The British Are Rapping!

(Getty/Venla Shalin/Contributor)

Cast your mind back to the 1990s. It was a simple time for hip-hop. Back then, it was an either-or kind of deal. East Coast vs. West Coast, Bad Boy vs. Def Jam, Biggie vs. Tupac, Puff Daddy vs. Suge Knight. Yeah ok, there was the Southern scene, but basically, you could just ignore OutKast and Arrested Development and you were back to the two-party system.

Nowadays things are a little different. Atlanta is a key player, as is New Orleans, Houston, Detroit, and you’ve even got bloody Canadian’s joining in! Basically, there’s a lot of people rapping these days, and you can kind of find something for everyone.

Something you might not be aware of though, is that the British have gotten pretty good at it. Maybe you like British accents, maybe you want to impress someone with your knowledge, I don’t know what your deal is, I don’t know you. Either way, here are some of my favorite British rappers for you to check out.

Ocean Wisdom

A lot of British rap music over the past twenty or thirty years hasn’t necessarily been hip-hop music; genres like jungle, garage, and grime have taken a lot of the limelight. But in the past few years there has been a serious rise in straight-up hip-hop, with the record label High Focus leading the charge. Arguably the stand out artist from the High Focus roster is Brighton’s Ocean Wisdom.

Ocean dropped his debut album Chaos 93 in 2016 and his debut single, “Walkin’,” gained him international attention when he took Eminem’s title of the world’s fastest rapper, somehow delivering 4.45 words per second over an incredible 3 minutes 47 seconds.

This year, he is back with a new album, Wizville, that features some titans of the UK hip hop scene, Rodney P, Roots Manuva, Jehst, and even features a cameo from Wu Tang’s own Method Man. Definitely check out the debut album, but for now listen to new single “Revvin’,” featuring grime legend Dizzee Rascal.

Loyle Carner

Similar to Ocean Wisdom in that his music is hip-hop through and through, Loyle Carner is another star on the rise in the UK scene. If you like your hip-hop to be wholesome, then this is the guy for you – not like Fresh Prince wholesome either. Loyle does say cuss words.

It’s just that this guy loves his family (his mum was his date to the Brit Awards in February), he respects women (he threw a man out of his show for groping a crowd surfer) and he is socially conscious too (he teaches disadvantaged youths to cook through a scheme he created called Chilli Con Carner), and it all comes through in his music.

His music is heart wrenchingly honest, raw and real. Songs about wanting a sister (“Florence”), missing his dad (“BFG”), and worrying about talking to girls (“+44”) are complimented by classic hip-hop themes of ambition (“Ain’t Nothin’ Changed”). Generally, he is a great lyricist, has great beats, and seems to be a really good guy too.

M.I.A.

You’ve probably heard songs by M.I.A. over the past ten years, and it’s probably fair to say she’s one of the more successful exports. Songs like “Paper Planes” and “Bad Girls” have been global hits that have featured in movies and commercials (that’s how you know they’re good). As a result, you might be forgiven for thinking that she has just a couple of bangers and that’s all. But you’d be wrong if you thought that. She’s now released 5 albums that are packed full of quality.

On Kala (arguably her most famous record), M.I.A. tackles a range of social issues, whilst also sampling a very diverse range of music, from The Clash and Pixies to Ilaiyaraaja and The Wilcannia Mob. Her influences are vast and wide, and that comes through regularly in her music, and just listening to an M.I.A. album can introduce you to a range of music you’ve never heard before, or show you something you’re familiar with in a totally new light.

My personal favorite comes from her debut album Arular, the song “Sunshowers” just, it just does it for me.

Roots Manuva

Arguably one of the most influential trip-hop artists from the UK scene is Roots Manuva. His influence is far-reaching. It’s been argued that his music was a precursor to the grime scene and in 2014 Vice said that his debut album (1999’s Brand New Second Hand) is still the best thing to come out of UK hip-hop.

