Wednesday, July 20, 2022

The Duology of Whirlwind D

You might be surprised when "Lucky Number" kicks off with a slow, somber instrumental.  The latest single from Whirlwind D is really nothing like "The Magic Number," the happy jingle this title evokes about the number 3 because the crew had three MCs.  This song seems more to be about an unlucky number and the misfortunate who suffer under incredible odds.  "It's that one in a million moment in a billion, where trillions of voices are all silenced in an instant.  ...Lucky number is a death like a bullet to the head."  The back cover reveals that this single is dedicated to Del Soulcondor [slight correction: just the B-side is dedicated to Del], a Scottish artist who we tragically lost after a long bout with cancer.  But I wouldn't say it's a song about him or his troubles specifically; it feels more like a bleak commentary on the state of humanity as a whole.  "Love for mother nature, but for humans: an erasure. Death and destruction, malfunction is our nature."

The cover also describes this song as featuring Lewis Parker and Specifik, but that could be a little misleading.  D is the only guy rapping on this song; Parker produced it (and is possibly doing the hook?) and Specifik provides the cuts.  Said hook is a riff on BDP's "Stop the Violence," which could feel like it's operating at cross-purposes with the tone of the song.  But it's tastefully downplayed in a nice bit of subtly, keeping the emphasis on D's dark imagery.  Specifik's cuts don't come in until the end of the song, but when they do, they serve as an expert denouement, breathing extra life into the music, which feels like a suspense scene in a blaxploitation flick... real Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em vibes.

The B-side (or "AA-side" as they label it), on the other hand, is a real catchy, upbeat track with a beautiful funk/ soul hook and a bouncy bassline.  There's even more of a 70s energy to this beat.  And D flexes a more playful delivery, like he couldn't hit us with the nihilism of "Lucky Number" without also leaving us the antidote.  "Throw back your troubles, emerge from the rubble, beat back the monster, rise from the struggle."  Producer Smoove's rich use of samples makes this one feel even richer instrumentally, but I prefer D's lyrics and concepts on the A-side.  There's something a little perfunctory about the positive, self-help messaging here, though it would be tough for any song to follow the creative heights D already reached with the poetic imagery on the flip.  And I really like the yin and yang double-header of this single as a whole.

"Lucky Number" arrives this summer from... no, not B-Line Recordings but AE Productions.  Though that's not totally out of left field; he's done one release with them before.  It's a 7" single and comes in an impressive, full color picture cover.  It's already sold out on Whirlwind D's bandcamp, but don't panic; it's still available at Juno, HipHopBeBop and a number of other online retailers.

Friday, July 1, 2022

Rappers' Nightmare!

(I just wanted to raise awareness of a killer NY record from 1990 that’s criminally obscure: “Rapper’s Nightmare” by Boss ‘K’. Youtube version is here.)