The duo are coming back from their brief foray into rock remixes with the There's No Stoppin It EP, released October 8, and which includes the lyrical attack Sealed With A Diss. The track is Blade's "fuck you" to the few "self proclaimed internet critics" who ripped into Mark B & Blade for their recent remix by Feeder front-man, Grant Nicholas amongst other things like little experimentation, pandering to commercial ideals and generally not being as good as they should have been.
The backlash from a minority of hip-hop fans on the web and on the streets was only partly to do with Mark B & Blade's flirtation with guitars and chart success, if anything they wanted them to succeed and pave the way for others to follow. Ya Don't See The Signs reached no.23 in May and hopefully this process is beginning. Anyway, the fact that there was criticism against Mark B & Blade's direction is a cause of great sadness and anger to Blade. And there's no mincing of words on S.W.A.D: he labels these web critics as "jerks" and "pestilence" with "invalid" opinions and "chips" on their shoulders. Well, would that be me then?
Blade breaks down how what he saw as pointless bitching got to him and made him retaliate with the track, "I check the Internet to see what's going on. We've had so much support on the web from journalists and fans who understood what we did with Grant, and they've helped put us where we're at now...but it seems some people have nothing to do but get on the net and just start slagging people off. People were having a go at us ... They put us down. It was getting on my nerves so I wrote the song"
Blade dedicates this to those constantly negative people hiding safely behind discussion boards on the internet, while Mark B & Blade work relentlessly for the music they love. For a man who has been rapping for 21 years, to not have the support of fellow hip-hop heads when he finally attains some success is the biggest diss of all, and not one Blade is going to take lying down.
A certain Mr Tim Westwood sees where the man is coming from: "Blade is really venting his feelings here. I'm respecting everything he's saying." But at the same time Westwood is coming under a lot more pressure than Mark B and Blade and would say this hoping people would get off his back. I'm behind Blade on this one and have renewed respect to him for speaking up. However, he needs to realise that although fans don't mean him malice there is real concern behind some of the comments and he needs to be really sure where he is going. Check the lyrics to Sealed With A Diss and see if you agree with what Westwood has to say...
The final track off the EP is Blade's old Survival Of the Hardest Working re-released from his 1992 mini LP of the same name. This gives us a good insight into where Blade is coming from, both showing that he has been around for a long time and paid his dues, but also that he is a top producer in his own right as recently this side had been given over to Mark B. The track has an energy and anger that is missing from some of their modern work.
For me Mark B's skill does not lie in the composition and arrangement of the tracks, not even the sample selection for which he is supposedly famed, as both are quite ordinary, largely regurgitating what has gone before and not really producing anything very original. No, I feel his talent is in the mixdown where he makes all his tracks 'sound' good, yes he does follow formulas, but at least they are the right ones as the product arrived at, at the end of the process is mainly what I like, if a little bland. Blade is his indominatable self, outspoken and possibly with renewed vigour...
Listen to the new single: