Ratking’s So It Goes was one of the best rap albums of last year and now, Wiki of the group has announced a free solo album out on Monday called lil me out via Letter Racer and featuring production by Madlib, Sporting Life, Kaytranada and Lee Bannon and guest turns from Micachu, Skepta and Antwon.

Listen to the lead track via the fun video for ‘Livin’ with My Moms’ with Nasty Nigel on the cut. It’s a song about succeeding in your rap career but still living at home at the end of the day.

Here’s another track:, produced by Black Milk

Wiki – Lil Me – Tracklisting

1. WikiFlag (pt. 1 prod. Madlib – pt. 2 prod. Sporting Life)
2. Living with My Moms ft. Nasty Nigel (prod. Black Noi$e)
3. Seedy Motherfucker (prod. Black Mack)
4. Hit the L ft. Hak (prod. Sporting Life)
5. Old Blocks New Kids ft. Jadasea (prod. Sporting Life)
6. Cherry Tree ft. Micachu (prod. Micachu & Sporting Life)
7. God Bless Me ft. Sporting Life & Skepta (prod. Skywlkr)
8. Club Shit (prod. DJ Lucas)
9. Lil Me (prod. Sporting Life)
10. 3 Stories (prod. Kaytranada)
11. Whole Half ft. Antwon & Jesse James Solomon (prod. Yung Gutted)
12. Sunday School Dropout ft. Hak (prod. Harry Fraud)
13. Patience ft. Antwon (prod. Sporting Life)
14. Crib Tax (prod. Kaytranada)
15. Ioneedmuch ft. Teddy AF (prod. Sporting Life)
16. Sonatine ft. Slicky Boy (prod. Lee Bannon)
17 Sun Showers ft. Teddy AF (prod. Black Mack)

Posted on December 1st, 2015

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Artwork by Stephen Maurice Graham.


Best of 2014 : Albums | Songs | Readers Irish albums | Readers Irish songs | Remixes | Videos 


The pairing of music and visuals is something I’ve always enjoyed but the concept of a music video has obviously changed in the last ten years. There are of course, still concepts, themes, ideas, techniques and executions that lift a song into another realm but there’s also so much video content out there now, that there are plenty of live video and TV performances, vignettes, parodies, and short documentaries around music that did the same thing a music video is supposed to do: to put the artist in front of more people. Here are 20 of my favourite “music videos” of this year.

Hit page 3 for a Youtube playlist.

20. DJ Rashad – ‘She A Go’

Video by: Peter Greenless

The world sadly lost the Chicago footwork DJ Rashad this year to drugs. His music existed in a discombobulating place alongside his partner Spinn. This fan-video for ‘She A Go’ used stock video footage of office life to do the same thing constructing a hyper-real experience in the process.

19. Angel Olsen – ‘Hi-Five’

Video by: Zia Anger

The singer Angel Olsen returned with Burn Your Fire For No Witness, her second album, which had a throwback rock feel. Suitably, the video feels like its beamed from another time via its filmic cinematography and Olsen’s movements specifically are inspired by choreographed studio performances from female pop stars of old, of which the director said “were always so wild and psychedelic and humorous from afar. The more you watch them, the more wooden and awkward the performances become. There is a certain loneliness captured. The song ‘Hi-Five’ seems to contain the same sort of duality.”

18. Ibeyi – ‘River’

Video by: Ed Morris

The recent introduction of the Chromecast to the home entertainment system has meant more space and time for music videos on a larger screen. After seeing these girls perform at Other Voices last week, I watched this video again, noticing how the French-Cuban twins are held down by male hands under water, how they hold their breath for long periods of time, the dead-eyed stare and the on-time lip syncing at the centre of all of this deceptively simple concept.

17. Compassion Crew – ‘Masters Of The Gentlemanly Art’

Video by: Simon Landrein

Dance music can be a perfect vehicle for a wide-open music video narrative and Simon Landrein lets his animation and imagination run wild on a stylistic train journey full of suggestion to match the chugging rough house track from the Irish producer.

16. Clu – ‘Mirrors’

Video by: Kevin Freeney

The Dublin duo of Sean Cooley and Kevin A. Freeney, Clu, have always put their electronic music and visual work on a par and on ‘Mirrors’, they’ve nailed both. It’s a complementary collaboration that transcends a typical visual tacked on to music setup. The video directed by Freeney serves as a chassis for a potent mix of music (an amalgamation of bass / garage / post-dubstep) , visual (cinematic sumptuous imagery), interpretive dancing and colour that makes for an impressive display of art in total.

15. Katharine Phillippa – Live at TedX

Video by: TedXStormont

The Belfast-based musician performs two songs with the help of a loop station, a bow, a drum, a keyboard, a laptop and an author’s intensity that leaps through the screen.

14. John Grant – ‘Glacier’

Video by: Jubilee Starter

With the upcoming Marriage Referendum in May next year, single-sex marriage will go to a public vote. It’s an incremental attempt at recognising the rights of the people in this country and should pass because who are you or are I to say to someone – “no, you’re love is not the same as mine” or “no, your love is not valid” or “no, your love isn’t something to be celebrated or recognised.”

In that context, ‘Glacier’, a song from the gentle giant John Grant who has battled with his identity and control and who has been made to feel bad for who he is, eloquently addresses those struggling with their sexual identity – “This pain, it is a glacier moving through you, carving out deep valleys and creating spectacular landscapes,” goes the chorus.

The video serves as a brief history lesson of the journey for that recognition of gay rights over the years juxtaposing chronological footage of the American gay rights movement, newspaper headlines, and pop culture to leave you with a stirring narrative of the journey so far. Here you can donate to the Marriage Equality campaign for 2015.

