Bernie Sanders @ Hay Festival, Hay-on-Wye

“Critics want to mention that they miss when hip hop was rappin’/Motherfucker, if you did, then Killer Mike’d be platinum”

CAN politicians win from the left? Bernie Sanders tried but isn’t the president of the United States and in the UK, Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn isn’t prime minister – at least not yet.

Bernie Sanders at the Hay Festival (Peter Williams)

But rather than ask can candidates who shun the safety of the centrist play book win perhaps it’s time to ask what keeps them from winning – or how do they set about winning? Continue reading

Jeremy Corbyn @ Whitchurch Common, Cardiff

“Don’t tell me that you understand until you hear the man”

GROWING up in Cardiff in the 1990s I can remember newspaper columnists and correspondents to the letters pages often referring to Winston Churchill having addressed an election rally of around 50,000 people at Ninian Park in 1950.

Jeremy Corbyn poses for a selfie with a supporter. Photo John Morgan

The anecdote would usually be brought out as an example of how politics once captivated the public and campaigning was about more than stage-managed private photo opportunities and tightly controlled interviews. Continue reading

News at two

TWO notifications that caught my attention this week were alerts about my digital footprint. One was a reminder I’d started this blog in January 2014, the other a post I’d shared on Facebook three or four years ago.

Diggin' in the crates, and one of the "most influential albums" in my collection

Diggin’ in the crates, and one of the “most influential albums” in my collection

I was aware the second anniversary of this blog was coming up while the Facebook reminder of what was a popular, with my friends at least, survey of how many of the “100 most influential albums” I owned reminded me of one of the reasons I eventually went ahead and began publishing my own blog. Continue reading

Pharoahe Monch @ The Globe, Cardiff

If you holding up the wall, then you missing the point

THE force of energy that is Pharoahe Monch steps across the Globe stage to loud cheers with his DJ and small band having already built the sense of anticipation for the enigmatic Queens MC.
Munch1 MAIN

On a sweaty, humid July 1 night in the Welsh capital Monch will soon discard his ceremonial, military style jacket as he get straight into his no compromising set. Continue reading

Listing the 90s references on Blak Twang’s debut LP

“Orignal south London trooper/Blak Twang, live from the big smoke”

DETTWORK SouthEast is an undisputed classic of UK hip hop – but until last year few people had heard the 1996 long player in full.

The cover of the remastered version of Dettwork SouthEast released in September 2014

The cover of the remastered version of Dettwork SouthEast released in September 2014

Contractual disputes thwarted Tony Olabode, aka Blak Twang, from releasing his debut at the time he recorded it. A 12″ single release along with a few test pressings of the album and a handful of promo cassettes helped establish the legend of the ‘lost debut’.
Continue reading

Akala @ Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff

“Raises more questions than John Kerry’s entire campaign.”

IN just one sentence, referring to ‘Why?’ by Jadakiss, the Source Magazine identified the failings of the eventually unsuccessful Democratic challenge to George Bush’s presidency in the 2004 US election.

Akala 2015

With Britain currently going through the motions of another general election I find myself asking why does a hip hop show raise more questions than weeks of campaigning and TV debates or non debates by the various party leaders. Continue reading

SNP terror? A question for David Cameron

DAVID Cameron’s election campaign rolled into Powys this week and with it the chance for me to interview the Prime Minister.

My picture, from the back of the room, as David Cameron addresses Welsh Tories near Builth Wells

My picture, from the back of the room, as David Cameron addresses Welsh Tories near Builth Wells

When I say interview, I mean ask a question. Yes Dave finds the time to face the local press corps, six minutes to be exact. That works out as one question each for four newspaper reporters, including myself, and one radio journalist.
Continue reading