March 24, 2015

Bahamian Beauty on Paradise Island & Nassau [Travel Review] @AtlantisResort

The Bahamas in the Caribbean, southeast of Florida and Northwest of Cuba, are made up of roughly 700 islands of which some are inhabited and some aren’t, with celebrities such as Jay-Z and Beyonce, Johnny Depp and more buying up their own private islands. Jay-Z and Beyonce also have a house as well on Paradise Island, the island that I was lucky to stay on.

The Islands of the Bahamas became a British Colony in 1783 and are still a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, recognising Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as the Head of State. Previously in the 900-1500’s AD it was inhabited by the Lucayan’s (Arawak Indians) where there were around 40,000 of them where they lived peacefully, were completely wiped out within 25 years upon Christopher Columbus’ arrival.

Flying into Nassau which although is one of the most smallest commercial islands, is the most inhabited and the capital city and commercial hub of The Bahamas. It is only 21 miles long and 6 miles wide and has a population of 215,000; I could see other island surrounding it and the bridge connecting Nassau to Paradise Island.

As I arrived to the airport and talked to the taxi driver who was the friendliest person I’d met and gave a tour as we were driving through Nassau onto Paradise Island, pointing out places to visit, but also warning me off the locals bars adding “I don’t want a bad reputation for Bahamas as you might get robbed or asked to buy drinks for locals”. I nodded in agreement although I knew I would be visiting local bars!

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As soon as I saw the Atlantis Hotel from Nassau Island driving onto the bridge over to Paradise I knew this was going to be something special. Consisting of 5 towers; The Royal Towers, Coral, Beach, Cove and The Reef where I would be staying, the hotel was like a mini Disneyland but for adults too! Kitted out with a spa, golf, casino, fitness center, water park, dolphin cay, marine habitat, theatre, comedy club, aura nightclub, bars and lounges and fine dining such as Nobu, Café Martinique, Mesa Grill and more you literally don’t have to leave the resort.

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That wasn’t my intention though, but for the first day I explored the resort walking around the 20 swimming areas and 11 pools taking in the stunning backdrop of the various towers against the crystal sea and white sand. Everything here is built with such fine details it’s hard not to be amazed. We walked quickly to the Mayan Temple Shark Lagoon where luckily for us it was feeding time and we got to watch the Caribbean reef sharks and nurse sharks jump to the surface to get their food.

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Starving from the flight we then headed to the Pisces snack bar situated behind the water park right next to the sea for a traditional meal of Conch salad (sea urchins) mixed with cucumber, onions, tomato and a refreshing and delicious lemon and chili dressing, along with beer battered fish and chips which were so fresh I couldn’t stop eating it! Walking around some more we headed back to the room to get ready for dinner where we decided to walk outside the resort and find somewhere to eat. We walked out down by the harbor finding quite a small bar that played live music and had ribs, burgers, conch, pattys and more and served a wide range of drinks. We decided to share conch balls as starters which came as a huge portion along with some drinks. We then headed back into the resort to sample one of the great restaurants in the resort. Choosing Virgils Real BBQ, a Southern American style restaurant, we didn’t realise the portions came as family portions so we had to order sandwiches or starters. I went for the BBQ chicken wings with a blue cheese dips and I’m not going to lie were the best and biggest chicken wings I’ve ever had, sweet but spicy. I shared them too as they had given me 12 as a starter along with ordering mac n cheese. After a few drinks and checking out the casino it was time to hit the sack!

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After a great nights sleep I woke up early and headed down to check out the aquarium starting at the Royal Towers called The Dig, walking inside and around it was utterly beautiful. Designed as underwater ruins and filled with intoxicating colours and marine life such as piranhas, rays, lobsters, jellyfish, eels, huge groupers, tropical fish and much more we took an hour to walk around and capture it’s beauty. We also walked around various other beautiful and calming lagoons such as the Hibiscus; home to green sea and hawksbill turtles. The Reef lagoon with Nurse Sharks, the Cenote with alligator gar that are now endangered and the Predator Lagoon with sharks, barracuadas, rays, sawfish and more.

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I was told by another person staying at the resort about a truck that does homemade food outside the resort across the road by the shops, so off I went to discover some homemade Bahamian cooking for lunch! After a bit of walking around and asking, I found a few trucks and headed to the one that was open ‘Fat Jack Kitchen’ labeled ‘Bahamian/Jamaican Dishes’! We ordered jerk chicken, jerk pork with rice & peas, mac & cheese and salad and conch salad. If you’re staying on Paradise Island or in the Atlantis this is one gem you cannot miss for lunchtime, but get there before 12pm!

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For dinner we went to Fish Fry where locals and few tourists gather together on a strip of restaurants for some finer Bahamian dining. This was recommended by the locals to go and eat outside the resort on the island of Nassau, especially a restaurant called Twin Brother’. The menu was insane mixing dishes such as steak and lobster and chicken and fried prawns all which came with a choice of two sides such as rice & peas, mac & cheese etc… We chose the fried chicken with fried prawns, steak with lobster and plantain and mac & cheese and I had the lobster with chips, rice & peas and coleslaw. The food was absolutely amazing and the lobster was so fresh and everything was cooked to perfection! The Gombay Smash cocktails are a firm favourite here as well as the Bahamas in general too. We then headed next door to a local bar where we were treated well by all the locals and one in particular called G Money who sung us Sam Smith because we were from London, and dropped us home too blaring out hip hop and offering us weed.

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The 3rd day in we headed into Nassua to check out the straw market and the shops. I must say the straw market is nice, but you get hassled by every single person to buy something after a second, so can be quite irritating. The shops themselves have some lovely gifts and walking in town and along the harbor itself is nice. We then headed back to check out the water park in Atlantis where I hit the Leap Of Faith slide – a 60 foot vertical drop from the top of the world famous Mayan Temple and through the shark filled lagoon through a clear tunnel. The Serpent Slide was next, situated next door, and from the Mayan Temple as well but you travel fast first on a tube, then slowly when you hit the tunnel through the lagoon so you can capture the sharks close up, and feel like your swimming with them. I also tried The Abyss which was rather scary as well as the relaxing Lazy River Rise and The Current Rapids which take you around the resort in a tube and is lovely for some peace and tranquility.

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The last evening was spent in the casino where I played for the first time and managed to win some money (not much but hey) playing blackjack, poker and roulette. We then headed to downtown Nassau to check out some more bars where we went to the Green Parrot Bar first a lively bar with a mixture of tourists and locals, but had a great atmosphere and was a lot of fun as well as cheap and extremely, alcoholic cocktails. We went to another bar but as it was Tuesday they weren’t very busy so we decided to call it a night.

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The last day was spent on the beach before our flight that evening! I highly recommend The Atlantis in the Bahamas for families, couples or friends. There is a lot to do in the resort itself and so many great restaurants, but there are also great restaurants and activities to do outside the resort. The hotel(s) are absolutely stunning with everything designed down to such fine detail, it really is breathtaking along with the beautiful beaches and friendly, helpful people.

March 23, 2015

Pixie’s Tracks Of The Week @DizzeeRascal @OfficialGiggs @SectionBoyz1 @SwayUK @Sneakbo @DevlinOfficial @Skepta

Dizzee Rascal ft Giggs – Nutcrakerz

I first heard this track on Charlie Sloth’s show last month and instantly thought what a banger! Dizzee Rascal teams up with UK raps finest Giggs for this Heavytrackerz produced single sampling the famous Tchaikovsky classical ballet song from the Nutcracker. Heavytrackerz have done a fantastic job turning it into a heavy grimey track. Giggs and Dizzee of course bring us a lyrical madness that these two flow masters are accomplished in, talking about the past.

AR15 Presents Section Boyz – Trapping Aint Dead

Alwayz Recording have released the news of their forthcoming epic mixtape by of dropping the first track from there from Section Boyz titled’ Trapping Ain’t Dead’ produced by Nana Rouges. Section Boyz are one of the most talked about, up and coming crews right now and kick off the ‘Concrete Jungle’ mixtape with this catchy track. The mixtape will feature UK rappers such as Skepta, Wretch 32, Ratlin, Sneakbo, Ghetts, Youngs Teflons, Stormzy, Tempa Tand more.