In the late 1990s, Roots Manuva did something that a lot of other British rappers had failed to do to that point. He made Britishness something to rap about. While the East and West Coast scenes in America were rapping about slinging drugs and shooting people, Roots was able to bring a sense of authenticity to his music by rapping about cheese on toast and drinking pints of bitter.

Probably his most famous and successful song was “Witness (1 Hope)” from his 2001 album Run Come Save Me. Be warned: Once you listen to this you’re going to want to be English.

Stormzy

Grime has had a few artists breakout and hit the mainstream in the past 15 years or so – the likes of Wiley, Lethal Bizzle, and Dizzee Rascal are some of the more recognizable names from the scene. But probably the biggest of them all is the current darling of the UK rap scene, Stormzy.

Not only has he had a slew of radio hits, but his debut album (Gang Signs and Prayers) was the first Grime album to peak at number one in the UK album charts, getting certified Platinum in the UK within a year of its release.

Part of the reason he has enjoyed the success he has is because he has a very level-headed, socially conscious voice that he puts towards good and popular causes. Calling out the prime minister in an award acceptance speech in February this year, for example.

Obviously, check out his album, but some of his best stuff is from his early demos and EPs. For example, “Not That Deep” from 2014 EP Dreamer’s Disease.

Kate Tempest

To round this off, let’s talk about something slightly different. Kate Tempest isn’t really a hip-hop artist. She is a poet and she is a spoken word rapper, and she is incredible. She is one of those artists that has such a way with words that you can close your eyes and just let her paint a landscape with her lyrics.

Her debut album, Everybody Down, was nominated for the Mercury Prize in 2014, but arguably, the 2016 follow up Let Them Eat Chaos is an even stronger piece. Tempest is a playwrite too, and you can tell when you listen to Let Them Eat Chaos. There is a cast of characters that repeat throughout, there is an atmospheric, dream-like quality to the beats, and her softly delivered bars penetrate your mind perfectly. If you let it, Let Them Eat Chaos is the sort of album that can change the way you hear music.

Some of the standout tracks are probably “Ketamine for Breakfast,” “Europe is Lost,” and “Breaks,” but the album closer, “Tunnel Vision,” is the one that really does it for me.

There is much more British hip-hop out there, and I’ve overlooked an awful lot in this article, so it’s right that I throw out some honourable mentions to the likes of Jehst, The Four Owls, Klashnekoff, The Streets, Wiley, Dizzee Rascal, Rodney P, Skepta, Wretch 32, Professor Green, Doc Brown, Little Simz, Kojey Radical, Fliptrix, Speech Debele, and so many more.

So the world of hip-hop over in North America might want to remember the words of Paul Revere because the British are coming, and we are bringing fire.

Ryan Reynolds in Talks for Live-Action Dragon’s Lair Adaptation

Ryan Reynolds Dirk the Daring
(Don Bluth/Cinematronics)

I have a confession to make: I don’t “get” Dragon’s Lair.

This was the supercool looking arcade game that seemed to take things to the next level. It didn’t look like other games, it looked like a cartoon. Like something you’d watch on Saturday morning. But it was playable! Somehow. Like I said, I was never really able to figure it out and preferred to waste my tokens on Outrun and pinball. It was an incredible looking game that foreshadowed more immersive video games with movie-quality graphics – like we have today.

Which makes it the perfect time to bring Dragon’s Lair back. To the big screen!

Ryan Reynolds is doing just that, having signed on to a movie version, both live-action and animated, that he’ll star in for Netflix. The Hollywood Reporter says that the movie will be written by Dan and Kevin Hageman, who worked on The Lego Movie and wrote the recent Scary Stories We Tell in the Dark. Netflix only just secured the rights to the game, so there’s no word on the director, plot, or release date yet. Obviously.

Released in 1983 with animation from Don Bluth, who went on to direct An American Tale and All Dogs Go To Heaven, Dragon’s Lair was a sensation.

Apparently, according to The Hollywood Reporter, the game used LaserDisc technology to deliver the graphics, and they were so good that the game was the most popular arcade game in the country for a time. It recently had a cameo in Stranger Things, along with every other piece of 80s pop culture you can think of.

