Tag Archives: DJ Format

Still Hungry: The Remixes EP Stream – DJ Format & Abdominal

still hungry cover

A diverse group of producers, including DJ Supreme, Featurecast and Savage Henry, put their own unique sonic stamp on a selection of cuts lifted from the recent critically-acclaimed Format / Abdominal album “Still Hungry”.

New Joint – DJ Format & Abdominal

DJ Format & Abdominal – “We’re Back” (@RocafortRecords / 2017)

Funk-fuelled b-boy flavour released on limited seven-inch vinyl via Spain’s Rocafort label with the track also being included on Format and Abdominal’s recently-released album “Still Hungry”.

New Joint – DJ Format & Abdominal

DJ Format & Abdominal – “Dirt” (@DJFormat4 / @MCAbdominal / 2017)

Taken from the forthcoming album “Still Hungry”.

New Joint – DJ Format & Abdominal

DJ Format & Abdominal – “Diamond Hammer” (@DJFormat4 / 2017)

Hard drums and quick-fire rhymes from the duo’s forthcoming album “Still Hungry”.

New Joint – DJ Format & Abdominal

DJ Format & Abdominal – “Behind The Scenes” (@DJFormat4 / @MCAbdominal / 2017)

Canada’s Abdominal offers an insight into the life of an independent emcee accompanied by funky Format production off the pair’s “Still Hungry” project.

Psych Out Mix Stream – DJ Format

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UK crate-digger DJ Format ventures deep into the world of psychedelic breaks and beats for this eclectic mix promoting his forthcoming BBE compilation of the same name.

New Joint – DJ Format & Abdominal

DJ Format & Abdominal – “We Say” (@DJFormat4 / @MCAbdominal / 2015)

Recapturing the musical chemistry heard on their previous collaborations, British producer extraordinaire Format and Canadian emcee Abdominal drop their first joint offering in approximately a decade ahead of the pair’s  UK Reunion Tour.

New Joint – DJ Format

dj-format-kool-the-gangstarr-generation

DJ Format – “Kool & The Gangstarr Generation” (@DJFormat4 / 2015)

The talented UK Hip-Hop junkie drops an impeccable example of high-level beat science with his latest single.

52 Best Albums & EPs Of 2013 (Part Five) – Life MC / The Doppelgangaz / K-Def etc.

Benny Diction & Able8 – “Life Moves” (Boom Bap Professionals) – UK emcee Benny Diction teamed-up with Australian producer Able8 for this quality collection of insightful rhymes and boundary-pushing beats. Able’s swirling synths, thick bass and dense drums provided an unpredictable soundscape for Diction’s unique view of the world around us.

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Wyld Bunch – “Unbreakable” (Effiscienz) – Backed by the soulful boom-bap production of France’s DJ Brans, the Brooklyn-based Bunch effectively captured the essence of golden-era East Coast Hip-Hop on this eight track EP which also featured the lyrical skills of  Masta Ace, Torae and Roc Marciano.

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Life MC – “Gift Of Life” (LifeMC.BandCamp.Com) – Having remained a staple of the UK Hip-Hop scene since his 90s debut as a member of Phi-Life Cypher, Life continued his successful musical chemistry with producer DJ Nappa, dropping another worthy addition to his solo catalogue which was packed with his usual blend of poignant social commentary and emcee bravado.

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DJ Format & Phill Most Chill – “The Foremost” (Project Blue Book) – Taking it back to the future, UK producer Format and veteran Philadelphia-based emcee Phill Most Chill delivered an uptempo blast of true-school b-boy flavour celebrating dusty breakbeats, lyrical agility and a shared love of Hip-Hop culture.

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Truth Universal – “Invent The Future” (Truth Universal Music) – At a time when many would argue that lyrical substance has been lost in Hip-Hop, New Orleans emcee Truth Universal dropped some serious edutainment on his latest project, tackling issues such as urban violence, health and poverty with insight and authority over dope beats from the likes of P.U.D.G.E., Kev Brown and Khrysis.

