Kofi Stacks: The future of UK hip hop?!

It´s a brave thing to do your own version of one of last years greatest and biggest selling female artist and her greatest most well known ballad.

You have to make it work – and give it your own special touch – and still keeping it close to the original.

Kofi Stacks featuring Adele “Someone Like You”

A remake or a remix of the song has to be done with respect. And respect is what Kofi Stacks shows when they do their remix of the Adele classic “Someone Like You” from her already legendary bestseller album “21”. The song was also my first meeting with english rapper Kofi Stacks and his band The Mandem.

Kofi Stacks & the Mandem is an unsigned hip hop group – and using Adeles smash as a kickstart for their career is a great and smart career move – give people something they recognize. They use what sounds like a sample from the original song and speed it up slightly. Slow naked piano intro and Adeles vocals, hip hop beats, and then add Mr Kofi Stacks great vocals. He raps in UK-english, he has a strong, raw rap-flow, he is almost spitting out the lyrics. The lyrics of the song are now seen from the mans perspective.

Kofi Stacks has a cool look – the bearded hippy look and Bill Cosby´ish clothes – the rest of his band looks like a gang of mods or a brit-pop group. A fresh and unusual look for a rap group. Without doubt very English.
If you noticed the video. Was she, Adele, the worlds biggest female star – really working with them, a unsigned band? I had to find out about this…
When Kofi Stacks sent me his answers on the Q&A and started his answers like this; “Here are your answers bro”, I knew this was gonna be good!
Q: One of your best songs – and my absolute favorite of yours – is your Adele cover. I´ve seen the video to this! Did you remake the song with Adele – or are you just mixing clips of her video with your video? If first alternative; How was it to work with Adele?
A: Yeah it was crazy that song. It was one of my favourite of her album and I couldn’t stop singing along with it as its so relatable, then it hit me. I need to spin this. I need to deliver this from a males perspective. Within 30 minutes I had the track laid down. Her people heard what we did and liked it but at that stage her schedule was ridiculous with promotion as you can imagine and there was no way of connecting with her so we went ahead and shot a video around her. I work with a talented video production team who do all my stuff, www.futureproduction.co.uk check ’em out.
Q: I think you are one of the most exiting english rappers right now, is there any plans of a full album soon?
A: Thank you firstly for the compliment, it’s appreciated. Yeah I’m currently working on my EP, still untitled, but really sounding good, I think the fans and critics will enjoy something refreshingly different from what’s out there.
Q: Another one; the club-remix of “Hot Chic” is fantastic and made me think of the Basement Jaxx remix of Missy Elliots “4 My People” – were your inspired by this when you remixed your track?
A: Umm, not really no. That was done so long ago, wow. To be honest that was more of an experimental track, not at all the direction I wanted to go in back then, or even now. It was just about having some fun creatively in the studio, but if people like it then that can’t be too bad I guess.
Q: I think I see a lot of similarities with your sound and way of rapping with early Public Enemy and the harder side of 2Pac – almost militant. Who are you most influenced by?
A: Thanks. I mean those are some legendary names you’ve mentioned there. I grew up listening to them and a bunch of other great lyricist like Big Daddy Kane, Jay-Z, Nas, Dre, you name them I probably was in to them in some way. But my sound has changed so much from my earlier career, and is more steeped with reggae and ska influences, especially sonically. Lyrically and flow wise I’m still near enough the same just more mature and putting songs together instead of just freestyles. I feel that with the reggae/ ska movement, those artists had something to say, something relevant and tangible to the public. You look at Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Decker, Madness, The Specials. I mean I could go on but hopefully you understand what I mean. So as you mention Tupac, I’m glad as he had a message also in his music that he was trying to convey which made him one of the best rappers.
Q: If you should describe your way of rapping to new listeners – how would you describe yourselves?
A: Ummm, journey. I think my style takes you on a cool journey of who I am. My stories, my trial and tribulations, what makes me, me. I mean the flow itself is not convoluted, just right so lyrically you hear what i have to say and can really connect with it. You can kick back at home and listen to my music, be pumping it in your car or whatever. Ive got my band now, The Mandem, so I’m not just a solo act anymore. My live shows seem to go down well as the audience really do vibe with me. I mean it’s not a doom and gloom sound, there are some real catchy uptempo tracks on my upcoming EP, but the message I’m portraying still gets heard while you’re able to jam to it and shake a leg, LOL. I’m trying to reintroduce that live sound of old in to modern day hip hop but with my own twist.
**Bonus question**
Q: You sample and remake soft-rock songs and artist like Billy Joel “Uptown Girl” and “Work Hard For The Money” could you name your guilty pleasure if you have any!
Again, those tracks were experimental and fun to jump on. My guilty pleasure.. Probably listening to Magic FM late night, LOL, the songs they play are the classics and so timeless, and it’s not the sort of radio station you’d expect me to really be listening to on a daily. Adele’s made it on there with three songs I think. I’ve always said if I get to hear myself on magic, I know I’ve won.
Lovely to have this chat with you Koffi! Thank you for your answers bro´!

