Jus Reign – “Kabootaran Di Shaan”

Bhangra, Canadian, Diss, Panjabi, Parody, Rap, UK, UK Asian, Video

Score: 7.0

Some days, I recall the original video that Jus Reign references and just start repeating to myself “BBCAsianNetworkBBCAsianNetworkinnit”. True story. That shit was the funniest takedown of UK bhangra I had ever seen. And yes, a lot of artists didn’t like it (probably because it struck a bit too close to home). Anyway, Jus is back and this time he’s made good on his promise: this is a fully-formed parody song/video and features cameos aplenty. Clearly he’s spent a bit of money here, but it does show how easy it is to deliver a formulaic bhangra track. Even if we did the “Available on iTunes” gag here first, you should still bow to the Canadian master. (Reviewed by Jesal)


What’s Beef?

Diss, Editorial

Beef is a funny thing in hip hop. Take all the big ego’s, constant bragging, spirit of competition and a prerequisite need to feel that you’re the best, and clashes are inevitable. As long as informal rules are established, it can be an intriguing contest, a battle of wills, and maybe even let out the bad blood to boost careers.

That was before Twitter.

Twitter, that lightning quick character collector that distributes our innermost thoughts to people we’ve never even met. How to put this eloquently? Twitter fucked shit up. In the old days (about 3 years ago), when rappers had a problem, there was no immediate outlet to vent their frustrations, and no way to directly contact the other guy in full view of the public. Conversations were private, and both parties would have to take a series of steps to actively escalate a situation. Just like if an plane crashes, there are a number of things that must go wrong in order to get to that point.

Twitter, however, has made it possible to jump all of those steps and directly interact with another artist. This can lead to great things and collaborations, but it can also lead to problems, depending on the character types involved. Put simply, many of us shoot from the hip, speak our thoughts as we think them and care not for the consequences. But that can lead to trouble, and one should be prepared for it. And if the wrong (or right, depending on your viewpoint) two artists clash, it can create a situation out of nothing. After all, it’s a whole lot easier to back down and apologise in private, as opposed to in front of thousands of followers.

Which brings us onto the Sam Kay/Shizzio beef. Firstly, we’d like to send a big fuck you to the critics of our previous post on the subject. Rahul called it how he saw it, and as the editor, I back his right to an opinion. We love the other sites currently around, and there is room for everyone – SuperCritic has a place, and is not another content-only site, it delivers critical reviews assessing music to the very core, and occasionally gives unvetted opinions on items the writers deem worthy of commenting upon.

I’ve been asked for my take on the subject. Honestly? Blame Twitter. That’s not a diplomatic fence-sitting response. It’s just that from where I was sitting, watching things unfold, this all could have been avoided if people thought before they pressed the ‘Send’ button (literally the “Send” button, in this case).

Artists have a certain responsibility to their fans and to themselves to create great music. That’s the priority. As recent cases have shown, you can do pretty much anything and the public will forgive you if give them quality songs/albums. But at a more independent level, it helps to cooperate with one another. You might not always like each other, and will certainly disagree with the direction that a fellow artist takes. The Asian music scene is tiny, however, and you’re always going to bump into each other.

Don’t get it twisted – we are not talking about a couple of rappers that have broken the charts, or released classic albums, or sold gazillions of records. You’re talking about two big fish in a small pond. That’s the reality. And the reality is that you’d much rather hear both rappers on the same track, instead of going at each other.

Being a small pond, however, always sets up the possible trap of an even greater sense of ego. Shizzio tweets inadvisable things to Sam, Sam takes offense (with just cause). Sam should drop it, but doesn’t. Shizzio makes himself to look like the victim. Sam continues, and even throws an 8 bar jab on a new song. Words Ali tweets about Sam. Sam responds. People start to take sides. The game divides, less good music is released, and just like crabs in a bucket, they’ll stay there.

There is another way. It’s called thinking before you tweet. It’s called meeting up in person if you have a genuine issue, or even just talking to them properly on the phone. It’s called being consistent in your ideology and not using other people for self-promotion. If someone changes their name, let them. If someone private messages you about a possible collaboration, don’t hold it over them. If someone backs away, let it go.

Beef is a legitimate source of material, of conflict. But actual rap beef stems from actual problems. Twitter beef is thoughtless, disposable nonsense and 99 times out of a hundred, everyone comes off looking just a bit silly. Let’s see what happens next. The best outcome would be a couple of classic diss records, a reconciliation and an eventual collaboration after the misunderstanding. Does anyone really see that happening?

“A wise man told me don’t argue with fools, Cos people from a distance can’t tell who is who.”

(Posted by Jesal)

Caravan Crookz – “Bhangra Video”

Bhangra, Dance, Diss, Hip Hop, Parody, Rap, UK Asian, Video

Score: 4.8

“Those who lack imagination cannot imagine what is lacking.” This is true. However, we still can’t imagine where the fuck Caravan Crookz are heading with this, and what the point of it all is. Apart from the easiest of targets – c’mon, seriously, Bhangra videos?? – we find them preaching that “half of these waste-cats look stoned.” But really, it comes across as if they themselves are trying to make subversive stoner music. Or, even worse, this may well be their attempt to break into television (in the vein of “Trexx & Flipside”). Either way, it just feels like Swami Baracus would be better off trying to save this music for his own album, so either do it better or kill off this vanity project for a while. Parody works best when placing your comedic microscope over the hilarious minutae of life that everybody else has missed – this just sounds like a conversation over sheesha with Brit Asia on in the background.

Shizzio – “Ethnic Banta (Wiley Diss)”

Diss, Grime, Rap, UK Asian

What’s beef? Well, take a pinch of Twitter misunderstandings, a dollop of racism and a pot of opportunity: what do you get? Diss records. After the insane way in which this whole Wiley fiasco has been handled – which says more about the greed of the radio/awards show that want to reward him, so they get the ratings – Shizzio has had enough, and issues a clarion call for everyone to unite and show Wiley up for what he really is. The truth of the matter is that 99% of British Asians are peaceful people, that don’t want to get caught up in all this nonsense (that’s paraphrasing our parents). But if Shizzio was going to go in on Wiley, he had to do it properly – otherwise, he would potentially embarrass his entire race. The result is “Ethnic Banta” – a strong diss record that may not go down in the annals of history, up their with “Hit ‘Em Up” or “Ether,” but does a pretty effective job. Wisely, Shizzio takes on the heart of the issue – Wiley’s ignorance – and brings in themes such as unity and not promoting racism. As a song, though, it must be said that “Ethnic Banta” is merely good as opposed to great. The beat, structure and reach seem a touch rushed, which is a bit of a shame. More importantly, however, after receiving approval from Jay Sean himself, the wiser heads are just hoping that this doesn’t escalate into an irreversible situation.