Not specifically music-related but we got a shout-out in the AltSci Concepts Computer Journal. The piece by Javantea, titled Enumerating DNSSEC NSEC and NSEC3 Records, starts with a quote from our song All The Things. Pretty cool and possibly helpful when doing recon on your next pentest
Cincinnati is the backyard of the south. Walk around downtown and you’ll hear down south beats pumping out of big body cars. Rappers and rap crowds in Cincinnati are a mixed bag. A lot of us grew up listening to east coast and midwest underground hip hop, which you hear in our flow. But plenty of rappers in Cincinnati spit with a twang that you’d expect to find in Atlanta or New Orleans.
Playing shows is primarily about facilitating the crowd in having a good time. Part (Most) of that is playing beats people enjoy. I have a wide taste in hip hop which suited me perfectly for playing in front of the mixed crowds in and around Cincinnati. I would rap over a popular underground or east coast hip hop beat, then cut and mix in a popular down south rap beat. Audiences loved it and the variety helped engage everyone at the show/party. One of my favorites was to cut into the Lil Jon remix of Lean Back.
Now I wish I could sound like a savant and claim Underground Kingz was my first exposure to music from the south, but they honestly weren’t a name to me until they were on Big Pimpin’ with Jay-Z. Truth be told, I’d heard UGK long before that on songs from No Limit Records — I just didn’t realize it.
No Limit Records
TRU 2 Da Game was the first No Limit Records release I picked up. The beats and hooks were catchy, the slang was unique, and the simple raps made the songs easy to memorize and recite. I had just started rapping and this seemed like easy mode for getting some practice with flow and breath control. About a year or two later, Master P released Make Em Say Ugh and suddenly everyone was using the slang I’d been listening to for a while (remember being “bout it (bout it)”?).
Third Coast / Ghost Coast
Another guy I programmed with on AOL, who went by Cobra, lived in Texas and would send me all kinds of hip hop from Houston aka the “third coast”. I will sadly admit that aside from a few features, I did not get much exposure to Scarface or Geto Boys. But Cobra introduced me to some other Houston artists long before they ever became famous — rappers like Lil Flip, Paul Wall, and Chamillionaire (who was my favorite out of the list). You might recognize Chamillionaire’s name from the hit Ridin’ Dirty which he made years later. Cobra also introduced me to DJ Screw who created the unique style of “chopped and screwed”. Plenty of unique sounds came out of Texas that helped shape my impressions and tastes in hip hop.
Everyone knows and loves Outkast so I don’t really have anything special to add about them. Each release of theirs was unique and special to me, and it was impossible to admire the levels and variety of artistic creativity that I could never develop. Years later I still listen to Outkast and enjoy the timeless music they created.
Ludacris is probably my favorite rapper of all time from the south. He had such a fresh sound, bold voice, and clever lyrics to boot. The lyrics and his innovative cadences and rhyme schemes were a welcomed anomaly as I had come to mostly associate lazy rhymes and simple hooks from the south by this point. Additionally, Luda had this incredibly fun energy that reminded me of Redman (who was one of my favorites early on).
On top of all that, Ludacris was a DIY artist before the internet facilitated services like iTunes and YouTube. Luda created his own independent label DTP Entertainment and self-published his first album. I was always wary of the record industry, but seeing Luda’s independent success before joining Def Jam South gave me hope that I wouldn’t ever need a label (and we haven’t thus far).
The dirty south shaped my perception and experience in hip hop in some pretty profound ways. While we don’t really have any down south tracks on our albums, I still have built my perspective and creativity with hip hop on a foundation which includes the lessons from my exposure with the south, musically and logistically. Also, the Ludacris album Back For The First Time is a classic. His follow-up Word of Mouf is solid as well.
As a teenager growing up in northern England, various strains of guitar and pop music were the usual listening material. Despite the influence of my friends, I didn’t fully identify with these scenes, and instead, had a penchant for more rhythm-led sounds such as drum and bass and other electronic music, plus the attitude, flow and funk of US hip hop.
Fortunately a new type of music was being brought to my attention. I came to know it as UK hip hop – featuring rappers using local references, accents and slang, combined with strong influences from American hip hop, the UK’s Jamaican community, and the various flavours of home-grown dance and underground beats. This was an exciting time.
I initally discovered this loosely defined UK Hip Hop scene through Tim Westwood‘s rap show on BBC Radio 1. The show usually focused on US rap, but if we were lucky, he’d dedicate 10-15 minutes at the end of the show to UK rappers. If you’d stayed up late enough, you might catch a few verses, followed by some guys from London shouting out their ‘mans dem on road’. Some sounded very very good, some were more questionable. But none-the-less, it was intriguing, so I started staying up late.
Around this time, I heard that a guy called Roots Manuva was playing a short DJ set on another Radio 1 evening show. His name sounded familiar, and I may have heard one of his songs, but didn’t know much about his musical taste. So I pressed record on my tape deck anyway.
This was a good move. For the next several months I replayed that tape constantly. I dusted off the original cassette last week, and amateur detective work leads me to believe it was Roots Manuva’s Hardcore Half Hour mix from 2002.
Much like (I understand) the hacking scene was at the time, UK hip hop was largely underground and small-scale, occasionally teetering on the edges of the mainsteam. Bigger songs like Roots Manuva’s Witness (1 Hope), and Don’t See The Signs by Mark B and Blade would occupy the lower reaches of the top 40 charts, meaning that not many people in the UK knew about it through standard mainstream media. Internet usage was still relatively low, however…my parents had a dial up connection to explore.
I ran a telephone line extension up to my bedroom, and got to work. Peer-to-peer software was an eye-opener – I’d found a niche community of like-minded individuals, who enjoy home-grown hip hop and spend extraordinary amounts of time sitting at their computers. There were others out there! Shouts to Soulseek, Limewire and Morpheus. Also, malware authors, whose creations I tried to avoid in my quest for downloadable music.
These initial discoveries lead me to delve further into the genre, through niche music forums, which in turn lead to numerous album purchases, gig tickets, and real life connections.
Looking back, much of the this musical self-discovery was a result of long hours alone in my bedroom, scouring radio frequencies and figuring out this new-fangled internet thing. It would eventually lead to making a connection with a talented man known as int eighty, forming our own music group, and sharing our music with people all over the world.
In retrospect, I believe that isolation and alone time was a key factor in shaping my musical taste, as well as learning to transfer these influences into my own creations. I guess this also applies to life in general. Isolation allows time for the mind to wander, time for exploration and creativity, and time to develop skills and absorb inspiration that can stick with you for a lifetime. As a child, maybe through activities such drawing and writing. As a teenager; coding, designing, learning software, and general experimentation. Cooking or science. Or making average hip hop beats.
On that note, a genuine thank you goes out to everyone who has supported Dual Core in any way whatsoever. Your appreciation motivates us to keep creating, and exploring these strange workings of our minds. And in turn, we hope that our music brings some genuine pleasure to yours.
Anyway, for the TL;DR crowd. We’ve compiled a YouTube playlist of said early 2000s UK hip hop for your earholes. Excuse the blatant brain-dump. Grab a cup of tea end enjoy