Now on the 1's and 2's we have DJ Format AKA Matt Ford and on his debut album, Music For The Mature B-Boy, Format harks back to the era of block party beats, bongo funk, MC's rhyming for fun - sticking to less serious themes (forget the thugs and gangsters) all the while keeping true to the hip hop DJ ethic - rocking turntablist scratches and cuts.
One of California's hottest hip hop groups and 90's b-boy MC's, Jurassic 5 are friends of Format and feature on We Know Something You Don't Know (actually just Chali 2na and Akil for this track) and it maintains a true J5 appeal thanks to the rhyme styles of Chali and Akil, both complimenting each other on the mike.
Canada's MC Abdominal, one of the Cryptic Souls MC's who featured on Len's album, features on 3 tracks - Ill Culinary Behaviour which is a slice of old skool Hammond Organ funk and is also a single which was released earlier last year. The Hit Song seems Ab spitting fun rhymes about the word "hit" and words that rhyme with "hit" and Vicious Battle Raps - double bass, funky beats and quick deliveries. Fatski's another Canadian MC who blesses the mic on the b-boy tribute track - B-Boy Code Pt. 2, Pt. 1 being an instrumental tune that Format released earlier this year. This is a personal highlight of the album as it's a soundclash of electro b-boy styles, current hip hop flavas, AV8 style cut & paste techniques and Fatski gives a shoutout to b-boy's and girls around the world - it's definitely become a worldwide phenomenon.
Last but not least, UK's Aspects feature on Charity Shop Soundclash highlighting their comedic rhyming styles. It's a surprise that Format didn't utilise the skills of his local UK MC's on his album, instead opting to go across the pond.
Being the breakbeat fan that I am, the tracks which appealed most were the uptempo b-boy breakbeat tracks. For those who have heard Format's tracks such as English Lesson from the Return Of The B-Boy compilation, will know what I am referring to - and it makes a return in remix form on the album - uptempo drum breaks and Format has now included a jazzy flute line to accompany the vocal samples used in the original. Last Bongo In Brighton appeared as a b-side to Ill Culinary Behaviour and is now remixed for the album. Think Apache and all those classic ol' skool bongo breaks tracks that have rocked many a block party and forced early DJ's to buy 2 copies of the same record to rock the break.
Maybe I'm not being mature enough (dammit... I'm not much of a B-Boy myself), but Music For The Mature B-Boy didn't impress me completely. It's a nice tribute to b-boy's, hip hop music and urban culture but what really ruined the listening experience was the skits that appeared after a lot of tracks - 1 or 2 is fine but with an album of 11 tracks, it features around 8 or 9 skits. Maybe Format's just trying to show off his sense of humour, but 9 skits? it can really ruin the track flow especially for those who just want to hear music. For those cats who dig b-boy breaks, Jurassic 5, Dynamo Productions and Krafty Kuts in his cut & paste hip hop mode, Format's album might just be down your alley.
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