It´s amazing to think about that Kofi Stacks & The Mandem still hasn´t released a official album, but they are these days working on their first EP. But did you know they has released over 22 different songs through services like webservices Soundcloud and Reverbnation to download for free?
Hey! Heres an idea! Compile your own unique Kofi Stacks & The Mandem album / or playlist, by downloading your favourite songs from their Soundcloud and Reverbnation page!
One last thing; Did you know Kofi Stacks & The Mandem is one of the bands in this years MTV Brand New Unsigned 2012 competition?
If you like what you hear; you know who to vote for!
You can follow and read and hear more about Kofi Stack & The Mandem on the following social media services:
Homepage KofisKonondrum on tumblr
Facebook Kofi Stacks
Twitter @KofiStacks
Soundcloud KofiStacks
Reverbnation KofiStacks
YouTube Kofi Stacks TV
Record Company 89 Arrogance Recordings
Now it´s up to you, listen to the bands music, and if you like – send me some words about your favourite tracks from Kofi Stacks & The Mandem! 

The man with the golden voice: Daniel De Bourg

When you have a voice that sounds like a fine combination of Jamie Woon, Robin Ticke, Justin Timberlake and Drake – you know you got something really special.

If I had a voice like Daniel De Bourg I would really love to do what he does; do a capellas, remakes and covers and pay tribute to the artists I love, just like he does. What do you say about this list of artists? Prince, Justin Timberlake, D´angelo, Usher, Miguel, Trey Songz, Cee-Lo Green, and rappers like 50 Cent – and Lil Wayne. Even female artist like Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Adele and Lianne La Havas!.

Daniel De Bourgh actually does his own versions of all the best new and legendary performers out there. A real show off of who´s-who in soul, from nu-soul to funky and more danceable tracks.
He also does some of his own songs!

Did you know Daniel De Bourg has done one studio album 10 years ago, back in 2002 – and the last two years he has made three mixtapes. I haven´t heard his first album, but his three mixtapes have been played to death since the first time I heard them. All three mixtapes includes over three hours of music an a total of 60 songs all in all. You heard me right, 60 songs!

Maybe I should one day be making a mixtape of all the originals Daniel De Bourg covers and remakes. What do you think?

So who is this Daniel De Bourg?

He is from england, and another living proof that even white men got soul.
According to a wikipedia post about Daniel De Bourg, he has been a dancer and a model. After he had a knee injury he had to end his dancing career. During the year 2000 he started as a songwriter for other artist like Jamelia, and he worked with the late Heavy D – he even got at few tracks produced by bedrom-soul-king R. Kelly. His album that even entered the famous Billboard Charts. Then it all stopped – until 2007 when Daniel De Bourg entered the X-Factor, were he reached to be one of the last twelve – until he was eliminated by both the public and the judges.

