Saturday, June 21, 2008

Unique and Dashan In the House

Unique and Dashan are probably the most overlooked members of the X-Clan-centered collective known as The Blackwatch Movement. And they weren't just "down" with them, like YZ or Daddy-O... these were some serious X-Clan affiliates, with their songs hosted by Professor X ("Vanglorious. This is protected by the red, the black, and the green... with a key... SISSY!"), and produced by Paradise. They dropped their album, Black To the Future on Warlock Records in 1989, and this, their only single, the same year.

Now, anyone who's listened to X-Clan and fam knows they're fond of their house music. Heck, Isis's album was filled with house cuts. Unique and Dashan managed to limit it to only one song on their album, but unfortunately (but predictably), it wound up being their lead single. ...Really, their masterpiece was "Protected By the Red, Black and Green," and "Three the Hard Way" would've been another hot single (except the line, "I'm like a jew; my job is to gyp you" could've been a sticking point). But I'm sure Warlock made the call here.

Still, if you have to listen to a house song (and sometimes you do), nobody did it better than X-Clan. Unique is the fun, fast-rapping slick talker of the Clan, and it's a shame he wasn't utilized a little more on the Clan and Professor X albums... but on his own album, he definitely showed his skills in spades. And he proved that he could even handle the dancey, poppier track, "House Is Taking Over" with expertise.

Looking at the track-listing, you might think you've got a couple exclusive remixes on hand here... the "Rare Groove Mix" and "City Beat Mix." But really "Rare Groove Mix" is the album version, and the "City Beat Mix" is just a shortened instrumental (the song is 3:42, the instrumental is 2:00). Oh, and the "Bassapella" version is exactly what it sounds like: the acapella vocals over nothing but the bassline.

The b-side is the album track, "Lumumba." In case you don't already know, Lumumba is Professor X's real name (Lumumba Carson, son of Sonny Carson, the... let's say "politically divisive" author and activist). In addition to being the front man of The X-Clan (sorry for the rhyme), he was also a manager for various hip-hop arttists including Pete Nice and Positive K, and this song is a fun, semi-throw-away ode to his management, done in a jokey reggae style - in fact, it's not even by Unique and Dashan. He's not credited on this 12", but the full-length album credits tell us it's performed by M.C. Buggs. Anyway, it's essentially decent album filler.

So, the single is a poor, probably label-driven choice - but still dope - released off of Add Pollan even doper album. And for a long time, I'd always wondered what happened to Unique, who showed the raw talent and knack to be doing underground X-Clan records or be on MTV doing pop singles, but seemed to fall off the Earth after this album (he wasn't even featured on "Close the Crackhouse" for chrissakes!).

Tragically, DJ Dashan has passed on... and while I still can't really account for Unique's absence, I've found where he is now. Yes, he has a myspace page, with new music up. Apparently, he was starting his own label (Verbal Khemistry Records) and crew (Grimey All-Starz), but his "new single" is dated 2006 so I don't know if he's still pushing that anymore. To be honest, I hate the production, but if you watch his videos and pay close attention to his lyrics, you can see he's still got it as an MC. Hopefully someone in a position to do something about it will recognize the opportunities in putting this guy on with some quality beats... there's still a really nice album waiting to be made there, I believe.

1 comment:

  1. Remember Unique and Dashan's debut CD "Black To The Future" relased in 1989 off of Warlock Records? They were the first artists to be released from the BlackWatch Movement. Unfortunately due to a faulty management contract and the untimely death of Unique's DJ and partner Dashan, he has never gotten the fame and stardom he deserves. Now he is back with his upcoming album "The Verbal Assassin" and shows no signs of giving up on his dream of fortune and fame. You can add him at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000498254123 and check out his fan page http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Verbal-Kemistry-Records/136366163052039 for more of his music on his upcoming album.

    ReplyDelete