, Lady Sovereign is a random, cheeky, outspoken teen that no one in their right mind would want living next door to them. Well tough shit, she does.

Hailing from the Chalkhill Estate in Wembley, this 18 year old girl is already bouting with the best of them. Despite having only just signed her record deal, Sovereign has already supported Basement Jaxx on their Grolsch Summer Sets (including the massive Somerset House gig), Obie Trice, Dizzee Rascal, D12 and The Streets on UK tour dates. It’s no surprise then that alongside the estates of Britain, fans also voicing approval include Mike Skinner, Steve Lamacq and Jo Whiley. This summer has seen Sovereign promote a message of inter-racial tolerance and harmony at a number of festivals and events such as Respect, Love Music Hate Racism, the Lord Mayors Urban Show and Euro Social Forum. Where many established artists battle for such prestigious slots, it’s undoubtedly her fresh, energetic and undeniably enthralling stage show that’s putting her a top of promoters wish lists. The Lady Sovereign school of thought is working in a world of mass, over produced pop fodder.

Her genre defying appeal is easily understood. Bang some pots and pans together and Sovereign will ride it. A product of 90’s youth culture, her music’s the curent sound of inner city estates, obvious influence taken from popular dance movements such as grime, garage and jungle while also embracing ragga, hip hop, R&B, hardcore, country and western. Amongst her eclectic collection you may even find Tracy Chapman, Charles and Eddy or Ace of Base. Other current favorites include Wiley, Dizzee, Stush, Taz, Missy Elliott and Outkast - anyone who’s braving it and doing their own thing.

Sovereign has graced the pages of magazine and newspapers including NME, The Face, Touch, Time Out, B&S, The Telegraph, Evening Standard and The Guardian. Further underlying her status, her website has proved very popular, since launched in July while her profile on has already garnered 80,000 hits.

Yet the support hasn’t always been there. Inspired by Ms Dynamite, dedicated Mac FM listener, Lady Sovereign, then 14, decided to put pen to paper. When she started trying to get herself heard on internet sites the chorus of disapproval was more than evident. Her first feature in a 2002 edition of Touch magazine met with a blaze of hate mail, but Sovereign used this battle field as a training ground and is now confident that she can send home challengers and weak opponents in a lyrical body bag.

Alongside her DJ, Frampster (who she met on the So Solid forums), they formed the HLD (Heavy Like Dat) Family. A week after forming they played their first set at Brixton haunt, Orange. While the crew was only short lived, it allowed her to put in the much needed practice hours on pirate radio and in bedroom sessions at her humble council dwelling. Having left school early and with no qualifications, selling doughnuts and telesales didn’t work out and her attempt at shifting windows was a disaster. After three weeks and not one sale a career in dossing and filling up her note books with sharp 16’s seemed the only option until her dad suggested acting. A point in the right direction from welfare officers saw Sovereign packed off to drama class where she won the lead part in an educational film and a chance to record for the soundtrack. Through a friend of a friend, the demo landed in producer Medasyns lap and things haven’t been the same since.

By the summer of 2003 her first collaboration, “The Battle” produced by Medasyn featuring Sovereign, Shystie, Frost P and Zus Rock was signed to Casual Records. Her first solo outing, “Little Bit of Shhh!” followed in June 2004 on white label and Casual Records then released, “Ch Ching”, a reworking of Sunship's garage classic “Cheque One Two”. Both tracks, despite their limited vinyl release, received widespread support from the underground to the suburbs and beyond, “Ch Ching” getting played on every Radio 1 specialist show and “Little Bit of Shhh!” going on to be playlisted at 1Xtra in addition to being one of the most requested videos on Channel U. A cameo performance on The Streets “Fit But You Know It” remix (679 Recordings) alongside Donae’o, Kano and Tinchy Stryder also followed similar suit, garnering critical acclaim.

Touring aside, Sovereign is recording tracks for her debut album due for release in spring 2005. Apart from her self-produced material, producers aiding and abetting already include Medasyn, Target & Danny Weed (Roll Deep), Menta (Daniel Bedingfield, Ms Dynamite) and Wonder (Dizzee Rascal) with potential collaborations coming from Mike Skinner (The Streets) and Basement Jaxx. In the meantime more food for thought will be provided when Sovereigns latest outing, “Random” gets released in January 2005 on Casual Records.

Regardless of gender or generation, you can be assured that Sovereign’s the queen set to reign supreme.

Words: Chantelle Fiddy

Monday, 8 November 2004

Help Needed!

