2005 according to Sarah Bentley
"I’m all about repping for home grown talent whether its grime, drum ‘n’ bass, hip hop, soul or reggae, and 2005 has been a fat-one of a year. Rapper Richochet Klasnekoff, grime lyricist No-Lay, soul diva Alice Russell and soul/jazz powerhouse Eska gave me musical goose bumps every time I was privileged to see them perform."
"A self confessed culture junkie I spend a lot of time checking out movements going off outside the mainstream and underground UK music radar. Besides bhangra, salsa, baile funk, soca and zouk parties 2005 saw some killer Polish hip hop, Turkish dance and Urban Latin nights kicking off. It’s not easy to represent when you’re in a tiny minority so hats off to them."
"The UK’s Latino population stood up to be counted when Puerto Rican reggaeton artists Daddy Yankee and Speedy made it into the charts. Bored of the Salsa phenomena their parents brought to the UK ten years ago, 2005 saw second generation UK born Latino’s build their own scene of latin hip hop/reggaeton artists, parties and media networks. Check out their growing movement on www.reggaeton.co.uk – it’s a lot more than Ai papies and Culos shaking, but that’s there if you want it."
"This year I also breathed a sigh of relief when Asian artists such as Tiger Stylz, The Kray Twinz and Rishie Rich, artists usually kept within the confines of the hardcore bhangra scene, stopped being treated as novelty’s and were acknowledged as part of the wider UK street music movement. About bloody time too."
"Now I’d like to get on my soap box just for a minute. Exciting as 2005 has been with regards to the growth of British street music, it’s bugging me how the UK industry is using the term 'urban.' Does urban mean you’re black? Does urban mean you live in a tower block? Are you urban if you’re black but live in a cottage on Dartford moors? Are you urban if you’re white but have a large collection of co-ordinating tracksuits and say ‘you get me’ a lot?"
"A sickeningly over-used and weakly definable term it’s as if categorising things as black, Asian or simply by music genre is no longer acceptable. Worse still, it forces artists whom look or sound or come from certain social backgrounds to conform to limiting stereotypes. Imagine a major label A&R’s quandary. 'What do you mean you’re a black folk singer who plays guitar? How can you hold an instrument and a gun at the same time? It doesn’t make sense. Where can I put you? Enough of this nonsense, show me how you shake your ass.'”
"Harsh as this may sound it’s true and therefore a monumental big up must go to Charlie Dark, Chris Ofili, CDR and Icebox for addressing this issue with their inspiring Freeness project. A direct assault on the ‘URBAN’ myth it’s an album that features black and Asian artists from around the UK making music the majors would have a tricky time choosing a shelf label for in HMV. Made entirely outside the constraints of sales, the CD was given out in youth centres, record shops and through the freeness website. Log on to www.freeness.co.uk and be enlightened."
"Leaving Blighty’s drizzly shores for a minute I have to pay homage to the superb new generation of roots reggae artists that came to the fore in 2005. I love getting wild to raw dancehall as much as the next bass-loving gyal. But let’s face the past years dancehall offerings have been well below par and it we’re hardly going to learn any valuable life lessons by logging on, stepping pon a chi chi man in a blasé style whilst doing the chakka chakka, signalling a plane and putting our AK’s over the wall now are we?"
"Addressing issues such as prostitution, drug abuse, gun crime and world wide government fuckery were I Wayne, Fantan Mojah, Jah Mason, Jah Cure, Turbulence, Richie Spice, Chezidek, Warrior King and Ras Shiloh. Keep this kind of lyrical fire burning into 2006 and I’ll be a happy lady."
"A final lighter flash must go to the UK’s most criminally over looked roots reggae artist Chukki Starr. Overcoming the inherent difficulties of trying to make it in reggae whilst based in England, Chukki stuck two fingers up to our dodgy reggae labels (Greensleeves excluded) and rights stealing reggae producers to produce, record and release his finest album to date – ‘Can’t Stop It’ – through his own imprint Starrdom Productions. Chukki you’re big."
Sarah B’s 2005 Top 12
1: Turbulence “Notorious”
Penniless JA label THC made the Hip-Hop/reggae smash of the year!
2: Foxy Brown & Sizzla “Come Fly With Me”
US Hip Hop ghetto queen meets Jamaica’s most militant deejay in the club
3: Sean Paul “Never Gonna Be The Same single”
Sean touching tribute to fallen dancehall artist Doddigan
4: Ricochet Klasnekoff “Murda single”
After this track I’d follow this man into battle
5: No Lay “Unorthodox Daughter” (white label)
Dropping it raw and direct with undeniable skill
6: I Wayne “Living In Love” and “Can’t Satisfy Her”
An incredible voice and an uncompromising mantra
7: All of Eska’s live performances
A life altering experience and warm hug rolled into one
8: Roots Manuva’s ‘Awfully Deep’ LP (Big Dada)
Fuck chart success – this is about honesty, integrity and evolution
9: Damian Marley “Welcome To Jamrock”
Finally a track Daddy can be proud of
10: 3 Six Mafia “The Most Known Unknowns” LP
They might promote hoe slapping but this crew’s relentless work ethic cannot be denied.
11: Seu Jorge’s “Cru”
This Brazilian actor, musician and god of favela blues is perhaps the coolest man on the planet
12: Lethal B & Fire Camp “Pow”
Genius! The best spat of catchy lyrics committed to wax in years
Blackdown: Last time I saw Sarah, London had taken to the streets after the tube was bombed. She'd had the misfortune to chose the 7th of July organize a photoshoot ... on the underground. Very unfortunate timing. Contact Sarah on firstname.lastname@example.org.