The Rizzle Review: Kendrick Lamar at Hammersmith Apollo

Kendrick Lamar, Reviews

2012 was a pretty big year for hip-hop’s newest saviour Kendrick Lamar and fresh from the release of his album Good Kid, M.A.A.D city he’s back in the UK, on the promotion trail during the cold snap.

KDot, complete with his now trademark black leather shirt, hit the stage to soulful sounds of the intro to Art of Peer Pressure and immediately had the crowd eating out of his hands.The setlist contained tracks from all three of his major LP’s; the aforementioned Good Kid, Section 80 and Overly Dedicated and this definitely gave it an authentic feel, rather than just performing the mainstream hits from his major label debut.
Hip-hop’s newest saviour kept it simple, dressed in in all black and barely any bling, save for the gold watch on his wrist. His DJ supplied him with the hits and Kendrick delivered without the need for any unnecessary hype men (a pet peeve of mine) or shouting over a recording of himself (another pet peeve of mine).
Kendrick knows his fanbase, acknowledging those overly dedicated (pun intended) fans that have been with him from day one. This allowed him a variety of tracks to choose from switching from the Janet Jackson sampling ‘Poetic Justice’ to the jazzy, soulful, sleeper hit ‘A.D.H.D’.
Kendrick’s lyrical dexterity is what makes him one of the most exciting rappers around and this was demonstrated with ease throughout the show, switching up the ferocious flow on ‘Backseat Freestyle’ to slowing it right back down on ‘Don’t Blow My High’, which meant that the show never got boring.
In fact, Kendrick kept it interesting between songs through regular crowd interaction and even picking on one particular member of the crowd who didn’t quite seem to be feeling the show as much as everyone else in the room, and then proceeded to launch into ‘Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe’. Kinda apt…

I have a new found respect for Kendrick Lamar. He’s an artist who genuinely cares about his craft and in his show he catered to his hardcore fans and also the new fans who’ve just jumped on the wave (yeah, that’s probably me) without compromising. He kept the old fans happy by giving them what they want, while simultaneously giving the newbies a lesson on his evolution to see how the buzz started.

Funk Fridays: Finis Henderson – Skip To My Lou

Finis Henderson, Funk Friday, Motown

Yes, it’s been a while since the last Funk Friday, but I’m back like high-top fades.

Back in the 80’s, when Motown was just a sinking ship and still clinging on to past glories of the 60’s and early 70’s, they took a gamble and signed an upcoming singer/comedian (yes, that’s right – bear with me) who went by the name, Finis Henderson. He released an album, imaginatively titled Finis with a camp 80’s cover of the main man looking like a cross between Raw-era Eddie Murphy and Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ pose.

The most successful single was ‘Skip To My Loo’. This was an obscure hit but has managed to become a cult classic and randomly, a staple at many a Nigerian party that I’ve been to. The falsetto chorus may be a little cheesy but the overall funkiness and authentic 80’s feel render this an underrated classic. Finis has found success through comedy shows and cruise ships but for a (very) brief moment in the 80’s, he had the funk. Salute.

This Month I Have Mostly Been Listening To…


Even though the blog sometimes gets mired down in Funk from the 80’s, I’m still very much a Hip-Hop kid (I’m a big man but I’m not 30), despite my reservations towards the genre at end of last year. Anyway check out my current favourites so far and let me know what you think.

Fabolous ft Pusha-T – Life Is So Exciting

Fabolous definitely isn’t as much of a fixture on the charts as he was in the early to mid 00’s but he’s still capable of coming up with the bangers. Pusha-T delivers a good guest verse as well. Although that’s no surprise.

A$AP Rocky – Live. Love. A$AP.

So the album leaked a month before the official release. Will it sell? Probably. The tracks I’ve heard seem to be pretty solid so far and he hasn’t shown much in the way of ‘selling out’. The title track is typical of Pretty Flako – spaced out beats and a catchy, strangely hypnotic chorus.

Big Boi ft T.I. and Ludacris – In the A

I haven’t heard much of Big Boi’s solo stuff but this is definitely a banger, capitalising on the dirty south trap sound that has dominated hip hop over the past couple of years, this track is notable for Ludacris actually sounding like he’s interested.

T.I. ft Andre 3000 – Sorry

I normally just glaze over T.I’s verse because truthfully, the song only comes alive during Andre 3000’s verse. The beat is cool but sounds like something that the J.U.S.T.I.C.E League threw away. Andre spits real talk, switching up the flow from double-time to regular to sing-songy.

Keith Murray – La La La

A real old-skool sounding hiphop joint with a lush instrumental and piano keys in the background. I’m not sure if this is paving the way for an album but whatever it is – it sounds good.

Sam Frank – Simple Life

Minimalist, dub-steppy, with more than a hint of a tribute to the late, great Roger Troutman. Yes, it’s a modern spin on the funk that you know I love, and it’s beautiful. Bonus track: if you can find the version with Skepta, I’d be most grateful…

Justin Timberlake ft Jay-Z – Suit & Tie

I’ve only just heard this and I’m just thankful that he hasn’t jumped on that Europop/EDM bandwagon like all the ‘so-called’ R&B stars. This has got a real old-skool vibe to it and I’m not mad at it. At all.

