Sunday 28 July 2019

Doin' It / Sometimes - Whirlwind D Single Review

Doin’ It / Sometimes
By Whirlwind D
Single review

I’m going to make no secret of the fact that Whirlwind D is one of my favourite emcees out there. I can’t really say what one thing it is about his work that I enjoy so much. It is more that I find the way he writes, the content and his flow just all ads up to a perfect Hip Hop package. When D is on the Mic, you get to hear and understand everything all coupled with an energy that pervades everything he does. You can really feel the love he has for what he does and that for me really says it all when you hear and feel the music.

So, it is always a real treat to review something by D and when the chance came to review this one, I was well up for it. I also thought that this would be a great chance to drop a few questions his way.
On that note, let’s get in to this...

DOIN’ IT is a wicked feel good track and features production from Djar One, with cuts by Specifik. A high paced banger all about the love D has for Hip Hop. This track really speaks to those of us who grew up with Hip Hop from its early days but, don’t get me wrong here it’s not just one for the old skool heads. This is one for anyone who loves Hip Hop, the energy, the passion and the enjoyment it brings and I can’t think of anyone better to put that across that Whirlwind D. Let’s not forget Djar One has sculptured a wicked beat for D and Specifik brings the dope cuts to set it all off.

 SOMETIMES eases back on the pace as Specifik’s production provides a funkier more laid back vibe. Here D drops the knowledge on the real tip, discussing the things that are in our faces every day. From fake news and internet addiction to differing beliefs and the many things that cause stress and make us lose touch with who we truly are. Anyone listening to this will be able to associate with the topics here and it’s always good to give you something to think about. With Djar One back providing the cuts, there is plenty here for your mind.  

It is a safe bet these days that anything dropping from B-Line Recordings, is gonna really be the real Hip Hop, and as you can see here, this release is no different. Whirlwind D, Specifik and Djar One really vibe perfectly together and drop two phenomenally well crafted tracks that display differing moods, styles and subject matter. From all those differences the outcome of both is the same, two extremely enjoyable tracks that you will be having on rotation for many moons to come for sure.

As always, a release like this comes as a package and I would also like to drop a mention to those behind the scenes. All mixed by Djar One himself the Mastering of the whole project was Bristol’s infamous Rola, a true legend in the game and the man behind so many dope releases. Design comes from B-Line Recordings design master Mr Tibbz and Photography from master of the lens Paul Taylor. So a huge respect for the work everyone put into this release. Pat yourselves on the back everyone.

As I said at the beginning, I took this opportunity to drop a few questions to Whirlwind D. On the back of just five questions, I think a full interview would be something quite special but, that’s for another day perhaps. So, just what did I ask D on this occasion?

Firstly, I wanted to know how easy it was to drop a project like this with Specifik and Djar One?

D - First and foremost, it is always an absolute pleasure working with Specifik and Djar One. Specifik is one of my closest friends and so it is always a very natural process. He always gets that vibe just right and perfect for the track whether producing or scratching. Djar and I previously collaborated on ‘Labels’ (as did Specifik) and again, it is always a great pleasure working with Djar. Given the blueprint we already had with ‘Labels’, it was a relatively easy process, although of course there are always hiccups along the way. In this case, it was related to Rola not being able to mix the project due to his tinnitus. Rola is the best in the business when it comes to mixing and mastering and of course we all wish him a speedy recovery! I am eternally grateful to Rola for all the magic he brings to each of my projects!

Next, I asked him how the whole thing came about?

D - As with all of my personal projects, they are driven by me (hence the executive producer label). In this case, I really wanted to follow up ‘Labels’ from the ‘Beats, Bits and Bobs’ EP (2018) after the great success it was, even getting played on BBC 6Music (Craig Charles Show) and of course selling out quickly! With that in mind, I contacted Djar One and we decided on a beat, something fast and funk fuelled which would be a B Boy soundtrack. From there, Specifik laced it with the cuts and we did the exact reverse on the flip, producing another boom bap track, this time a bit slower to provide contrast but with a message about the world of information/mis-information that we live in. Specifik produced ‘Sometimes’.

