UK Hip Hop: Artists & Discographies www.low-life.fsnet.co.uk
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Westek - Street Banger Mix Tape Vol. 1 [Urban Fire Recordings]
Westek - Street Banger Mix Tape - Vol. 1
Urban Fire Records have been making a big impact around the West London area with the recent releases from Shiloh and Frontline. They definitely have big plans and are moving things along nicely with their promotional push. After the first two releases the build up is now for Westek's new Fame track which features none other than the mega star David Bowie. I'm not sure if this is in the fake sense of 617's comedic so called collaboration with Tony Blair, but never mind as all the material I have checked so far is top quality.

This CD has a track list weighing in at 35 tracks!! and is a showcase for all that is good down at Urban Fire HQ. The familiar beats from the Westdon single opens up the CD which isn't really a mix, it is more like Creamo's Peep & Pass in that the tracks are really roughly chopped off short, some of which are actually less than 30 seconds long and as such this is just a series of tasters. What I can say about this format, whilst it seems a bit fake to call it a mix CD it never the less really gets ones aural juices flowing in anticipation of the official releases which contain these tracks. There is too much material to go into it in depth here, plus I don't have a track list so any references I make won't mean anything to you. Suffice to say that in general this all real raw and whilst most of this is dark mid tempo grimeyness, many of the tracks still bump and the MCs are able to express themselves both intelligently and in a manner that is both realistic and observational. Whilst many of the lyrics may veer towards gunplay and other such topics which to so many listeners may seem far fetched, like Skinnyman, these guys are rapping about what they see and as such are educating those rural bumpkins who choose to be so blinkered in their views of reality only relating to their own experiences and not opening up to the realities of these guys lives that they can't comprehend this material. This is especially perplexing when these fans would lap up such material if it came from the US.

The production across the set is very tasty. The samples are worked in a classic manner, but at the same time a fresh feel is maintained. There is a variety from the slow paced RnB feel of track 12, to double paced flows which will rip up a dance floor or the more experimental flows of the following track 13 and the total piss take of track 20 which features real out of tune singing and comedy love lyrics. Funk rubs up against the occasional Reggae riddim, but most of the material remains somewhere in between and is standard fare, but impeccably realised. Some classic contemporary beats such as Kanye's Jesus Walks are culled and spat over and don't sound out of place or any better than the home grown offerings. Interesting vocal snippets from films are used as quick skits between some of the tracks

The full Hip Hop rosta from Urban Fire all get their shine here: Frontline, Shiloh, Tyson, Picks, Marcyphonics, Ratt, Henry VIII, Scorcher and Merrisa and together they form an intimidating stable of talent. All come correct with UK accents and with loads of UK references it is easy to understand where these artists are coming from and to empathise with their messages. All told they come over as pretty much the finished article ready to blow. These guys aren't going to make the charts, but should gain some recognition with real heads due to the authenticity of their sentiments and intentions. I suggest that you search out these guys product, you shouldn't be disappointed.
 

Shiloh Article :: Frontline Article
Urban Fire Discography
Visit Urbanfire Recordings on the web: http://www.urbanfire.co.uk
For bookings and interviews contact: [email protected]

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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