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UK Hip Hop: International
Intro Early Doors:
1979-1985
False Dawn:
1985-1990
Underground Years:
1990-1995
The Renaissance:
1995- 2000
The Future:
2000 & Beyond
Artists &
Discographies
Artists and Discographies index
Playazklub - City Of Circles CD [SCP / Midian]
Playazklub - City Of Circles CD
Tracklist:
1. The Way
2. Set The Record Straight
3. Natural Selection
4. The Beast
5. Eye-Wander
6. Ain’t No Sunshine
7. Techno Notice
8. MC Terminator Skit
9. Where We’re Living
10. Gabinetto
11. Graffia
12. Day Off
13. Do You Know?
14. Poetry Session
15. Organised
16. Live-O
17. Ramadam Jam Skit
18. Breaking Sound Barriers
19. MK City
This is another new crew to me, but they have apparently been together since 1997. In fact they formed on the day Princess Diana died, probably a day when most people can remember what they were doing. The group is four deep – J*, Nausee, Taa Dow & Justice, with their larger clique including Kraze-One, Maniphest, Fa Reel, Midian, Kade, Deadly Fusion and Nigel at Audio Lab. Each member brings something different to the sound and initially all their music was produced on keyboards; they admit that their music from back then required a lot of development and owe a got to their benefactor Tony Jones of Kriminal Minds. Since then they have collected gear and developed to the point of putting out wax. Their first release was Home-Grown in 2002 and all told the crew was quite pleased with the results. All along they have steered clear of the more usual sample based tracks with their music obviously reflecting the keyboard based origins of the crew. This has led the crew to a more commercial RnB flavour rather than hardcore boom and bap and is extenuated by the vocal styles and delivery which are more smooth than gruff and should appeal to the ladies. One thing they are to be commended for in my opinion is their commitment to using their own accents as this comes over both in the recordings and they way they promote themselves.

Now they have their 19 track LP ready to drop independently, a project which has taken around 9 months to bring to fruition. On the LP they have worked with a load of local talent including the Tru-Element crew: MC’s Kraze-One and Fa Reel alongside DJ Maniphest who lays down the cuts throughout.

The LP opens with a smooth groove – The Way which sets up the whole album with both in terms of its production and lyrical content. Set The Record Straight is no different as it opens up with a super funky bass line. The rapping is all delivered deliberately and clearly. The styles are pretty basic and don’t really attempt any new or distinctive flows, but in general the vocals are easy on the ear and with this understated style the MCs are able to slip in a few harder edged observations without making the tracks overbearing. Other usual topics include chatting about themselves and where they want to be in the future and generally the group have a positive feel to their work.

It is all pretty much standard tempo for Hip Hop, but the musicality of the compositions and arrangements stands out, especially as samples are not used. Natural Selection takes the vibe down a notch for a piano riff laced three tales of peer observations, the chorus topped off with a sung female lyric, which for me perhaps doesn’t totally fit with the rest of the track. The Beast returns more up tempo, but retains a sinister element to the vocals, whereas Eye-Wander gets even faster and is the most partysome track so far, having a bit of a UMC’s One To Grow On feel and judging from the title you can probably guess that this one mostly focuses on what the crew members think of the opposite sex.

Ain’t No Sunshine is possibly one of the most emotional tracks on the LP, obviously accentuated by the soulful vocals. Techno Notice continues this more jazzy influenced series with a sax laden track which production wise looks back to a previous era for inspirations, conversely the lyrics focus on modern technology and warn the listener of some of the inherent dangers. The crew can do comedy too, as demonstrated on the beatboxed Skit – MC Terminator. Where We Are Living is a more melancholic affair with electro synth backing, Gabinetto having a similar electro feel the track standing out by the almost chanted, but still understated, as the rest of PZK’s music, female chorus.

One of the few tracks that maintains a single topic throughout is the reminising Graffia in which the MCs recount how they got down whilst at school. Day Off is more light hearted with its folk guitar backing and seeming sung raps. Can’t go through all the tracks, but the final track is a huge posse cut featuring 8 local rappers all spitting and definitely needs a mention.

This year the crew has started to perform gigs and are starting to take things to the next level, their professionalism being shown by the inclusion of a full band into their live set up to give a more distinctive and rounded show.

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

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