UK Hip Hop: International
Unsung Heroes
Unsung Heroes "Originality will prevail. Enough of the carbon copies." Insite's fiery rhetoric underlies the entire theme of Unsung Heroes and their debut album, "Unleashed". Featuring a cavalcade of A-grade mcs from North America and the UK, the project runs deeper than a mere compilation. Insite and his production partner, Shiver, have brought in the likes of L-Fudge, J-Live, Ty, Siah, Yeshua da Poed and the Scratch Perverts to piece together a bit of commentary on where they see hip hop and the music industry at the moment, a bit of entertainment and a bit of a good old club joint just to make you want to get your groove on. This London production duo is definitely unleashing "b-boy mayhem in a universe gone mad".

The combination of issues and entertainment is most apparent on "The Next Degree", a track featuring the lyrical intricacies of Siah and sublime vocals from Karima Kendra. Insite refers to the technique as "Education by Stealth": "What we're trying to do is create something jolly with a sung chorus but if you listen to what you're singing along to there's this catchy melody then there's something to be gained educationally from it. It's like. "Oh shit! I didn't realise they were saying that'." In the context of various other UK production albums including label mates, The Next Men, and The Creators, Insite says: "So that's how we're trying to separate ourselves from some of the other production acts in this country. I feel that sometimes producers don't sit down with rappers and discuss with rappers enough about what they're trying to achieve. A lot of producers are happy enough to say, OEYeah just spit something dope over our beat I'm not even going to consider what's being said'."

Unsung Heroes "Unleashed" is the third UK production album this year featuring a gaggle of American MCs. The Unsung Heroe's effort seems a bit more coherent and cohesive and instead of a bunch of cameos you get the feeling that here is a bunch of good artists jamming together. As for the timing of the releases, Insite says: "You know what? It must just be something in the water. Everybody seems to be coming out and doing something at the same time." And when prodded as to why there isn't more UK representation on the album he rebuts: "I've always just wanted to take it beyond the UK thing. Of course we're representing for the UK but we're trying to do something globally. Yeah, we're working with a lot of of US MCs but that's because most MCs come from the US. In America there are far more MCs to be found than in my own country. That's not to say that there's not a lot of good MCs here 'cause there are but they're definitely further apart and fewer". Ty, the Scratch Perverts, the Visitors, the Phantom and Rock Steady member, Kila Kela (beatboxer) make up most of the UK contingent, as well as Roger Beaujolais whom Shiver describes as "the UK's answer to Roy
Ayers", a master of the vibraphone.

The cover artwork continues the Unsung Heroe's message by showing a number of the artists on the record busting through a large window to destroy some jiggy robots all in comic style. According to Insite: "They're the industry robots. They're the Stepford robots of the industry, the mechanical-like, the mass-manufactured, materialistic... the people that aren't really putting anything into hip hop. They're just puppets on the strings of the industry and we're there just saying, "We're doing something a little different'. We're not trying to be superheroes. We're not coming in, crashing through their window with superheroes' garments on. We're in our own clothes and we're throwing records at them. It's just supposed to be something a bit funny. And they've got their bikini-clad
women there and it's all going a bit wrong for them."

The duo's mutual distaste for materialism within hip hop comes down to what they see as a backwards mentality of rapping about money to make money. "In Western society, in the society we live in," Insite perks up, "you can't survive without money. You don't have to have a shitload to survive but you can't survive without money. But the thing is I don't think it is necessary to put it in people's faces the whole time. If you've got money then be modest about it. You don't need to be showing people the whole time your iced-down medallions and all that, and what car you're driving."

You could talk about the musical influences of the two, their meticulously constructed samples and beats, the fact that they are very busy djs and have put this album out through 75 Ark/Scenario Records, but Insite and Shiver are more than capable of getting their message across for themselves, even if they don't do it using a microphone.
Scenario RecordsInterview conducted by Mark Pollard for

Visit Unsung Heroes on the web: stage.vitaminic.co.uk/unsung_heroes :: www.scenariorecords.com

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