Friday, March 21, 2008

Trini videos on youtube: Hard to find

Yeah brethren...and sistren,
Is me again, yuh favourite.

I was looking for some underground videos (i.e. made by artistes that I have never heard of) on youtube and trust me, it was very hard. I'm sure it's easier to find porn on youtube than videos from no-name Trini artistes. Anyway, you can check out what I did find. It's the best I can do...for now.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Chromatics: Against The Grain (review)

As Chromatics raps "Chromatics...that's what the game needs/this ain't last year I ain't movin at the same speed" on the track "Put it up" off his album "Against The Grain are we to agree with him? Is the 11-track debut album from this very talented mc of the pseudo-famous group called Spotrushaz (people know the name but how many know any of the songs?) any good? Well radio certainly hasn't done him any favours but jeddd...I'm inclined to say yes.

Now before this album I can't say I knew much about Chromatics. I certainly dug quite a few of Spotrushaz songs so ever so often woulda find yuh boy hitting up dey myspace page to listen some tune. Somehow though I noticed that one of the members of the group most embodied that sense of their self-promoted 'tief-head' music(no offence to de rest of SR though). Armed with a wicked flow, understandable delivery and the tendency to drop back into a trini accent and use local slang in punchlines occasionally, Chromatics started to stand out for me on a lot of tracks. I didn't even know the name until I heard the Andre Tanker remake Basement Party on the Internet. I think the feel of this song epitomizes Chromatics style and sets the tone for the majority of this album; non-rap sample on song, US accent rapping with some trini sprinkled in and impeccable delivery.

You wouldn't think that from the first track though. "The Entry" a track produced by Beebo is a straight out no-frills rap track. Chromatics comes out hitting hard ranting for two minutes and change with no chorus about how the industry/people really just eh studying his music then. Good stuff. Following that we get "Start it", a bouncy tune with a chutney-inspired beat from The Phoenix. In terms of lyrics, this track doesn't stray too much from mostly typical rap boasting fare but some nice punchlines carry us through; "Chromatics a threat labelled second to none and if you say I'm the best then I second you son". More good stuff. After this we have "Won't fall" feat Regazzi. This one has an Eminem feel a la "Till I Collapse" or "Lose Yourself". I found myself getting pumped during the first verse of this banger produced by The Phoenix and almost punched my wall (yeah I mad like that). The only disappointing thing is that hook isn't all that and things calm down significantly during the subsequent verses for some reason. After this we have two songs which I think represent the highpoint of the album. We have "Put It Up" produced by The Phoenix and " Hate Me" produced by Beebo (btw, these two producers are the only two producers on the album). "Put it Up" is a straight out banger with a catchy chorus and nice flow. The fact that I've never heard this song on radio means that the system probably fights more than just rastamen . Ah mean...I could really see myself brucking out in Zen to this. The other song "Hate Me" is for me one of the lyrical highlights of the album. On this album you will find that complaining about Industry 'fight down' is a common topic but on this track it works better than anywhere else. The Bob Marley sample just fits perfectly with the concept of 'fight down' and how Chromatics flows on the beat sends the message perfectly. Lots of good lines on this one eh but my favourite is this one (my favourite line on the album actually): "I'm Trinidad's underground crowned freestyle king/If you don't believe me put me and Bunji in a ring". I don't know if that statement represents truth but de way Chromatics delivers it I'm guessing it is and if it's not I'm guessing that truth is highly overrated. After this the album descends in hype to make way for some introspective cuts and then picks back up with "Basement Party". The video for this song has been circulating on the Internet for a while and frankly I think it's a groundbreaking song and has been one of the first songs that I've heard that makes me think that underground trini rap can blow up. Now I'm not disrespecting the myriad of other hot mcs from our local shores but most of the songs I've heard don't sound like they could be a hit to a non-rap listener (dat doh mean dey not good). From the time the bassline kicks in on "Basement Party" daz it. Lord tell me, why de industry ha to be so wicked? It's beyond my intellect to understand why I've never heard this song on radio. How many songs last year are better than this one? Anyhew, next we have "The Ballad" with Digicel rising start Justin Cross. The idea is a good one but the execution is mixed. The chorus is decent and the idea of rap on a soca-ish beat is interesting but the topic is kinda played and Chromatics never sounds totally comfortable on the beat. Not on the next song though. Now I know I've said this before in this review eh de hell are some of these songs not playing on radio? "Clarity" feat Yahrod is a reggae song speaking about a lot of what we the clairvoyant may not know about. Lyrically this is Chromatics at his best and it's refreshing to hear him speaking about stuff other than typical rap fare and the industry. Now don't get me wrong eh...Chromatics is a skilled mc with metaphors punchlines to burn and he does introspect on tracks like "Feel Alright" and "Pain" but at some points the 'fight down' rhetoric gets a bit repetitive. On "Clarity" his lyrics win and his chemistry with Yahrod is bess. In fact, Yahrod also kills it. I let a padner hear it and he was like..."Jeddd...who is Yahrod star?". This song is definitely sticky...catchy chorus, great lyrics, mind-blowing reggae rap mash up and a great beat from Beebo. The beat may seem simple but you can hear the rap in it if you listen carefully. Great stuff dude.

