Thursday, 15 March 2012

HIP HOP CLASSICS - Mark B and Blade - 'The Unknown' / 'Building a Rep'

I love both these songs,  from 'The Unknown's' acoustic hook to the funk and crickets sample on 'Building a Rep', excellent beats, fabulous turntablism from Mark B and strong lyrical flow delivered flawlessly by Blade.

Hip Hop Classics
Mark B and Blade - 'The Unknown' (2000)

Too new to be deemed a classic? No way, simply put this is UK Hip Hop at it's absolute finest. In 2000 Mark B and Blade, the underrated yet talented London based duo, drop the monumental album, The Unknown, an almost autobiographical account of their struggle for recognition in the UK music industry.

Assured of their skills, of which they had in abundance, Blade lays down some serious lyrics, with a degree of self depreciation and humility not often associated with a genre full of bravado but flawlessly delivered with confidence and lyrical wit. All immaculately put together by Mark B's clever use of samples, beat production and turntable skills with some fantastic scratching. It's probably one of the best Uk Hip Hop albums of all time and I'm baffled as to why they weren't any bigger, maybe like the content of album, they were a self fulfilling prophecy.

Mark B and Blade, UK Hip Hop's Standard Bearers

Years back, I managed to indadvertedly see them live. When my wife and I were first stepping out, I used to woo her with these elaborate romantic gestures (still do come to think of it), like
taking her to see the B-Boy Breakdancing Championships (SH was also there as a chaperone) albeit only if I'd take her see a Ballet. Anyway during an interval, Mark B and Blade performed live, promoting their 'new' album 'The Unknown', eventually handing out demo tapes of it (tapes, I did say it was awhile back). Amazing, as was Swan Lake!

Mark B and Blade - 'Building a Rep' (2000)

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HIP HOP CLASSICS - Mark B and Blade - 'The Unknown' / 'Building a Rep'
4/ 5


15 March 2012 at 11:08

Certainly praise...but great acoustic hook as you say unusal for this type of music. Definately heard this before, you must have played it. Brilliant track.
As is Building a Rep with its base hook...'cricket sample' glad you told me!
2 outstanding tracks

16 March 2012 at 21:26

Chaperone, I love it! Everyone shout "Free Sh*t?"..."FREE SH*T!!" That tape/album holds many more memories than I realised. It was on heavy rotation when I got my first car aged 18, a big phat VW Beetle full of chrome and wide wheels. God I loved that car...Jazzman I called it. When I managed to pry out the Chaz and Dave Greatest hits cassette from the tape player, this was the first thing I played until I made the '1st official' car tape. And when the tape player failed soon after, my ghetto blaster in the backseat did the job!

16 March 2012 at 21:27

That Chaz and Dave tape was in the tape player when I bought it, I hasten to add!

28 April 2012 at 23:34

I picked up this album years ago and fell in love with it. Very reminiscent of what hip hop used to be like. A solid album from two solid artists. Like you I was surprised that they did not record again.

Rindge Leaphart