NME's guide to what's happening next in
everything from poetic pop to ruthless rap.
Edited by SARAH CHAMPION and STEVE LAMACQ
British Rap music '89.
Bullshit! Home of the bitchy, ill-educated and down right rude. Squawking, squealing and speed rapping, England's rappers spiel out the cliches in their second hand street-speak. Kids who can't afford a mountain bike tell you about their BMW. Those phoney American accents, the unoriginal sexism and the old-hat bragging. Blaaahhh!
But, yo! All is not lost, for here come a crew who could change everything. Extinguish your cigarettes, fasten your seat belts and prepare for life off... it's the Ruthless Rap Assassins! Unrivalled in their wit and vision, they've written some of the finest lyrics ever heard from a British rap group. Out this week on a limited edition white label, Ruthless Rap Assassins have produced the most important British Rap 12" since Overlord X surprised us with 'l4 Days In May'. Entitled 'The DroneSession EP', it will go down in hip-hop history.
"Rap to us is about where we come from and what we can identity with," says Anderson, Rap Assassins' frontman and motormouth. "British rap shouldn't be just a diluted Yankee sound."
Anderson's vision is strong. He and fellow Assassins Kermit and Carson are a trio who've emerged from Manchester's throbbing Electro scene of scratching and break-dancing in the eariy '80s. As these crazes died down, they switched their energies to rapping, joining forces with Liverpudlian DJ and propaganda man Greg Wilson.
A sought-after white label 'We Don't Care' grabbed underground attention in '87. Then in '88 they signed to EMI, producing their sister group Kiss AMC's near hit 'Let Off'.
Now comes 'The Drone Session', a limited edition 12" unlike any Rap record you'll ever have heard before. Combining guitar licks stolen from Jimi Hendrix with old-fashioned scratching and Jamaican-style toasting, it is a taster for the Rap Assassins' EMI album 'The North Hulme Sound' to be released this summer.
Where Kiss AMC's 'Let Off' is a frivolous, throwaway pop song, 'The Drone Session' gets down to gritty reality. 'Crew From The North' and 'Jealous MC' are two tracks packed with North Hulme humour, whilst the lead tune 'Justice' is a hard-hitting ghetto poem tearing down barriers with its honesty.
"What happens to the brothers when they try and they fail / You wanna know the answer, take a look at your jails / I'm living in a system and you tell me it'sjust / But there ain't no justice. Just us..."