To celebrate the 10th anniversary of this truly unique label they choose to shower us in gifts, I wish every birthday was like this - except mine of course. As a mark of this grand occasion those kind people at Big Dada have released an awesome double CD, a DVD and a special anniversary party.
I don't think there exists a label that is so trustworthy that you could buy any record it released in the safe knowledge that you'll love it, but for years I've been buying Big Dada releases knowing that I may not like it but it won't be anything to do with quality. The label has proved itself time and time again for an undying commitment to challenging and innovative music and the hip hop genre has been draped loosely around its neck but has never weighed down its steady upward progression. Label boss Will Ashton wanted to form a label that ran alongside yet independent of the mothership Ninja Tune label and would provide a home to hip hop misfits and pioneers.
Never describing themselves as a UK hip hop label, Will Ashton prefers to see it as simply "a hip hop label based in London" and with artists from the US and France on their books Big Dada must be one of the most international hip hop labels around today, and in this fact lies Ashton's most significant achievement. He has certainly championed some of the most successful UK artists like Roots Manuva, Willy, TY etc. but he has stripped them of their laborious 'UK' title and brought everything down to Hip Hop.
The CD is less of a 'best of' and more of an overview of the labels history and philosophy and it's only when this back catalogue is put together in this context that you start to get a clear picture of just how special Big Dada is. It is truly innovative but certain artists carry this flag more than others and any label boasting releases from cLOUDDEAD, New Flesh, Mike Ladd and TTC can't help to be slightly left of centre. Even from the title it's clear that Roots Manuva is the jewel in the crown of Big Dada and rightly so. I have always considered his debut Brand New Secondhand to be his finest work, but when you put them all together and drop in the flagship song Witness (1 Hope) he really is quite impressive. Mike Ladd's many incarnations keep things interesting and if things were getting a little too hip hop there's plenty of curve balls from TTC, Busdriver and newest signing Spank Rock to mix things up. What other label would put together the smooth storytelling of TY with the low down Grime of Willy? Though not particularly well represented here cLOUDDEAD really stand out from anyone and before their demise they single handedly took this label to places no other artist could go. Wherever they resided this band acted as a simmering cluster bomb blowing apart any preconceptions of genre that a label may have possessed and it took real vision to include them in the early days of this label.
Which leads me on to the DVD. Apart from the Big Dada documentary, this DVD is really about the videos. It has something like 35 videos here which must be everything that's been made. There's an impressive megamix option or you can play each video through one by one or you can set it to random so if your tv's got good enough sound this would make an awesome video juke box. Just stick it on and go about your business but you'd get snarled up on the lengthy cLOUDDEAD tour footage which is so compelling it demands your full attention. Videos from New Flesh and the crazy world of TTC are a treat, but as usual Roots Manuva steels the show with his return to his former primary school for sports day in the Witness video.
All in all this is a wonderful package indeed, and I'm not talking about Roots Manuva in his leotard. It's a great celebration of ten years of forward thinking - and for any fledgling hip hop mavericks with wild ambitions, while Big Dada is around the world must seem like a much more welcoming place.
12th Oct 2007 - Tumblr3.5
Young adult upgrade, with just enough Conchords humour to keep it enjoyable.
22nd Aug 2019Read more 2.5 star reviews
Decent Aussie surf drama, that nostalgically investigates the soul of surfing before losing i… https://t.co/qW3B55bCcG.
14th Aug 2019Read more star reviews
Somewhat unremarkable, but enjoyable music drama. Bit long.
13th Jul 2019Read more 3.5 star reviews
Predictably grim seaside coming-of-age indie. Decent enough, but you’ve seen it before
13th Jul 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Stylish sequel, hampered in places by some authentic 1960s pacing.
30th Jun 2019Read more 3.5 star reviews
Out-there kids fable with an old school Tim Burton vibe.
16th Jun 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Rock solid 90s style indie movie. Beautifully assembled at all levels.
31st May 2019Read more 4 star reviews
Fairly one-sided Police doc about the seemingly dislikeable trio.
7th May 2019Read more 2.5 star reviews
Decent, but slightly muddled parenting indie.
28th Apr 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Forgettable re-imagining of a not totally unforgettable Disney classic.
27th Apr 2019Read more 3.5 star reviews
Solid stop-motion animation that’s light on plot, but high on charm.