So, what does Whirlwind D really enjoy about a project like this?
D - First and foremost, it’s the collaboration and working alongside good friends and people you have great respect for. On most of my projects I choose to work with friends and label mates and the process itself is an adventure. I also love seeing how we start with an ember of an idea and then reach a point where the track is written, ideas bound together, video in place and it’s ready to go on sale. Such a buzz! I’m also always very proud to record for such an incredible label (B Line) which I feel represents our culture and its values. All props to Specifik for creating this B-Line fam!

This might seem like a strange question but, as it came to mind I decided to ask and I thought it might bring something a little extra to the mix...

Have there been any draw backs on this project?

D - Not that I can think of! If anything, there are advantages as singles and eps can be more current and focused on a theme because of their length and immediacy. I loved recording my two albums however for the time being I’m quite happy going down the single/EP route. In addition of course, it is often the case (I notice this when you look at platforms such as Spotify) with the way the majority consumes music now, that specific tracks can be selected off long players. That said, there will always be a place for LPs and I do love them!!

Lastly, I asked what is to come from Whirlwind D and does he have anything coming up that he can let us know about?

D - Well....... I have a number of collaborations waiting to drop. One of which is on Haynsey’s dope forthcoming LP as you will probably know!  I should probably keep quiet about the rest! In addition I am about to start working on a joint project (most likely an EP) with another Mc, and there will probably be some more solo Whirlwind D stuff to come...... keeping busy for sure!!! We (Specifik and I) also have a few upcoming gigs..... Lindesfarne Festival at the end of August, Rope A Dope 5 and we are playing in France with Djar one!

So there you have it, a little insight into this project and a few things that are in the future. It’s awesome what can get just from a few short questions and I for one can’t wait for Rope-A-Dope 5, a great venue with great music. The perfect place to catch up with friends, make new ones and listen to some dope music to boot, so keep watch for more on this as you will probably find Whirlwind D on the Mic as Emcee and host...

I would like to thank Whirlwind D for answering these few questions for me. I would have loved to ask more trust me.

If you don’t have this one, go out and get it (sadly the Vinyl is sold out already), stream it whatever way you can just get it and don’t forget to check the video too, I’ll drop it below.

I will update links when I can.

So, till next time...

I’m out, Peace...


Sunday 14 July 2019

Against The Grain/Evil Dreams by Silas - Single Review

Against The Grain/Evil Dreams
By Silas
Single Review

The collaborations between UK emcees and European Hip Hop Producers/Emcees continues to grow from strength to strength.
This new release by Switzerland’s Emcee/Producer Silas continues this long line of Hip Hop Collaborations with the 7” single Against The Grain/Evil Dreams, Bringing in Remark, Exile and Iceski from the UK.

I have reviewed Silas’s work before and always found it to be hardcore and at times very deep. So, I was excited to be given the chance to review this one as well.
As always I have thrown a few questions his way and will put the odd thing in as I go.

So, let’s get right into it...

Against The Grain – Featuring Remark and Exile, The finger snapping into gives nothing away until the heavy beat drops and you are instantly held by its hefty grip. Remark introduces us to the track which Kicks off with Exile up first followed by Remark and Silas. Each emcee gives their own view of going against the grain in life and not confirming to any expectations. It’s all about being yourself and doing things your way to be the best expression of your true self. Exile’s production is spot on here bringing us this heavy fast paced track which brings out the best in each Emcee, who spit hard. It’s all capped off with some wicked cuts, also from the man Exile.

Evil Dreams – Featuring Iceski and DJ Skeptic, like some crazy horror movie, the heavy footsteps lead us into nightmarish vision from each emcee. Each takes us through on a dark journey through an individual evil dream which would not be out of place in a Steven King novel or some dark B-Movie horror flick. The production from Silas keeps the mood of the track dark and raw. While cuts come from Crossover/Nu Metal band Freezes Deyna’s DJ Skeptic, who brings the roughness.