Wretch 32 – Pop

I haven’t been the biggest fan of Wretch 32’s chart songs but this is tune definitely goes hard. Paying homage to Kano’s classic P’s & Q’s, this tune is a perfect reintroduction to those people who have slept on Grime recently.

Newham Generals – Doomed

I don’t even know how to describe this but I love it.

Sidenote: Does good R&B exist anymore? Aside from Frank Ocean and Miguel, I can’t think of many artists who are still relevant.


12 Things I’ve Learned in 2012

Adele, Apple, Emeli Sande, Gangnam Style, John Terry, London 2012, Obama, The Big Bang Theory, The Queen, Things I Have Learned

Well, here we are again. The end of another year and I’m pretty sure that 2012 has been one of the most eventful years in a long time. As ever, I’ve continued on my learning journey so check out the things I’ve learned over the past 12 months:

1. London 2012 Made Us Feel Proud To Be British (for a good month at least): I have to admit that the build-up to the Olympics completely passed me by and I was apathetic to it all. I didn’t bother applying for tickets and I refused to be drawn into the hype. However, as soon as the opening lines of Danny Boyle’s ceremony started, I was hooked. From gymnastics to cycling to dancing horses, the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics were a success from beginning to end and gave us all a bit of pride following a slightly chaotic build-up.

2. English Football’s Golden Generation Is Long Gone And This Current Bunch Haven’t Got A Hope: England went into Euro 2012 following the resignation of one of the finest Italian managers, the appointment of a failed Liverpool manager and the suspension of our best player. Expectations were low, the hype of previous tournaments had long gone and suddenly the team started playing…well. Sort of. Hype started to build…could this be the year?? Of course, as has been the story in many a year, we came up against some half decent competition and duly bowed out of the competition on penalties. Better luck next time? I doubt it.

3. The Queen Parties Harder Than You: 60 years on the throne, 3 days of partying, the Queen put in a good shift and brought together an all star line-up of guests and celebration that can hardly be sniffed at. Long Live The Queen.

queen diamond jubilee

4. 2012 Was The Year of the Comeback: Spice Girls at the Olympics, The (original) Sugababes, Robbie Williams (Candy was a big tune). My favourite? 2pac at the Coachella festival. He’s been dead 16 years and yet can still rock a crowd better than your favourite rapper’s favourite rapper. Westside.


5.  The Majority of Americans Made The Right Choice: I won’t pretend to have an extensive knowledge of American politics but basically out of two guys, the one with the marginally better policies won. The world rejoiced. 2 Termzzzzzzzzzzz.


7. Emeli Sande Is Adele’s Maternity Cover And Loving Every Minute: Name an event that requires some emotional pop/R&B (Olympics opening ceremony, Sports Personality of The Year, Olympics closing ceremony, X Factor finals). “Is Adele busy?” “Who’s free?” Emeli Sande, that’s who. Effortlessly sanging (no typo) through her album of hits with a song for every occasion. 2012 was her year. Adele who?

8. Apple Aren’t Trying Anymore (unless trying means suing Samsung): Remember this time last year and the hype surrounding the new iphone 5? Wireless charging, a projector for your pictures, a complete design overhaul. What did we actually get? A slightly longer phone, with a brand new charging port. “My ipad is too big but yet my iphone is too small?”, said no one ever. Anywhere. So Apple bring in the ipad mini. Really, Apple? The masses still ate it up but damn – they’re gonna have to try a bit harder next year, surely.

iPhone 5 Slide Out Keyboard
iphone with a keyboard? You wish…

9. John Terry Wins At Everything: So, he makes racist insults but the FA declare he isn’t a racist? He gets banned for 4 games while Suarez gets double that for la (slightly) less offensive act? He gets banned from the European Cup Final but still lifts the trophy after his team mates have done all the hard work? JT wins even when he’s losing.

Pic from:

10. The World Didn’t End: It seems like the world will end every year. I mean, if you look at 2013, I’m sure there’s some stigma over the number 13. Run for cover kids.

11. The Big Bang Theory Is The New Friends: It took a while for me to give in to the hype but I now appreciate the genius of this show. It’s now a staple part of my life just like those pesky acquaintances in Central Perk were. If there’s nothing on TV, switch over to E4 and catch the Big Bang Theory. Intellectual comedy that is just dumb enough to give you all you need.

12. Everyone and their mother loves Gangnam Style: It’s a ridiculous dance. Yet, why did I practice it in my bedroom and bust it out on a couple dancefloors this year? 200million youtube views can’t be wrong (unless audited by Youtube and found to be fake).

There were plenty of other things that happened *cough* Saville *cough* but that’s a bit too heavy for this blog. Time to start afresh. Here’s to a great 2013!