The game is about a knight who is trying to rescue a princess from an evil wizard and a dragon, and one presumes Reynolds will play the knight, Dirk the Daring. Or maybe a man playing the actual game itself? Hard to tell at this point, but one thing is for sure: no matter who he plays, Blake Lively’s husband will spend a lot of time winking at the camera because that’s basically what he does when he’s not supporting bartenders or donating large sums to food banks.

If anything, the dude knows how to have fun, and this movie will surely be that. We’ll find out, eventually.

MLB Teams Share Messages of Solidarity as Opening Day Passes

We Miss You Baseball
(Twitter/RaysBaseball)

Usually, this is a triumphant time for baseball.

Winter is over, teams are hopeful, and fans are ready for a new season. Opening day is a special day in America, even if baseball doesn’t occupy the same place in our culture as it once used to when it truly was the country’s national pastime.

Unfortunately, thanks to the global pandemic we are all dealing with right now, opening day has been postponed, along with the rest of the season. But major league teams still did their best to recognize opening day online.

First, Rob Manfred, the MLB commissioner, put out a statement urging fans to stay home to help contain the coronavirus, sharing ways they can watch classic games for free online, and professing hope that the sport will return soon.

Teams across the league put out video messages on social media, sharing messages of solidarity with fans.

The Rockies made an exception to the “no crying in baseball” rule.

The Red Sox put out a statement recognizing fans for their efforts to protect themselves and others from COVID-19:

And the Mets put a call out to fans to share images of themselves celebrating this unique opening day with their gear:

We may not have baseball this April, but we’ll have it again, and the MLB is doing its best to keep fans happy and hopeful as we wait to return to our favorite ballparks.

Community Hosts a Social Distancing Parade for Girl Finishing Chemo

Social Distancing Parade for Coco
(Twitter/momuses)

Social distancing has been in our lexicon for only a few weeks, which in 2020 time, is equivalent to about 40 years. And as we get used to the guidelines of our new society, we’re finding ways to make it work. Friends and family are connecting over Zoom. Neighbors exchange pleasantries with the proper six feet of space between them. Kids school themselves on iPads with all screen time rules abolished. And we are also finding new ways to celebrate.

In one of the best feel-good stories you will see today, a young girl was returning home from her last chemo treatment, and her neighbors wanted to do something to celebrate. But with our social distancing rules in place, they had to get creative. So they did, helping set up a social distancing parade to welcome home the young girl.

Hat tip goes to John Krasinski of Office fame since he put the call out for good stories, and to the girl’s mom for delivering the video we needed to see today.

The girl’s friends, family, and neighbors all lined the street in decorated cars, holding balloons and signs, cheering her on as they pass.

It’s the most heartwarming thing you’ll see today, and frankly, we can use all the good news we can get these days.

Welcome home, Coco.

Teaser for Solar Opposites, New Show From Creator of Rick & Morty

Dig Old Bicks Solar Teaser
(YouTube/Hulu)

Despite some new movies being made available to stream, most of the content being released on various platforms is old stuff. Don’t get me wrong, it’s admirable that these companies are doing what they can to help get us through the Coronavirus quarantine, and when you have kids, it’s super helpful, even if the content is stuff everyone has likely seen before.

But it’s also nice to get some brand new content. Which is just one of the reasons we can’t wait for May 8th. That’s when Solar Opposites hits Hulu. Solar Opposites is an animated show about four aliens who crash land on earth and have to start new lives. Oh, and it’s from the guy who created Rick & Morty.

Got your attention now?

Justin Roiland, who co-created Rick & Morty with Dan Harmon (Community), is the man behind this new show, which drops every episode in early May. Hopefully, after we’ve all gotten out of confinement! A teaser for the show was just released.

“Solar Opposites is coming! We can only show you the teaser right now, but the whole season will be out in a matter of weeks! Stay inside and stay healthy so you can watch and love this show and call us geniuses and all that shit.”

The short description of the show reads: From Justin Roiland, the co-creator of Rick and Morty comes a series about a family of aliens trying to fit in on this human-infested crap-hole of a planet called Earth.

