Tag Archives: Sam

Straight Outta Putney

In a special review segment, Dom Kureen got in touch with 90’s hip-hop almanac Sam Cox to discuss the finer points of recently released N.W.A biopic “Straight Outta Compton”.

DK: Hello Sam; as a musician who grew up heavily influenced by 1990’s hip-hop, what are your overriding thoughts about “Straight Outta Compton” the movie?

SC: The film was visually impressive, obviously sounded good but felt weak. I imagine it’s what 50 Shades of grey felt like on the big screen to all those female minions of the novel.

The casting was relatively strong, but do you think having Ice Cube & Dr Dre producing might have affected the portrayal of certain key players?

I don’t think the casting was strong. Dre was well represented. He’s always been in the background and doesn’t shout about things media wise – he came across as you’d expect. Ice Cube clearly had no issues with his son playing him, but watching was a reminder that his Dad can actually act a lot better than Junior. “Boyz ‘n’ the Hood” was special. Eazy was poorly represented – the dude was nuts in real life!

Ice Cube and son - only one is blessed with acting and rap skills, although both have very chubby hands.
Ice Cube and son – only one is blessed with acting and rap skills, although both have very chubby hands.

For anyone not familiar with this era of hip-hop what/who would you recommend as essential listening?

Cypress Hill got me going. DJ Muggs is for me the best beat maker of that period. Rugged and natural – uses real beat samples; loops not just hits. Somehow the Hill clicked like the Prodigy back in the UK. I remember watching the video of Snoop’s “What’s my name?” when rap video was starting to kick off. That tune killed it – all of a sudden there was a focus on the west coast of the states

Why do you think the early 90’s seemed to produce so much amazing rap compared to the present day?

It was fresh back then. James Brown’s funky drummer gave groups like Public Enemy and N.W.A a starting point for percussion. The rest followed for a good decade but sadly thinned out. These days it’s fake drum sounds – sounds apparent in the 80’s, which is cool, but I’ve yet to hear them transfer well onto a track.

Sprinkle some shoddy vocals about one’s demeanour, and some new age R ‘n’ B and It’s a recipe for the masses. I guess the thing is the masses seem to lap things up without complaint these days and who can blame them? Hip-hop is now more a state of mind than a movement.

In a perverse way is a lot of what N.W.A discussed even more taboo in 2015 than it was in 1991?

Quite the opposite, but sadly not much seems to have changed. It’s been static for so long that the hip-hop we hear in 2015 seems designed for stagnation. God only knows the effect that has on young black Americans. There was a time just before the ‘net when (Talib) Kweli, De La Soul, Mos Def, the Roots et al threatened to break through… then came Pirate Bay and Kanye West.

Now all I can gauge is a strange blur of hip-hop and R ‘n’ B. Neither seems to represent anything other than MTV. Drake can suck my balls.

N.W.A

Kanye West is a clumsy rapper, but an excellent producer and self-publicist!

He’s the next President.

 

Do you think people’s progressively shorter attention spans aligned with the on-line nature of music has spelled the end for really exciting underground record releases?

Yeah man, absolutely. Gone are the days of record shopping – guys are screwed on UK high streets these days. I spend most of my time now in New Look recommending dresses for my girlfriend. Ten years back she’d be commending me on my new knee high socks and Mobb Deep album. The underground is still there, it’s just a lot further beneath the surface, and ironically easy to find.

Did you ever wear a large clock around your neck?

No, but I did have Nike tick ear studs. They don’t sell those in New Look.

Straight outta Putney!

Doesn’t get much more ghetto than SW15.

Can you throw out a couple of lesser known hip-hop tracks from that time that people wanting to learn about the scene should listen to?

Here are a few;

 

And finally; with regards to the film, how many stars would you give it and how would you sum it up?

Two stars… The film does nothing for the era that was. I remember smuggling N.W.A cassettes upstairs when I was 7, getting friends round and listening to them. Good times. Hip-hop progressed almost magically for a decade after that. When N.W.A split there was genuine excitement to see who was going where.

Straight Outta Compton is now showing across the UK, apart from in the Commodore cinema in Ryde on the Isle of Wight, which will receive the film reel in late 2038.

Sam Cox:
Dom Kureen:

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Festival season 2015: Who’s playing where this summer?

With the UK music festival season rapidly approaching, there are now more choices than ever before for the weekend raver. Dom Kureen takes a look at some of the most notable events and how they’re shaping up so far.

June

Fleetwood Mac
Fleetwood Mac will kick off festival season on the Isle of Wight.

 

Isle of Wight Festival

Venue: Seaclose Park, Isle of Wight
Dates: 11-14 June
Weekend camping price: £208

Headline acts
Fleetwood Mac, Blur, The Black Keys, The Prodigy, Max.Lyrical.