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Esoteric & Stu Bangas – “Machete Mode” (Man Bites Dog Records) – Not content with having already dropped a quality album in 2013 as one third of CZARFACE, Boston mic icon Esoteric joined forces with Stu Bangas to spit sharp lyrical barbs over the producer’s trademark sonic aggression on this hard-hitting project.  Well-placed guest appearances from the likes of Ill Bill, Vinnie Paz and Celph Titled kept the hardcore levels of “Machete Mode” peaking throughout.

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Qwel & Maker – “Beautiful Raw” (Galapagos4 Records) – The Chicago duo journeyed through a myriad of emotions on this multi-layered project which took the listener from the pain of struggle to the joy of success and everywhere in-between. Qwel’s passionate verses were a perfect match for Maker’s masterful musicianship, resulting in an album that will no doubt stand as an enduring body of work for years to come.

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The Doppelgangaz – “HARK” (Groggy Pack Entertainment) – NY’s Matter OV Fact and EP continued to promote the Black Cloak Lifestyle on their latest shadowy opus, mixing hypnotic, drum-heavy production with off-centre rhymes about questionable substances, personal hygiene and the finer points of the fairer sex. Like a good liquor, the ‘Gangaz once again proved themselves to be sonically dark, intoxicating and addictive.

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K-Def – “One Man Band” (Redefinition Records) – Taking inspiration from the likes of A Tribe Called Quest, 24-Carat Black and DJ Premier, the gifted New Jersey producer gave a new lick of musical paint to some familiar grooves on this ambitious instrumental EP, mixing the old with the new and adding another dimension to K-Def’s already impressive skills behind the boards.

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Heavy Links – “Heavyweight” (HeavyLinks.BandCamp.Com) – UK trio Habitat, El Tel and Donnie Propa dropped another quality EP  in 2013 that was packed with speaker-busting beats and vivid wordplay, providing further proof that Heavy Links are one of the most promising crews currently making music in the British scene. Heavyweight champs, indeed.

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John Robinson & Kyo Itachi – “The Path Of Mastery” (Shinigamie Records) – Making his name in the 90s as a member of NYC’s Scienz Of Life, longstanding wordsmith John Robinson continued to prove that true talent is timeless on this collaborative album with France’s Kyo Itachi. Mixing his usual brand of lyrical positivity with Itachi’s jazz-influenced beats, Robinson proved, once again, that the creative path he’s on is the correct one.

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Ryan Proctor

Check Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four.

The Foremost Album Sampler – DJ Format & Phill Most Chill

Creative snippets mix featuring tracks off the forthcoming breakbeat-fuelled, b-boy-friendly collabo album from the UK’s DJ Format and Stateside lyricist Phill Most Chill entitled “The Foremost”.

EP Review – Soundsci

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Soundsci

“The Ultimate EP”

(WorldExpoRecords.Com)

With their “Formula 99” project having been one of last year’s dopest albums, you’d be forgiven for expecting the Soundsci collective to have taken a little time off to recharge their creative batteries. After all, it’s difficult enough sometimes for a group living in the same city to co-ordinate their schedules to record new music, so it definitely can’t be easy to put together fresh material when your crew is divided by an ocean and various US state lines.

Yet rather than rest on their true-school laurels, UK-based producers Jonny Cuba and Ollie Teeba have got straight back into their virtual lab with Atlanta-based emcees Audessey and U-George, plus NY’s Oxygen, to deliver a tight eight-track package of new joints and remixes.

Kicking off with the body-rockin’ soul clap vibes of the EP’s title track, the group’s three wordsmiths conjour up the atmosphere of an old-school block party as they swiftly pass the mic between each other, dropping some good ol-fashioned lyrical bravado along the way with references to Shabba Doo, Kase 2, boomboxes, Spike Lee and Professor Griff.