Back in 2010 something really cool happened, Daniel De Bourg released his first mixtape, called “the DDB Mixtape Volume 1 – THE PRELUDE”. The album contained a great mix of covers and his own tunes, and this mixtape made him won an award for “Best R´n´B Mixtape 2010” at The Official “Mixtape Awards” at the start of 2011.
During the last 2 years he even released a second and until now third mixtape, In 2011 he released “The DDB Mixtape Volume 2 – THE BRIDGE” and in 2012 ” the third album The DDB Mixtape Volume 3 – OUTRO”. Rumor has it that Daniel De Bourg is now I the studio, working on his second official album!  

Would you like to check out Daniel De Bourgs mixtapes?
All three albums can be downloaded on Daniel De Bourgs Bandcamp page!

You can click the album covers to download the albums! 

Here´s some of the songs you´ll find on his fabulous mixtapes!

Alicia Keys “Sleeping With A Broken Heart” is a male response to her song of the same name.
The controversal “F*** You” by Cee Lo-Green is done in an all-vocal cover.
So is also the Prince classic “If I Was Your Girlfriend” from the legendary “Sign ´o´The Times” album.
Even Justin Timberlakes Prince-sque “Until The End Of Time” gets covered.
And while we´re talking about Prince, the “Purple Rain” sampled “Yo Side Of The Bed” by Trey Songz also has to be mentioned.
The last years queen-of-soul Adele and her songs “Rolling In The Deep” gets an a capella rework!
The already classic “How To Love” by Lil Wayne sounds really great in Daniel De Bourgs a capella soul arrangement.
You can move your feet to Enrique Inglesias “Tonite I´m Loving You”.
The smooth “Marvins Rooms” sounds great.
Musique Soulchilds “L.O.V.E” is actually that: love!
Latino indie jazz lady Lianne La Havas “No Room 4 Doubt”
And the first solo single from Frank Ocean “Swim Good” gets De Bourg-ified
Along with one of the last ten years greatest souls songs, D´angelos “Untitled (How Does It Feel) is done in a short edit.

Phew…and here I just mentioned 13 of the total 60 songs – the last 47 songs you can feel free to find out about yourself

Now you know what to do, check out Daniel De Bourgs music, read more and get to know him and his music through the following social media;
Like Daniel De Bourg on Facebook and Twitter make sure you check out his YouTube page – and last but not least, check out his music on Bandcamp

Happy listening!

I have heard the future…

…And her name is…

I heard about her a few years back; checked out her music then I forgot her because artists like Amy Winehouse, Adele and Duffy – all three strong women (then) with a solid retrosoul backing – just like Kendras first EPs.

Kendra has so far released three EPs through iTunes – they can be downloaded here;

“Kendra Morris” 6 tracks released 2011

“Milk And Cookies Never Lie” 5 tracks, released 2008

“This Wont Heart A Bit” 5 tracks, released 2006

(no artwork found)

But now Kendra Morris is back, and she has two really strong tracks out – more about that later!

So, who is Kendra Morris?

She is a singer-songwriter from New York. Her parents record collection was full of some of the greatest soullegends; Stevie Wonder, The Spinners, War, Marvin Gaye, Jackson 5, The Temptations and more! With this fabolous records playing and laying around in her parents house it did not take long time for a young Kendra to discover the joy of singing along – to some of the best artist ever!

Photos by Eric White, from Ladygunn.com

Even though she calls her self a singer-songwriter in her homepage I’ll promise you her parents record collection has made a great imprint in her sound! Kendra Morris soulful voice should make fans of Adele run for their money when she releases her debut album “Banshee” at the end of august 2012.

She has this hoarse like, soulful voice with more they one nod to the great soulsongers back in time. And if I should dare to call her a soul singer more than a singer songwriter I think no one would arrest me. If I could choose if I could sort the sound of Kendra Morris in the singer songwriter category or the soul genre there is no doubt where I would place her!