To give you all an insight in these tracks, I asked Silas about the individual tracks and what they were all about, which you can get an idea of from my comments he was also nice enough to give me an insight into his own lyrics. So, here is what he had to say about each track:

Silas – On, Against the Grain, I talk about growing up and living in Switzerland. To get in society starts with school, Later you go to work and the days are always the same so we know what happens tomorrow. You marry getting Kids getting old and die. The most of Swiss people live exactly the same live same story... Baby, going to school, start working and making everything for the career and then, Family and House. If you try to break out (going against the grain) this way of the society you will have a very hard life here and people judging you as something worse. Me I'm trying to live somewhere between the normal society and doing what I really like. So I'm working pay taxes and everything but don't give a fuck about career in job and use my energy for the music, travelling and just live good life with good people.  
On Evil Dreams - My verse describes a nightmare which features me. I wrote it in a very confused and weird way like dreams mostly are. Here is a translation: Dark matter is pumping through the arteries, straight from my heart into my brain. I bring spiteful media which cause you pain and become a problem. I'm slowly turning into a demon who fucks you like a virus and spares nobody. I'll turn you off and climb the throne. Without fear of my opponents which I will defeat. In the death game with like-minded warriors I summon the power on our songs. Fade like fever and your soul disappears in nowhere. In the darkness, you no longer see the obstacles as if you are blind. I find myself in hard times in your nightmares again and destroy you.

So, how did each of these tracks grow from the original idea?

Silas - For Against the grain I made a beat and sent it to Remark and he liked it. So we started to write Lyrics and decided to ask Exile to hop on. He mixed the track but was always very busy with a lot of other things. After a while we get back on the track but some stuff was lost so we decided to use another beat Exile made and that's the result.

Evil dreams, was a similar story; I had a beat and asked Iceski to jump on and we wrote Lyrics for it. At this time I'd started to make a Remix of it and decided to release this one and not the first one. Maybe I`ll release the first version digital later, we'll see. We both liked the 2nd one better.

You have worked a lot with Remark. So, was it always a no brainer to have him on another track?

Silas – I’ve known Remark for about 17 years. Before, when I was 14 or 15 I was a fan of Deliverance and I was freestyling over their beats. We did a lot of collabo’s but not all were released. I remember we've recorded 6 or 7 tracks in a week when he was in Switzerland but all of them were lost. Just Melancholia was a track from this time we released years later. I really love it to work with him and we are good friends so it was a no brainer yes.

Lastly, as I often do in these chats with artists, I asked him what the future holds:

Silas - There are many projects going on at the moment. I've recorded a lot of tracks in many different styles. Video projects starting soon. I was producing some tracks for Graphic Bars forthcoming album. And I start to make some tracks with my first partner in rhyming from over 20 years ago. But, there is no hurry and no deadlines.

I hope this helps you get a deeper feeling for these tracks and a little insight into Silas. These tracks may seem dark and moody but, hell, that is life all over and reflecting that in the music that is produced is something every artist does and it makes the music that much more relatable to the listener.

Silas always never fails to produce music that is very much from his experiences in life and also how those experiences affect him and makes his music something we all relate to, no matter where we hail from and I am personally excited to see what he has coming in the future.

You don’t always have to know what the artist is saying to feel the message and the deeper meaning behind it and I feel Silas really brings that to the table. I just hope the above helps give you all a deeper understanding of his lyrics too.

This release is defiantly one for your collection. With the line up of artists Silas has brought in on this one you seriously can’t go wrong. The energy and vibe each brings to the mix really brings these tracks alive. 

Released on the Giftklass Labor label as a Limited White 7” and digital download I suggest you get this and give it a listen, you won’t be disappointed I guarantee it.

Don't forget to check out the video for Against The Grain, below, totally wicked stuff with a twist at the end...

On that note, I’m out of here,

This is Where We Dwell/No Compromise Franky Roar and Alikazam - Single review

This is Where We Dwell/No Compromise
Frankie Roar & Alikazam

With 2019 already delivering some stunning Hip Hop, and with a huge portion of that being from the independent labels, it is wicked to see the 7” single being utilised.
This hot release is the first on the DIGMAG Records label (formerly Style Warrior Records). The double sided single This is Where We Dwell/No Compromise is brought to us by German Producer Franky Roar & the Alphabet Assassin Alikazam (Dookie Squad).
As always to get a feel for this on a deeper level I asked the guys some questions and where relevant I’ll drop a few quotes in for you.