That doesn’t say much, but the teaser helps fill in the blanks. It’s obvious this show is from the guy Rick & Morty based on the style of the jokes and the sci-fi trappings. It surely won’t be long before it develops an insanely loyal cult following (and snacks) like its predecessor.

Check the teaser:

Medical TV Dramas are Donating Much-Needed Supplies to Hospitals

Shows Donate PPE
(Instagram/ontariofiredept)

One of the biggest challenges ahead is keeping health systems from being completely overrun by COVID-19 cases. An essential piece of this puzzle is keeping healthcare workers healthy enough to treat patients. And for that to happen, they need enough supplies to stay safe in the line of duty. Sadly, they don’t have nearly enough.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is what hospitals desperately need, and they are going to any length necessary to acquire it. Masks, gowns, and gloves are the basics, and healthcare workers are searching high and low to find them. Several medical TV dramas are heeding the call, donating their supplies to healthcare workers and actually doing something real to help people (beyond making sexy doctor dramas).

The Resident on FOX donated their supply of masks and gowns to an Atlanta-based hospital. The staff there was overjoyed to see the shipment come in, to help replenish their supply.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

“Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” . To the entire team @theresidentonfox, thank you for this incredibly generous donation of #PPE from your set, including gowns, masks, gloves, and all the things our healthcare workers need to provide safe care for our community during #COVID19. . Yesterday, I had a serious discussion with the residents about how, though supplies are low, a magical shipment of masks is unlikely to arrive. And yet, a magical shipment of masks DID arrive, in the form of this very generous gesture. This kind of community support means so much to our #frontlineproviders who are making many sacrifices to staff our hospitals and care for our community. . Thank you, @theresidentonfox and @foxtv for being helpers. We needed this kind of good news today. . PS: Sorry it’s not a great pic, but the focus was not on the photo at the time. Similarly, the team @theresidentonfox are good citizens doing good deeds and not looking for a shout out. Though I encourage all to support The Resident and the great team behind the show and to pay their good deed forward any way you can. . #Hurstlife #residentlife #emoryIMresidents #lookforthehelpers #gratitude

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“Yesterday, I had a serious discussion with the residents about how, though supplies are low, a magical shipment of masks is unlikely to arrive,” wrote a doctor at the hospital. “And yet, a magical shipment of masks DID arrive, in the form of this very generous gesture. This kind of community support means so much to our #frontlineproviders who are making many sacrifices to staff our hospitals and care for our community.”

Grey’s Anatomy on ABC is one of the longest-running shows of all time, and they also followed suit, donating medical supplies, gowns, and gloves to a California-based hospital.

“At Grey’s Anatomy, we have a backstock of gowns and gloves which we are donating as well,” said producer Krista Vernoff. “We are all overwhelmed with gratitude for our healthcare workers during this incredibly difficult time, and in addition to these donations, we are doing our part to help them by staying home.”

Fire drama Station 19 donated their hundreds of N95 masks to a real fire station.

The Good Doctor, Chicago Med, and several other medical dramas plan to donate their inventory to local hospitals. Several popular medical dramas on the BBC are also donating their set supplies to hospitals in the U.K.

It’s not much, but every bit counts, and hopefully, they will inspire more to donate what they have.

Here at The Dad, we hope you, your families, and communities stay safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. For the latest information, please utilize online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization to remain as informed as possible.

Woman Plays Tic Tac Toe With Cat Under Quarantine

Dad From Viral BBC Video Discusses Working From Home Amid Coronavirus

Professor Kelly Discusses Working From Home
(YouTube/BBC News)

Working from home is not easy for parents. Even if you have a spouse to help with the kids, it can be hard to find a safe space to get stuff done, and taking phone calls is a total crapshoot. You never know when a clueless child might burst in and start asking for a snack when you’re in the middle of an important conversation with your boss.

Just ask BBC Dad! Remember him? His name is Robert Kelly, and he is the professor who was being interviewed live on BBC TV three years ago, when all of a sudden his toddler waddled in mid-taping and was quickly followed by his baby, in a walker. The ensuing fracas, which featured the professor’s wife rushing in and trying to wrangle the kids and get them out of the room as quickly as possible, went mega-viral.