Kendra Morris upcoming 16 track debut album “Banshee” comes out 28th of august 2012 through Wax Poetics Records

She has now a on going project were she releases cover versions of well known singers and bands every tuesday – for free, through her homepage and her Kendra Morris Facebook page (you can also follow Kendra Morris on Twitter). So far she has released two fantastic cover versions of Chris Isaaks “Wicked Game” and Pink Floyds “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” (Click to listen on the band and song names to listen to her versions of the songs).
I love cover versions were the artists make the songs sound like it´s their own, and Kendra has so far has done some really great versions of the two aforementioned artists/bands. The Pink Floyd song is closest to the original, but with Kendras strong voice she really owns the song. A quite funny thing is that her version of “Wicked Game” has more similarities with Pink Floyd than Chris Isaak. Both of the songs are really strong and soulful – and suits her voice and music really good!

Photos by Eric White, from Ladygunn.com

With a great taster and start like this I am so looking forward to the next weeks with new cover versions. And to not forget her full complete album when it´s being released.

Another cool thing about Kendra Morris is that she makes her own album cover collages inspired by old nature books, school books, encyclopedias and vintage porn! They have this cool retro psychedelic feel – and makes a nice package for her music.

When I drew comparisons with Adele and Amy – it was if Kendra Morris forthcoming album “Banshee”, sounds as great as her last releases there is a great chance for her to become the new Adele.

The year 2012 is going to be the year everyone will know who Kendra Morris is – and if the wind blows her way – she will become one of the really big names in 2012!

The sweet revenge of Tom Jones!


Everyone knew who “the man in black” was. The late and great Johnny Cash. In his last years he hooked up with legendary producer Rick Rubin to produce his “American Recordings” album series. Rick Rubin was also the producer behind the album “21” by Adele – a album that has grown to become one of the bestselling albums the last two years. Many years before that he produced The Beastie Boys first album “Ill Communication”, Slayers “Reign In Blood” and Red Hot Chili Peppers funkiest album “Blood Sugar Sex Magic”. With the “American” albums by Johnny Cash he reinvented Johnny as one of the greatest singer-of-songs ever with sparse recordings of other artists songs mainly acoustic, raw and a naked production.
The albums covered great songs performed by artists like Depeche Mode, Tom Petty, Nine Inch Nails, Leonard Cohen and more! All inn all Johnny Cash released 6 albums produced by Rick Rubin!

In the following years we saw artist like legendary and one of worlds best songwriters Kris Kristofferson record albums in the same vein. Like his “This Old Road”. Kris Kristoffersons friend Willie Nelson has done the same thing for years, and he is also becoming better and better the older he gets, and gets more cred. His voice gets more fragile and broken and shows real soul! Another great of the grand singer-songwriters is Neil Diamond who had Rick Rubin to produce a couple of his albums. His latest albums has been replicas of the Johnny Cash formula; One legend, sparse and quite dark recordings, a large handful of cover songs, but he has not had the same success as the late man in black had. It seems like the team Johnny Cash and Rick Rubin started something they couldn´t imagine themselves!

But now – to the man this blogpost is supposed to be about – and I have to admint – a man I didn´t think I ever would write a blogpost about…

Welcome back Sir Tom Jones

Yes, you read correctly. The welch stallion did two years ago what he should have done years ago. He admitted his age – and has reinvented himself as a living legend – and he sounds better than ever!

I guess many of you fell off your chair now – or think I must be mad or something.

Am I talking about the same Tom Jones that has girls – or to sound less pervert – women’s underwear thrown onstage for as long as you and I can remember.

The same Tom Jones that worked with 80s electro-synth group The Art Of Noise on his rework of “Kiss” the Prince classic from 1986.

The same Tom Jones that made a whole album of covers on “Reload” with a bunch of young(er) musicians like Cardigans Nina Person, Lenny Kravitz, Robbie Williams, Manic Street Preachers, Portishead, Stereophonics and Cherys Matthews to name just a few.

The same Tom Jones that did a whole album “Mr Jones” with Wycleff Jean of legendary rap-group The Fugees behind the mixing- and producer table in 2002.

