Ace Hood drops a Fire In The Booth freestyle for Charlie Sloth [Video]

Ace Hood

While in the UK and paying a visit to BBC Radio 1Xtra DJ Charlie Sloth, rap star Ace Hood dropped an impressive freestyle for Charlie's "Fire In The Booth" sessions. Read more

Krept & Konan - 'Fire In The Booth (Part 2)' [Video]

Following the buzz of their latest music video, "I Play Dirty," UK rap duo Krept & Konan hook up with BBC Radio 1's Charlie Sloth and head into the studio to drop a fresh freestyle for Sloth's Fire In The Booth series. Read more

Akala - 'Knowledge Is Power Vol. 1' | Mixtape Review

The last time we had a body of work from London-hailing rapper Akala was in 2010 when he released Doublethink, a sonically experimental album marrying a hip-hop flavour with elements of rock where he firmly set the tone of his musical direction with a careful mix of social commentary and the challenging of mainstream norms with intricate wordplay, information and story telling.

Fast forward two years and the emcee is back with Knowledge Is Power Vol. 1, a follow-up in the form of a 14-track mixtape. Akala's previous projects -- in addition to his various freestyles, shows all over the globe and online presence -- have garnered him a strong and loyal fan base who have waited for this latest musical offering with great anticipation.

The tape kicks off with "Fire In The Booth," which gives us a history lesson fused with witty analogies and showcases Akala's confident live performance, as the song is a freestyle recorded for BBC DJ Charlie Sloth's hip-hop show. For listeners not familiar with what Akala stands for, this might be an overbearing introduction and the double time delivery may be difficult to keep up with.

Keeping the momentum up and continuing on the theme of knowledge is "Educated Tug Shit," the first of four features from lesser-known, fellow socially aware rapper English Frank. With its dramatic, violin-led beat, the track is an aggressive and gritty record challenging the listener to re-think their definition of a thug -- reinforcing the thought-provoking rhetoric that another thread that runs through the entire tape.

Knowledge Is Power brings to life the transition Akala experienced between Doublethink and now, as well as his constantly-developing opinions and observations. This applies not only to society, though; the main differences here are the personal touches peppered throughout where he has connected that development to his own life.

On the melancholy "Absolute Power," with its repetitive "absolute power corrupts absolutely / absolute powerlessness does the same" chorus and an equally-repetitive orchestral arrangement, we get the first taste of Akala's more emotional side as he speaks of his frustrations with power structures in society.

As an interesting pick, Akala chose "The Message," featuring london singer vocalist Selah, as the tape's first official single. Talking solemnly about a subject seemingly close to his heart -- a male's role in society and its often negative effects on the family -- Selah's rousing delivery in the chorus adds to the power of an already emotive and stimulating track.

Articulating his feelings on the state of hip-hop in a satirical fashion over a grime beat by Ripperman, Akala switches up the mood in "Who's The Gangsta," which samples Dizzee and Wiley's 2003 collaboration "2 Far." Another unexpected standout track is the cocky "I'm So Cool," where he flips it and steps into the role of a "typical" rapper by bragging about his achievements, really adding character to a "conscious" tape.

Another standout is the Roberta Flack-sampling "Behind My Painted Smile," where Akala and longtime collaborator Lowkey expose their vulnerabilities behind the façade of being a successful rapper. The last verse, where they exchange heartfelt metaphors, is another welcome insight into Akala's sensitive side.

Knowledge Is Power keeps it light on features, with only the aforementioned and underrated lyricists like Durrty Goodz and Jaja Soze making appearances. With production taken care of by D’Explicit, Last Resort, Lavar, ShabanglBeatz and Engine Earz, there's a comfortable mix of soulful beats and harder sounds.

Knowledge Is Power is the perfect title, as this is a somewhat philosophical and well thought-out project that encourages the listener to think. Overall this is a mature body of work, reflective of a rapper who is confident and educated and not afraid to show it.

Akala – Knowledge Is Power Vol. 1
Released: May 28, 2012
Label: Illastate Records
Buy: iTunes GB / /

Chip - ChipTube Season 2: Ep 4 (Back In The Bits) | Vlog Series

UK emcee Chip, formerly known as Chipmunk, continues his ChipTube vlog series today with the fourth episode of season two. This time round, the Grand Hustle-signed rapper takes the time out of his schedule in Atlanta to make the trip back home and freestyle for Charlie Sloth and shoot the video for Stylo G's "Dash Out", which features Delerious and Chip himself.Read more

Akala spits the realness in his new 'Fire in The Booth' freestyle [Video]

London rapper Akala linked up with Charlie Sloth on his weekly Monday night hip hop show on BBC Radio 1 for his second "Fire In The Booth" freestyle. In this 14-minute freestyle, Akala first puts a hurting over the beat for Nas' "What Goes Around," showcasing a variety of flows and giving us his standard schooling whilst adding some personal touches by taking it back to his childhood; then he mellows out and performs the meaningful track "Absolute Power" from his upcoming Knowledge Is Power Vol 1 mixtape.

Check it out after the jump. Read more

Baby Blue - "Target" (prod. by Nutty P) | New Music

Brand new Baby Blue, produced by gifted UK Hip-Hop producer (and one half of Stinkahbell) Nutty P. I've been a bit nonplussed about Blue's more recent material but this one's pretty nice - the beat is dope (although it's not a surprise to hear Nutty P bringing the goods as usual) and the Londoner does her thing on it.