Sway – Stream It

Sway has been on a hiatus for a little while touring with Example and developing the careers of others such as Tigger Da Author. Now he is back with a brand new album to be released in June. ‘Stream It’ is the first single to be heard from the album featuring Afrobeats star Mista Silva; the follow up to ‘Upload’ and ‘Download’, showing Sway at his lyrical best and looking at the effect of instant music.

Sneakbo ft Grizzy, S-Wavey & M Darg– Look Like You

My favourite mixtape of the moment is Sneakbo’s ‘Jetski Wave 2’ and ‘Look Like You’ ft Grizzy, S-Wavey and M Darg is the new video Bo has released from there. This man literally does not stop working and this hard, street track shows Sneakbo at his finest.

Devlin ft Skepta – 50 Grand

Devlin is back after a hiatus as well from the music scene and comes back with a bang. With Skepta featuring on brand new single ’50 Grand’ these make a firing combination. Both Grime dons’ together can only mean something explosive. Devlin has also announced his fourth studio album due later in 2015. Riches is the theme, I’m going to say no more, just get listening.

March 16, 2015

Pixie’s Tracks Of The Week (@Frenchyleboss) (@Officialgiggs) (@SwiftSection) (@SleeksSection) (@GenesisElijah) (@MajorB2DAL) (@Lilnastyuk) (@SRUFIZZER) (@JMEBBK)

I’ve been away for 9 days, so this is my first post back from my holidays and seeing as it’s Monday it might as well be my tracks of the week! We have some good UK rap and Grime tunes, especially the JME surprise videos and album announcement!

Frenchy Le Boss ft Giggs – Flexing 

Frenchy Le Boss & Giggs team up for this absolute banger. This track is one from for the clubs. Expect to hear some bilingual rap from Frenchy Le Boss and some hard bars and naughty lyrics from Giggs.

Swift & Sleeks – Let My Squad Up

Swift & Sleeks from one of the most talked about UK rap crews around at the moment; Section Boyz, come together as a duo for this one titled ‘Let My Squad Up’. They showcase their lyrics over a dark trap beat.

Genesis Elijah – Spin Em Round

Wiley dropped some instrumentals on Soundcloud and Genesis Elijah decided to bless one of them with some bars. Complementing the Godfather of Grime’s skills as a producer, Genesis Elijah a well-respected rapper comes with some hot bars and a catch chorus.

Milli Major ft Scrufizzer & Lil Nasty – Stable

Bloodline’s Milli Major drops the second visual from his highly anticipated ‘Bloods Thicker Than Water’ EP due for release in April. This track features Scrufizzer and Lil Nasty who each add some of their own Grime flavour to the track. The EP will feature some of Grime’s finest artists including D Double E, Flirta D, Chronik and more.

JME – Integrity, Taking Over (It Ain’t Working) & Work

This is exciting me as much as the release of Skepta’s album to be as honest, as JME announced the release of his album ‘Integrity’ slated for a May 4th release. To celebrate the news, JME dropped three videos unannounced! Only JME would do that and we all love him for it! Check out the videos for ‘Integrity’, ‘Taking Over’ and ‘Work’ which will all be on the album.

 

March 3, 2015

Pixie’s Tracks Of The Week (@Skepta) (@Footsie) (@Sneakbo) (@ArdAdz) (@ShoShallow) (@_BushObama )

From last week here are the 5 best tracks, which of course includes Skepta’s ‘Shutdown’ and Sneakbo’s mixtape ‘JetSkiWave 2’ with both releases shutting the internet down …

 Skepta – Shutdown

Of course this has to be the biggest track from last week. With pretty much no lead up to it, Skepta premiered his brand new track ‘Shutdown’ on The Fader. His name has the biggest hype around it at the moment, from shows in New York to joining Kanye West on stage with other Grime artists at the Brits, and now reportedly working with Kanye in the studio. This will be on his forthcoming ‘Konnichiwa’ album where we can expect bigger and better music still to come.

