Sam Kay – “Journey” (Featuring Arjun)

Grime, Hip Hop, R&B, Rap, UK Asian

Score: 7.6

Another solid effort sees two of the hardest working UK Asian youngsters collaborating on “Journey” – and it seems like a good marker with which to chart their progress. Sam Kay has gone from battles, freestyle videos, singles, Channel 4 appearances, name-changes, beef and finally a return to original output. He’s sharp, focussed and intent on being somebody. Arjun, as you well know, is on course for world domination – this is no exaggeration – and he will get signed by a major label, very soon too. The irony is that Sam Kay would benefit from having a rich benefacator, not to mention some wise old heads offering guidance – although he has significantly rounded out his character since taking a short break from music, there is only so much one man can do alone. It would be great to see him signed – he’s got the talent, the confidence, he’s the right age too, and he could tap into a giant gaping hole in the market. “Journey” serves as a faithful reminder as to why we give these boys so much column space on the site – they deserve it. They also deserve to be given access to a higher level, and the chance to get a whole lot bigger. (Reviewed by Jesal)

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Sam Kay – “Nobody’s Perfect” (J.Cole Refix – Freestyle)

Cover, Freestyle, Hip Hop, Rap, UK Asian

Score: N/A

This. THIS! This is why we rate Sam Kay. A few years back, his freestyles – in conjunction with his Jump Off  successes – were what truly put him on the map. He’s most definitely back in the groove now, and note that he’s labelled this a “Refix” – it’s entirely appropriate as his verses are substantially better than J.Cole’s original efforts, and Kay’s diction is simply impeccable. He’s releasing freestyle videos; he’s tearing down Jump Off again (just for a laugh); he’s got a collaboration with golden boy Arjun coming soon. It’s safe to say that Sam is back. (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)

Sam Kay – “Gorgeous”

Hip Hop, R&B, Rap, UK Asian

SCORE: 6.6

And we thought Valentines Day was all about love… Turns out Shizzio had other ideas, as he decided to launch an astonishing attack on Sam Kay. Previously known as Sam K, then Sam Khan, it all suddenly turned into Shizzio – for reasons only beknownst to him – starting to throw premeditated Twitter jabs at Sam Kay about why he changed his name. It was an unnecessary and self-defeating move from Shizzio, and worked only to ramp up the suspicion that he is indeed the “Wiley of Asian music” – and surely “K, Khan or Kay” is less of an issue than Sam whipping ass in a battle. There must be more logical targets to pick on for Shizzio, perhaps spurned by Kay’s seeming lack of “Burban” adoption. Besides, Sam Kay doesn’t suffer fools gladly, and Shizzio basically lobbed a few grenades and legged it. It was all rather unsettling and unseemly, in contrast to the track “Gorgeous” that Kay released on the day. Here we have a blatant track for the ladeez (nothing wrong with that, especially on V-Day) produced by Rimshox, with decent production and a superb chorus. To be honest, there’s not much else to say about the song, it’s all relatively straightforward fare (part of a forthcoming EP from Kay). More interesting tales lie ahead, particularly in relation to what direction Sam “The Artist” takes. (Reviewed by Rahul)

Sam Khan – “So Many Dreams” (Featuring Miski & Desperado)

Grime, Hip Hop, R&B, Rap, UK, UK Asian

Score: 7.1

It’s funny. If you heard Rimshox’s instrumental on Sam Khan’s new track, not to mention one of his other recent efforts “Back To My Old Ways,” you wouldn’t think that much of it. If you heard Sam Khan’s acapella, that probably wouldn’t grab you either. However, put them together and it just works. It’s wonderful when an MC and their producer have an obvious synergy, and each knows how to subtly get the best out of one another. The track doesn’t court attention in the blistering fashion of BTMOW, mainly due to the diluting of Khan’s involvement (thanks to a weird guest verse from Miski and an excellently earthy contribution from Desperado). All in all, it’s a very solid track, though not quite up to the level of his two previous efforts. However, it’s all a bit perplexing why Khan didn’t just make another 3 songs and turn the EP into an album. It is already a quantum leap forward from his mixtape-which-was-practically-an-LP “Only One Me” and the rapper now needs to continue his expansion, and add some true genial artistry to his mix. If any of the current generation of Asian MC’s could truly “make it,” it is most likely to be Sam Khan.

So Many Dreams - Sam Khan

Ayo – “Miracle (Asian Remix)” (Featuring Sam Khan, Redzz & The Truth)

Hip Hop, R&B, Rap, Remix, UK, UK Asian

Score: 6.9

Despite these kind of remixes not traditionally functioning brilliantly, the “Miracle (Asian Remix)” actually works bizarrely well. Whilst the chorus is pretty bare bones stuff not even worth dwelling on, the real stars are three of the four rappers, and an extremely competent beat (with Timbaland/Danja written all over it, but in a good way). Ayo kicks things off with a great introductory verse, attacking it with real verve and panache. Sam Khan follows and makes sure the level doesn’t drop, sounding incredibly relaxed and in control. Redzz is third up, and the start of his portion isn’t promising – but he ends up delivering something different and entirely welcome, as his mix of singing/rapping functions admirably. Unfortunately, The Truth – in the anchor position – drops the baton in the home straight with a particularly weak and simplistic sixteen not in keeping with the other trio (he’s usually better than this). As remixes go, however, this is most certainly an above average offering from Ayo.