It was only a matter of time til I needed some help, I'm not entirely down with all this stuff so if anyone could tell me how I can make a link bar type thingy then I'd be most grateful. On a more exciting note, I'm keen to collate a round up of the year and instead of just running DJ top 5's of 2004 in my Blues & Soul column I'd love to have feedback from the people. If you're up for submitting your top 5 for potential inclusion in the mag please post or email me. Much obliged!

That Letter

Following a few requests I've decided to succumb and upload the seeminly infamous Riko letter published in Deuce last year... Currently awaiting trial in December here's wishing Riko all the best in busting his case.


Dear Deuce,

Wha gwarn people? Riko Dan here, aka King of Grime, aka Aggi Mic Masta, aka Da Gyal Dem Friend. Well this is the deal. Deuce magazine, the ruffest and tuffest urban music mag in the country, have allowed me to write a letter to you lot to clear a few things up and to tell you the truth, there’s nothing more I’d rather do.

As some of you know, I’m a reformed character who is 100% committed to the musical cause and I’ve put my bad boy days behind me but I ended up back inside. Why? For an old case which dates back to 1999, a shitty commercial burglary which took the police three and a half years to find out about. It seems like locking me up for three years already wasn’t enough, so they decided to bring me back for nine months, which isn’t long out there but in here it’s a fucking lifetime. You get me? I suppose it’s my own fault because it’s true that what you do comes back to you.

With my days I just go gym, write lyrics, use the phone and do killer cell workouts. But let me tell you something, crime is long. Going to jail is long, mixing with lowlife junkies and grasses is not the shout. Trust me. There is more than enough opportunity out there rather than get into crime. I’ve done it all in the past, armed robs, shotting, busting after man, but it didn’t get me anywhere except six different prisons all around the country. Now that’s LONG. But you know what they say there’s no point crying over spilt MC’s blood.

I get to listen to a bit of grime but not the newest stuff cos I’m in Dorset, so no pirate stations (local man dem, fix up), but I’ve got N.A.S.T.Y mix on CD, a Sidewinder tape pack, Eskimo Dance 1 & 2, Dizzee’s album and me and Doogz murking each other on Rinse.

Before I came in I recorded about six Pay As U Go album tracks, Pied Piper (Ruff Squad), No Games (OT Crew feat me and Gift), Pick Yaself Up, Poppadoms, Cock Back which is out now, and how can I forget the ultimate slewage tune (thanks to Wiley) the Igloo riddim for Neeko.

When I am out at the end of the year, my plans are to get my career back on track, finish off my album, slew Neeko again and again and again, oh yeah and get my own column in Deuce every month!

But blessed be to all my fans for sticking by me. Thanks for your support I appreciate it nuff, love you lot fe real. Big up my cartel, Gift, Slimzee, Geeneus, Dugs, Target, Dogzilla, Wiley and the rest of Rolldizzle, especially Karnage and Danny Weed. Masta B, Doug @ Soul II Soul, Bow E3, Dizzee for winning the Mercury, big up my dad coz he’s a diamond geezer, bare thanks to the people that are getting me through this, Krystal, Nicola, Sarah Xtreme, and most of all Chantelle Fiddy Cent Big Tings Fiddy. Anti Terrorist Gyal dem run tings fe real.

Last words: I hear say Neeko has been trying to slew me now I’m banged up, bit cowardly seeing as when I slewed him over Igloo he phoned me twice and begged me to stop the war. As soon as I got banged up he grows some balls. Oh well, no drama. Just have to merk him again. Watch out for Neeko Fe Dead Part 2. Very big.

Big up the Deuce crew, nuff respect. Chantizzle…you’re large.

Bless, bare love,

Soon land

Riko Dan

Rhythm Divisions slot

1. Trim feat Wiley, Riko, D Double E & Footsie – Boogeyman (White)
2. D.O.K – Shock Anthem (Aftershock)
3. Charmzy – R Ha (VIP) (Black Ops)
4. Wiley – Ice Cream/Fire Hydrant Rmx (White)
5. NASTY Crew feat Dynasty – Hackney Man (White)
6. More2DaDloor – Da 4 Star EP (More2DaFloor)
7. Dizzee Rascal – Dream/Trapped (XL Recordings)
8. Ruff Squad – Move (White)
9. Ruff Squad – Love U Feel (White)
10. Sunship feat Warrior Queen – Almighty Father (Casual)

Compiled by Sparky @ Rhythm Division, Roman Road, Bow E3.
You can listen to audio mentioned in this chart at

Vinyl preview

Trim feat Wiley, Riko, D Double E & Footsie
Boogeyman (White)
Terror Danjah has provided the perfect backing for Trim’s first official release, ‘Boogeyman’. Trim’s gravelly vocals, articulate flow and fresh style have already seen him propelled onto the MC top table and this will reaffirm his position. Add Wiley, Riko, DEE and Footsie to the agenda and you’re left with a surefire contender for tune of the year. The flipside of this vinyl also features Trim dissing Stormin over riding Wiley’s ‘Fire Hydrant’ riddim. Seriously essential.

