UK Hip Hop: International
Various Artists - Extra Yard Compilation [Big Dada]
Extra Yard
Extra Yard cover
Big Dada are back and better than before. All their main acts are represented here with new material to make up one of the most appealing compilations to come out of the UK since Wordplay did their thing. This particular compilation strives to drive the UK Hip Hop genre in specific direction, namely towards a greater synergy between Bashment and other urban styles. On the back of their recent successes, Big Dada have a new confidence and with that are not shy of proposing a new term for this crossover of genres. Bouncement is the term they are championing, and whilst Hip Hop in the UK has always fused more with Reggae than our US counterparts, they are trying to bring this back to the forefront as Digital Reggae. Their reasoning for this is that, 'If you want to rap in your own voice, you have to find the rhythms that suit the syntax of that voice'. While I would totally agree with those sentiments, I do not feel that creating yet another category for music is at all helpful. Anyway, on with the contents of the CD. 

The compilation opens with a great cut up intro from DJ A La Fu & ESC, which segues into Gamma's Killer Apps - the first single off the album. Featuring Shadowless this is really the embodiment of what Big Dada are pressing with this comp. It is severely heavy with its digital bass and thumping staccato beat and is produced by Birmingham's Tomz, who also puts in work for the No More Bananas and Bashment Boogie remix tracks.

The CD is simply mixed by the DJ of the moment, 1Xtra's DJ Excalibah. Thankfully he just keeps the mixes simple and lets the music not be outshone by interference. Next up is another remix of Roots Manuva's Dreamy Days, a tune that has been thoroughly rinsed already. Never having been my favourite I didn't see the need for this remix by Lotek and featuring Ricky Rankin, but it is strong enough to be included here. Following this is the first new cut from Ty for sometime. Don't Care is where two styles definitely collide. Ty's relaxed laid back lyrics compete with a modern, energetic and pumping beat, but by the second verse you become used to this mixture and realise this is a proper groove.

Born Again is a Roots Manuva track for which he teams up with Wildflower as he did for the Baptism track off his first LP. The partnership works well and it is a good job that they revived it here. Izwah from Gamma is next in rotation and is the B-side to the current single. On a less hard vibe than their previous offering this is a jump up track as is pointed out by the chorus, 'Put your hands up, stand up, you shoulda listen, now put your hands up, stand up'. All throughout the LP Jamaican inflexions abound especially here with Lord Redeem's deep tones and remarkably Juice Aleem manages to spit in three languages during his verse. Other notable contributions from the Big Dada rosta come from Part 2 and New Flesh. The former giving us a collaboration with Leigh Stevens entitled Life Without You and the latter, their new Lie Low track which is severely catch and has a bassline that is guaranteed to damage sound systems. Life Without You from Part 2 is a more dance and electronica inspired soulful, but yet uptempo groove. Leigh Stevens sings about life without his love and together they offer us something a touch original as with so many of the other tracks.

Infinite Lives, a new Big Dada signee provides two tracks and a quick and mad skit featuring the characters of Barry Convex, Dave Flowers and a Monkey! The first proper track he contributes, No More Bananas has a somewhat off key beat that is all over the place and is filled with disparate individual sound hits. Not often you'll get mention of Paisley underwear in a track is it? Wayne Benett of Lotek, known for his previous production duties for Roots Manuva presents his new project Lotek Hifi and delivers his Fire track. This is probably the track that most leans towards Dancehall, especially because of the chatted lyrics provided by Wayne Paul and Earl J. Ty's second contribution - Shake It Up has the same mis-match of his previous track in that the gentle voice has to battle with a hard big beat and squelchy bass. There are no problems with Ty's tracks, its just that it takes a moment to adjust to this juxtaposition.

The Wohle Extra Yard crew

New Flesh team up with Defisis of SFDB's DFXO for what is like the answer track to No More Bananas, Eat More Fruit. I don't think there is a weak track on here, and other good tunes include Witness The Swords, a total re-working of Roots Manuva's Witness The Fitness which features the impressive line up of Fallacy, Rodney P, Blackitude, Bip P and Skeme providing additional verbals. Zero Gravity by New Flesh from their Understanding LP receives the Lotek Relick to create the most relaxing and floaty track of the compilation.

So, all in, this is one of the dopest UK compilations ever and has plenty to offer in terms of a coherent UK vibe and sound that is on a totally different vibe to anything the Americans have ever offered us. Big Dada have really gone and done it with this release and I dare anyone to not feel this like I do. Get over to the website and hear your preview, then upon hearing it head over to your local purveyor of vinyl and get one purchased. Step three shouldn't need explaining, but it is to put it on your set and give it repeated plays. You will thank me for this advice.

Visit Big Dada on the web: www.ninjatune.net/bigdada

Big Dada
Intro Early Doors:
False Dawn:
Underground Years:
The Renaissance:
1995- 2000
The Future:
2000 & Beyond
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