Archived Magazine June 2014


A sneaky peek of just some of what is in the June 2014 issue – OUT NOW!

Click to buy this issue and read more…

[spb_divider type=”standard” text=”Go to top” width=”1/1″ el_position=”first last”]

Jarrod Lawson

Great soul music, as you know, comes in many forms. And although we couldn’t yet say 2014 is about to provide a bumper musical harvest for the genre’s addicts, there’s no question that some of the quality during these first five months has been very high.

Like it old-school? You’d have enjoyed Lee Fields, Robin McKelle, Betty Wright and, from way out of left-field, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, then. Need it funky and/or jazz aware? Samuel Prather’s Groove Orchestra and Somi will certainly have caught your ear. Still searching for the next Jill Scott? Look no further than the magnificent Ms Avery*Sunshine. And surely anyone who finds the prospect of a jazzy, keys-accomplished version of Eric Benét [meets Lewis Taylor, Stevie and Donny] at all intriguing, will be throwing cartwheels after their first encounter with Jarrod Lawson’s superb debut album. The guy is a stone, soul-jazz genius.

Click here to buy and read more…


[spb_divider type=”standard” text=”Go to top” width=”1/1″ el_position=”first last”]


When Spice swept into London the other week, it was to promote Ragga Ragga Ragga 2014 – a compilation of “Raw X-Rated Dancehall” that doesn’t just exploit the music’s notoriety where sex is concerned, but revels in it.

There are no love songs on Ragga Ragga Ragga, just those fuelled by outright lust. You won’t be left feeling romantic or starry-eyed, but it’s certainly music to get the pulses racing and with few pretensions. Call it “slackness” if you will, but Spice, who’s Jamaica’s number one female dancehall star right now, has taken it to a whole other level.

The 31-year-old deejay has lyrics and mic skills to burn, an instinctive grasp of theatre and a wicked sense of humour, plus curves in all the right places. It would be lazy to compare her to Nicky Minaj or L’il Kim, and disrespectful too, since neither of them could go toe-to-toe with Spice and hope to win. Elephant Man and Bounty Killer tried and failed, whilst Macka Diamond’s career is in shreds after she failed to show for a clash… and Spice led a donkey on stage in her place.

Until recently, Spice’s fame was largely restricted to the Caribbean. That was before a remix of So Mi Like It featuring Busta Rhymes shot into the Billboard charts and urban stations in the US started to realise just how talented she was….

Click here to buy and read more…


[spb_divider type=”standard” text=”Go to top” width=”1/1″ el_position=”first last”]

Mr Williamz

Reggae in the UK has emerged from a slump to become a vibrant force again of late, not least where younger artists and producers are concerned. One of the names on a lot of people’s lips is that of Mr. Williamz, whose debut album Set The Standard arrives courtesy of Necessary Mayhem producer Curtis Lynch Jnr.

It’s been a long time coming. Their relationship goes all the way back to 2007, when Champion showcased the deejay’s talents alongside those of several other artists. It wasn’t until the following year’s Babylon In Helicopter that we had our first unadulterated taste of Mr. Williamz, and he’s barely paused for breath since. He says that the delay is due to several factors, not just financial, and that it doesn’t make sense to release an album without having a strong foundation behind you, whether it’s a body of music or reputation gained from doing live shows. Fair enough.

Artist and producer met whilst they were both based in Kilburn, NE London. Williamz had gone into partnership with former garage MC Specialist Moss, whom he’d met at the Avenues Youth Project in Queen’s Park. The pair formed a studio/production team and remain good friends – in fact Moss sings on one of the tracks, called Shell Down – but Curtis’ rhythms were too good to resist… ”

Click here to buy and read more…


[spb_divider type=”standard” text=”Go to top” width=”1/1″ el_position=”first last”]

Sage Francis

As you might expect from someone whose music has always teetered on the edge of anxiety, Sage Francis isn’t one to do things nice and easy. Preferring to keep several balls in the air, he doesn’t seem to mind overdoing it. But a few weeks before new album Copper Gone is released, he’s wondering how he’s going to keep on top of it all.

“I’ve started working on the videos for the album,” he begins. “We’re putting it out independently here and Scroobius Pip is putting it out in the UK on Speech Development, so all those things are taking up my days and nights. I’m a complete stress case over here, but the other thing is preparing for a whole new tour with a whole new set-up and making sure there’s a whole new beast on stage. I’m also trying to run the label in the meantime and keep everything Strange Famous.”

You get the feeling he’s used to a bit of chaos. But then the last few years since 2010’s Li(f)e have been relatively quiet for the Rhode Island rapper. In that year he announced he was retiring from touring and save for last year’s Sick To D(eat)h mixtape, he’s been lying pretty low. Tired of recording and touring, he wanted to regain something approximating normality. But it didn’t work out quite as planned. When the six-year relationship he stopped touring for ended, it meant he was left with plenty of time to take stock.

“Personally, normal life isn’t very normal for me,” he says…

Click here to buy and read more…