Shout out to Charlie Sloth, who played this joint exclusively on his BBC Radio 1Xtra show at the weekend - his intro on this audio alone makes it worth a listen.

Chip - Fire In The Booth (Freestyle) [Video]

He may be looking to reinvent himself as a legitimate international artist under the wing of T.I. and his Grand Hustle label, but Chip (fka Chipmunk) keeps it UK all the way, stopping by on Charlie Sloth's show on BBC Radio 1 to give a "Fire in the Booth" freestyle. In a 6-plus minute tirade, Chip takes shots, makes boasts and sets the record straight. London Boy the mixtape is coming soon, he insists.

"You picking lines from my rhymes and addressing them to yourself/Pick your pen and your pad up, pussy, and address me yourself."

Rax - #TBCP: The Black Crook Project [Mixtape] | Free Download

The non stop work ethic of emerging rapper RAX culminates with the dropping of his completed #TBCP: The Black Crook Project mixtape. Over the last few months, the young London spitter has dropped numerous freestyles and original tracks, and now all the tracks featured in the impressive weekly series are available for download as one project. Read more

Ghetts - 'Fire In The Booth' freestyle [Video]

London emcee Ghetts has linked up with DJ Charlie Sloth for the second installment of his new Fire In The Booth series since his move to Monday nights on BBC Radio 1. Usually acclaimed for his skills as a grime emcee spitting over a fast beat, this time he showcases his rapping ability over Mobb Deep's "Survival of The Fittest" to mixed reviews. Judging from the YouTube comments alone, some feel that it's not Ghetts as his best. Read more

Blade Brown - "30" | Music Video

UK rap artist Blade Brown has just dropped a video for "30%," originally taken from his 2011 mixtape Financial Times and subsequently included on his recent Charlie Sloth hosted Best of Blade 2 compilation. Read more

Wretch 32 raises the temperature on Charlie Sloth's Fire In The Booth [Video]

North London's hip hop golden boy Wretch 32 dropped in on Charlie Sloth's BBC Radio One rap show to deliver a few molten lava temperature bars for Sloth's Fire In The Booth freestyle series.
Kicking off proceedings with a few bars over the Just Blaze produced and Rick Ross featuring "Lord Knows" beat from Drake's Take Care, Mr Three Two drops bars on bars on bars showing us why he is definitely in the top 5 list in the UK. Watch the freestyle below.Read more

Mystro - "UK Rap Up 2011" (Radio Rip) | New Music

UK Hip-Hop stalwart Mystro has been doing these rap up joints from a homegrown perspective for the last couple of years and straight cleaning up with them. He debuted the latest one on the 1Xtra Breakfast Show this morning, with hosts Charlie Sloth and Nick Bright who have been standing in for Twin B for the last couple of weeks.

He touches on everything from David Haye's "broken toe" to the MTV's Best of the Best UK MCs list to TOWIE, Krept and Konan, Sway, Labrinth and more.Read more

G FrSH - 'Fire In the Booth' freestyle session [Video]

"Toast to success, a toast to more bread, I'm so f'd in the head I said a toast to more bread..."

Skilled British Hip Hop lyricist G FrSH recently paid Charlie Sloth a visit at his BBC's 1Xtra Saturday morning Hip Hop show, where he stepped up to the mic for Sloth's "Fire In The Booth" freestyle session. Over a random selection of beats, the South London bred emcee flexed his somewhat laid back but lyrically dense flow spittin' bars clever bars such as "...I'm really trying to be fly, I ain't no fuckin Ostrich," "My ancestors were herders, I'm trying to be the G.O.A.T., the Greatest Of All Time," "I had the balls, like my dick... I took the piss out of the system" and "I do music to double my paper, I literally take the PP." G is a problem... Click play now!

Click here to download G FrSH's recently released Purgatory EP.

Lowkey debuts "Dear England" x freestyles on BBC 1Xtra Hip Hop mix show | New Music

On the promo trail for his upcoming album Soundtrack To The Struggle, Lowkey stopped by BBC 1Xtra's Hip Hop mix show with Charlie Sloth for a lengthy interview where they spoke about the making of the new album and his position in the game right now, amongst other topics. Charlie got the exclusive first play of an unheard track titled "Dear England" off the rapper's upcoming album and Lowkey dropped a freestyle made up of eight random words submitted by the 1Xtra listeners. Did he deliver? Have a listen to the audio below.

Listen to Lowkey on the BBC 1Xtra Hip Hop mix show:

Listen to the full interview here, available via the BBC iPlayer for the next seven days.

You can pre-order Soundtrack To The Struggle from iTunes or Amazon.

K Koke - "Nothing To Something" ft Jay-Soul | Music Video

Not long after the release of his at the time, highly anticipated mixtape, Pure Koke: Vol 2, British Hip hop artist K Koke was reportedly charged with the attempted murder of a 27-year-old man in North London. With the trial set for next month, Koke's USG team rounded up some of the Roc Nation artist's well-known supporters to feature, and lip sync his verses, in his new video for "Nothing To Something", featuring R&B/Soul crooner Jay Soul. The video, which was directed by Kritikal and features appearances from fellow USG capo Exo, Dappy (one-third of N-Dubz), Professor Green, Chipmunk, Sincere, G Frsh, Maxsta, Charlie Sloth, Malik MD7, Stylah and many more.