DJ Spinna and the UK’s DJ Format are both on-hand to remix a track each from the previously-mentioned “Formula 99”. The Jigmasta’s take on “Ill Dialect” replaces the choppy, piano-laced boom-bap feel of the original with a soulful, intergalactic soundscape, whilst Brighton’s Format delivers some trademark drum-heavy breakbeat madness on his interpretation of the uptempo “Rhyme 4 Rhyme”.

“The Vow” is a heartfelt pledge from the crew to always remain true to their underground roots, claiming that they’re “never ’bout the pop or the fizz” over crisp kicks and a haunting vocal sample, whilst the previously released “Lyrical Beatdown” is a granite-tough slice of hardcore b-boy music that will have you pulling your hoodie up and lacing your Timberlands as the nasty guitar sample twists your grill into a satisfied grimace.

Another accomplished project from the Soundsci camp, “The Ultimate EP” is more of that timeless Hip-Hop that will still sound as good in decades to come as it does in the present day.

Ryan Proctor

Soundsci – “The Ultimate” (WorldExpoRecords.Com / 2013)

Golden Era Party Mix – Boca 45 & DJ Format

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UK-based vinyl junkies Boca 45 and DJ Format go back-to-back in the mix dropping some of their favourite golden-era-flavoured tracks from the likes of Gang Starr, Jurassic 5, Ultramagnetic MC’s and many more – take a sonic trip down memory lane here.

52 Best Albums & EPs Of 2012 (Part One) – Roc Marciano / Mystro / House Shoes etc.

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With 2012 almost out the door, it’s about that time for magazines, websites and blogs to take the customary look back over the last twelve months to highlight those releases most worthy of recognition for really hitting the sonic bullseye during the course of the year.

Whilst the usual debates concerning the state of Hip-Hop have continued to rage on street corners, social media sites and everywhere else music fans may congregate, inbetween the vast amount of mediocre and downright terrible music that’s come from the mainstream / underground rap worlds during 2012, there’s also been a decent number of impressive album and EP releases from various corners of Planet Rock which have all delivered in terms of quality, creativity and overall dopeness.

As I always say when putting a list like this together, the projects and artists included in this 2012 round-up aren’t the only names and releases that were worth checking over the last year, but they are the ones that spent the most time booming out of my headphones and speakers.

So, in no particular order…

Roc Marciano – “Reloaded” (Decon) – With the release of 2010’s “Marcberg” album transforming Strong Island’s Roc Marciano from respected underground emcee to Hip-Hop cult hero, the former UN member refined his Rotten Apple sound even further on this sophomore solo shot, delivering a relentless barrage of vivid wordplay over melodic, minimalist production.

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Nas – “Life Is Good” (Def Jam) – Arguably Queensbridge’s favourite son’s most cohesive and consistent body of work since 1994’s timeless “Illmatic”. Nas might not have chalked-up another universal classic with his latest album, but he did sound more comfortable in his own skin on this project than he has done in a long time, as he reminisced about 90s New York, dealt with parental responsibility and reflected on his recent marriage problems.

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Mystro – “Mystrogen” (Don’t Bizznizz) – Having started 2012 amidst rumours of retirement, veteran London emcee MysDiggi laid any such talk to rest with the release of his long-awaited debut full-length, lacing a varied selection of up-beat production from the likes of Mr. Thing and Black Einstein with his witty verses, leftfield life observations and sharp humour.

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DJ Premier & Bumpy Knuckles – “Kolexxxion” (Gracie Productions / Works Of Mart) – The infamous Freddie Foxxx teaming-up with hardcore composer DJ Premier for a full-length project was always going to result in something memorable and “Kolexxxion” definitely lived up to expectations. Bumpy proudly displayed his OG stripes, schooling upcoming artists on the rules of the game and giving his opinion on the state of the culture, whilst Premier crafted an impeccable selection of thoroughbred bangers tough enough to crack concrete.

