Gamma (rap)

Big Dada Records, 2000

REVIEW BY: Jason Thornberry


London's bleak, dripping landscape is providing an excellent backdrop for a new hungry breed of artists: Hip Hop ones. A style which used to be all about American Emotions from American places-Brooklyn, Hollis (Queens, NY), Staten Island, parts of the Deep South, The 5th Ward (Houston, TX), Compton, and Inglewood, then things simmered down a bit, and some intelligent flows emanated out of the Bay Area (Del, Cali Agents, etc.). Then it was Swollen Members from up in Canada. What about the remainder of Planet Earth? The Best of International Hip-Hop (Hip-O Records) compilation proved that it's thriving in places like Argentina, Switzerland, Algeria, Israel, Austria, Japan, Greece, France, Greenland, Portugal, Romania,…and even South Africa. A short death is all it would seem to be able to get there.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Great Britain wasn't represented on that disc, and that could be because the scene in England is doing quite well on it's own, thank you very much. People like Ty, The Creators, Unsung Heroes, Cappo, The Nextmen, Beyond There, Black Twang, and Braintax are fueling what is rapidly becoming an out of control blaze, and maybe hip-hop in Britain can soon enough take some of the morbid attention away from the road-side accident scene that is Britpop. Oasis are apparently bust, and my other favorites threw the towel in years prior. Maybe…hopefully people are ready for something new.

Gamma are a solid quartet, mixing the verbal skills of three MC's and two DJ's/producers. They arrived in London via Birmingham (UK) and Dallas. No sleep-inducing stereotypical 'isms' here lyrically. On the track "Factory" it's: "a bitch is a female mutt." Period. Not some Jenny Jones "Barefoot and Pregnant" episode. Lyrics about wilding out and killing people gets you a warning sticker in America, but it's apparently alright to look down on women in your songs apparently. Gamma obviously has the brains to pick more interesting things to write about.

Permanament is thick in sound, busy at times, and book-ended by a pair of instrumental songs that would even make Liam Howlett (The Prodigy) pause. The vocals are all delivered with thick 'we ain't from Bed-Stuy' accents that at times resemble Rasta patois. There are so many songs here that keep the Repeat button working over-time: Don't Send A Boy, Godly Food, Black Atlantian, Filter 731, and Supreme Confidence for starters.

Big Dada is a sub imprint of the Ninja Tune label, who's responsible for albums by Kid Koala, DJ Food, Herbaliser, Amon Tobin, etc. Just seeing Ninja Tune anywhere on a record or a CD should make you jump. As Britpop withers the next sunrise will signal the dawn of Gamma, and UK Hip-Hop in general.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2003 Jason Thornberry and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Big Dada Records, and is used for informational purposes only.