Footsie – Straight Loco

Another Grime don is next up and that is Footsie from the Newham Generals, who released this track as a solo one. ‘Straight Loco’ brings a hard, Grime beat produced by G Jones allowing Footsie to flow in his style known to most Grime heads. This is the 2nd release from his forthcoming project, so keep your eyes and ears locked…

Sneakbo – Rap Like Dat ft Grizzy & Frass

So Sneakbo dropped his ‘JetSkiWave 2’ mixtape on Saturday hosted by the veteran US DJ Whoo Kid and setting the internet alight with it also trending on Twitter. This tape saw fans in the likes of Wretch 32, Chip, Krept and more all tweeting it. ‘Rap Like Dat’ video also dropped a few days before from the tape warming up his fans for the full 22 track tape. Watch the video below and download the mixtape by clicking here

Ard Adz & Sho Shallow ft Jaja Soze – Thoughts

Haven’t heard much from Brixton’s Ard Adz & Sho Shallow from a while, but the two rappers return with this one featuring PDC’s Jaja Soze for ‘Thoughts’. This is an emotive, deep track with all three spitting a verse each about the streets in Brixton where they are all from and their life experiences. They all complete each other with their varied deliveries but similar subjects.

Bush ft Benny Banks – Own Path

Bush is a rapper that’s new to my ears. I came across him after the release of his debut mixtape ‘Driven 2 Success’ which dropped on 23rd February. ‘Own Path’ is the 3rd video release from the project and sees him dropping some motivational bars over a melodic beat. Benny Banks drops a hard verse for Bush’s track adding more inspiration to the track. These two make a sick team! Download Bush – Driven 2 Success by clicking here

 

February 26, 2015

Nozstock (@Nozstock) : The Hidden Valley [Event]

Nozstock is a festival that is new to my ears, but it has actually been running for 17 years this year. Set in rural Hertforshire and at their home and run by the family on their working farm.

The father and daughter combination of Noz and Ella have curated one of the country’s most charming and beguiling festivals, surrounded by verdant rolling hills and imbued with a true sensation of escapism.

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Independent and just a little bit left-of-centre, Nozstock brims with diversity, creativity and excitement. Reassuringly welcoming, it has evolved from 50 friends gathered at the original event in themed 90s and flourished into an intimate musical odyssey joining the dots between pop, ska, folk, funk, soul, indie, drum and bass, psytrance, house and a whole lot more, now firmly established as one of the country’s leading boutique festivals.

Nozstock is thrilled to reveal a very special headliner for this summer: NY-based Wu-Tang Clan, who not only proved to be the most revolutionary rap group of the mid-’90s but are arguably the greatest ever hip-hop group of all time

If your a drum & bass head then Nozstock has its founding roots within this culture. This year Hospitality will be present with London Elektricity, Etherwood, Danny Bryd, Metrik, Krakota and MC Wrec who take over The Cubicles on Friday. DJ Hype will be there along with Ed Rush & Optical, Deekline, Rinse FM’s Uncle Dugs, Ratpack, Slipmatt, Kenny Ken and Billy Daniel Bunter.

 Other acts include Jungle stars Congo Natty, heavyweight bass-basher Dillinja, the beatboxing Beardyman. 

Across the weekend trail-blazing hip-hop, bass music, grime, dubstep and raucous beats come from a brilliantly diverse range of DJ and live acts. Dr Syntax and Pete Cannon have produced for Action Bronson and Punchtown, whilst the Dead Players trio of Jam Baxta, Dabbla and Ghost Town are the chameleons of rhyme. They are joined by Ruffnek Diskotek w/Dub Boy, Dutty Inspectors and Ghost Writerz, Mr Woodnote & Eva Lazarus, Smokey Joe and The Kid, Gypsy Hill, Solko, Sounds of Harlowe, Octo Pi & Koncept, Scope, Modify Perspective, Remidy M.C and Trafic M.C and many more to be announced.