Lethal B
Pow (Relentless)
It was obviously only a matter of time until a label snapped up the ‘Forward Riddim’ and now it’s in the hands of Relentless. Having renamed the tune, lost some verses, and gained a chorus ‘Pow’ doesn’t have the same impact as the original but is still the tune guaranteed to hype any dance, anywhere. Loved by young and old, the anthem of 2004 should garner chart success this November on it’s official release.

Mr Wong feat Crazy Titch, JME and Flirta D
Orchestral Boroughs (White)
While Mr Wong’s name may be new it’s unlikely you’ll forget it after hearing this. Mr Wong, who’s previously released tracks with Jammer, is one of the most energetic producers and MC’s to have emerged from the underground dance scene in recent months. ‘Orchestral Boroughs’ Is a highly melodic track as the title suggest and sees MC’s from all four corners of London representing their ends. Keep your eyes peeled for the video.

Riko feat Dog-z and Discarda
Critical (Aim High)
The next release on DJ Target’s Aim High label, ‘Critical’ follows on where ‘Chosen One’ left off. “Critical, my life’s upside down, fucked up thoughts in my head go round, and round, and round…” With the aid of Dog-Z and Discarda the trio tell the tale of life in shit lane. Riko is fast proving he’s got an ear for hooks and this should set the pace for those attempting a more hip hop influenced vein of grime. Some of their best work to date.

P Jam feat D Double E
Anger Management (White)
P Jam, another blast from the past, makes a welcome return with ‘Anger Management’. One of the best instrumentals currently doing the dubplate rounds is blessed with D Double E’s appearance. A bass heavy, infectious track, this deserves serious rotation and needs to be in any self respecting DJ’s box.

Kano feat Lethal B, Ghetto & Demon
P’s & Q’s remix (679 Recordings)
Kano’s DaVinChe produced debut with 679 Recordings, ‘P’s & Q’s’, has raised more eyebrows than first expected. And that ain’t a bad thing. With the original now playlisted on Choice FM and receiving serious airplay it’s time for a re-lick courtesy of Lethal B, Ghetto and Demon, all supplying some hectic bars. As good as the original, just crunk it.

Crazy Titch
Sing-a-Long (White)
‘Sing-a-Long’, produced by Crazy Tim is one of the most sought after dubs of now, highly original there’s nothing on the shelves sounding like this. The instrumental samples some serious strings conjuring images of ballroom dancing, lace it with some Titch lyrics and you’ve got a track that’s even catchier than his debut ‘I Can C U.’ Having stepped up his game in 2004, Titch and Tim are both names to be watching closely in the ’05.

Rolling Deeper

Contrary to previous reports, Roll Deep have now signed an album deal with Relentless Records after negotiations with Island broke down. Although the finer details are sketchy, the move has been confirmed by a spokesperson for Roll Deep who said “We’re really happy to finally have the chance to get our music further out there. People are going to be surprised by what’s coming.” Rumour has it the salsa inflicted ‘Shake A Leg’ (currently receiving some dubplate plays) may be the first single. Relentless, who have had recent success with the likes of Joss Stone and Jay Sean, have also just snapped up Lethal B ‘Pow'. It seems the label is securing it’s street connections again, after all let’s not forget it was Relentless who shook up the urban sector introducing acts such as So Solid, Artful Dodger and Daniel Bedingfield to the mainstream (no points for that swag Romeo album though).

Roll Deep have also teamed up with Vauxhall for the Rolling Deeper DVD. A thirty minute outing, it features err, cars, motorbikes, more cars, cars and err, Roll Deep. You can see them hanging out, sleeping, exclusive footage of Wiley and Riko in the studio, and hear some deep new music. A tad short it will leave you wanting more but that’s the whole point, right? Keep your eyes peeled. (Word is that there’s a further five Roll Deep DVD’s ready to go).