Supa Crew: X Raisons - International Version
The dearth of inspirational rap lyricists makes French hip-hop's
language barrier seem less significant. If you find yourself
listening to rap for the sound rather than the meaning,
why restrict yourself to English-speaking MCs?
Saïan Supa Crew had help from anglophone MCs, including
Roots Manuva and Brand Nubian, in rejigging their 2001 album
X Raisons for a global audience - but it's the sextet's
native tongue, often delivered at helter-skelter velocity,
that gives the album its energy and charisma.
The production, meanwhile, requires no translation. As nimble,
playful and melodic as Jurassic 5 or A Tribe Called Quest,
it's for those who like their hip-hop fun-sized (one track
replicates Hendrix's Voodoo Chile with a human beatbox).
And if you're bilingual enough to unpick their peppery commentary
on the police, gang violence and religion from the dense
tangles of French slang, then that's a bonus.
Studt: False Smiles
ladies admire Mis-Teeq's sparkling sass and skater girls
have got Avril Lavigne's pout to practice in front of the
mirror. But there has been no role model for the limp-haired,
shiny-faced, misunderstood teen for whom designer labels
are evil and angst is a poetic necessity. Until now.
For Amy Studt, being 16 is less about being sweet than surviving.
Although she is a protege of Simon "Spice Girls"
Fuller, Studt isn't your usual pop princess: she has the
requisite centre parting of a singer-songwriter and the
troubled soul of the least popular girl at school.
Armed with classy, catchy songs - co-written by Karen Poole
of Alisha's Attic, Gary Barlow and the usual Swedish suspects
- Studt keeps the mood thoughtful and vocal gymnastics to
She is spiky on Misfit and swooning on the dreamy Carry
Me Away, before standing up for the scruffy and sensitive
on Ladder in My Tights, hesitant as she swears, an angel
in unfashionable clothes.
release of Radiohead's Hail to the Thief is finally upon
us, meaning that pop crits can assume their most chin-stroking
stance and pontificate at length. The NME has actually been
doing this for the last six months, with soporific weekly
bulletins about the progress of the album. Last week it
was reduced to detailing the band's promotional schedule,
producing behind-the-scenes revelations such as: "May
26 - Radiohead didn't get the chance to relax on their bank-holiday
Monday. Instead, they squeezed in two photo shoots, a magazine
interview and a rehearsal for the next day's later appearance."
Reaction to the album from the rest of the press was less
breathless. Although London's Time Out declared, "It
sees them balancing a desire for experimentation with some
of their stompiest tunes since The Bends," Q cautioned,
"Some of it comes dangerously close to being all experimentalism
and precious little substance." The Guardian grumbled,
"Neither startlingly different...nor packed with the
sort of anthemic songs that once made them the world's biggest
band." Thom and the Head boys can expect a straight-in-at-number-one
scenario, anyway, while Coldplay - aka last year's Radiohead
- may find themselves overlooked at the next Brit Awards.
Top Five Albums
Vandross, Dance With My Father
2. Metallica, St. Anger
3. Radiohead, Hail To The Thief
4. Annie Lennox, Bare
5. George Strait, Honkytonkville
Top Five R&b/hip-hop Albums
Vandross, Dance With My Father
2. Joe Budden, Joe Budden
3. Soundtrack, 2 Fast 2 Furious
4. David Banner, Mississippi: The Album
5. 50 Cent, Get Rich Or Die Tryin'
Top Independent Albums
1. Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz, Kings Of Crunk
2. Various Artists, Vans Warped Tour 2003 Compilation
3. Dropkick Murphys, Blackout
4. Mannheim Steamroller/C.W. McCall, American Spirit
5. Craig Morgan, I Love It