Nozstock – The Hidden Valley

Friday 24th – Sunday 26th July 2015

@ Rowden Paddocks, Bromyard, Herefordshire, HR7 4LS

Tickets from £80 teen / £105 adult
www.nozstock.com / @Nozstock

www.facebook.com/nozstockthehiddenvalley

February 23, 2015

Pixie’s Tracks Of The Week (@DeliBricks) (@NewhamGenerals) (@JHusMusic) (@Stormzy1) (@IsaiahDreads)

This week I pick five of my hottest tracks from last week from some old skool G’s to some up and coming MC’s.

Deli Bricks ft Corleone & Snap Capone – Fly Birds

UK underground rap at it’s finest with the first track to be heard from Deli Bricks new forthcoming mixtape ‘Finessin’ which is out 30th March. He’s joined by two hard barrers Corleone and Snap Capone for a street track. All three bring different elements and flows to the track making it one to bang out loud.

Newham Generals – Levels

A heavy, grimey, bassline track that I heard they played with My Nu Leng one of the producers for the track at Fabric on Friday setting the club alight. D Double E & Footsie show why they are Grime’s General’s as they pack the tune full of ad libs and punch lines.

J Hus – No Lie

J Hus has quite a buzz around his name at the moment and I myself named him as one to watch out for this year. His style blends Afrobeats and Rap and is a sound so fresh that people can’t seem to get enough of it. ‘No Lie’ is a pretty catchy track too that I can hear going off in a dance.

Stormzy – Know Me From

Stormzy who is everybody’s favourite MC and is set to cause some serious damage to the UK music scene. He returns with his debut single ‘Know Me From’ produced by Z Dot and featuring his mum in the video. He is just sick, no more needs to be said.

Isaiah Dreads ft C4 – Foolish

This upcoming, one to watch fresh Grime MC by the name of Isaiah Dreads is going to be a problem. At just 17-years old and from Dorset he brings something new to the Grime scene, his journey and lyrics. ‘Wait For Me’ produced by Preditah is a bouncy, go follow your dreams kind of track. He shows off his exceptional flow here too.

February 23, 2015

East St (@EastStreetEats) [Food Review]

If you’re shopping in Central London particularly around Oxford St/Bond St make sure you pop in to cure those weary feet and get your eat on, or before your about to head into Soho for drinks with friends. East St is perfect for a quick and tasty dinner! The menu will also suit most people as it’s quite varied.

This little gem of fresh pan asian cooking is just situated off Oxford St, closer to Tottenham Court Road end, and brings a mixture of street food from Thailand, VietnamMalaysia and Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Japan and Korea. It brought me back to the time of eating at the Hawker markets in Singapore or the street food stalls when I went to Bangkok, and I wondered as I sat down how authentic it was going to be.  Street food in these countries for me is completely different to eating in restaurants and I hoped they would capture the beauty of it. 

After a shopping trip with my brother (well half way through) and me knowing it was going to be a very long day ahead we decided to go here, and saw they also had an express lunch menu with 4 main dishes to choose from for £6.95 each and the option to go for a few more for £1 extra and to add a starter for £2.50 extra. Pretty good value for money if you ask me, although there wasn’t much choose.

He went for the express lunch choosing Gomoku Yakisoba – Ramen noodles wok-fried with prawns, chicken breast, peppers, julienne carrot and bean sprouts, garnished with toasted nori and pickled ginger and added Gyoza’s for us to share. Gyoza’s or dumpling are (in this case) Griddled dumplings of minced pork, bamboo shoot & spring onion, with a soy dip. These were tasty and light and didn’t taste like they were brought in an oriental supermarket like most restaurants. The noodles from Japan were a huge portion and tasted fresh and there was the right amount of meat, vegetables and noodles.

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I opted for the Nasi Goreng rice with prawns which is an Indonesian dish of spicy wok-fried rice with lime leaves, chilli, and onion flakes. This was very delicious and even when I was getting full I didn’t want to put the fork down. It’s quite a simple dish to make at home as well, you just have to get the elements right. Simple is sometimes the best for me especially when the ingredients used are good ones.

