The Urban Hour Part Two

on Sunday, March 23, 2008
So after Good Friday's mainstream "urban" music post featuring GTA, Estelle and...ahem...The Feeling (Kelly Rowland really), we have a post concentrating a bit more on upcoming urban artists.

Like in the last post, I will kick off with an act that has added me (quite surprisingly!) on MySpace. D-Lo is apparently #2 on the MySpace unsigned rap charts. Not bad going for this gangsta rapper from Halifax, Yorkshire. I'm not a big fan of that kind of abrasive rap but D-Lo clearly takes after Tupac and 50 Cent while offering his perspective as a young British Asian. Anyways, 'Falling Tears' features a sample from 80s band Cinderella (or at least a cover of a chorus) so it's not all bad.

D-Lo - Falling Tears [Yourfilehost download]

Riz MC is almost at the polar opposite of the scale. A politically charged MC, an acclaimed actor and a writer, who has featured in the New Statesman. Rizwan Ahmed is breaking into the mainstream, whether they like it or not. First gaining notoriety for his song 'Post 9/11 Blues' (Watch the vid below. I even remember watching a Channel 4 news report on it in 2005!), he is now getting appropriate recognition of his talent as a musical artist. Often mixing electro with his engaging, witty lyrics, he was invited to play SXSW this year and has had significant airplay on Radio 1.

I don't agree with everything he says but he is a compelling character. Here's a poignant version of 'Sour Times' from the BBC Electric Proms many months ago, complete with an orchestral accompaniment.

Riz MC with orchestra - Sour Times (BBC Electric Proms Live) [Yourfilehost]//[Sendspace mirror]

Another act who performed at that very same BBC Electric Proms gig were The Riff Raff. Or as they were formerly known, Riff Raff, a bloke called Alex who rose to fame for some indie "remixes" which I mentioned back in August 2006 [link]. Since then, the act has expanded and now covers 'Classical/Electroacoustic/Hip Hip', according to their MySpace. It's difficult to tell which direction they're really heading in, which is quite exciting. I've uploaded a track from the Electric Proms which was written in a day (as part of a competition with the other performing artists) and a Phones collaboration from the band MySpace. You all still remember Paul Epworth, right?

The Riff Raff - Chaos Is Hard (BBC Electric Proms Live) [Yourfilehost]//[Sendspace mirror]
The Riff Raff - 80s Babies [Yourfilehost]

On a final, more novel note, we have Canada's Cadence Weapon. Not that he's a novelty rapper, I'm just focusing on the aspects I find unusual and hence extra cool. Firstly, his debut album's called 'Breaking Kayfabe', a nod to pro wrestling. Secondly, he does a Weezer cover as part of his live set. Check out which song it is below:

So that brings a close to my brief urban feature but I'd love to repeat it again in the future, perhaps with a bit more knowledge behind me! If you could recommend me any good rappers etc or are one yourself, feel free to get in touch via email or my MySpace (see top right of the page). And while you're here if you want some more conventional Keep Hope Inside coverage, listen to my first podcast [link] which is being taken down from its server on the 31st of this month. Enjoy!

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