The Bridge Is Still Over


Every once in a while I tune in to the Zulu Nation station in my mind and hear my version of hip-hop. It’s kinda old school, louder then a bomb, and tougher then leather. But instead of Big Bank Hank’s yes-yes-y’all’s, someone’s dropping Rakim’s science with M.O.P.’s temper. The P. Brothers are technically from England, but their music is all Bronx. Or should I say “Bronx,” an imaginary land where the men dance, the women are named Roxanne, and members of Brand Nubian have their faces printed on currency. Their way-too-brief EP, Heavy Bronx Experience Vol. 2, was clearly made under the influence of early Boogie Down Productions, late John Bonham (as in dead, not In Through the Out Door), Marley Marl, and Ultramagnetic MCs’ “Ego Tripping.”

These are the breaks: Paul S. and Ivory make up the PB’s, two white guys from Nottingham, working in what seems to be a surging British hip-hop scene (check for Def Tex, Roots Manuva, and Rodney P.). This record practices the all-important rap custom: Take the good parts and leave the rest. So it’s decked out in gold chains, loud drums, and offers of “disco treats,” while Fabolous flossing and Atari keyboards ride the bench.

A crew of unknown MCs comes along for the ride. Cappo, a young Nottingham mic fiend who spits like he heard Kool G Rap once and has never been the same since, walks off with the belt. He carves up the EP’s bugged-out, cannon-drummed highlight, “Nottingham Bronx.” A “worshipping atheist-existentialist,” Cappo sounds like he’s rapping through a soup can and a piece of string (in a good way), daring “you should retaliate” while the P. Brothers ring bells and scratch the word “Bronx” until you think it means “heaven.” The record ends with “Science,” wherein The Condor, The Baron, and Moe Brandy (try those on, Ghostface) give vocodered shout outs while a woman has an orgasm in the background. If you’re still breathing, you’re feeling almost as good as she does.