Saturday, 11 May 2013
Maybe it's the age of hip hop that we live in or perhaps it is because we're all a little more mature nowadays. That's the only reason I can think of because 20 years ago there was a lot of conflict and attitude, not to mention resentment, jealousy and anger.
I'm talking about us, the hip hop generation if you will.
When I go out to a gig (admittedly a lot less frequently these days) or hip hop pub night to rub shoulders (literally, this action might have once got you a serious Gas-Face) with like-minded souls, I feel calm, tranquil and happy in the knowledge that I can chat to anyone there because we are all in that one place for one reason - to acknowledge the music in an open arena.
It's a welcome change from the days of yesteryear. We seem to have got over the fact that there may be someone sporting some doper Adidas than you, or Fred had better moves on the dancefloor than Bob.
I think we call it growing up.
Now, with all this happy-happy-joy-joy permeating the events of today everyone is cool with one another. To paraphrase Sirus, no-one is wasting no-one. It certainly makes the prospect of going out a hell of a good time. And with all the positivity about then we can only hope for bigger and better things.
One feature that seems to be apparent is the amount of collaborations that are springing up these days. Case in point the brand new Whirlwind D joint that arrived on my doormat recently.
Entitled 'Bristol Built' this new wax is the outcome of an alliance between Solid 'n' Mind's Whirlwind D (flowing on the mic), Mr Fantastic (beats), Beat Route 38's Truck (added vocal flavour) and mic-master general Sir Beans OBE (turntables....huh?).
For the vinyl nerd, this package is seemingly sent from the Almighty above. First off, the vinyl is on a lovely thick piece of black wax which assures you that once on your turntable this sucker ain't budging.
Now a glance at the tracklisting. This is what we want; just two songs with vocal, instrumental and acapella for both. No needless remixes here just the facts, ma'am.
And the cover? For those with an ear to the UK rap scene the name Mr Krum needs no introduction. Mr Krum is hands-down the 'go to' choice when you need any sort of musical cover design having worked with DJ Format, Whirlwind D & Waxer, Oxygen, Soundsci and just about anything that has emerged from Slice Of Spice and DWG.
He has created a simple but effective blueprint plan for the wax that is created inside the cover. Once again, Krum's work is best viewed on a larger canvas such as 12" vinyl rather than a tiny CD inlay card.
So onto the songs themselves. As mentioned earlier there are two songs on the release, Late Night Rhyme and Star.
Track one, Late Night Rhyme is a laid-back groove with almost a 'live-sounding' beat utilising a fat jazzy bassline which soon becomes the daddy of the break. The drum break is a great percussive, plodder with a cheeky hi-hat streaming the groove. Added twinkly keyboard stabs permeate throughout and instantly give the whole track its given descriptive title as a nighttime beat which wouldn't sound out out of place at a London bar on a late Friday evening.
My attention is always first and foremost with beats and track one is now my bezzie mate.
Whirlwind goes into a softer rhyme delivery to complement the groove and drops lyrics dealing with the fine balance of being a b-boy but simultaneously having parental responsibilities. 93 'til affinity.
We don't often have the time that we once did to spend alone in our record room just listening to tunes when kids and wives are elbowing for attention and D evokes this perfectly ("Four hours in the room when I had planned/To spend the evening with my dearest wife").
The flipside is a more 'hardcore sound' with a snapping break punctuated by a hissing hi-hat and thudding, moody bassline.
Joining D on vocals is Truck who both combine to judge how far they've come and give reminiscent tales of yesteryear and their own personal take on discovering hip hop.
Truck handles his mic duties smoothly with no effort and proceeds to state that he is the same now at 37 even as a father, yet still making joints as if he were a teenager - although with less effing and blinding! He's led a busy musical life flipping alternative hip hop ("folk-rap with a diminished fifth") and coming up through the festival circuit to get himself known.
Mr Fantastic has given the lads a dope canvas for them to paint their expressive portraits of their experiences growing up. Held together with Beans on the cuts, never disturbing but accentuating the groove with his tight scratches and Rola engineering the session and Mr Krum completing the end product, this is without doubt an excellently produced and put-together package.
We may be mellowing in these increasing years but beneath our mature exterior lies a wealth of stories and experience that needs to be passed onto each generation.
Brizzle, stand up!
Whirlwind D on Facebook
Bristol Built available on iTunes
Don't forget to cop the dope WD-40 EP if you haven't already