13. Vic Mensa – ‘Down On My Luck’

Video by: Ben Dickinson at Ghost Robot.

There’s a wrong decision at every turn. This video shows the possibilities.

12. Ratking – ‘Canal’

Video by: Eric K

A video that simultaneously captures the grimey decay of New York City while making the trio look cool as fuck.

11. We Are Shining feat. Eliza Doolittle – ‘Killing’

Video by: unknown. Knife thrower: John Taylor. Dancer: Shannelle ‘Tali’ Fergus,

Can you watch this without losing your shit?

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Posted on December 17th, 2014


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Introducing your debut album with a statement that suggests discarding hip-hop legacy when comparing today’s new generation of rappers is both brazen and commendable.

It’s a statement of intent from New York’s Ratking: Wiki, Hak and elder producer Sporting Life. They might be trying to escape the weight of Biggie, but they cross paths with other considered artists in the process. But it doesn’t matter because So It Goes is one of the best rap albums you’ll hear all year – a city-lead stir-crazy rambunctious portrayal of young living in the most famous city in the world.

So It Goes recalls the golden age of another kind in creative spirit – the sonic explorations of New York label Def Jux – the creative precision and gritty face-wobbling psychedelic reality of Cannibal Ox, the creation of a unique sonic palette of Company Flow. Simply, El-P’s gift for channelling a city’s energy into sound.

Sporting Life uses deep bass, frazzled voice buzzed effects, rolling percussion, string stabs and 909 beats alongside an elegiac soul palette. It’s a caustic, widescreen sound that equips Wiki and Hak are equipped to tell their youthful story.

‘Canal’ uses those skyscraping strings and bass booms to create a dramatic foundation while Hak and Wiki reference the city through a fast flow. The title track sounds pleasingly like a Danny Brown track, ‘Snow Beach’ approaches ambient cloud jazz rap while ‘Remove Ya’ is the requisite youthful kick against the metropolitan law enforcers.

There are signposts of diversion too. Opening track ‘*’, Hak sounds like an English Grime MC, ‘Puerto Rican Judo’ mixes it up with an almost house-rap beat, the rhythms on ‘Protein’ approach drum’n’bass levels of intensity while an appearance from Wavy Spice/ Princess Nokia brings in an outside voice.

‘So Sick Stories’ is lifted by a hook from another outside, the blanche-faced King Krule and is the most succinct introduction to Ratking’s world.

Ratking might be trying to create something left of field from the golden age of hip-hop, but so have others befor them. It’s still an admirable quest. They don’t always hit the mark but even in their missed attempts, a raw energy is present. So It Goes is a visceral release that gives Ratking their own vivid identity, even if it shares something with NYC’s prior rap innovators.

 Listen to the album on Spotify / Deezer

Posted on April 11th, 2014



RatKing first popped up here last week with their King Krule-featuring track ‘So Sick Stories’ and their XL/Hot Charity-released album So It Goes is out this week and well worth your investigation if you like grimey Danny Brown meets Rawkus meets Company Flow NYC hip-hop. Check out the great NYC-set video by Eric K. Yue for ‘Canal’ to that effect.

Posted on April 9th, 2014


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OK it’s been a few weeks due to me being away so there’s some songs that are a few weeks old in here.

Tracks of the Week playlist

1. Ships – ‘Space Inside’

It’s their biggest track yet and one of my favourite songs of any country in the last while. It’s huge, stonking and sophisticated classic pop: squelched electro bass, radiant synths, disco production and McGrath’s classic eighties pop chorus propped by Cullen’s sage contrasting verses. It’s catchy and endlessly listenable – it’s been on my rotation constantly since last August and it’s brilliance hasn’t diminished.

2. Sylvan Esso – ‘Coffee’

‘Coffee’ is the first single from an LP from one of Mountain Man & Megafaun. It’s a bubbly twinkling beat pop song. while ‘Play It Right’, that aforementioned song is pure happy weird-pop music.

3. Juce – ‘Call You Out’

A soulful sunshine pop jam from the London girl trio.

4. Fight Like Apes – ‘Crouching Bees’

Fine return for the band on their new EP Whigfield Sextape.

5. Krystal Klear – ‘Dance 7FS’

Another dancefloor weapon from the Manchester-based producer’s own label.

6. Floating Points – ‘King Bromeliad’

A squelch-funk boogie from a new 12″ forthcoming on Eglo Records.

7. Ben Khan – ‘Youth’

Upbeat Jai-Paulesque R&B soul pop from a London producer who has got lots of recogition of late. ‘Youth’ is the first single off his 1992 EP out in May.

8. Rhodes – ‘Your Soul’

For his new track, ‘Your Soul’, Rhodes has pulled out all the stops for a big soaring track that more closely resembles the kind of elegant soul pop that London Grammar have grown huge with.

9. Dustin Tebbutt – ‘Bones’

Might be uncomfortably close to Bon Iver for many but I’m digging this.

10. Ratking featuring King Krule – ‘So Sick Stories’

XL’s NYC rappers and the raspy English kid team up on a Rawkus-sounding jam from Ratking’s new album out in a week.

Posted on March 28th, 2014

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Didn’t get a chance to play this until today but it was worth the wait. NYC hip-hop collective Ratking and sulky boy wonder King Krule. Both acts are signed to XL so this was probably an easy thing to sort out. But also, Krule also moonlights as a beat producer Edgar The Beatmaker sometimes too. The tune reminds me of something from Rawkus back in the day.

It’s taken from Ratking’s debut LP So It Goes out on Hot Charity/XL in April.

Here’s ‘Canal’ from the album:

Album artwork:

Posted on March 25th, 2014


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