It’s a delightful video and a legitimate piece of viral video history, and Kelly handled it with aplomb, taking it in stride and admitting how difficult it can be to balance work with parenting. Which is something many of us are being forced to discover for ourselves thanks to quarantines, social distancing, and the Coronavirus.

Professor Kelly taped another interview, this time with his family on camera with him – intentionally – to discuss the incident three years ago, and to talk about the quarantine and how he is adapting to working from home this time around. His family is in South Korea, which is on lockdown as they attempt to stem the tide. And from the looks of this video, his adorable kids haven’t calmed down much!

Check it out below. And if you need a refresher (or just a good laugh, because it still hasn’t gotten old), check out the original video too!

ESPN Needs to Air ‘The Ocho’ Permanently to Fill the Sports Vacuum

The Ocho
(20th Century Fox)

Every day, we tell you about some new piece of content for kids to enjoy, to help children survive the unprecedented isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. But what about the parents? Won’t somebody think about the parents?

Sure, having extra content for kids to stream is helpful for parents too, and we have plenty of platforms via which to binge and chill all spring. But there’s one void that simply can’t be filled by Netflix documentaries and Office reruns: sports.

Right about now we’d be watching March Madness, tracking the NBA during the home stretch of the season, and preparing for baseball to start. Instead, we’re left with old highlights and broadcasts of old games and even Wrestlemania.

On Sunday, ESPN did what it could to ease your sports-deprived pain by bringing back ESPN Ocho for a full day of programming.

Ocho was dreamt up by the people behind the Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller movie Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, which came out back in 2004.

It was a fictional eighth ESPN channel focused on some less legitimate sporting events and competitions. ESPN leaned into the joke once before, on August 8th, 2017 – the 8th day of the 8th month – and last Sunday, March 22nd, they ran it back.

But we need more.

The collection of competitions included some ridiculous, not-quite-professional stuff, like cornhole, ultimate frisbee, a Goldern Tee tournament, slippery stairs:

and even Tetris!

Here’s a look at the broadcast line-up:

There was stone-skipping:

And sign spinning and sport stacking. There’s even an electricians championship, which yielded some shockingly entertaining footage:

Pretty funny stuff. It’s always nice to be reminded that ESPN has a sense of humor beyond SportsCenter catchphrases and Kenny Maine. Hopefully, you were able to tune in on Sunday to catch your favorite non-sport sporting event.

ESPN Ocho might have to become a full-time channel soon. With the Olympics now postponed along with every other major sports league, we’ll be needing it more than ever!

Dad Bored From Isolation Discovers Scenic Route to Bathroom

(Getty/Ian Ross Pettigrew/Roomsketcher)

YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO — Suggesting the tried-and-true path was “antiquated,” local quarantined dad Jeff Murtaugh recently announced that he’s discovered a new, more scenic route from the living room to the bathroom.

“This is a game-changer,” Murtaugh beamed. “For too long this family has been encumbered by the humdrum monotony of the hallway every time nature calls. Those days are done for.”

Murtaugh claims you can make a detour through the dining room, where you’ll find all sorts of chairs and placemat doilies to stand and marvel at for a bit.

“Bathroom ain’t goin’ nowhere,” Murtaugh said, fists rested on hips, admiring a big bowl on fruit in the center of the dining table. “Look at all that fruit,” he added.

Murtaugh knew something was to be done when he witnessed his youngest, Kevin, make a quick dash down the hallway for the restroom.

“I remember shouting to him, hey, where’s the fire?” Murtaugh recalled. “It’s just go go go with kids these days. Whatever happened to taking a moment to stop and smell the mahogany?”

Murtaugh says he hopes others will soon follow suit and learn to forego the recurring tedium of a family portrait-lined hallway in favor of something better.

Despite being completely plausible to parents, THIS JUST IN is satire and intended for entertainment purposes only. For more stories like this one click here.