Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Marisco Fever

Another release from DWG? Didn't I just review four releases from them, like, last week? Well, considering they've been pretty much setting the standard for hip-hop releases in the last couple years (a standard very few labels have managed to live up to, even), I'm happy.

This one's being heralded as their first "new" release... that is to say, a release of brand new music, as opposed to their usual vintage gems. Sure, past releases like the Damu or Sputnik Brown records were contemporary hip-hop; but this is the first time the music's been specifically commissioned by DWG for release on the label.

It's an upbeat, perfect-for-summer party jam by a couple artists who could be said to be DWG regulars There's DJ Format, the DJ for their Lungbutters mixtape, who also produced for one or two of their past releases. And he's partnering up with The Good People, the duo of Saint and Emskee. Emskee, of course, released two records on DWG already, and they've already announced their next record to be a Good People EP.

The song's called "Marisco," named after a London Woolacombe nightclub, and it's a fun, ocean-crossing collaboration between a UK hip-hop producer and US (east coast) MCs. The lyrics are smart without being clever; it's not about flexing skills here; it's just a song about going out for a night of good times. Format kills it, not so much on the turntables this time - there is a bit of cutting, but just barely - but as producer. It's got some cracking drums and a funky bassline, but it really comes alive when the horns come in. Remember when people used to describe a record as being "live?" Not literally, like a concert recording, but just as a way of describing that energy captured in a hip-hop track? Well, this record is live.

Flip it over, and The Good People's own Saint takes a stab at a remix. What's cool about it is that it's totally different, using these funky xylophone kinda riffs to capture a totally different vibe. It's gives the proceedings more of a second era Tribe Called Quest feel. For me the original Format mix still wins, but this is a nice alternative when you've started to play the A-side out a little too much.

You might be inclined to pass on this because you've never heard of Marisco's nightclub and therefore this release doesn't "apply" to you, like "oh, it's a local thing." But hey, how many of us Biz fans have been to Albee Square Mall? Most NWA fans have probably never stepped foot anywhere in the city of Compton. And how many of us Egyptian Lover fans have been to The Alezby Inn? Well, I have; and let me tell you. It's weird... but I like it. Wait. What was I talking about again? Oh yeah, I'm just saying you don't have to have been to a location to feel the song. Yeah, it's a local thing, and the fun is in letting the song take you there. That's how these things become iconic.

So, am I saying it's another essential must-have DWG event release? Well, no, not compared to The Juice Crew EP or something. But it's good; that's what I'm saying. And it works just as well whether you're from the UK or not.

"Marisco" is a 7", but it comes in a really nice picture cover. It also comes with a poster of Marisco's flyer for their 45th anniversary, when Format and The Good People performed (and where this record debuted). It's limited to 500 copies, which is actually a pretty big run; and as you can see in the photo, it's pressed on cool, blue wax.

"Speaking of what we see in the photo," you might now be thinking to yourself, "what's that other record back there?" Well, you're being silly. There is no other other record; this is a single vinyl release. "Yes there is. See that 12" hiding behind all the other stuff on the right-hand side." Alright, you got me. That's the show vinyl. If you don't know what "show vinyl" is, it's the very limited wax that is pressed up specifically for the artists themselves to tour with. A lot of times, artists will have show vinyl pressed up with exclusive instrumental mixes and stuff, just for their own use... as is the case here. This 12" features vocal and instrumental mixes for both versions of the song, and as you can see DWG even made it a sticker cover (the first sticker cover show vinyl ever?). If you were quick, you could order the extra copies of this direct from the DWG site, but it's too late for that now, so it's really just a bit of a collector's item.  But the 7" is still readily available all over, and it'll be a nice companion piece for that Good People EP they're about to drop any minute now.

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