Volume 1
label: ynr
includes: taskforce, tommy evans, universal soldiers, jehst, klashnekoff, the sundragon, apollo, yungun, microdisiacs, others.
year of release: 2003
1. Taskforce : The Tournament
2. Tommy Evans : Ophelia
3. Universal Soldiers : The Great Escape
4. Tommy Evans feat. Dupa Styles, Ricochet : 4 Horsemen
5. Jehst feat. Kyza, Klashnekoff : Nightbreed
6. Klashnekoff feat. Kyza : Jankrowville (Remix)
7. Tommy Evans feat. Yungun : Silent Mobius
8. Usmaan feat. Klashnekoff : Stay Focussed
9. Dupa Styles : The Tear Down
10. Farma G, Jehst, Skriblah & Sundragon : Seein' Red
11. Tommy Evans, Doc Brown & Usmaan : Party Animals
12. The Sundragon : The Path
13. Apollo : Think
14. Microdisiacs : Time You Knew
15. Yungun : City Breaks
This is underground UK rap. Then again, does the UK even have mainstream rap? Not considering the style, but considering the success? As I can't claim to follow the UK charts with any poise and eagerness, I will have to owe you a thorough answer to that question. But even with that knowledge gap, this is here and now declared underground. In style kinda, in prominence probably. And wherever you are, there's a label that's just very good, but it's not the best known of 'em all. You can argue, and please do, that the YNR is one of those labels. Despite the many, many good releases they already did though, the percentage of your average, slightly knowledgeable head over there, might not be familiar with the operation like that.
But I'm basically talking out of my ass, I mean: arse, as I don't live in the UK, and don't talk to the average, slightly knowledgeable head from the UK. I got to know the YNR operation once Evil Ed sent us a 12", and you can read the review still, if you click review. That was then, this is now, and as a lot has happened since then, it's about time to grab those songs, put 'em on a CD and enjoy the fruits in one basked, rather than carrying a bigger basket - basked case (?) - to carry all the different baskets, i.e. various 12"es.
So you get all the super heroes that blessed the label with their excellent material, starting with the Taskforce's "The Tournament", which was on that 12". But then there's also Tommy Evan's "Ophelia", a love jones gone bad, not going at all or not too lovely either. This is one of the halfway serious songs, as the humour is always there, or at least between the lines or after the next rhyme. Another one of those songs would be Apollo's "Think", that has us swallow our smile though, with the quickly annoying hook. But back to Tommy, as he's also on "4 Horsemen", along with Dupa Styles and Ricochet, over a Harry Love produced beat. They enjoy doing some braggadocio over a harder beat, cause UK geezers got punchlines too. They also perfected the hard beats with their now neglected Britcore, that only makes it onto this record on "Stay Focussed" by Usmaan and Klashnekoff. It's however only a very reduced version of said style, what is unfortunate, cause Britcore is the shizznizz.
There's however plenty more on this record to keep you entertained, like the copper and robber story on "The Great Escape" by the Universal Soldiers, or on a more serious note, Yungun's "City Breaks", Jehst feat. Kyza and Kalashnekoff's "Nightbreed", as well as "Time You Knew" by Microdisiacs. The first two are held back by the typical and standard production (and you can add "Think" to that list), while the latter sparkles with a very nice jazz production by Evil Ed. Speaking of Yungun: he's also on "Silent Mobius" with Tommy Evans, which gets a nice little giggling going with the singing. However the best song on here has to be "The Path" by The Sundragon, as it's complete with a dope Lewis Parker beat, and some nice flowing for that ass. The Sun's also part of the other best song on this record: "Seein' Red" by Farma G, Jehst, Skriblah and the Sundragon. Cee-Why hooks up an almost disco guitar for some strong lyrical representation from the bizarro characters of these emcees. The party vibe is also on Tommy Evan, Doc Brown and Usmaan's "Party Animals", that suffers from an 'eeh' beat though.
The quality of this record not only lies in the balance, going from the conscious to the witty, from the harsh to the braggadocio. It's also in the neatness of every little track on here. First, they all match, may they be years old or months old. Second they all accomplish what they tried to do. Sometimes with better or worse means, but nevertheless, there's nothing that really fails, but everything is intelligent, from solid to excellent. So from this average, slightly knowledgeable head to you average, slightly knowledgeable heads out there: grab this basket.
review: tadah
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