Overall, I would say that this is a great album. The only complaint I have is with some of the topic choices. Most underground artistes have a tendency to let 'fight down' sentiments seep into their music a lot and it could get repetitive. On the other hand, I would take this any day over gangsterisms and mundane threats a la 50 cent. The creativity level of this album is a notch above the output I've heard from other local rappers (if I'm wrong then send me yo sh*t to review then playa) and as an mc, Chromatics has interesting flow that is both complex and listenable at the same time. This album could be rated a BESS especially if one considers the fact that it was purchased for $40TT but personally I think that Chromatics has even better in him especially if he keeps fusing his US rap flow with a trini dialect flavour. Overall I give this album a DREAD AND A HALF. This album is currently available in Highway Records close to the Chaguanas taxi stand in Curepe and I suggest you buy it as soon as possible. Quality for a good price...yuh cyah go wrong.


BESS - An bonafide classic. Revolutionizes Trini music and destined to be imitated in years to come.

DREAD - A very good album. Doesn't do anything revolutionary but you'll be banging this for a while.

NO SCENE - Not particularly good but it eh go burn yuh ears or nuttin. A few good tracks.

NO HOSS - Very bad. A good try but it really not working.

TA TA - Real terrible. Getting through to the end of the cd is like a trip to the licensing office.

Basement Party video

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Underground Trini Artiste reviews (disclaimer)

Yeah folks,
Is me again. As I promised earlier I'm going to review the underground-released album by Chromatics titled "Against the grain" but before I get into all dat I'm going to release a little disclaimer cause I done know how sensitive and touchy artistes can be with their sh*t (me included).


  • Any review that I do on this blog is a matter a personal and pseudo-professional opinion. I'm underground and not part of the industry so I don't have any qualifications for doing this. I just know what good music sounds like.

  • I'm going to be explicitly getting permission from artistes before I review their sh*t. The reason for this is that I don't want to have to bite my tongue when I'm reviewing because I'm going to give my honest opinion. If you doh want that then doh let me review your sh*t.

  • Quality speaks for itself but again my reviews are just my personal opinion. If I say that your stuff needs work that doesn't mean that it does but it means that there is a high probability that it does. What you should do is get mad and work even harder (don't complain to me). That's what I do when people criticize me work anyway.

  • I'm doing this to help underground artistes like myself so I'm going to be very objective and try to give constructive criticism. Being human I may fall short but my purpose is to bring some structure to underground releases and give the public a beacon to good releases and a filter away from sloppy ones.

With all that said, look foward to "Against the grain review". In a timing...peace.