The 7 Best North East Hip-Hop Songs of 2014
In 2014, the North East of England’s Hip Hop representatives are embarrassingly evaded by some of the UK’s top urban music outlets. With the likes of SB.TV, GRM Daily and Link Up TV showing an unbelievable lack of interest in the budding up-and-comers of the region, favouring Southern counterparts instead, despite Young Fathers’ Mercury Prize win, showcasing that the brightest talents, often come from unexpected areas. To celebrate the North East’s past twelve months of growth which included several career highs for a number of our resident rap artists, I’ve compiled a list of the top seven Hip Hop singles in 2014 from the region.
7. Big Beat Bronson – Break
Having only a handful of songs released this year, it’s a testament to quality over quantity in the Big Beat Bronson camp with their second placing in this list. Break is infamous for it’s references to Geordie culture including the quotable “tash on” of Geordie Shore fame. The song isn’t too different from the eponymous track that beats it on this list, and the preference of either is simply a case of subjectivity. With a video as fun as the song itself, it’s another showcase of the likeable nature of the quartet that is a must-listen effort for anybody trying to discover the Newcastle Hip Hop circuit.
6. Silvar Laidlow – Never Let It Bring Me Down
A quiet year for the self proclaimed ‘Top Boy’ of Newcastle, was interrupted with a song that has restored a little faith in competition in the city. In Never Let It Bring Me Down, Silvar Laidlow vents on his loss in peer-respect, despite still wanting to be able to claim the throne of his city’s rap scene. I’m the first to admit, I don’t understand the hype surrounding the emcee, or the hatred for him on the other side of the spectrum but this song, is indicative of a skill that even his most dedicated of doubters will find difficult to berate. If only it was a little longer, it could have climbed higher up this ranking.
5. Kema K – Oh Kill Em
Taking influence from the Vine trend, and motivation from a controversial situation that resulted in his YouTube account being hacked into, and videos being deleted, Kema K dropped Oh Kill Em. Using the Forget About Dre beat, a new side of the most pop-like emcee in the North East was on show, as he spat braggadocios bars and verbally attacked fellow rapper, and suspect behind the aforementioned hacking, Silvar Laidlow in a fashion that earned him respect and credibility in the region. We’re yet to see a return of this more aggressive, traditional Hip Hop-esque Kema, but I for one am hopeful that it won’t be too long until he’s back.
4. RG – Immune
RG is attempting to evolve his career, with the birth of his Hektik Records label but prior to his latest movements, he crafted some of the best songs of his career so far in 2014. The fourth best tracks from the region, comes courtesy of RG’s Immune, an emotionally resonant, vividly depicted bitter break-up single that showcases his deft songwriting ability. At times his melancholic outputs overdo it, and come across as forgetful of being pieces of art, rather than simply diary-like reflections of self but Immune perfectly encapsulates both sides, brimming with a brilliance that has since been lost in the HekTik releases as of yet.
3. Big Beat Bronson – Big Beat Bronson
The quartet which includes Mista Breeze, Baron Von Alias, Eliza Lawson and DJ LKP surprised fans with the More Than A Mouthful EP late-2014, and in which delivered some of the songs that were apart of their electrifying live sets. The eponymous song typifies their intrusive, intoxicating style that has set a standard for their Hip Hop peers when it comes to live sets, should they wish to hold a candle to the genre-defying group. Having said that, I still wish to claim them as Hip Hop, considering two emcees and a DJ making up three-quarters of their line-up, and this is the best of their offerings this year, and possibly of their career so far.
2. Jister – Super Ridiculous
Capping off a year which included a co-sign from Scroobius Pip and joining him on the Speech Development tour, Jister teamed up with The Lion Ranger for the Absurdism EP which hosted Super Ridiculous. The song is the stand-out from a six-song strong selection of sublime records, that makes an extensive list of references to super heroes for a fun-packed listen that is something of musical equivalent to a Quentin Tarantino film with the amount of pop culture wordplay. The EP is the best project the region has cooked up this year, and Super Ridiculous isn’t far off the best song.
1. Paull – Don’t Fu[n]k Up Our Beats Contest Entry
This years top track from the region, has since been deleted. Which is a shame considering it’s ability to captivate just about everybody who had the pleasure of listening. Paull’s accuracy in the articulation of stereotypical myths of the UK rap scene and was matched by an abrasive, aggressive delivery that is unparalleled by the emcee’s peers. He may be frustratingly inconsistent, and seemingly losing interest in Hip Hop but Paull’s entry into Funk Volume’s annual contest, proved why I’ve so often heralded him as the potential figurehead to put Newcastle on the Hip Hop map.