1. The Cool Kids | A Little Bit Cooler
The Cool Kids were a Big Influence on my Music and me as a Person in general. I heard The Cool Kids at a time when US and UK Rap Music was a pretty Ghetto Scene. I had Slow Internet Connection at home, so I used to watch BET to hear New Music overseas. I once saw their song/Video Black Mags on BET and thought The Cool Kids? That’s a dumb name!... I couldn’t get my brain around the Weird Bitty Base Lines and Retro Style they were attempting to do, no one else was doing that at this point. I ignored the group for a few months until I decided to Search the Web for their other Music to try understand more. I ended up really getting into it. A Little Bit Cooler was a song from there 2007 album The Bake Sale. The Beat was Simplistic, Immature, yet had a Dark-ish vibe. Michael Rocks (member of the group) raps two Solid yet Sarcastic Verses about the everyday activities he goes through, whilst bragging about the Exclusive Boutique Clothes he owns. The Crude, Amusing Production x the Lyrics spoke a message in a Comedic way; Being Cool does not necessarily mean being Gangsta, Be You. I still listen to The Cool Kids a lot to this day.
2. Collie Budz | Come Around
Reggae is that Genre that I forgot about for years, until about a year ago when I really started getting back to my Jamaican Roots. Let’s be honest, in terms of Production, Reggae Music will never be the same as when it began. A lot of Reggae Artists (in my opinion) now sway towards Dance Hall, House and Hip-Hop Beats because that’s where the money's at. However, there is still a number of Artists using the 21’s Century’s Sounds to make good, Authentic Reggae. Collie Budz does this well. His song Come Around is a well-known one. I remember originally hearing the Instrumental alone, with Lil Wayne spitting a Freestyle over the Beat on BET’s Rap City. I found the Original song/Video on YouTube and my head was instantly bopping. The Horns and Guitar Picks were surrounded by a terrifying Deep Base-Line. Collie had the Rawest Jamaican Singing Voice, I had to replay the song a few times to get my head around some of the Patois Slang. Finding out this was a White Man Singing was probably the Biggest Shock of all.
3. Busta Rhymes | Woo-Hah!! Got You All In Check
This was one of the First Hip-Hop Songs (Videos) I Ever Saw. It must have been early 2000 or maybe even earlier, I can't remember exactly. I remember turning on the TV and seeing this Young, Dreaded Up Black Guy, Dancing in a White Room, wearing probably the Biggest Fashion Mistakes of the 90's. Not knowing any better, I just thought "Man, this is so cool". My dad had an R&B Mix CD with Woo-Hah!! on it, I played it loud on my CD Player in my room and listened to that song over and over too, tried to remember the Words. To me this song represents the Start of the More Fun Hip-Hop Era.
4. My Panda Shall Fly | Kandy
This was another recent find. Again browsing XLR8R.com I downloaded this track randomly. I opened the track in iTunes and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I did my research and listened to My Panda Shall Fly’s Mixes for hours on YouTube. The track Kandy shows there really is No Limitation in Electronic Music Today, this is the Music of the Future; Off Beat Drums, Odd Synths mixed with Samples and Scattered Percussion Sounds. All perfectly mixed down into a Masterpiece. My Panda Shall Fly opened my mind and the door to a lot more Alternative Underground Electronic Producers. His Music really made me want to step out of my comfort zone with Producing and Go Wild. I think my latest track duyu would have been a different result if I hadn’t heard a lot of these Underground Producers.
5. Snoop Dogg | That’s That Shit (feat. R. Kelly)
Snoop was Everyone’s Favourite Rapper Growing Up, I hated to follow the crowd, but I couldn’t hide my Love for the Dogg Father’s Music. His 2006 Blue Carpet Treatment album was the First CD I Ever Bought With My Own Money, I cherished that CD. One of the three big Singles from the album was That’s That Shit, featuring R. Kelly on the Chorus. This was what I considered Real Rap Music. The Live Flutes and Strings combined with a Smooth Baseline and Simple Drum Sequence just scream the Essence of that Cool, Chilled Out Gangsta Rap. Snoop Dogg has a Voice that can’t be replicated, he Raps three strong Verses involving his usual Lyrical content; Women, B Class Drugs and his Penis Size.
6. Justin Timberlake | My Love (feat. T.I.)
This has to be one of my All-Time Favourites. Justin Timberlake's Vocals x Timbaland's Production = Perfection Every Time. I must have been 12-13 when I first heard this, at that time I was mainly into Rap/Hip-Hop and Grime, so this Pop Anthem was almost like a guilty pleasure to me. This song was undoubtedly one of my Most Played from 2006. Timbaland's Signature Beat-Box Drum, fused with Futuristic Synths made the track something very Different. The fact the song featured a smooth 16 Bars from my Favourite Rapper at the time T.I., was the icing on the cake.
7. TNGHT | Bugg'n
I heard TNGHT back in 2012, my girlfriend actually showed me their EP on a Sunday Morning. I'd heard Trap Music before, but never Trap Music like this. It was that perfect 140 Grime-like Tempo. Their Production was, I'd say, Goofy in a good way. Bugg'n just had that silly Drop, with Simple tinny Melody throughout. TNGHT got me excited about Instrumental Music again, they made it Fun. This track inspired a lot of my own Music, such as TDTT & WAB.
8. John Wizards | Durvs
John Wizards are one of the Most Recent Artists I Have Listened To. I heard them from just randomly browsing on XLR8R.com one time. I downloaded one of their tracks, purely because their name interested me. The first song of theirs I heard was Lusaka By Night, after replaying that song for weeks on end, I finally Googled them. I found out they’re a South African band. I proceeded to buy their Debut Album John Wizards. Their Sound is like nothing I’ve heard before, so Tropical. Predominately Electronic Sounds, but obvious influences of Live Instruments.
9. Metronomy | We Broke Free
I first heard Metronomy at Reading Festival in 2013. I randomly stopped to watch them perform a Set in the late afternoon, not knowing who they were or what Music they made, I ended up staying for the entire Performance. I was instantly interested in the band's Original Sound and Look. I remember I downloaded their The English Riviera EP (Album) which I then realised had been out since 2011! I was never into Indie bands growing up, but these guys changed my whole perspective on the Genre, which lead me to take influences from other bands like; Everything Everything and T.E.E.D. Their Chilled Synths Layered over Real Live Bass Guitar and Drums are just Flawless.
10. Chipmunk | Who Are You?
I heard this back in '08 when UK Grime was really Popular. Chipmunk was the First UK Rapper I'd Ever Heard/Seen on MTV Base. Although the majority of the Lyrical content was bragging & stating his name in The Game, it was a Classic to me. It was relatable, the Accents, the Dress Sense; Tracksuits, Slogan T-Shirts and even the BMX's. The fact he was 16 when the song came out really made me realise, Young British Black Artists/Producers Really Do Have A Chance In This Industry. This song alone made me interested in Grime Music, all the Strange Melodies and Wobbly Raw Baselines you can fit around a 140 BPM Drum Loop are an Adolescent Memory. I originally made my name by Producing Grime, from 2009-2012 under the name That Boy Slim.H.