Monday, 2 June 2008

Album Review: Forbidden Tongues - Konnekt.

Review by Stephen Harvey (A.K.A. DJ Fresh)

Producer Forbidden Tongues has been trawling through the vast array of undiscovered lyrical talent on the Stoke and Manchester hip hop scene, and dropped it right here into my greedy vinyl-collecting hands.

Tongues is an unusual and rare sort in the land of hip hop; being a quietly spoken and humble man. The normal stereotyped large male we would associate with the many producers doing a similar role in the MTV world is there though, but that's where the similarity ends physically and musically (which is a good thing).

I was introduced to Tongues a few months back in the noisy surroundings of a Parradox gig at the Underground in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. He handed me the album and said "give it a blast", just before running for cover from a rainfall of warm beer and plastic glasses as Parradox went into the crowd favourite 'Get Wid It!!', which led the crowd into a frenzy of mosh pit antics I had only ever seen at rock gigs. Incidently, the track also features on the album, and I was to believe the hype that has surrounded the album after gaining a 3/5 in hip hop magazine on his first attempt.

The opening track 'Konnekt' reads like a who's who of the Stoke and Manchester hip hop scene. The likes of Parradox, Jaro, Brother Ghazi and E.J. all battling for supremacy lyrically. The production and beat-making skills of tongues are soon evident as the track enables the individuality of the artists to shine, while still keeping the framework of the idea intact.

the conflicting styles of the Manchester and Stoke scenes are evident throughout the album, but this just adds to the overall appeal. The hard-hitting lyrical prowess of Chronicle on tracks like 'The "N" Word' and 'Back of the Brain' leave you feeling the rawness of the Manchester streets. You can almost smell the stench of a drug den squat, as he describes being in rooms with smackheads with no carpets. The likes of homegrown talents like Guti and Parradox on tracks like '2 Minutes of Funk' and 'Over-stand' reflecting the slightly more 'laddish' side of hip hop on the street of the five towns. We know Stoke has got its own bad areas, but not to the extent of inner Manchester, and this is all about relating the real.

The end product is what I would describe as 'user friendly' hip hop, being that there is something for everyone on the album. The hard-hitting realness of inner city life to the b-boy dance beats of Stoke's dance past life.

It's all there.

Favourite tracks

Back of the Brain - Chronicle
Pain - Guilty & Sarah Sayeed
Parradox of the Mind - Parradox
Relate the Real - Raw Kut feat N/A

The album is available for £3 from:

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