This is Where We Dwell – The countdown eases you into a heavy bass drum driven beat that immediately has nodding and moving. Alikazam’s lyrical delivery is fluid and easily flows over the track. Verse by verse he keeps your attention focused on the track while all the while delivering kinda hardcore lyrics that can feel deep down in the very core of your being. Frankie Roar’s production is totally on point here, as are his cuts. Every element, Production, cuts and lyrics complement each other to bring you nothing short of Hip Hop gold. There is also a message here. You don’t have to be gangsta to be hardcore.

No Compromise – Rorschach’s speech from Watchmen sets the tone for the track, which also features Specifik on the cuts. Turning up the BPM a notch or two for this one the beat kicks, the cuts slice through your eardrums and Alikazam’s lyrics flow through your awareness like an explosion of automatic verbal gunfire. The title says it all, there is No Compromise here. It is all about the music, Hip Hop through and through. Doing what you love to give the listener’s what they love. Nuff Said...
This is pure and simple a killer release and brings together the best from Germany and the UK. Spanning borders and bringing everything together for one outcome, the enjoyment of good Hip Hop music.

Both tracks were Produced, Mixed and Mastered by Franky Roar himself who, along with Alikazam’s lyrical expertise, has brought us two tracks of pure Hip Hop perfection.
I mean there is seriously nothing here not to like and if this is the shape of things to come, man the future is looking Hard as Hell.

I asked the guys exactly how they felt about the two tracks:
Alikazam: Love them. I don't blow smoke up my own arse but, the beats are hard AF & make it easy for me to write to.
Franky Roar: I really love both tracks...don't know which one to prefer!
Both tracks got first versions sounding a bit different...but once we get to the point they are sounding like know....we said yesss that's it...uncut raw.
Chris is killin it on both tracks and it is an honour to work with him.
Simon Frankland was killin’ it on the cuts on No Compromise and told me that he nearly break his hands while he was recording

Next I wanted to know how the Collaboration came about:
Alikazam: The last gig I did in Berlin, it was either Toda or Monkey man Dan played me a tune & it was dope & said it was Franky Roar but it was for somebody else. Then I think we got chatting on fb & the rest is history.
Franky Roar: Like Chris said it was 2016 in Berlin.
I gave Daniel from Naked Ape Records a Usb stick with a couple of beats for several projects and he played it in Todas(Britcore Rawmance) Flat, where Chris was hearing the Beats!
After that we connect on FB and Started to be creative!
The record took a while! Lol
So I really want to thank Daniel Monkey Man Dan for Linkin’ us both up and Toda of Britcore Rawmance because he was always askin’ and pushin’ me with the Music!

I also wanted to know how they see this Hip Hop relationship between the UK and Germany. Especially in light of what is happening in Europe at this time:
Alikazam: For me it won't make the slightest difference we are together before we will be together afterwards...
Franky Roar: There was always a big musical connection and always will be I guess....there are a lot of great collabos and as far as I'm concerned music as a universal language sees no borders.

Lastly, I wanted to know, what’s next for them. Is this a one off or is there more to come:
Alikazam: The future is bright we are working on album...
Franky Roar: Workin on the Album like Chris said.

So, with an album on the way from these two the future is indeed bright and I for one am looking forward to that one for sure.

It has to be noted here that huge respect has to go out to Martin Lovegrove (DIGMAG Records) for help in financing the project and for the cover art. Without his backing who knows what might have happened to this project.

Alikazam: Many thanks to Martin its cats like him putting his money where his mouth is & having faith in our music.

Franky Roar: And yes a big thank you to Martin for the artwork, which in my opinion captures the atmosphere of the record and puttin money in and all the work for this.

Another person worthy of a special mention is none other than Simon Flankland aka Specifik. Not only did he provide the dope cuts for No Compromise but, has been instrumental in supporting the project from day one and dropping plays of the release on his Cold Krush radio show on Trax FM these last few weeks.

It is the backing, trust and support that make’s these independent releases possible. So, please show your support by grabbing a copy.

OK, so there you have it what more do you need to know?

If you have not brought this record yet, then go get one. There is only a limited run of physical copies so; they may already be gone by the time this goes out.
If you do have this then enjoy it, I Know I will be. It’s gonna be on rotation for some time.

So, on that note I’m gonna leave you to it.
Peace out till next time.