It would appear that America doesn't take kindly to strong opposition. In fact there's no compromise, bold and confident they do not like, it undermines their bravado. This proclamation may reflect our current times, however it would appear that U.S hip-hop has successfully acknowledged the organic talent that's been growing in the U.K for some time. They have recognised that U.K hip-hop is not a threat to their domain, it is an independent movement that continues to broaden and evolve it's distinctive sound.
It's not just state side that realises the potential. Pioneers of the U.K scene have pitched their production skills to U.S MC's. Both sides have identified each other's talents, and in a bid to create something wondrous have collaborated together their musical abilities. Music is about acceptance and progression; one has to appreciate its roots, its direction and its intention if they are to develop the ability to welcome in new sounds. If the ingredients are there, why not mix them up? Scenario's acceptance of raw talent, and ability to combine creative flare is reflected in their spectrum of signed artists and production team.
Ed Pitt has had a plan from the beginning. He is headman of Scenario; a dynamic record label that has a vision for finely produced hip-hop. Bluntly speaking Pitt tells it how it is, "though there's good vocal talent in this country, there's more in the U.S. That's just the way it is." And so it would appear that Scenario's intentions are to bring together slick U.K production with tight U.S vocals. Their partnership is still a positive for U.K hip-hop. Home grown MC's feature on releases as well as those from across the waters. The label speaks on a universal level; it's not a campaign to make British hip-hop, but a quest to make innovative music, made in the U.K for a worldwide audience. Two of Scenario's finest: The Nextmen is a British production team with a multitude of U.S rappers conducting MC duties. Their sound is fresh and organic. These boys aren't making music because somebody's telling them to. They're hungry for it, and it's their unrefined drive that takes them to a new level.
Hip-hop has become an industry in itself. The over played fashion and exploitation of rap has eclipsed the authenticity of hip-hop. It would be easy for The Nextmen to team up with a familiar face of the U.S. However, they continue to keep it real, dis-regarding the 'image' in favour of the sound. More eager to earn respect than a quick buck, the Cambridgeshire duo of Dom Search and Brad Baloo, prefer to work with unknown talents who share their thirst for a quality product that has grass roots.
The Nextmen share the same vision as Scenario, they say, "In the past couple of years the quality and output of production has risen in the U.K. It's reached a stage where everyone's taking it seriously across the board, it's irrelevant where hip-hop's coming from anymore, its just about good hip-hop." Titled The Nextmen, their name could not be more relevant to their sound.
Their cool, slick style truly has taken hip-hop to a new level. These guys represent the word versatile. Mellow vocals, breakbeat phunk, catchy beats and immaculate cuts are all pulled together under an umbrella of slick, crisp production. Smooth like velvet The Nextmen are at the forefront of hip-hop.
Already they have unleashed two critically acclaimed singles, 'Where you'll find me' feat. Rodney P, and 'The Next Trend' feat. Braintax and Mystro. Not to mention a cracking mixtape entitled 'Listen and Lose' and their debut album 'Amongst the Madness' that gained them the respect they truly deserved.
Their forthcoming album, 'Get Over It' is due for release this June. With such tight production and upright artists including Cutty Ranks, Rodney P, Penultimate, Soulson, Dynamite MC and J-Live, the album is an amalgamation of true skool rapping, first-rate reggae, classic British hip-hop and much more. Their track with Cutty, 'Silent weapon' is soon to be released on limited 7". Also out soon on 7" is a killer (nu) soul track from Karime Kendra, 'I would.'
The only way is up for The Nextmen and Scenario. For more info check out the official website @ scenariorecords.com.
Writer: Helen Robinson