Manchester’s LEVELZ collective is 14-strong at its core, a collection of musically diverse MCs, DJs and producers intent on presenting their city outwards to the world. Last year they maintained a constant radio presence, took over Room 2 in fabric, and memorably hijacked Elastic Artists’ social media accounts and staged a mock kidnapping of the creative director.
Jonny Dub and Rich Reason are two of Manchester’s finest DJs, and part of the driving force behind LEVELZ. The crew have just released their first mixtape – ‘LVL 11’ – and you owe it to yourself to have a listen. But before that, why not make yourself a cuppa and let Jonny and Rich take you on a wild and wonderful tour through the YouTube labyrinth. From Moss Side Jungle to Bjork’s TV, here’s a playlist of their favourite clips:
1) Succulent Chinese Meals
Ahhhhhhh yes! This video is the best thing on the internet and should be studied as a “how to” guide to getting arrested. The guy in the video is Paul Charles Dozsa and was a career restaurant runner and he had like 50 odd convictions for eating out at expensive restaurants, getting shedded and then refusing to pay. Unfortunately he’s dead now and this is the only video that I know of him in action, but what a video and what a way to handle the situation.
2) I’m Just Waiting For My Mate
Another one from Australia and I just remember catching pure jokes of this the first time I saw it. Another good example of how to handle the police.
3) Moss Side Jungle Doc
1996 Jungle documentary based in Moss Side. Too many people bang on about the Hacienda and the Stone Roses and all that like that’s the only thing that defined Manchester musically. But there was so much more going on at the same time that often got overlooked, and so much more that was musically and culturally more relevant to laying the foundation for what’s going on right now. This little documentary is a good inside into the Jungle movement back in 1996 and features many of the city’s key players at the time, many of which went on to become legends in the game.
4) Bjork Talking About Her TV
Basically it’s Bjork explaining about how a TV works. What’s not to love about this.
5) Have You Ever Had A Dream
Just love how this kid nails it in one take.
Technically this one’s not on YouTube for whatever reason, but it’s the video from 2001 for MTV showing Redman’s Crib in Staten Island. Redman’s just sick and it’s the funniest episode of Cribs of all time. Most of the episodes were pretty shit, just showing massive houses that they probably didn’t own and loads of cars and things that I can never afford. But Red’s Staten Island one was just pure jokes, his cousin sleeping on the floor, or a box of dollar bills for getting his juice n shit. Just Red keeping it real.
6) Justice – Stress
Mini-cinematic masterpiece that made the world sit up and pay attention to Romain Gavras. Who went on to direct other YouTube milestones like Bad Girls by MIA.
7) OK Go – White Knuckles
Their tunes are rarely anything more than steadfastly solid, but OK Go can lay claim to be amongst the virtuosos when it comes to executing music videos; their one-shot takes that defy the odds have become their signature.
8) Mr Thing UK DMC 2000
My favourite ever DMC Routine – just so much funk and jazziness in it – you don’t want it to end which is pretty rare in the genre. All on real vinyl too. Mind-boggling dexterity.
9) UGK – Int’l Players Anthem (I Choose You) (feat. OutKast)
Everyone has to take it to church from time to time.
10) Tower Of Power – What Is Hip? (Live In Chicago 1977)
Vintage live performance of one of funk’s finest laying it down. Some serious players.
11) Grasping The Nettle
Mad little documentary exploring the problems of trying to create utopias. Interesting snapshot of 21st century Britain with an extraordinary array of characters.
‘LVL 11’ is out now, download it via Bandcamp.
Featured image: Rich Reason