Isle of Wight Festival website
Kureen 2014 Isle of Wight Festival review 

Download Festival

Venue: Donington Park, Leicestershire
Dates: 12-14 June
Weekend camping price: £215

Headline acts
Muse, Slipknot, Kiss, Faith No More, Motley Crue

Download website

Glastonbury Festival

Venue: Worthy Farm, Pilton.
Dates: 24-28 June
Weekend camping price: £225

Headline acts
Kanye West, Lionel Richie, Foo Fighters

Glastonbury website
Kureen 2014 Glastonbury review

Wireless 10

Venue: Finsbury Park, London
Date: 28 June
Day ticket price: £76.45

Headline acts
Drake, Rita Ora, Chance the Rapper, Katy B, Public Enemy

Wireless 10 website

July

Drake
Drake goes Wireless in July

Wireless Festival

Venue: Finsbury Park, London.
Dates: 3-5 July
Weekend camping price: £209.50

Headline acts
Drake, Jesse J, Avicii, Mary J Blige, David Guetta

Wireless Festival website

T2015

Venue: Strathallan castle, Perthshire, Scotland
Dates: 10-12 July
Weekend camping price: £194

Headline acts
Kasabian, Sam Smith, The Libertines, Kasabian, The Prodigy

T2015 website

Latitude Festival

Venue: Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk
Dates: 16-19 July
Weekend camping price: £200.50

Headline acts
Portishead, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Alt-J, Alan Davies, Jon Richardson 

Latitude website

Love Box

Venue: Victoria Park, Tower Hamlets, London.
Dates: 17-18 July
Weekend camping price: £93.50

Headline acts
Snoop Dogg, Rudimental, Bonobo, Jessie Ware, Cypress Hill

Love Box website

Secret Garden Party

Venue: Mill Hill Field, Abbots Ripton
Dates: 23-26 July
Weekend camping price: £190.50

Headline acts
Jungle, Public Service Broadcasting, Palma Violets, Menace Beach

Secret Garden Party website

August

Sam Smith
Sam Smith: Far too clean looking for the festival crowd

 

Boomtown Fair

Venue: Matterley Estate, Winchester, Hampshire
Dates: August 13-16
Weekend camping price: £155

Headline acts
Stephen Marley, Gogol Bordello, Flogging Molly

Boomtown Fair website

V Festival

Venues: Weston Park, Staffordshire / Hylands Park, Chelmsford
Dates: August 22-23
Weekend camping price: £189

Headline acts
Calvin Harris, Stereophonics, Sam Smith, Tom Jones

V Festival website

Reading and Leeds Festival

Venues: Richfield Avenue, Reading / Braham Park, Leeds
Dates: August 28-30
Weekend camping price: £205

Headline acts
Mumford and Sons, The Libertines, Limp Bizkit, Metallica

Reading Festival website
Leeds Festival website

Creamfields

Venue: Alex James’s Farm, Kingham, The Cotswolds
Dates: August 28-30
Weekend camping price: £154.50

Headline acts
Paloma Faith, Grandmaster Flash, Groove Armada

Creamfields website

September

Chemical Brothers
The Chemical Brothers sent in the clowns last summer

 

Festival No.6

Venue: Portmeirion, Wales
Dates: September 3-6
Weekend camping price: £170

Headline acts
Grace Jones, Belle & Sebastian, Ghost Poet

Festival No.6 website

Bestival

Venue: Robin Hill, Isle of Wight
Dates: September 10-13
Weekend camping price: £195

Headline acts
Chemical Brothers, Underworld, Duran Duran

Bestival website
Kureen 2014: 10 local acts you won’t want to miss

OnBlackheath

Venue: Blackheath, London
Dates: September 12-13
Weekend price: £89

Headline acts
Manic Street Preachers, Elbow, Madness

OnBlackheath website

Let us know which festival catches your eye, in the meantime here’s ‘Never going back again’ from the legendary Fleetwood Mac.

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Sam Pepper: sexual harassment or over reaction?

Sam Pepper hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons last week. The YouTube prankster’s latest upload featured him pinching a host of female buttocks whilst pretending to ask for directions.

Sam Pepper 2

Pepper, a former Big Brother UK contestant, was forced to remove his video and issue a grovelling, sycophantic online apology, replete with piped in sentimental violin strains. During this remorseful rhetoric the 25 year-old also attempted to justify his earlier prank by stating that it was part of a trilogy of videos to highlight the different reactions towards the sexual harassment of women and men, as well as suggesting that the duped females in the video were all actors.

Although there was predictably an array of outrage towards the first video in the series, it merely continued a trend of increasingly salacious high jinks executed in order to increase subscriptions, views and likes attributed to specific accounts.

Heading into ‘the hood’, a multitude of attention seekers actively revel in being attacked in response to contrived antagonism, thus gaining footage that warrants ‘gone wrong’ in parenthesis at the end of the video title (something also guaranteed to garner curiosity from bored surfers.)

It seems that nothing is off limits in order to get a reaction, be it fake kidnappings, racist diatribe in areas where colours can start knife fights, or pinching the posteriors of unsuspecting ladies. The ends justifies the means when the video goes viral.

What Sam Pepper did was misogynistic no doubt and the catalyst for an outpouring of YouTube disapproval. His actions resulted in a petition against the former graffiti artist and ensured that justice, albeit on a minor scale, was rapidly dished out.

Worse still for Pepper, a myriad of his past victims have now surfaced, with claims that he is a sexual deviant who has forced dozens of women into sexually compromising situations and refused to cease even when they made known their discomfort.

While it’s grand to see a hokey, vile twerp get his comeuppance, it only serves to paper over the cracks of what constitutes unacceptable among the YouTube community.

People making racist comments towards under privileged black people is surely worthy of as much of a mention, notwithstanding the fact that physical contact usually transcends anything verbal.

Consider the following video – why is this kind of blatant, barely veiled racism not receiving a throng of objections and vitriol, that in itself surely carries more than a pinch of hypocrisy in light of rump grope-gate.

So, what now for Sam Pepper? We shall see. He has vowed to mend his ways and learn from this experience, but the fact that these promises were delivered in such a condescending, seemingly spurious manner and taking into account his past indiscretions, it may be best for all if the guy takes a lengthy/indefinite sabbatical from the internet – by then many of his detractors will have found plenty of other things to gripe about and he can sell himself as a toned down version of what he’d previously become.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.