The Stereo MCs come to Edinburgh on the backs ofthe unbelievable EMF.


Head boys

Craig McLean celebrates the music of South London’s white rap trio, Stereo MCs, as they heat up the live scene after ditching the once-ubiquitous club PAs.

Miles away from the thrusting. crotch-driven world of the ghetto refugee school of rapping; lurking behind the Aryan. egotistical. mendacious rantings of a middle class kid called van Winkle; loosely allied with the laid back ensemble known as the Native Tongues. . . Betwixt and between these we find South London's Stereo MCs. white kids on the block to a man. and not a bellicose rhyme in sight. Unlike their Stateside contemporaries. this threesome are not so much rebel yell as mellow yell(ow). This is The Street calling The Head. aka Stereo MCs officially designated domehead DJ. aka Nick. The Street shouts. Heyl. Sarf Lahndon rap stylee is where it‘s at, and Stereo MCs are the main men. Give me Head.

‘One problem we have is just getting people to hear our stuff.‘ says the DJ. ‘Just because of our name and ‘cos we‘re a rap crew. that sort of alienates some people who probably don't want to hear rap music. but at the same time might like what we‘re doing. Then there‘s the kind of cliched people who are into hardcore hip hop. maybe they have a problem because were white. When both sets of people actually hear what we’re doing, I think they could get into it . . .‘

This. Mr Head. is quite possibly the case. Stereo MCs second album. Supernatural. was released back in September. and immediately gathered around itself a convincing array of tidy superlatives. Come the end-of-year polls. Supernatural was up there with the best of them.

'r a?

Riding on the critical acclaim of theirlast LP. the Stereo MCs play live without guitars!

lts clamorous reception echoing the accolades foisted upon their debut album. 33—45-78. in 198‘) flows from the fact that Supernatural is not solely a rap album for the tried and tested rap/hip hop fan. but a mellilluous assembly from the widest ofsources. Like labelmates the Dream Warriors. Stereo MCs sum of their extraordinary parts is their greatest asset.

‘We try and do something totally unique to ourselves.‘ is the Heads explanation ofsuch diversity. ‘When we started we went out ofour way not to sound like other rappers. who all

seemed to sound American. We wanted to have

our own sound. and sound English. And we don't

compromise on that.’

Aside from the novelty factor of their native abode and the (shocker!) colour of their skin. Stereo MCs demand further enquiries due to these inventive collations ofsounds that star on Supernatural. Of all the virtuous bands who last year claimed Sly and the Family Stone as an ‘influence‘. no—one bar the Stereo MCs was actually telling the truth. Splicing this early 705 funkgroove with snips ofJames Brown. strands ofspaghetti western soundtracks, and upfront raps from Jungle Brother Afrika Baby

' Bambaata. Supernatural somehow mixes all these to devastating effect. You can‘t even hear the joins.

At last year‘s Reading Festival the crew moved the masses. despite committing the blasphemous act of not having any guitars on stage. while every other act did. Unusually for a band oftheir genre. Stereo MCs excel themselves live.

‘All we‘d been able to do previously was PAS in discos.‘ says the Head, ‘which lasted five or ten i minutes and the sound systems were always shit.

We were just fed up with it. and thought there’s

gotta be a better way. a more exciting way of

getting our music across.‘

Hence drummer Owen lfjoined the fold. and

the live outfit began to cook. right Head? ‘We’re

not just trying to recreate the LP. but take it

somewhere else. The live thing is totally unique.

5 it’s just the drums. the decks and the raps. So it‘s got an edge to it.‘

An edge of authenticity over a technofrenzy clinicality. a sense of musical perspective arising from the play-offof soul and funk and rap? lfyou get my drift?

‘Well yeah. I think there's a lot of references in our music. and I think it all goes together to make something which is very contemporary sounding. but you get a hint ofa lot ofdifferent things there. We‘re trying to get a real. deep feeling over.‘

Feel the difference. make the change. step into the Supernatural world ofStcreo MCs.

Stereo M ( '5 support the unbelievable EM Fat

('alton Studios. Edinburgh on 25 Jan and King

Tut's Walt Walt Hut. Glasgow on 26 Jan.



directlyinto itwhilst . floating above the sand . . j goastralsailing.'Yes.

I ‘Focus on the mysterious lace of the Sphinx and imagine yourself looking

I! 8 l I

quite. Truly appalling press release aside. ‘Sphinx 91' is a (quote) ‘mega , happening' which aimslo liven up the gloom ofwinter with a night of (quote again) “imagery. sound and illusion'. More promising

plus indie-dance band The Relations and the inimitable Zulu Syndicate. MS from London and Glasgow will be spinning a varied selection of upfront dance sounds, whilst fashion outlets Sidewalk.

lhan it sounds solar. the l Swing and Thin Lizzie will event. which takes place on 2 stage a show of 1 February in Edinburgh's contemporary streetwear.

Assembly Rooms. will feature live appearances by i Manchester’s MC Buzz-B.

Interested astral movers call 031 553 5533 forticltet info.

MC Buzz 8

"w, I. , 'r . ‘R . r .. : 5"" . -‘ . " l

50The List 25 January - 7 February 1991