Thursday, June 18, 2015

Back On the Battle Tip

Whirlwind D is back once again, with a new vinyl single (his last one was just a few months ago) of contemporary Classic Hip-Hop. And yes, once again he's got some fantastic scratching and strong production along with him. It's another 7", but it comes in a high quality picture cover; and it's always great to see the b-boy vinyl game marching on.

This one's called "B-Line Business," referring to his label, B-Line Records, even though Tru-Tone Records is the name printed in giant text on the actual record. It's pretty much an anthem for the roster, where everybody's name-checked and mission statements are codified. It's the style that really brings you in, though: quick and high energy with tough cracking beats and rhymes mixed with a instrumental produced by Specifik. Specifik's been making records in the UK for a while now, but you guys will probably remember him mostly from having contributed to Whirlwind D's last couple records. It's got a bumping, head-nodding bassline; but once again it's the ill, dynamic turntable choruses that really steal the show, this time vigorously provided by JabbaThaKut, who uses at least a dozen different records for a single hook. Those scratch breaks just make you want to listen to the song over and over again, but it wouldn't work if all the elements weren't coming together and firing on all cylinders as they are here.

The B-side is "Battle Tip 2015," a follow-up to his killer Solid 'N' Mind single that was pretty much lost in 1991 and remastered and re-released in 2010. When I first heard it, I assumed it was a sequel song, with with D spitting similarly themed rhymes over a new but reminiscent track. But as it played on, some of the more creative, colorful imagery started sounding awfully familiar, and I realized it's all the same lyrics as the original. So this is basically just a remix, produced by Waxer this time instead of Johnny F (interestingly, the back cover specifically adds "based on an original Liberty Grooves production" to his production credit).

I feel a bit funny dismissing it as "just a remix," though; 'cause it's pretty great. It naturally retains the rapid-fire drum style of the original, since that's key to the song; but it's otherwise quite different, giving it a dark and freshly atmospheric tone with dark, ominous bass notes straight out of a horror movie. And Waxer's name is dubbed in over Johnny's name during the line that originally went, "Johnny F cuts with blaze of fury," but not, curiously, the line "Johnny F drops an original break." I wonder what the motivation was to redo this in 2015? On the one hand, I feel like the original knocks just a little bit harder, and if I had to choose which one to take on the lifeboat with me, that's the one I'd choose. But on the other hand, this is really fresh. Where the original was comprised of samples we'd heard on other rap classics already, this is unique and unfamiliar, made with sounds I've never heard before. After his impressive work on Whirlwind's previous projects, I'm always up for another Waxer original, and when it's for a fast, hardcore rap track like this, all's the better. But why "Battle Tip" instead of an all new song? Oh well, both versions are different and good enough to be worth owning anyway, and since Whirlwind D's records are always so reasonably priced, there's no reason to make a Sophie's Choice scenario out of it.

Yeah, it's only £6.00, which I guess is still standard for a 7", but it feels like a bargain now that we've gotten used to paying "limited" prices for our wax in recent years. It's a small-hole 45 (the preferable option, unless you're that dude with a jukebox in his man-cave), and like I said it comes in an impressive picture cover. Fans of D's previous work will definitely be pleased with this release, and probably already had it on pre-order since it was first announced on forums anyway. But even if you haven't been following his work, this wouldn't be a bad one to cut your teeth on: maybe not his ultimate masterpiece, but an engaging, slick little record.

1 comment:

  1. Hey there W, hope all is well, thanks for supporting! I have been reading your blog for years & it never fails to amaze me how you support our little UK scene! Respect for taking the time to go into detail... and regarding how the track came about... this was originally for the Ageing B Boys Unite! LP, but when D heard it he wanted to release it officially... and the reference to Johnny F, I thought I needed to splice my name in once, but still nod to him in the 2nd reference... I've got a new project in the pipeline for autumn release, all new material with another MC... if it comes off I'll be sure to send you a copy for review... peace out! Waxer.