Sunday, October 27, 2019

Unique, Finally Obtainable But Still Untouchable

Diggers With Gratitude released an amazing EP of unreleased tracks by a killer unsung MC named Unique back in January, 2008.  That's almost twelve years ago - can you believe it?  Well, in the final quarter of 2019, they're back with more.  And it's just as thrilling this time as it was then.

This is 1989's "I'm Untouchable," originally released on New Day Records.  His other single from that time, "Pure Dynamite," (which I wrote about here) is a killer and super hard to find, always going for a well deserved high price.  Well, "I'm Untouchable" is about a hundred times rarer and more sought after.  I mean, it took me quite a long time to get my hands on a copy of "Pure Dynamite," but I've never seen an O.G. pressing of "I'm Untouchable" in my life.  And believe me, I've looked.

I say "O.G. pressing," because guess what?  DWG has just reissued it this month on vinyl.  It's a 7", which is always a disappointment compared to a proper 12", but yeah, sure, you hold out for a full-sized original.  Pretty sure you'll take that demand with you to your grave.  In the meantime, this is an attractive, reasonably priced new release, available on blue or black vinyl, and it comes in an amusing twist on a classic New Day sleeve.  Besides, even if you did somehow get your hands on an original, you'd still need this new version.

Why?  Well, the B-side of "I'm Untouchable" was just the instrumental.  I mean, it's a fantastic instrumental, so that's nothing to sneeze at.  But still, if you're not a DJ, who really messes with the instrumental versions of songs that much?  And anyway, this 7" has a new B-side, the previously unreleased "I'm Untouchable (Demo Mix)."

And this isn't just some minor variation where you're gonna need some expert to point out what the difference even is.  It's an entirely different track with a distinctly different feel.  The DWG write-up says that some even say this version is better.  Well, I wouldn't go that far.  But it's pretty strong and unique (pun intended... I'm sorry) enough to stake out its own place in your collection.  The original version was either produced by Joey Robinson Jr. or Sherm, depending which label you put your faith in (heh), and this new version is produced by DJ Hype.  And as you might guess just from reading the names, that means this version has a lot of dope scratches that aren't on the original.  And Unique is one of those MCs whose flow just screams for some cuts on their record.

But it's not just new cuts, the whole instrumental's different.  The drums admittedly don't crack as hard this time around, but it's got some cool, atmospheric synths and a great bassline.  It's a hot record, but it does come off a bit muddier and less dynamic than the original.  Part of that may come down to the mastering or sound quality (it sounds pretty clean, but I think it's taken from some kind of tape and therefore the range might be a little crushed), but part of it is also just down to the musical choices they made.  You're definitely gonna like it, but it won't make you immediately stand up and take notice like the "original" version did.

("Original" is in quotes because this demo version is presumably the actual original; we just never knew it 'till now.)

And if that's not enough Unique for ya, there's more!  DWG has also re-released their 2008 Die Hard EP (which was super limited, after all, to a mere 175 copies) across a series of two further 7"s.  But there's a key difference: they replaced one song.  That certainly keeps the 2008 version highly desirable, but it means again, even if you have the original, you'll need the new 7"s, too.  Yes, the new 7"s don't have the song "Don't Even Think About It," but instead add another great song from Unique's unreleased album, "Axe Maniac."  It's another lost classic with Unique hyping his DJ, Godfather D, who gets busy on the turntables over another choice breakbeat.   You can cop these 7"s separately, or a bit cheaper in a bundle from their official big cartel.  Though all three are also being sold through other online vendors, too, so they're making it easy on us.

1 comment:

  1. Huge props to the DWG crew for making this holy grail accessible to all. I would have much prefered a 12" with the instrumental and demo mix on the flip but we can't have everything.
    Props to Mr Krum for the sleeve design too.