Friday, April 17, 2009

Theophilus time!

"The next big thing" is a horrible term really when it is applied to a music industry that likes to churn out new stars every five seconds. It is important for the stuttering industry to do this as it is ultimately what the record industry has always depended upon, as hyping up new artists goes hand in hand with increased attention and of course sales. We've seen them come and go a million times and there is a thin line between one hit wonder and next big thing so when looking at up and coming artists it is essential to keep a sense of perspective. This week I'm gonna talk about two artists who are receiving huge hype at the moment, and who we will be hearing loads more about in 2009.
First up I have to declare an interest. Theophilus London touches down at my Jam night tomorrow at the Pavilion for his first Irish show and if I didn't believe he was a truly interesting artist I wouldn't be putting him on. His "This Charming Man" mix-tape was the latest installment of an interesting 12 months in which he also dropped an appropriately named "Jam" mix-tape aswell; but it's his new album (again called "This Charming Man") which is set to really lay down his music vision.
Theophilus is a Brooklyn based MC who's music is far removed from the traditional rap template and crosses into electronic and soulful territory quite freely. You might say there is nothing revolutionary or new in this and you might be right, but I urge you to check out his album and come along and see an artist who i reckon is one of the more interesting out there in 2009. Like I said earlier, it's not always a given that the next big thing blows up, but if he does, you may well live to remember the time you saw him in such a small venue! The night also serves as an after party for the Designer of the year awards for Cork Fashion Week so make sure you are ready to dance
Asher Roth is a name that only really came to me recently even though I actually already had a few tunes of his without even realising it. This guy is set up for mainstream success and even now there are gonna be major parallels with how Eminem went from being an underground MC to a mainstream success story practically overnight about 10 years ago. Roth is not particularly delighted with these comparisons himself and recently said "Him and I are different artists. I think the music’s going to portray that as time goes on. The comparisons are just…it’s cool to be compared to Em, but he’s one of the number one selling artists of all time. I’d rather be compared to him than pretty much anybody else. I think content and everything we rap about is completely different. We’re different artists. We just happened to be under the same genre."
Roth also went on to say that he thinks the comparison is too easy. 'A white emcee with a sense of humor and a political side? Oh, let’s compare him to Em!' ... I have nothing but respect for him though; he made it possible for me to be here, he opened the doors, but we come from an entirely different inspiration" Personally i reckon he has a point and his music is a lot closer to the likes of the New York legends who he was inspired by, though i suppose it also has to be remembered that when Eminem first sprung up he was effectively another left-field rap cat who was influenced by the greats too.
Why all the hype? Well there's a few tracks that have struck a chord big time with many rap fans world-wide. "I Love College" has been huge in dorms everywhere and became a pop hit in the States but it is "Lark on My Go Kart" that is making many heads sit up and take notice. This is proper hip-hop at it's finest and as with Theophilus London I'd be inclined to think that Asher Roth will be around for a long time. If not you can always blame me anyway!

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    I'm a DJ from Cork in Ireland. I work with RedFM, presenting Red Drive, The Hitlist and my specialist show, Black on Red. I'm probably best known for being one of the main hip-hop/soul DJ's in Cork and Ireland. I've been DJing in Cork since the early 90's in legendary clubnights such as Sweat in Sir Henrys, Mor Disco, Free La Funk, Yo Latino and also Jam and Jam Junior at the Savoy and the Pavilion. I've also held down long term residencies at clubs around Ireland such as Brown Sugar at the Kitchen in Dublin, U-Turn at Ri Ra in Dublin, Jazz Juice at the GPO in Galway, Thompson Garage in Belfast, the Soul Clinic, Dee-Bop, Meltdown and Mo Bounce in Limerick and i've played abroad in the United States and the U.K. on numerous occasions. I also write a music column for the Evening Echo and i'm a regular contributor to the U.K.'s Blues and Soul, the longest running black music magazine in the world. These days i run the Pavilion, a music venue in Cork, which hosts my Jam night every few Fridays also you can catch me at