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UK Hip Hop: International
Champions Of Nature
Champions Of NatureThis could be classed as the UK's first UK Hip Hop super group, with each member bringing a wealth of talent and long history of solo releases and collaborations to the table. Together they take a collective step towards achieving their goal on September 3rd when the Champions of Nature re-release their Salsa Smurf 12", this time with proper distribution through the more creditable Wordplay label (a subsidiary of Virgin). 

The track was the third in a series of slamming white label 12"s the 6 man crew funded and put out themselves starting with the dark and moody 'Fuck Off Song' in early 2000. That 12" showcased their talent in the title track which was produced by L Dolo and featured Supa T, Lewis Parker and Profound, who had all previously come together along with Braintax on the Low Life Released '98 Series 12"s. Supa T had known Lewis previously to that and had featured on some of his prior releases, including the excellent Casa Forté, which was unfortunately only available on promo copies of 'Masquerades and Silhouettes' due to sample clearance problems. That first 12" also included three other tracks, 'An Undercurrent' by Profound, produced by Lewis Parker, '360' by AM produced by L Dolo and 'Carpé Diem' by Jehst produced by Lewis Parker. You can imagine what they are like, hard, fast and well crafted lyrics that are rapped over straight up Hip Hop beats. Unfortunately, because I know he has some good stuff to say, I find it very hard to hear Profound's words, maybe his frequency range is in a band of my hearing that I just can't register, or it is poorly mixed. I reckon something could be done to let me hear the words.

Shortly after the C.O.N. artists dropped their 3 vocal track follow up which included 'Finalisation' featuring all 5 MCs for the first time along with production by L Dolo, another Profound track 'Cold Desert (In The City)' produced by Lewis Parker, and 'Breakfast Of Champions' by A.M. and Jehst produced by L Dolo. Another substantial piece of UK wax, if slightly under produced.

Salsa Smurf was the third self financed white label release and now becomes the second single to be taken from Wordlab 2 UK Hip Hop compilation. It is still backed with the same track, 'Jazzy Styles' that was on the original release. This is a bit disappointing for those who already bought the record the first time round considering there is no remix or re-mastering as there was with the previous Karl Hinds record. However those who missed out on the white labels should try to pick up this one because it is kinda fat. Salsa Smurf features all the MCs and is produced by L Dolo. Jazzy Styles features the MCs in a different order and Lewis steps away from the mic on this one to produce. This record has received a mixed response with people either loving or hating it. Many people have complained about it, saying things like the 'beat is too repetitive' or they 'don't like the vocoder chorus'. I would agree on the first point, although after several months of listening I haven't tired of it, if anything it is a grower and as for the vocoder, well, I like it and it is a personal thing. It is perhaps the weakest of the 12"s we have seen from the Champions of Nature so far and certainly is the worst value for money wise with only two vocal tracks. However it is still good and the future looks bright for this crew who are a hot bed of talent and who obviously vibe and feed off each other.

Already this track has had plays on daytime BBC Radio 1 and I guess the aim is for it to beat the #23 in the charts that Blade reached, a hard task and perhaps a more realistic target should be Roots Manuva's Witness' #45. In my opinion the Champions need to make sure they maintain high standards and don't just fling out tracks when they are done, but having heard the potential of these MCs (Jehst has to be one of the UKs best at the moment) I expect these guys, with a bit of hard work, to take it all the way. Look out for an Long Player to drop soon once a deal can be negotiated and for Lewis to release his long awaited album too.

Champions Of Nature - Salsa Smurf The group are:
Apollo - Keen golfer, Apollo has been in to hip-hop since 1985, making beats and flowing. Apollo was the last member of Champions Of Nature to join, with production and rhyming credits to his name - '10,000 Man March' 'The Planets' 'Circle of Light' EP 'Raw Materials' (StoneGroove).

Jehst - First came to the public's attention with the release of his 'Premonitions' EP on the YNR Productions label. Has since followed it up with 'The High Plains Drifter' EP on Low Life records, as well as collaborations with Evil Ed and TaskForce. He is currently working with Tommy Evans, Harry Love, Braintax, Kalashnikov and of course, the mighty Champions Of Nature. 

Lewis Parker - Known since the release of his debut EP 'B-Boy Antics', Lewis has gone on to release classics like 'Rise', 'Masquerades And Silhouettes' (Melankolic) and various compilation releases. Now working with the renowned Champions Of Nature and set to release his new album 'It's All Happening Now' on Melankolic Records, so keep your eyes on the skies. 

Supa T - A.K.A Django Van Helsing has featured on DJ MK mixtapes, The 98 Series and Easter Island releases (Lowlife Records), and all of the Champions releases so far. Besides Champions future projects will include collaborations with Universal Soldiers and Tongue Tied Records. 

Way To Blue


Source


Wordplay

 L. Dolo - Producer, DJ, Naloa Studios. 1983- Power Source Crew, 1989- Othello + Marko, 1990- Kingsmen Crew, 1991- Liberty Grooves, 1992- 35 Above, 1998- 98 Series, 2000- C.O.N. Artists. 

A.M. - Hardcore B-Boy since 1983. Started rhyming and DJing with DJ Taz, met Dolo in 1990. Excelled as a club/radio DJ with K.M.T. since 1993. Now in Champions Of Nature. "Look out for my solo shit!".

Champions Of Nature Discography
Jehst Discography
Lewis Parker Discography
Email: championsof_nature@hotmail.com

Intro Early Doors:
1979-1985
False Dawn:
1985-1990
Underground Years:
1990-1995
The Renaissance:
1995- 2000
The Future:
2000 & Beyond
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