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
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.
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.
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!".
Of Nature Discography
Lewis Parker Discography