Mike Skinner (The Streets) until January of last year ran his own hiphop-based record label ‘The Beats’. Competing in the media world that this is, and with an adulation to make people laugh, Skinner and friends created an online Youtube show, playfully entitled ‘Beat Stevie’.
When I found Beat Stevie with my friends it provided hours of entertainment; watching rather intoxicated young rappers get up to trouble in London and around the U.K. Without a doubt, the funniest member was an up and coming white rapper from Fulham called Example.
Example’s sound has changed dramatically in the few years he’s been a rapper. From his early mixtape of remixes including The Rolling Stones, Jose Gonzalez, and, Lily Allen, to his perfect, sample-laden debut, marked the white rapper’s early period.
I saw Example on his first U.K. tour and was blown away at my first ever live hiphop experience (having previously been a predominantly guitar-band rooted kid before). Example’s charisma, stage presence, and undeniable ability to make everyone have a good time, rubbed off the moment he walked on stage; we could have been seeing Hendrix at Woodstock, the way the crowd was reacting.
2008 was a year of little commercial success for Example – fueled by the demise of his record label and sheer bad luck. By Example’s 2008 Glastonbury experience, the onstage setup remained the same (DJ, Bass, and MC), but began with an ear-splitting loud electro DJ set to open. My initial skepticism was blown away immediately as the rapper’s new sound was mesmerizing, ridiculously upbeat, incredibly well-produced, and still dominated by the charismatic performer I’d seen months earlier.
As 2008 crept on it was clear that Example wouldn’t be reverting to the comparatively downbeat hiphop of before, instead we’re left with electro influenced hiphop, or hiphop influenced electro. Example returns to his role as MC on new tracks, while production has been stepped up considerably since the first ventures.
As we’re approaching the half-way point of 2009, if you check Hype Machine, Example is dominating the charts. There are many artists I love who don’t seem to make it, in 2008 it looked like Example would be going that way as well. It is with great pleasure to notice Example receiving the blogged reception he deserves, here’s a bit of a career spanning collection.