12th Apr 2019Read more 2.5 star reviews
Surprisingly stylish sequel that drops the ball in classic straight-to-VHS style halfway through.
6th Apr 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Opaque Alaskan thriller from Jeremy Saulnier, with little regard for convention.
1st Apr 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Low key indie spin on Rambo, as a father and daughter try and live off grid.
28th Mar 2019Read more 3.5 star reviews
Fun biopic that runs out of steam about when the band did.
25th Mar 2019Read more 3 star reviews
A diminished remake of Deadpool 1. Occasional LOLs.
25th Mar 2019Read more 2.5 star reviews
High concept sci-fi that stretches its concept a little thin.
19th Mar 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Unremarkable, cliche-ridden actioner. Utterly lacking in suspense.
17th Mar 2019Read more 2.5 star reviews
A disjointed patchwork of homages, nods and rip offs from dozens of other movies, with little to offer of its own.
11th Mar 2019Read more 2 star reviews
Laborious, high-concept alien horror. While the concept is good, the beats are all well telegraphed.
2nd Mar 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Witty, if a little obvious, post-meta rom-com.
1st Mar 2019Read more 3 star reviews
The Second Part
It’s literally a re-hash of all the themes of the first one with a few less jokes.
23rd Feb 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Slight, but sometime engaging iPhone feature.
26th Jan 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Decent modern spin on Mary Poppins. Bit uneven, but a nice soundtrack helps things along.
20th Jan 2019Read more 3.5 star reviews
Bog standard entry into The-Rock-action-movie genre. As much personality as a computer game.
3rd Jan 2019Read more 3 star reviews
This time it’s really, really serious. Seriously.
27th Dec 2018Read more 3 star reviews
It’s a musical ...but slick direction makes it just about bearable.
24th Dec 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Pop-culture bouillabaisse, hampered by numerous terrible accents.
24th Dec 2018Read more 3.5 star reviews
Pacey, emotional, old-fashioned indie pic. Beautifully observed.
15th Dec 2018Read more 4 star reviews
Surprisingly underwhelming biopic that doesn’t find its feet until 20m from the end.
24th Nov 2018Read more 3.5 star reviews
Utterly derivative / thoroughly enjoyable ‘Heat’ rip off.
21st Nov 2018Read more 3.5 star reviews
Well crafted character study, with some nice touches.
10th Nov 2018Read more 4 star reviews
Brutal revenge thriller. Stylish and violent, with plenty of explanation left to the imagination.
4th Nov 2018Read more 3.5 star reviews
Intense indie drama from Netflix. Impeccably acted and directed.
27th Oct 2018Read more 4 star reviews
Disappointingly unoriginal superhero movie, complete with dull CGI action.
27th Oct 2018Read more 2 star reviews
Continually clichéd rock romance that never breaks into originality.
13th Oct 2018Read more 1.5 star reviews
Dry Morrissey biopic that gets arty by avoiding using any Smiths songs.
7th Oct 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Decent rehash of vintage indie movie tropes.
7th Oct 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Mumblingly wordy western that’s big on self-importance and low on drama and tension.
25th Sep 2018Read more 2.5 star reviews
Muddled biopic with occasional moments of eccentric comedy madness.
22nd Sep 2018Read more 2.5 star reviews
Like a long episode of Girls that’s all about one of the more boring characters.
16th Sep 2018Read more 2 star reviews
Slightly confused slice of post-Michael Mann LA crime.
7th Sep 2018Read more 2.5 star reviews
Sympathetic retread of Single White Female, with added #hashtags.
26th Aug 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Welcome to the Jungle
Fun updated reboot with added Breakfast Club.
26th Aug 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Low-tide mark for super hero movies. I only finished watching to see how bad it could get.
14th Aug 2018Read more 1 star reviews
It’s a cover version of every other Mallick pic, but the setting is inspired and the improv from Gosling is enjoyably enthusiastic.
8th Aug 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Well written, well paced sequel. Surprisingly competent and heartwarming.
4th Aug 2018Read more 3.5 star reviews
70s pot boiler that lazily meanders through a series of mediocre set pieces.
23rd Jul 2018Read more 2.5 star reviews
Enjoyable change of pace for the super hero genre. Comedy wins.
21st Jul 2018Read more 3.5 star reviews