The Nextmen
Get Over It


ast your mind back a few years. Mid 90s. Remember the absolute indignance from the man in the pub (had trials with West Ham, would have signed pro terms except he got himself a dicky knee) when the new FIFA rankings were revealed, and they’d placed the United States above England? The outrage was predictable: we invented the damn sport, we treat it seriously whilst they just use it as something to do whilst waiting for basketball, we have the awesome power of Gareth Southgate... and so on and so forth. Problem of course being that at that moment in time the US national team was superior to the English national team.

Fast forward yourself to 2003. I’m Lennart Johansen, that guy hanging around the 12 inch import section in HMV in the Ecko top is the guy in the pub. British hip-hop is currently a more productive, more inventive, and generally better music scene than American hip-hop. Oh sure, they invented the damn thing, they treat it seriously whilst we just use it as something to do whilst waiting for the next Girls Aloud single, they have the awesome power of Bow Wow... and so on and so forth. American rap nowadays consists of little else than some black guy shouting or some white guy mumbling. In 2003 British hip-hop has given us, amongst other delights, Charity Shop Soundclash, It’s Over, Twat Farm, Jacking for Beats, Open Mic Pt. 2, Mundian To Bach Ke (that last one even sold a few copies), and more. What’s the return volley than? The Diplomats? I’d laugh if it wasn’t so fucking tragic...

Get Over It is the latest in a long list of reasons whilst I’m right. The Nextmen are from somewhere like Cambridge or Milton Keynes or Stevenage (anonymous industrial/commercial towns in central southern England – geography Ed.). One of them looks like Big Keith from The Office (sublime British observational sitcom – BBC Ed.). And they’ve just put together the best British producer album since Skitz’s Countryman. Their beats vary from the majority of their countrymen. Bouncier, bashier, yet too funky to be bashment. Check out the shuffling backing track of “Listen To This”, beats that Busta Rhymes would spit over if he was from Milton Keynes or Reading or somewhere. “31st February”, on the other hand, is underground with funk samples.

Some will tell you that the album is a case of too many cooks (7 different MCs, the majority all turning up for at least two tracks). They will say that because there’s journalistic dollars to be made in trotting out tired clichés that aren’t true. The mild garage video game fetishism of “Game Over” is great, and they’re equally great when they give us the opening hip-hop night banger of “Fire Walking”.

I wanna talk about “Fire Walking” a little bit more. Featuring, as all Brit-hop albums are required to do so nowadays, vocals from Rodney “Big tings we’re inna” P, and also Cutty Ranks and the violently underrated Dynamite MC. Police sirens give way to rock funk guitars. There’s a sweet dancehall hook, there’s some scratching, a ridiculously patois piece of Jamaican vocals that makes Sean Paul sound like Hugh Grant, and then Rodders comes in and name checks the Legion of Doom. That’s a good thing, by the way.

Don’t mention too many cooks though. It’s irritating, and it’s untrue. You want sameness? You want regimentation? You want variations on a theme? That’s why certain music scenes are moribund nowadays. It’s a fear of trying, not so much as trying anything new, but trying anything new to themselves. Ignore received wisdom, and get onto this.

Reviewed by: Dom Passantino

Reviewed on: 2003-09-01

Recent Reviews By This Author

2004 Year End Thoughts - Dom Passantino
Westlife - Allow Us To Be Frank
The 411 - Between The Sheets
Pitman - Pit Closure
Various Artists - Homegrown Vol. 1

Log In to Post Comments
No comments posted.
all content copyright 2004