Review: While the world may be going to hell in the proverbial handcart, The Allergies show no signs of losing their heads. Each successive single is on the money, offering a blend of funk-fuelled hip-hop party-starters and the kind of boom-bap beats that will get your head nodding quicker than a toy dog on a car dashboard. Their latest seven-inch is another incendiary affair, with A-side "2 Much!" featuring a near perfect blend of dancefloor-ready grooves, funky instrumentation and high-speed raps from regular mic man Andy Cooper. The latter also makes his presence felt on flipside "Special 45", a scratch-sporting head-nodder rich in atmospheric chords, simmering strings and oven-warm bass.
Review: Astonishingly, Boogaloo's re-make of Pharoah Sanders classic "You've Gotta Have Freedom" is now 24 years old. It was originally included on the B-side of the jazz-loving Swedish hip-hop outfit's 1995 EP "Humongous Steps (Back Down To London)", but arguably became more widely known when it was reissued by G.A.M.M. on 12" in 2003. Here it appears on 7" for the first time, with the band's vocal version - a positive, life-affirming delight that brilliantly flits between sections faithful to Sanders' version and rapped section underpinned by live hip-hop breaks - being accompanied by an equally impressive instrumental take. If it's not already in your collection, this edition should be an essential purchase.
Review: Plenty of DJs have been spinning DJ Soopasoul's recent re-edit singles, while his outings for Jalepeno Records continue to set dancefloors alight. Rock It Don't Stop sees him in full cut-and-paste mode, serving up two variations on a break-propelled, party-starting theme. "Mix 1" of "Rock It Don't Stop" is a heady and intoxicating affair, with a familiar vocal refrain and party-hearty raps rising above a Shaft-tastic backing track seemingly crafted using elements from about ten different records. On "Mix 2", Soopasoul pushes the boat out even further, clashing and colliding familiar basslines, guitar riffs and Supersonic Force vocals with sweaty new drum solos and the heaviest backing breaks known to man. If anything, it's even more potent than the A-side... and that's saying something.
Review: Serial party starter Soopasoul raises the Rufus with this flighty take on this gutsy 77 classic. Splicing the vocals down to the nitty gritty (excuse us) so it's a bare naked call and response over some well polished breaks, Soopasoul's added a whole new lease of dancefloor energy. Flip for even more stripped back beat track. Hot.
Review: 4 Hero don Mark Mac's side project Visioneers gets a worthy vinyl reissue as part of the 15 years of BBE celebrations with this limited edition 45. "The World Is Yours" is a take on the Nas classic which originally (in this version) came out in 2002 on the Omniverse label. The flipside "It's Simple" turned up on the Dirty Old Hip-Hop album for BBE four years later. The Omniverse label was highly collectable at the time, so this will be a welcome release for those who missed the original 45 or just love the 7 inch format. Both tracks are a sweet hip-hop tinged instrumental ride with nice keys and jazzy vibes. Hot!
Review: Sample-digging beat-maker DJ Mitsu The Beats has been churning out blazed grooves and hazy, head-nodding workouts for well over 15 years. You'll find a fine example of his woozy, laidback and emotion-rich approach on the B-side of this Mukatsuku Records outing, which marks his first appearance on wax since 2016. While that track, "Pilot", is all warm Rhodes lines, toasty bass, Vibraphone flashes and crunchy MPC beats, it lets A-side "Let Go" shine - it was made in collaboration with Kaneko Takumi from Cro-Magnon and features spacey, Herbie Hancock style synthesizer lead lines stretching out over rich Fender Rhodes chords and shuffling, bossa nova-influenced beats.As played by DJ Spinna, Rob Luis (Tru Thoughts),Marc Hype,The Allergies,Kid Koala ,Nancy Noise,Smoov etc
Review: Bouncing his time between Antibalas and his Marcos Garcia and Chico Mann projects, Chico returns after several years of silence with a sweet slice of lolloping broken soul. With its soft padded synths and cotton wool hug of Kendra Morris's vocals, there's a delicate tumble to proceedings as we nod and slide into a sound that's remained in its own soul universe since emerging almost 20 years ago. When done as well and with as much authenticity as this, it's timeless.