Beatboxer Ekko – “Never Be Enough” (Featuring Raxstar & Rita Morar)

Burban, Dubstep, Grime, Hip Hop, Pop, R&B, Rap, UK, UK Asian, Video

Score: 8.1

Produced by PKCthefirst, featuring subtly effective contributions from Beatboxer Ekko himself and Rita Morar, this is predominantly an opportunity to view the alternate side of Raxstar. Sometimes it is easy to forget – whether speaking as a fan or reviewer – that the Luton MC doesn’t just deliver tracks for the ladies. That may be because Raxstar’s currently in the midst of a genuinely productive era in his career – he is practically on the cusp of featuring in one brand new video every month, whether solo for dolo or as a guest. He’s firmly in the groove, and while the next step is releasing a genuinely solid album, his star is still rising. “Never Be Enough” is almost like that recent episode of “How I Met Your Mother” – the one called “The Over-Correction” where the characters go so hard the other way, it is both crazy and productive. Thus, we find our rapper almost snarling at the microphone throughout, and it most certainly works (the polar opposite of “Cold World”). Beatboxer Ekko has overseen a great record, here, and should really be putting it on iTunes – but it’s a free download. Generous chap. (Reviewed by Jesal)

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Kiran Gandhi – “M.I.A. Live Session”

F***ing Unclassifiable!!, USA

Score: N/A

In keeping with our recent spate of more eclectic posts, check out this awe-inspiring session of drumming by the wonderful Kiran Gandhi – playing along to various tracks by M.I.A. Great work, and many thanks to one of our regular readers (Rochard Scott) for the tip-off. (By Jesal)

Shivani – “Lion”

Pop, R&B, UK, UK Asian, Video

Score: 6.3

This is a strange one. Without a doubt, there is much to admire about Shivani. She’s still a teenager, but quite advanced in the dark arts of how to look/act like a modern day pop/R&B star. She looks the part, has a brilliantly sequenced song, a pretty high budget video (great job, Joshua Best) and – it would be remiss to omit this – she’s probably quite attractive to her target audience. So yes, she’s a wunderkind in certain respects. However, Shiv is in no way a naturally talented singer. Obviously she can sing a bit, but she needs a lot more vocal training and she’s not one of these “talent show 15 year old” girls who come on stage and blow you away. In other words, yes she’s young but there is a lot of hard work ahead if she genuinely wants to achieve something (e.g. make it big, get signed, have a hit etc). We are rooting for her to do it, though, as she ticks a lot of boxes. The song itself is pretty catchy, although the pre-chorus is arguably stronger than the real hook, and the production is thoroughly professional. As a side note, it seems that she used Radar Music Videos to find her director – this is a great avenue for aspiring artists (Jesal himself pointedly told me that he was one of the very first people to use their services when they initially started up). Anyway, don’t get it twisted – a 6.3 score for a teenage girl is a damn good starting point. It’s just that now Shivani must endeavour to put the hard yards in – god, that sounds like such a UCAS statement thing to write. You go, girl. (Reviewed by Raman)

Jai – “One Last”

Pop

Score: 5.2

It’s strange. We’d heard fair amount of hype about “One Last” but now that it’s arrived, we have to admit to being slightly underwhelmed. It’s certainly got various qualities, but they just don’t seem coherent enough, and they don’t gel particularly effectively. The chorus is decent, but the verses are a bit weak. The vocals flit between being sticking and slipping. The production has the right melody but the wrong engineering, and so on… Jai seems like a nice fella, but “One Last” ends up a bit of a missed opportunity. (Reviewed by Raman)

Rita Morar – “Piya”

Hindi, Pop, Soul, UK Asian

Score: 7.0

If you basically ignore the nicely shot performance video, and opt in favour of focusing solely on the song itself, “Piya” is an interesting number from a fascinating talent. Rita Morar is an artist with a God given talent (and we do not say that lightly). She’s sings equally well in different languages, but also knows how to inflect those vocals with a raw, overpowering emotion, seemingly at will – when she sings in English, yet in a Hindi style, that’s when our spine really tingles (we’re sure that Abi Sampa must be a fan). After all that, however, it must be noted that the quiet storm beauty of “Piya” needs assistance when it comes sequencing. There is a beauty in brevity, and the chorus is simply repeated too often, meaning that we can’t help feeling it is a touch overdone. It feels barbaric to simply state the chopping a minute off this song would increase our affection for it, but when all the other parts of it have functioned so admirably, it genuinely does come down to something so basic. Still, there is so much to admire here – moreso with Rita Morar than “Piya” perhaps, but it’s essential listening nonetheless. (Reviewed by Jesal)

DJ Fricktion – “This Is What I Do”

DJ, UK Asian

Score: N/A

Being a DJ is hard. When you’re on the come up, people will just literally hate you for the slightest reason: you didn’t play their song one time 8 years ago; dodgy promoters haven’t paid you, and somehow that’s your fault; your MacBook Pro got in the way of somebody’s drink; the one tiny error you made on an hour-long mixtape you gave out for free suddenly makes you wack… The list is practically endless. At SuperCritic we like to champion our DJ’s and make people aware of the vital role that Asians have played in popular DJ culture, full stop. Fricktion has released this (necessary) propaganda piece entitled “This Is What I Do” – a well put-together summary of his “lifestyle” with a few little displays of what he is all about. That basically involves playing to clubs, making artist-hosted mixtapes and producing hip hop beats. It’s a swanky six minutes, and doesn’t show just how hard life is behind-the-scenes, so you should know that Fricktion is doing well, not to mention doing it well. Good stuff. (Written by Jesal)