31ST AUGUST Few saw this coming! A rap collective made up of 10 rappers all aged 16 who picked up their GCSE results this week along with a No 1 single! Marketed as a poppier version of So Solid Crew, Blazin’ Squad are the newest boys on the pop landscape and start their chart career with a cover of the UK #8 and US #1 1996 track “Crossroads” by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony which saw 52,599 copies selling last week to beat all comers. The song’s verses have been substantively re-written for the release so in reality only the chorus remains. Nonetheless that’s the lowest sale required to make No 1 for 18 weeks and the boys were, to some extent fortunate to make the top, it isn’t quite their first appearance on the charts with a 12” only release of “Standard Flow” hitting No 78 a few weeks ago Truth Hurts is the name adopted by Shari Watson who is Dr Dre’s newest protégé, she’s managed to get Rakim in on her first single “Addictive” and score a top 10 to boot as it debuts at No 3 (38,000). The song samples the latter’s 1987 hit “Paid In Full” along with BT Express’s “Do It” and Lata Mangeshkar’s "Thoda Resham Lagta Hai" and that final sample is causing some controversy and it appears not to have been cleared pre-release, a fact which is now the subject to legal proceedings. After the split comes the solo career, it’s an established pattern and one which Abs from Five is now following. His first solo release “What You Got” samples Althia and Donna’s “Uptown Top Ranking” (#1, 1978) to give us that summer vibe and launch his career with a No 4 hit with sales of 30,000. Paul Oakenfold is already one of the most respected remixers and producers in the industry after breaking through on his work with the Happy Mondays in the late 80s and his work on his own Perfecto label generating top 10 singles as Perfecto Allstarz, Grace, Element4, Planet Perfecto and now simply as Oakenfold. “Starry Eyed Surprise” features a sample from Nilsson’s “Everybody’s Talkin” and gives us vocals from Shifty Shellshock (lead singer from Crazy Town) all of which hits at No 6 (24,000). Italian dance next with Milky who have more than a whiff of Black Box about them, not just because they are producing dance music from Italy but because the lady in the promo and on the cover isn’t the singer. A few samples including Wings “Listen To What The Man Said” accompany the track “Just The Way You Are” which has been helped to No 8 (19,000) by being used by Channel 4 for the “Big Brother” final show which saw Kate Lawler crowned. The Sugababes fall 1-2 (46,000) and in doing so creates a nice piece of numeric harmony with the last 4 chart toppers spending 4 weeks, 3 weeks, 2 weeks and 1 week there respectively- the only other time that happened was way back in 1961! Darius cools 2-5 (26,000), Mad’house slip 5-7 (21,000), Romeo is done 3-9 (17,000) and Daniel Bedingfield relaxes 4-10 (14,000).