I recommend this place if your as a quick pan asian pit stop when your in the area especially if you like stir fry’s, curries, rice dishes and more full of flavour.

Where To Find

3-5 Rathbone Place, London, W1T 1HJ      02073230860    http://www.eaststreetrestaurant.com/

 

February 18, 2015

Toddla T Meets Protoje – England Be Wise [Free Mixtape Download]

Sheffield bass don and BBC Radio 1 & 1Xtra DJ Toddla T teams up with reaggae newcomer Protoje for a brand new free downloadable mixtape. England meets Jamaica, Reggae meets Grime, Dubstep and Drum & Bass, and Toddla T meets Protoje for the awesome collaborative mixtape England Be Wise

Proteje “merks every riddim to the highest degree” as he jumps on the wickedest selection of unexpected beats from Skepta’s ‘That’s Not Me’ to jungle classic ‘The Burial’ from LeviticusKrept & Konan’s ‘Don’t Waste My Time’ and Schoolboy Q’s ‘Collard Greens’. Bringing that genuine Jamaican Reggae sunshine to some of the deepest, synth filled, 140 Grime beats.

February 18, 2015

Boom Burger (@BOOMburgerLDN) [Food Review]

Situated in West London on Portobello Road, Boom Burger is the new burger joint that has got everyone talking, from locals to further afield. After working the day in Kensal Rise, I walked down Ladbroke Grove and found my way to the the place, after being told by two different people to go for the normal burger and the other person the jerk chicken burger.

Let me first tell you a little bit about Boom Burger it’s described as a ‘Gourmet Burgers and cocktails with a Jamaican twist in a colourful space with a Caribbean vibe’. The founder is Josh de Lisser a young chef born in Jamaica who got his cooking influences from his family in Montego Bay.

Meeting a friend we went inside and I was quite surprised at how small the menu was, this I wasn’t expecting. To be frankly honest I loved it, I hate going to a restaurant and seeing a page full of desirable food and not being able to choose what I want because I want it all! The only downside looking around me was how small the place was and places to sit were sparse, luckily for us we came pretty early for dinner and it wasn’t busy. We ended up having a huge table to ourselves which could have seated 6 people 8 at a really tight squeeze.

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The food itself was delectable, I went for the Boom Burger, their signature beef burger covered in cheese and bacon jam which was a winner for me. My friend went for the Jerk Boom (chicken) which had fried plantain, rocket and mango & paw paw sauce. The jerk chicken was shredded and came in a brioche bun and was so packed it was almost impossible to eat. The Boom Burger was simple but incredibly tasty and unlike any beef burger I ever had. I was considering the Fish Boom though which consists of pan fried red snapper.

We ordered plantain fries and and normal fries as our sides which were huge portions and we couldn’t manage to finish our meals. The jerk wings and saltfish chilli fritters are definitely what I’m going to be ordering next time to mix it up a bit! There is also a choice of a Pork Boom, Veggie Boom and a Brunch Boom along with Jerk Salad and Fish Salad to keep most people happy who want to come and sample some tasty Jamaican influenced food.

The drinks menu is another thing that won me round at Boom Burger where rum cocktails take precedent and the ‘rum n thing’ cocktail for me straight away. You can also go for favourite like rum punch, pina colada or so sorrel.

This place is great to meet for a relaxed lunch or dinner if you need to get in and out of quickly and is very informal and fun. It’s delicious and inexpensive. What more could you want?

Where To Find

272 Portobello Road, London W10 5TY    020 8960 3533     www.boomburger.co.uk

February 2, 2015

Yungen (@YungenPlayDirty) – 23 Freestyle [Music Video]

Yungen turned 23 last week and decided to keep his roll of birthday freestyles going. He states that the freestyle was made on his birthday, no pre record, and this year instead of like the last 2 he kept it the style more raw recording it outside with just him on camera over a Heavytrackerz beat.