UK hip hop’s had a good year – Jon Phonics has been behind the boards for quite a lot of it, too. There’s a promising year ahead as well, and this track is somewhat a prelude to one of the projects I’m most looking forward to: the new Verb T and Kashmere collaboration. Not to dismiss Fliptrix’s contribution to this corker of a track, which is lifted from Verb’s Serious Games LP, of course – and the daunting black and white video captures the neck snapping mood of the day with class. It’s a good look for the UK.
Kashmere the Iguana Man is a veteran of the UK hip hop scene, having worked with some of the true greats in British hip hop. In his most recent album Galaktus: Power Cosmic he puts himself in the shoes of Galactus, one of the Marvel Universe’s demi gods. I had a chat with him to find out about the album, video games, upcoming projects with Jehst and OM Unit, and a potential, er, adult calendar…
Oh Drat: I really enjoyed listening to Galaktus. It was in the making for a pretty long time…
Kashmere: Yeah definitely, definitely. Pretty much most of it was done, save a song or two, in 2008, but I did so much music around that time – Power Cosmic, the next album out which is Kingdom of Fear on YNR, the Invisible Ink album, did a whole bunch of stuff with Dented Records… so I don’t know what was going on – someone musta hijacked my brain, nar mean, so much material was done around that time! But really, delays happen; so many factors and variables came into play.
It’s cool though – I’m kinda glad how it’s dropping now, more people have jumped on it than I expected! I kinda thought people’d be on some “oh you’re just on nerd backpack…”, I think people looking on that kinda thing in a negative light is wack, to be honest with you man. I don’t know about any of these guys but I grew up in the 90s era – we were all backpackers man!
OD: Ha! So it was mainly finished in 2008, but it’s taken til now to ‘click’… what was the point that made you finally decide it was ready?
K: To be honest with you man, I left it out of my hands after a while because I’m my own worst critic – I’ll sit down with a tune on loop until I’ve completely destroyed it in my mind, so I just thought I’d leave it in the hands of Zyg and Jazz and trust them to say when everything is cool…
“Dr Zygote came down the crib, tazered everyone in the house, kidnapped me, took me down to Guildford, and I stayed there for a couple of days and banged out the rest of the tracks”
You know what it was, I started writing it when I was living in Brixton and I pretty much had a whole bunch of songs there at the crib, Dr Zygote came down the crib, tazered everyone in the house, kidnapped me, took me down to Guildford, and I stayed there for a couple of days and banged out the rest of the tracks. At that point I just thought, you know, anything else is extra so I’ll leave it with these guys and let them marinade it for a little while. Zyg mailed me a CD and it just had ‘Galaktus Final’ written on it, I listened to it and was like bang, there we go, nar mean?
OD: Okay, so with you working like that, was, say, the beat to the Silver Surfer track on the LP written with that story in mind as well?
K: Nar, not at all – the way it went down was Zygs hit me up one day out of the blue and was like “man, I really wanna do a sci fi influenced project”. We wanted to do an LP, but in a way that was just HARD, you know, real strong. Basically he just mailed me this beat CD entitled ‘Green Hornet’ which had a stack of just ridiculously hard beats – the whole Galaktus album was on that CD. When it came to topics I was sitting down brainstorming thinking ‘alright cool… what can we use in this whole Marvel thing that’s not really mad deep and going to lose people, but is going to be interesting’. I must’ve checked out the Fox Silver Surfer cartoon series, and they had a sequence in there with Galaktus creating the Silver Surfer from Norrin Radd. I just thought wow, this would be dope to realise on a song, and when I came across that beat on the CD, I was like pft – there you go.
Four years in the making, UK Hip Hop veteran Kashmere the Iguana Man’s third LP is upon us.
The theme of the album draws heavily upon Marvel Comics mythology, as Kashmere adopts the persona of Galaktus, a demi god of the Marvel Universe. Armed with such omnipotence, Kashmere goes interstellar with his tales of drugs, debauchery, and braggadocio; regaling too his inception and his creation of his first herald, the Silver Surfer.
Kashmere goes interstellar with his tales of drugs, debauchery, and braggadocio
The major points of canon are warped and appropriated with panache, and maybe some even finer points went over this comic book layman’s dome piece.
Production is handled by Jazz T and Zygote, who paint a seedy montage of thick breaks and vintage TV themes, both totally coherent as an album and hazily timeless in style. A side effect of a cohesive album is space for the seldom seen DJ track to make a welcome appearance. DJ Random’s on the cut, and the second half of the LP is littered with more excellent guests including Jehst, Micall Parknsun, Ransom Badbones, Daamacide, Severe, and Chubby Alcoholic.
Galaktus: Power Cosmic is available as CD, download, and a limited hand numbered double vinyl from Boot Recordings. Recommended!