Released 19th November on Casual Records
Urban, its a term Ive always had trouble getting my head around as it makes me wonder why record shops dont have a rural section filled with hip hop farmers and soulful village idiots.
Foresight: Urban is the latest compilation from Casual records, but I have to admit that Ive heard very little from the label since I was given free C.D sampler with a copy of the awesome Africa Centre C.D from Soul II Soul back in 2003.
Those early offerings were filled with a real rawness and urgency at the time UK Garage was getting grimy and Lady Sovereign showed her amazing talent as a snotty munchkin MC, before the chart success and signings with Def Jam watered down her sound for a wider audience.
This time around, the energy and excitement seem to have been dropped in favour of a number of sickly sweet, poor imitations of the more successful American R&B records, which, I have to admit, made me feel slightly embarrassed to have at a certain volume as my car slowed down for traffic lights.
Tracks like Lloyd De Mezzas Truth of the Matter and E.Cs Take Some Time make me want to scrub myself thoroughly with a brillo pad, after their Ooooh I love you so much girl, youre the one for me offerings evoke images of that twat from Blue going solo and spending all his time in interviews comparing himself to Bill Withers (you might think of yourself as a modern day soul sensation, but everybody else thinks youre a boyband cunt).
Its not all bad though; theres genuine talent to be heard in the British R&B and hip hop scene.
The brooding hip hop soul of Gimme UR Love by Darwood, and the quick delivery on Wait a Minute by Artcha are well worth a listen.
Sophie Johnson-Hills Bounce Ya Head makes me want to find out more about her, and the heartfelt sadness of Somewhere 2 Go by Miss Camille is a laid back pleasure.
This download only compilation isnt terrible by any means, but the addition of disgustingly lovey dovey, Usher like numbers make me want to reach for a rusty razor and self harm the second the music hits my ears.
However, Im not entirely sure that being a junglist/house head makes me equipped with enough knowledge to be able to judge this compilation too harshly.
All in all,it has some great moments and whilst presently living in a backward town that thrives on chart cheese and sticky carpet and chrome nightclubs, its not very often Im exposed to this particular sound.
2 ½ out of 5