Tom Jones also sported a darker hair and had grown a beard during these “younger” years (thanks to a creative hairdresser one must admit) and his face seemed way smoother than other men half his age.

But back in 2004 something happened – Sir Tom Jones made an album with Jools Holland where they went back to his own roots, covering songs in genres he played in his younger years; Blues, R&B, Rockabilly songs. I haven’t heard this album so I am not going to dig too deep into to it other than I already then heard rumors about Tom Jones is doing giant leap away from dance/rock/pop he did in the late 90s – early 2000s.

Four years later, in 2008 he released “24 Hours” a album that was a again flirting with the combo of modern beats and newer retrosoul by artist like Duffy and the late Amy Winehouse. Enough about that for now!

Then the man rises again…

The welsh stallion, this time not meant sexually – but huge, strong and mighty! Tom Jones doesn´t work with young hip musicians. His hair has got a more natural color, white, gray like silver
r, so has his, new trademark, the beard. His face has started again to show natural lines and he, to be honest, Tom Jones look more natural and cooler than ever!

The year is 2010 and he works with producer Ethan Jones, who has had his magic hands on albums by artists such as Ray LaMontagne, Ryan Adams, Counting Crows, Rufus Wainwright, Joe Cocker – to name a few. Tom Jones sings in a more laid-back tone, his voice sounds deeper. He almost talks more than he sings. He sounds almost like his friend from younger years, Elvis Presley at his last recordings.

You can click here to listen to the album in Spotify

The album he releases, “Praise & Blame” is a spiritual album, where he digs into the american songbook (sic). And starts the album with a great cover of Bob Dylans “What Good Am I” and Tom Jones owns this song from now on! John Lee Hooker also gets covered, country legend Billy Joe Shaver and a great collection of other blues/gospel/soul songs. The four last songs is written by Tom Jones and Ethan Jones and fits perfectly into the great mix of mainly acoustic, sparse recordings – with focus on the voice and naked production and telling the spiritual stories. The album lasts for only 38 great minutes.

It seems like record companies has understood that a album does´t have to fill up all 80 minutes that is possible to push into a single CD. The next, and until now last, Tom Jones album “Spirit In The Room” was released earlier this year, in the first half of 2012 and includes only 37 minutes of music. The albums includes more of the same, as on “Praise & Blame” – and is a great album full of new and old classics songs – no fillers!

You can click here to listen the albums in Spotify

Tom Jones shows the listener that the older he gets, the better he gets. Ethan Jones is still producing his albums and the comparison with Rick Rubins American series of Tom Jones starts to show. The main difference between “Praise & Plame” and “Spirit In The Room” is on “Praise” did Tom Jones mainly do versions of classic blues and R&B songs by long gone legends within the genre – and on “Spirit” he revisits more contemporary songs by artists like the album opener Leonard Cohens “Tower Of Song”. Paul Simons “Love & Blessings” and Paul McCartneys “(I Want To) Come Home”, Richard & Linda Thompsons “Dimming of the Lights” and Tom Waits “Bad As Me” – there is also a cover of a even younger band, The Low Anthem song and some blues covers on this album. Tom Jones has become a laid-back – and a really cool artist – his artistic change can be compared with Johnny Cash´ transformation.

Tom Jones, now being in his 72nd year, shows the listeners that it´s to late to stop now! Instead he has finally started to be what he is – a great performer, that no longer try to be being hip and follows all the newest trends. Instead he has finally found his form – his genre, even though he walks in trails that already has been pawed up by other artists.
He still has courage to do what he does – and proves that he is – a man that is in his last part of life, but he still has the coolness to get on stage – and perform and doing songs the way only he can!

Tom Jones; if your friend the King of Rock&Roll, Elvis Presley, still had lived he would have been proud of you.

I like to think that Elvis looks at Sir Tom Jones from heaven up above with Johnny Cash by his side smiling and they agree…

…Sir Tom Jones – you won at last!