The most famous of these will undoubtedly be the rap and breakdancing costumed animals of ‘We Know Something You Don’t Know’ featuring the vocals of Chali 2na and Akil of Jurassic 5 - played out by a shark and tiger respectively on the big screen it is an unforgettable piece of feel good hip hop. “Music For The...” also led to Matt supporting Jurassic 5 on their European tour, and through subsequent touring in 2003 establishing Format & Abdominal as one of the hottest live hip hop tickets in town culminating in triumphant appearances at the Reading & Leeds festivals of 2004 and worldwide touring taking in the whole of Europe, North America and (most recently) Australia. "We played a lot of shows, but Leeds & Reading was an amazing moment for me because it had been a while since the album, a while since me & Abs had toured and the first time doing shows with D-sisive, explains Matt." So we didn't know what to expect. But when we came out on stage, the tents were packed with kids going crazy, and I realised at that moment things were gonna be ok this year." Now DJ Format is ready to climb back into the ring with his new album “If You Can't Join ‘Em… Beat ‘Em". A masterpiece of loop-digging construction, “If You Can’t Join ‘Em…” sees Format stepping up a gear, tightening the loops still further for a tougher, leaner sound.
Like the Tarantino of beats, Format seeks out lost musical odds & ends, splicing and pasting favourite moments together to create future hip hop with a classic feel. Format's signature b-boy instrumentals, down-tempo sketches and body rocking backdrops are interwoven seamlessly throughout the record, simultaneously hooking in both the casual initiate as well as the most hardened crate spotting freak. "Everything just fell into place," explains Matt with a shrug. "The album again has a consistent feel, although it's a lot tougher than the last, but still retains a sense of humour. I feel that this album picked up where the last left off, but everyone's just stepped up a gear." Format's regular lyrical sparring partner Abdominal permeates the album, his trademark flow matched blow for blow by Canadian rap wunderkind D-sisive's verbal dexterity.
"I centred the album around Abs & D-sisive as they are the guys who'll be out there with me on stage performing the songs live." says Matt. Lyrically, Abdominal keeps the subject matter fresh, rhyming about his and Matt's looks ("Ugly Brothers"), the make up of the group (Separated At Birth) and offering homespun logic as to their musical inspiration ("Participation Prerequisite"). In between this, B-boy instrumentals and the downbeat melancholia of 'Black Cloud' Format goes the extra yard on 'The Place' which sees him reunited with Chali 2Na and Akil to devastating effect. As A&R men fall over themselves to find the next multi-million selling act, it's easy to dismiss an artist whose records exist outside transient trends. Format's records are a celebration of the music he loves and that passion is shared with a growing audience.
This is music with the hum and crackle of human contact, skull snapping drums and sharp guitar licks lurk in every silted groove. So whilst most producers turn out a product according to the latest whims of fashion and trend, in 'If You Can't Join 'Em... Beat ‘Em' DJ Format has created (with a little help from his friends of course) a personal document that will resonate with the likeminded listener and deliver a knockout punch to the unbeliever. So what are you waiting for? get listening.
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