It took me an absolute age to even acknowledge that fact that Welsh hip-hop existed… While Pep Le Pew were collecting gongs at the Cymru Roc A Pop awards back in 2002, I always saw the whole scene as disingenuous, similar to my opinion on Welsh reggae bands… Yes, I had Llwybr Llaethog‘s debut EP on Recordiau Anhrefn, and celebrated the fact that John Peel championed them; but I was still cursing Peel for populating his show with this ‘new phenomenon’ while I yearned to hear the Meat Puppets, Crumbsuckers, Vandals and Didjits.

At best I didn’t get it, at worst I hated it…

How wrong I was, and how my views have changed… Like I said, it took an age and it was the advent of this website that allowed me into this subculture of Wales. A subculture that was most certainly not a few kids jumping on a bandwagon, and if it was, well, they punched the driver in the chops and drove it themselves.
Artists like Ashokan started appearing in my PO Box (check out their tune Sparcettyn), and the spitting anger of Dybl-L, the uncompromising Tystion, and I rate MC Mabon‘s This Patch of Land in my Top 20 Songs of All Time. And I fucking love the Genod Droog album ‘Ni Oedd y Genod Droog’ – let’s all bomb Beaumaris ha ha!

Mr Phormula, (Ed Holden) like all the acts mentioned above is an artist… Music is his art and with it he has the capability of painting a masterpiece. Cymud is a soulful, rapped out, angry, happy piece of funk hip-hop. This is not a dot-to-dot, thrown together-any-old-shit-will-do, thanks Dance E-Jay album chucked out to please the children… Cymud has been crafted –
basically CYMUD IS FUCKING TOP CLASS….

Let’s take the opener Y Lleiafrifol – it has so much funk and soul that Craig Charles should be rolling a five-skinner on the album sleeve while this absolute beauty is playing. And while he’s sucking on the phat one Starts Right Here (with Skamma on guest vocals) both relaxes and excites you – there’s a coke/ketamine affair happening right here, right now…

The vibe continues with Celtic Connections and Madhat McGore provides great contrasting Scottish vocals, in fact this entire album is on heavy rotation here at The House of Crud; love the angst (or should that be Ankst?) in Ed’s voice as he winds up and winds up in Anghenfil Geiriau with it’s monster lyrics and incidental Scooby Doo-type sampled tune.

From that Llanfrothen massif twang to a cockney drawl taking the piss when Bva and Leafdog are spitting, on the truly fucking top notch Cooking Up Storms, proving you can be anything if you believe it. What I know about hip hop now is that it’s not about some cock telling you how great he is, at least, that’s not what Ed Holden is about, I do know it gets messy when it kicks off and I also know that I have a lot of catching up to do.

Dybl-L makes a timely appearance on Nol Arni with his customary anger, a point of view to poke you and who’s army in the eye. Better Backup kinda reminds me of Silver Bullet, maybe it’s the Robocop-a-like sample, great soundtrack…
This was never gonna be a track by track review, but such is the quality of Mr Phormula’s offering that it seems only fair… Blinc Blinc with its subsonic bass and Vauxhall Nova connotations, is I guess a typical Ed Holden composition, meaning, top quality, while Dr Syntax joins the party for (my favourite) Devious Sprites, which sends my stereo bouncing across the room and creates beef with the neighbours – fucking yes…. THIS IS ONE FUCKING CLASS A TUNE, if you wanna lose your mind then do it right here…

The aforementioned MC Mabon stuck This Patch of Land on the end of his Kerdd Dant album. The Chemical Brothers have the knack of chucking an anthemic ballad on the end of their LPs. Mr Phormula does the same here with Cymud; bringing his mates together for a singsong on Hiphop Cymraeg – rounding off an exceptional experience… Cheers Ed, and now I’m gonna play it again…

GET IT HERE on Rheidol Records (CD002)