Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Return of Liberty Grooves

Ok, so how about a new, limited vinyl 12" of previously unreleased early 90's hip-hop that won't break your wallet? That's what we've got here with the sophomore release from Solid 'N' Mind, who're finally releasing their follow-up to their 1990 debut 12" on Liberty Grooves, "An Original Break." "Centre Stage" b/w "Woke With Nothin'" was recorded and originally intended to be released in 1991 right after the True Style 12", making it LIB 003. but it never came out... until now. So Liberty Groove's first official release since 1997 has been given official catalog number LIB 002 1/2.

And does that label look familiar to you? It should. Liberty Grooves is that same London-based label that released the original, infamous (and recently bootlegged) "Break a Bitch" test pressings back in 1995!

But to the artists at hand, Solid 'N' Mind are a three man crew, consisting of MC Whirlwind D, DJ/producer Johnny F and a third member who isn't featured on either of these cuts, human beatbox MSD. And the first thing you'll notice is the creative blending of a whole grip of familiar, classic breaks and samples mixed together like they've never been before. It's really fresh how well they fit together. Fast, banging beats, dope samples, and constant scratching on the hook all lay the groundwork for D's rhymes to get busy with a nice, unrelenting flow. A few rhymes have a punchlineyness[learn it, spellchecker; I'll be using it again!] that feels pretty dated ("children like you should be seen and not heard; try to dance, you look like Big Bird"), but really that just comes off as all the more endearing to us old school heads uncovering early 90's treats.

On the flip side, we have the more serious "Woke With Nothin'," a first person song from the perspective of a homeless man. According to the press sheet, this was written as a direct response to Master Ace's "The Other Side of Town." The production impresses again - Johnny's work reminds me of Sam Sever's from that same era - with a nice, subtle use of the ESG "UFO" sample on the hook, which I assume was also meant to be a sonic reference to Ace's tune. The drum track constantly plays the first half of the break forward and the second half in reverse; really slick. Despite the subject matter, it's still a pretty fast-moving track and Whilrwind D flows at the same pace. The lyrics are more consistent here - and, with the subject matter, more substantive:

"You give to charity with false smiles;
It gives you a buzz for a little while.
It's nothing to me; it's for fools like you.
Sleep in a box for a night as a crew.
Your acts of kindness make no sense;
An evil way to clear your conscience.
Look at yourselves; then you'll know well,
You're walking the path to burn in Hell!
Condemning myself, I really don't care;
My home is far worse than Hell's lair.
So leave me alone if you're not gonna bring.
This morning, boy, I woke with nothin'!"

But if that's not enough for you, they've also included instrumentals (an essential for "Centre Stage!") and "the initial rough bedroom demo versions." The Demo's especially cool to have for "Woke With Nothin'" which has a harder feel, thanks to that "UFO" sample being mixed much louder and pitched up. I'm not really sure which I prefer, actually, yet.

So, it's limited to only 250 hand-numbered copies and comes in a sticker cover with a press sheet (as pictured) and sells for only £6.00. As I understand it, these are only available directly from Whilrwind D himself, and he's already down to his last 20 copies or so. So hurry and e-mail him at dudleyjaynes @ hotmail . com (remove the spaces) if you're interested. Hot shit like this doesn't sit around waiting for too long.

1 comment:

  1. Nice bio i do love them when they pop up
    people like you make us 1 big family after all these years ;-)

    all the best buddy