Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Back To the 6th Floor

Hey, the new Roots Forward record landed on my door today. It's been a little while since we heard from them; I think their last record was that Schoolly D repress a couple years ago. But they're back, and this new single's pretty cool. This time they're bringing us 6th Floor, one of those rugged mid 90s Wu-Tang affiliate groups from before anyone from that camp started doing corny stuff. They just dropped one single back in 1995 on the indie Brooklyn label Kick Live Records. It's one of those records that's hard to find and goes for a lot when you do find it, 'cause you know, Wu collectors are dogged, especially when the material's really dope.

So, the single's called "Project Logic," and Roots Forward's new 7" is a repress of that old Kick Live A-side. It's a great, subtle track with a perfect bassline and drum combo. Two MCs pass the mic back and forth for a little extra energy, but they sound pretty similar, so it's hard to always tell which one is rapping at any given moment. Although maybe part of that is just that we haven't had the chance to get to know them like we did other Wu groups who continued putting out albums until we were all intimately familiar with their styles and idiosyncrasies. At any rate, these dudes are pretty nice. It's all just your basic freestyle rhymes about their own flows, but I don't think we'd really want a crew like this getting too spacey or conceptual anyway. And they've got consistently smart, multiple rhymes that are a pleasure to listen to, putting them ahead of several other Wu affiliates. It is from '95, so there are some cheesy punchlines like "smoother than Ex-Lax," that we wouldn't suffer nowadays, but they at least kind of add to the nostalgic throw back vibe of this release.

The track's produced by Wu fam Supreme... I'm honestly not sure if he was actually a member of 6th Floor or just did this record for them. But either way, if he's behind it, you know it's sick. You remember that early EP by Shabazz the Disciple and Supreme Kourt? He's that guy; and he also did some of the earliest and best Sunz of Man material (alongside everything 4th Disciple produced). It's atmospheric, dark and minimalistic, with just a little quiet cutting of Grand Daddy IU's "Pick Up the Pace" for a hook. It's one of those joints I feel pretty confident any hip-hop head will like.

Now, the original 12" on Kick It Live had two songs. "Project Logic," the one featured here, is the stronger of the two; but both were good. This 7" only has the one song. It's the best one, but still... hardcore enthusiasts are going to still want to track down the original for both tracks. But that's not to say that this 7" is of no value to the serious collector who's already got the original 12". Why?

Well, the old 12" had the main versions and Radio Edits (which, pffft, goodbye. Nobody cares about radio edits except radio DJs. Won't be missing them). But the B-side to this 7" is the previously unreleased Instrumental version. That's not available anywhere else. Granted, instrumentals probably only really appeal to a select segment of the audience, too. But for them, this should be a real treat. And for the rest of us, hey, it's at least a little cool to have it as an exclusive.

And this is a pretty nice looking project, too. It's just a 7" and yeah we all prefer 12"s; but it's pressed on a really cool looking blue vinyl and has a stickered outer cover. Like most of their records, this one's limited to 300 copies. Oh, and lest I forget one of the most important aspects, the sound quality's excellent. I don't have the original 12" to compare it to, but it's definitely much better than what's been floating around online all this time. These have been remastered from the original recordings; you can tell they didn't just rip the old 12" or anything.

So I really recommend this one for anyone who doesn't want to spend months hunting down the OG and then paying triple digits for it. Don't get me wrong, I've been that guy and I will be again. Ha ha But for most of us, the chance to own a hot, slept on 90s Wu-banger on wax for less than $10 US (finally, an exchange rate we benefit from!) is a deal worth doin'. You can cop it direct from Roots Forward here. It's good to see 'em back.

1 comment:

  1. there is also a video for this track on youtube

    nice review

    dj scaramanga