Friday, 11 March 2016

Record Review - Whirlwind D - Other Side

"You know it's raw for sure so don't hesitate…"

This album is a first for the British rap stable B-Line Recordings in so much as Whirlwind D is the label's first artist to release a follow-up long-player with them. Any doubts of the 'difficult second album' syndrome are soon waived the second the needle touches the wax.

2014's Nomansland was a solid collection of top drawer 'bangers' melding together D's conscious lyrics with varied producers, none of whom strangers to the B-Line buyer. This year's latest album continues the tried and tested pattern but also branches out in terms of production moving in a slightly left-field direction which pleasantly pushes the sound into fresh territory.
UK rap has always employed the use of the DJ and he is never far away from the familiar pattern of 'verse/scratch-chorus/verse' as is heard throughout here. Clinically-clean cuts and scratches are dispensed by DJ Tones, Miracle, Jabba Tha Kut and Sir Beans to remind the listener that, yes, this is hip hop as it should be!

Whirlwind D has continued to tour up and down the country bringing his arsenal of lyrics to diehard fans and those new to his sound via performances with labelmates or internationally-renowned artists such as Wu Tang Clan or Public Enemy which no doubt has helped him to hone his skills for this album.

This collection of songs seems slightly darker than the first but while also keeping similar themes to Nomansland it progresses into altogether more brooding territory with songs such as Avenger Of Death or Hate Makes Hate which displays an exemplary broader lyrical spectrum. One side to this artist is the braggadocio, lyrical beatdowns that he is known for but the other side is the more intelligent and reflective mood that he exerts with thought-provoking topics rarely heard outside of the average rap album.

The familiar posse cut comes in the form of two songs, the first of which is Crew Call featuring Rola, Heavy Links and Chrome & Illinspired all spitting their 8-bar offerings over a mid-tempo Tuf Kut-produced track. The second ('Thank You') has guest spots from Dookie Squad, Project Cee as well as 'Mr B-Line' himself, Specifik over a beautifully, snappy-snared, jazzily-funked organ groove by Mr Fantastic.
Continuing evidence that old guys can still rock.

Available on classic 12" vinyl with full colour sleeve with insert and featuring  photography by ‘I Shot Hip Hop’ and design by Ricky Also makes this an essential purchase.

 If there is any criticism of this album - and I'm clutching at straws to try and think of anything here - then personally I would love to see a return to the previous production practices of utilising one producer wholly throughout rather than a bunch of many and see what the partnership can deliver with intimate chemistry.
That said the flipside is that you get different ideas alongside the usual hip hop productions on Other Side such as the heavy, guitar-infused 7-Eyed Monster or my personal favourite, Take Flight with it's melodically-strummed hook. The fact that these are both produced by ex-indie rock guitarist, Phil Wilks is quite telling.

Top-class producers are in fact spilling out of the grooves all over the album so you have such luminaries as Sir Beans OBE, Specifik, Mr Fantastic, Cel One, Spatts and Tuf Kut straining for attention throughout. The overall sound is one of funky hip hop laden with breaks the way it should be all spoken from another side of Whirlwind D's impeccably-discerning and deeply-comprehensive lyrics.

Go here to purchase the album now.

Also see:
Whirlwind D website:
Whirlwind D contact:
B-line web address:
B-Line website:

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