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Keith Science – “Vessels Of Thought Volume II” (Central Wax Records) – A polished collection of instrumentals from the New Jersey-based producer, this album encompassed a number of different musical vibes and emotions, ranging from jazzy optimism to aggressive boom-bap, with each track maintaining its own unique sonic personality thanks to Science’s mastery of true-school Hip-Hop production.

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Apollo Brown & OC – “Trophies” (Mello Music Group) – Having built himself a solid reputation as the go-to man for drum-heavy underground production, Detroit’s Apollo Brown tested his talents to the limit by joining forces with legendary D.I.T.C. emcee OC, resulting in a quality concept-driven album full of head-nodding beats and lyrical jewels that contained enough creative chemistry to make the uninitiated think the pair had been recording together for years.

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Timeless Truth – “Brugal & Presidentes” (Timeless Truth) – Steeped in Rotten Apple heritage, Queens, NY brothers Solace and Oprime39 paid homage to their city’s traditional boom-bap sound on this EP unleashed at the top of 2012 without sounding like they were simply chasing the musical ghosts of a lost era. The duo’s intense, sample-heavy style and ferocious verbal artillery kept heads salivating all year for the release of their recent full-length “Rock-It Science”.

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Del The Funky Homosapien & Parallel Thought – “Attractive Sin” (Parallel Thought Ltd) – Ice Cube’s cousin has faced criticism in recent times for being just a little too off-the wall on some of his solo material, but whether it was a conscious decision or just natural creativity, on this Parallel Thought-produced project the Hiero emcee sounded more focused than he has in a long time. Backed by beats ranging from anthemic West Coast funk (“On Momma’s House”) to breakbeat-driven old-school flavour (“1520 Sedgewick”), Del delivered a potent lession in lyrical excellence that recalled the brilliance of his early critically-acclaimed work.

del album cover

DJ Format – “Statement Of Intent” (Project Blue Book) – A rejuvenated Format returned to burn on his third album, pulling together musical influences that ranged from old-school New York block parties and 80s electro to golden-era greatness, creating a diverse but ultimately-satisfying musical mosaic featuring the likes of Edan, Mr. Lif and Phill Most Chill holding down microphone duties. An entertaining sonic journey back to the future.

dj format cover

House Shoes – “Let It Go” (Tres Records) – A close friend of the late, great Dilla and a talented producer in his own right, Detroit’s House Shoes pulled together an impressive line-up of Motown talent such as Black Milk and Guilty Simpson plus a few out-of-towners (Roc Marciano, The Alchemist etc) to ensure his official debut album was something to remember. Clearly feeling he had something to prove to the non-believers out there, “Let It Go” wasn’t just the sound of a producer putting together a typical compilation-style album, this was the sound of a man on a musical mission.

house shoes album cover

Ryan Proctor

Part Two coming soon.

Statement Of Intent Tour Video – DJ Format & The Simonsound

Feature-length video combining both music, visuals and footage from DJ Format’s recent European tour promoting his brilliant “Statement Of Intent” album – this is absolute genius!

April Weekend 2012 Mix Download – Kenny Dope

The legendary Kenny Dope gets busy on the ones and two for another weekend mix extravaganza featuring Hip-Hop, soul, funk and breaks from the likes of Silent Someone, Raekwon, Billy Stewart, DJ Format, Dionne Warwick and more – download here.

New Joint – DJ Format / Sureshot La Rock

DJ Format ft. Sureshot La Rock – “Remember (Beatbox Version)” (Slice-Of-Spice.Com / 2012)

Snippet of the exclusive remix of this nostalgia-driven track which will form part of Slice-Of-Spice’s special vinyl collectors release of DJ Format’s recent album “Statement Of Intent”.

