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DJ Format If You Can't Join 'Em... Beat 'Em. Review

Album. Released 2005.  

BBC Review

Innovative this ain't. Infectious, like some terrible head bobbing disease, it is.

Ruth Jamieson 2005

In an industry that likes to sacrifice quality at the altar of The New,the UK's DJ Format is reading from hip hop's Book of Common Prayer. Rather than break new ground his sound is built on the established foundations of polished block-party beats, 70s funk loops and bbq breaks. This, his second album, might well be called, If It Ain't Breakin', Why Fix It?

Innovative this ain't. Infectious, like some terrible head bobbing disease, it is.

"Participation Prerequisite" is the album's apology track. Regular Format collaborator MC Abdominal explains that practice, rather than invention, makes perfect, 'Cos it's been done I shouldn't be doing this?/that's like saying since Shakespeare wrote a play/Becket shouldn't get his say.' The thug life clearlyisn't for him.

Abdominal, presumably so-called because of his warm, gut-deep voice, is joined by fellow Canadian MC D-Sisive on "3 Feet Deep" and "Separated At Birth" . They fire back and forth witty, erudite rhymes like a comedy double act advertising a dictionary. D-Sisive will rock "Even if I got a sore throat/and a cold sore/formed in the corner of both lips/making it harder to open my mouth and blurt out..." Abdominal is "flipping the intricate/like ancient origami/behind, the wake like the course of tsunami." Together they are "not just tight we're zip locked".

Jurassic 5's Chali 2na and Akil guest on "The Place". They are old friends from 1997 when DJ Format drove the bus on the group'sUK tour, and they obviously share a love of hip hop's 'golden age' heritage.

There's no trail blazing here, but Format's a good craftsman and he gets the job done - making a pretty good summer record along the way. His trademark jazz loops, b-boy instrumentals, downtempo sketches and body rocking backdrops are the equivalent of a prime time Ant and Dec TV show, charming and inoffensive; if you're in you'll
watch it,but you probably wouldn't bother to set the video.

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