D. Tonk & Paradise - Pray
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.