Album Review – DJ Format

DJ Format

“Statement Of Intent”

(Project Blue Book Records)

It’s been nearly a decade since the release of UK vinyl junkie DJ Format’s 2003 debut album “Music For The Mature B-Boy” and seven years since its follow-up, 2005’s “If You Can’t Join ‘Em…Beat ‘Em”. Since then the Brighton-based producer’s presence on wax has been fairly limited, with Format becoming known more for his party-rocking live deejay sets and mixes than his own musical output. But, as its title suggests, with this third album the dedicated crate-digger returns to remind listeners of his capabilities behind the boards with what appears to be a renewed sense of vigour.

To these ears, “Statement Of Intent” showcases the work of a rejuvenated Format. It’s not that any of the tracks included here are a million miles away from the producer’s trademark mix of obscure samples, deft cuts and hand-picked underground lyricists, but there does seem to be a grittier, more aggressive feel to this project in places compared to Format’s past work, as if he really felt he had something to prove this time around (perhaps to himself more than others). If so, that sense of purpose and determination has definitely led to some positive results in the studio.

Having worked closely on previous releases with Canada’s Abdominal, this time around it’s Washington D.C.-raised Diggers With Gratitude emcee Sureshot La Rock who maintains a constant and welcome presence throughout “Statement Of Intent”. The opening title track finds the talented wordsmith giving props to some of the pair’s shared old-school influences, name-checking the likes of Melle Mel and Grandmaster Caz over expertly chopped beats and a variety of fast-moving samples. Whilst on the Levi 167-sampling “Dope Pusher”, La Rock peppers the track’s dense soundscape with cocky, larger-than-life boasts.

The relentless “Spaceship Earth” features Boston’s Edan travelling at magnificent speeds around the universe, dropping a rapid multi-syllable flow that would make Big Daddy Kane smile over rattling drums and whip-lashing psychedelic guitar (“Starting a colony deep in the galaxy must be the aim of astronomy, Crooked economy killing ecology”).

On the instrumental side, the dusty vibes, old-school chants and free-flowing funk of “Beyond Disco” (co-produced by The Simonsound) evokes the eclectic feel of mixes heard on Afrika Islam’s NY-based early-80s “Zulu Beat” radio show, whilst the brilliant “Battle Of The Planets” brings back memories of the electro era, with Format taking to the vocoder to issue dance-friendly instructions over rolling drums, melodic synths and space-age sound effects (“The whole galaxy is watching, This is a universal jam….Interplanetary b-boys I know you came to throw down”).

Another stand-out is the humorous “Remember…” which features Sureshot La Rock cleverly paying homage to the various females who’ve been immortalised on wax by the likes of Just-Ice, Stetsasonic and UTFO over dreamy chimes and mellow guitar (“The other day I took a stroll down memory lane, Erick and Parrish were makin’ dollars pimpin’ out Jane, You shoulda seen her kickin’ game, I tried not to stare but, It’s been twenty years with that Anita Baker haircut!”).

With further input from Mr. Lif, Phill Most Chill and The Nostalgia 77 Quintet, “Statement Of Intent” covers a lot of musical ground, from true-school breakbeat-driven anthems (“Live At The Place To Be”) to full-blown jazz (“The Long Goodbye”), but Format consistently hits the target regardless of where his musical inspiration is coming from.

In my opinion, “Statement Of Intent” contains DJ Format’s best work to date, mixing his experimental tendencies and love of Hip-Hop with a new sense of urgency and sonic vitality. As far as statements go, this particular one is hard to refute.

Ryan Proctor

DJ Format ft. Edan – “Spaceship Earth” (Project Blue Book Records / 2012)

 

New Joint – DJ Format / Edan

DJ Format ft. Edan – “Spaceship Earth” (Project Blue Book / 2012)

Taken from the UK producer’s new album “Statement Of Intent” which dropped this week and features appearances from Mr. Lif, Phill Most Chill and Sureshot La Rock.

Statement Of Intent Album Trailer – DJ Format

Trailer for UK producer DJ Format’s forthcoming album “Statement Of Intent” which features appearances from Mr. Lif, Phill Most Chill, Sureshot La Rock and more.