UK Hip Hop: International
D. Tonk & Paradise - Pray [Fukdup]

Paradise and D.Tonk
This is the first release on the first label I have come across from Plumstead SE18. Founded by D.Tonk and Geoff Bull this release features production and beats from  D.Tonk himself - a new producer to me and the vocals of Paradise from the 57th Dynasty. Now I have never really checked for the 57th, but I know they can occasionally put out a banger and loads of heads rate them, as can be seen from their MOBO nominations in previous years. I guess with so many in the crew it was only a matter of time before some of the members decided to split off and do their own thing. Money would be one of the necessitating factors for this.

For this release D.Tonk has decided to hook up several strings and for an early Xzhibit feel, but the beat feels too quantised and doesn't have that required groove. There's also a xylophone playing along and all together there is a despondent and morose feel to the production. 

Unfortunately Paradise isn't one of the 57th Dynasty members who spits fully with his own accent, instead we are treated to a comedy cross Atlantic inflection which only disappears when he makes a deliberate point of pronouncing a like in a UK way and this hypocrisy really lets him down. If you can get past this aural heresy Paradise's discourse actually hits some poignant topics. Talking of how labels sign up and put out fake gangsta acts or Garage acts, he says that no major can be the saviour of our Hip Hop, but says that the DIY ethhic and independent route like Fukdup records is the way to push everyone foreward. Wrapping his back with the Union Jack Paradise Prays that UK Hip Hop will not be unforsaken and left to rot.

I think I'm liking the Nemesis remix which has a very different feel, it's almost like the lyrics fit better over this version. The re-arranged and simpler strings this time are teamed with a intense and repetitive piano accompaniment. At the end of the track Paradise is sure to name check a lengthy list of quality UK acts just to show the depth of the scene.

On the 12" you have the original version on the A side which for some reason is pressed at 45 rpm. On the B side at 33 rpm the Nemisis remix, the Nemesis instrumental, although this is labeled as the radio edit and the accapella which is labelled as the instrumental. So the Pray Track is fully covered, but it would be nice to have some more tracks included here, both for value purposes, but also to get a bit more of a feel for what these guys intend to achieve together. The press says we should look out for D.Tonk's dance album 'Hope' and this description makes me a little dubious. Never the less this is a reasonable first outing for this duo, and despite its pitfalls, I envisage much for this pair should they choose to work together in the future. 

Visit Fukdup on the web: www.fukduprecords.com :: d-tonk@fukduprecords.com
Fukdup Records, 179 Griffin Rd, Plumstead, London SE18 7PZ

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