Friday 12 July 2013


I go on like all the time about not understanding the lyrics of stuff. It's not the worst thing in the world to not understand what someone is saying in a song. Often, the way they're saying it is just as important - you tell skill from that much, I think. This is probably a dubious stance when it comes to rap, because it's basically all words (lol), but I stand by it. I just think all music, if you like it, deserves to be listened to, regardless of whether you understand it. I can GET a song, even if I can't UNDERSTAND it, if you GET what I mean (GET it?).

Anyway, my most recent thing that I can't understand is a sick new album from a couple of Chinese guys who together go by the name of Madepete. That's their conjoined-twin name. Otherwise, they're known as Petechan, producer extraordinaire, and Madprole, rapper extraordinaire. Whilst you can't listen to the whole album, called Cantonese Boom Bap (released on a new label in China Groove Bunny Records), you can definitely get a very good idea of how it sounds.

And my oh my does it sound good. Like seriously. It IS boom bap. These three songs do indeed show off the talents off both members of Madpete quite nicely. Beginning with 'Paper Plane', it smacks you right in the face - well perhaps it's not the right expression. It strokes your face, very gently, mainly with a sun-kissed guitar riff sampled and expertly looped throughout the song. Madprole's vocals swagger along almost egged on by the skipping beat, turning rich when they're doubled up in the bouncy chorus. I can't help but drift away to that dreamy guitar. Ah...

Samples play a big part in this retro hip hop sound, same goes for next song on the album 'Since We First Met', which glistens with the same languid attitude as 'Paper Planes'. Madprole has a real lazy style flow that is impossible not to fall in love with, despite not understanding a word of his Cantonese rhymes. Electronic blips bejewel the song for a little decoration, too. Perfect for stretching out in the sun.

And then we have 'Ghost Walk'.

Wow the bass. The bassline that Petechan here has conjured up is utterly groovesome, as strong and lasting as something set in stone. It reeks of attitude, becoming the heavy-slabbed pavement that Madprole's rap swaggers over. Again there's sampling, but here it's less pronounced, giving centre-stage to the beat, bass and baritone of the vocals.

It has almost a film noir pastiche air about it, something totally streetwise yet without taking itself too seriously. I don't know if that's what they were going for, but it's definitely the atmosphere that it gives off. Nothing wrong with that. I actually love it. It's like sailing through an old-school landscape in a 1970s style Mercedes or something.

Madpete's brand of hip hop is slow, simplistic and filled with groove - the offbeat rhythms with which their music saunters along are wholly catching. If you don't find yourself bopping your head then... well, I don't know. I can't judge. It's certainly a strong sound, with not even a sniff of overproduction in sight: everything is just so. And just as well. Because any tweaking would take away the really charming heart of these songs - even if you can't understand the lyrics.

This is their first album with Groove Bunny. I'd keep an eye on both these guys and the label - I'm sure there are exciting things to come. Also, if you want to hear more of Cantonese Boom Bap, check this album snippet.

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