Grey Rock Records is a new hip hop label / collective headed up by bass master Roderick Stewart aka JuJu and my favourite laid back flow skater Joe Coleman aka Mello Joe. The label is the next logical step in what's been an interesting year for the guys laying some solid roots for a burgeoning hip hop scene to grow. Starting from a few live jams and MC nights at bar 99s the crew quickly grew with more people joining in leading to some incredible events including the Four Beat Couture nights and some great Live Streams with Chris at The Wab Lab.
Grey Rock have kicked things off with their debut compilation Satellite Sounds Vol 1 which collects 9 fresh cuts and offers a glimpse into the scene as it stands. I've often found myself checking out videos on youtube of Scottish MC's rapping about their daily grinds but it usually leaves me a little underwhelmed. I think not being a massive hip hop fan makes it a hard sell yet all the best hip hop artists transcend the confines of the genre and Satellite Sounds Vol 1 offers some truly transcendental moments. 'Botanist' and 'RnR' are personal favourites and really showcase a hip hop sound that goes beyond clichéd samples or big bling lyrics. As I saw at the Four Beat Couture night we have these incredibly talented folks who have a fire and talent to match anyone out there but now they have a focus point, a platform to showcase it.
JackIll, Badeyes and Mello Joe all deliver some fine verses over blistering tracks by JuJu and a host of Aberdeen's finest musicians. Having a veteran musician with recording studio experience like JuJu really elevates what the crew are doing and is so important, even in the age of bedroom producers and rappers who can do incredible things but the live band element adds a bit of soul into the tracks.
"Produced by label head JuJu (who also plays bass, guitar & keys), the album is backed up by some of the best musicians in the city, including Simon Gall (keyboards), Fraser Peterkin (drums), Dek Macdonald (guitar), KidPro & DJ Logikal on cuts and Alan Benzie (trumpet). The album was mastered by local student engineer Galen Baker. JuJu and Mello Joe founded Grey Rock Records in 2016 to help support the growing hip hop scene in the city. JuJu said: "I remember the original B-Boy scene in Aberdeen in the early 80s, so its refreshing to see an underground scene get the chance to grow."
A high quality bench mark has been visible throughout all the nights and events from Grey Rock Records and will hopefully be an inspiration to the next batch of MCs coming up but they'll have to be on point if they want to step up. Check out the video for 'Melting' by Mello Joe & JackIll below for some Grey city vibes, pure fire and pick up a download or a limited CD / T Shirt bundle of Satellite Sounds Vol 1 via the Grey Rock bandcamp. I'm not always the first in line for shows but major respect to everyone who's out there grafting for something they love!