They call her ‘Fire Mama’, and with good reason. Queen Ifrica has a reputation for venturing where angels fear to tread and there’s no sign of her mellowing just yet, given recent singles like Lie Dem A Tell and Ask My Granny. It’s been seven years since her last album – unless you count 2014’s The Official Mix-Tape – but there’s a new set due in early January that she describes as, ‘a beautiful collection of love songs and message songs’
“It’s called Crime, and that’s a song which is talking about being very low in the struggle and finding a way to survive, and just climbing out of this foolishness,” she says during a recent trip to the UK. “People feel they have been left alone with the struggles of life and they just need to find a way out of it. That’s what the song is saying, and I have a song on there with Junior Gong that I know people are going to love as well.”
When we spoke she’d just visited South Africa and performed at an event organised by the ANC Women’s League to commemorate Winnie Mandela’s 80th birthday.
“That was such a wonderful experience,” she purrs. “It was very uplifting and she’s such a great personality… ”
Lindsey Webster’s debut single for Shanachie Records, Back To Your Heart, sits at number five on the Billboard Smooth-Jazz Chart as these words head off to the printer. It’s still rising and follows up a number one on the same listing for Fool Me Once, and a number three for Open Up, two extracts from her last album, You Change. This is both good news and… well, not exactly bad – since any kind of chart action is very welcome to an indie artist still looking to reward their artistic endeavour with wider recognition and support – but it is a little odd, since the redoubtable Lindsey and her musical partner/recently-promoted-to-husband, Keith Slattery, don’t actually make smooth-jazz [as we have grown to loathe and understand it]. So let’s explain…
As hip-hop ages and the reissues, books and biopics start to pile up, we’re starting to get a more specific picture of the genre’s history, not least through documentaries. Hip-hop came around at a time when it was easier and cheaper to film than during the soul era, which might be why, as rap’s ‘90s generation has grown up and wants to put its stamp on history, this decade has seen several docs on the genre’s ‘90s period. The latest is Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives.
Unlike most hip-hop docs, it’s unusually about two radio personalities. It’s not the first to shine a light on hip-hop’s support system, the DJ, but where docs like Scratch focused on turntablists, RTCL is all about two DJs who helped shape rap tastes in the aforementioned decade, whose show The Source is named as the Best Hip Hop Radio Show of All Time, with good reason. For a long stretch of the decade, they were the underground tastemakers, not just for New York, but, thanks to tape networks, the rest of the US and abroad.
“No-one has any monopoly on who becomes a star or whose records get played anymore,” says Stretch Armstrong… ”
It occurred to me recently that never before in my life have I been so frequently disappointed by R&B music as I am today. I put this down to the lack of mainstream balance right now – both in terms of quality and decency. Yet, conversely, the bug I’ve always had for the music is stronger than it’s ever been for the past 30 years. As it happens, this is pretty much the exact length of time that Trevor Nelson, presenter, DJ, media personality and professional slick talker, has been grinding in the scene.
For those of you in need of a brief recap of his origins on radio [his chief passion], before Trevor made the big shift to Radio 1 20 years ago, he enjoyed 10 years on London’s KISS 100 FM – for the first five years when it was a pirate station. It was the second half that shaped his long-term outlook.
“I remember Kiss legal was a challenge… ”