Rapped round the base of the spine of hip-hop are a select core of turntablists and mc’s who helped lay down the blueprint for what we know as the genre in its classic form. This first breed of players in the late eighties and early nineties may have kick started a movement, but in 2011 there’s only a handful of this original wave still standing – and they’ve only succeeded in clinging onto being relevant by beating the original template they helped to create into new aural shapes.
The Beat Junkies and J Rocc are a case in point – the latter’s hip-hop pedigree cannot be questioned – he’s been instrumental in scratching up the turntabllist envelope as a Beat Junkie as well as playing an integral part in the studio and stage outfits of Madlib and Jaylib. With such a CV behind him it’d be easy to throw up a straight hip-hop joint but, thankfully, this is a musical deadend he skirts around with ‘Play This Too’, the first single from his new ‘Some Cold Rock’ album.
Instead he opts for a BrainFreeze-esque breakathon which is stuffed full of ‘so-raw it’s bleeding’ levels of funk. The pace of ‘Play This Too’ is relentlessly breathless and shot straight from the groin – the Latino percussion jostling with horns and samples to resemble the soundtrack to a Blaxploitation cop thriller where the guns are large, the ladies are larger and Animal from the Muppets is flexing some serious muscle on the drums. Fresher still is the Boogie Man remix of ‘Party’ on the flip which takes J Rocc down to the Bollywood disco and stuffs him full of bumping house – it’s a fusion sure but one which is genuinely exciting for an artist who could be playing it much safer…