Friday, April 30, 2010

Mad Child's Early Days In a Jazzy Hell

What the Hell is the group Mad Child was in with DJ Flipout before he created Swollen Members. They dropped this single, followed by an album, on Tandem Records in the early 90's. Now I'm not gonna front like I was rockin' this back in '93. Like a lot of indie hip-hop fans, my head was blown when Swollen Members came out of seemingly nowhere with a series of amazing 12"'s (and eventually albums). So I looked into them and found out about this earlier project, and thanks to the miracle of the internet, picked up used copies of the album and single cheap.

Predictably, he sounds younger here, and the Swollen Members atmosphere that's especially present in their best work, is absent here. But his distinctive voice is unrecognizable, and while this doesn't sound like a Swollen Members-minus-Prevail record, it's still pretty nice. Imagine Pharcyde kicking naighty rhymes ("oh yeah, it's really important that you don't fill out a statement!") over DITC production, and you've got a rough idea. It features a nice Beastie Boys sample cut up on the hook: "The girlies I like... are underage!"

We're then laced with two exclusive remixes of "Young Girls," the Rogie Mix and the Manooshi Mix. The Rogie Mix is so named because it's produced by a guy named Rogie Swan; and the Manooshi Mix is called that because it's produced by a guy named... David Christian. haha I dunno. Anyway, the Rogie mix is pretty cool. It uses the same crackly old horn sample, but slows it down about 50% and adds a little extra instrumentation (vibes especially)... it gives the whole thing a moody, soulful feel. That kinda clashes with the subject matter, but it works if you don't think about it too hard.

Conversely, the Manooshi Mix speeds things up. It uses a cool bassline that kinda sounds like "Cool Like Dat" or "Juice (Know the Ledge)" but played at triple time. Even the vocals are sped up considerably, giving the MCs cartoony voices (think Big Scoob when he rapped with that awful accent or B Real)! If you just heard this song on its own, you might think you'd accidentally set your turntable to 45. This one's jazzy, too, with some more scratchy old samples and nice drums. Long story short: the production is surprisingly good, and the rhymes are juvenile but fun.

Finally, the B-side rounds out with two more tracks taken from the album, "Summer Styles" and "Down Like This." After "Young Girls," "Summer Styles" is more of the same (which is good). Classic, jazzy style production and high-pitched raps about the summertime. There's a lot more scratching provided by a DJ Ajax which is nice, cutting up the same vocal sample 3rd Bass used for "Steppin' To the AM" ("What time is it?!"). And everything I just said about "Summer Styles" can be said about "Down Like This" except this time they're kicking harder battle raps.

Seriously, the production on this 12" is surprisingly good. In fact, I would say great. Even if you're thinking "ah, I don't care about this indie, art fag rap type shit. Just give me Freestyle Professors' '94 and leave me alone," check this out. I think you'll be really surprised and have to add this to your collection or wishlist.

No comments:

Post a Comment