I was really pleased to get this LP - 'Welcome to Wolftown' which was put back and is now released October 9th for the CD &
October 16th for the double vinyl. These guys express
many sentiments and feelings that really resonate with me. They are obviously
struggling to get stuff sorted, just as I did at the beginning of the '90s. I
was on the dole trying to make beats and progress myself and that is what these
guys are trying to do too. Instead of just sitting at home complaining about the
situation they have worked hard over the last few years to refine musical
techniques and put a business plan into action - a good set of role models for
anyone out there wanting to do their own thing. Now after all the foundations
they have put down they are now putting themselves out there and are making some
noise, firstly by dropping a freestyle on Disorda's 'UK Hustlerz Vol. 5' and as
well as having a track on the '100% UK HIp Hop' Compilation they are now putting out records on the regular
via their own label Wolftown. They are even publishing their own free
quarterly Hip Hop fanzine - Rago.
Initially I had worried about the image they
portray in that they could simply be on that Gangster shit (and those who still
say they are have not listened properly), but having ingested all they have to
say, they are delivering observations about their everyday lives and reading
between the lines give messages for self improvement and street survival.
Right from the intro you can tell that is a well
crafted release and contains the previous singles 'UK Sound' and 'Gotta Get the
Cash'. UK Sound is a track paying dues to all those who got UK Hip Hop to the
stage it is at now and deserves props for that. It received rave reviews
and is a good catchy track, however the reggae/ska vibe feels more
cheesy, than original and the singing is a bit naff, but even with these
reservations the tune is bangin'. 'Machete' is the next track and comes
more correct beat wise with MC Late joined by 10Shott from another
Wolftown Crew Vicious Circle.
'Dark Visions' is one of the
stand out tracks with its haunting muted deep horn and warning tales of
potential future living conditions where people are bar-coded in a 1984
sort of way. Dark Visions coming soon... (tipped to be the next single).
featuring High Timez ragga chanting in he chorus continues the dark
theme over an IMD beat. There are no specific topic for this rap, but
Late still manages to kick over several ideas along with bigging himself
'Hustling Hard' steps up
the production with a Sicilian feeling guitar loop over which Late talks
on subjects like unemployment, living in an inner city environment and
putting up with under-maintained council housing.
'Gotta Get the Cash' is a
fine example of a story rap in which we follow the rappers struggles to
raise cash. All the way through one is thinking that he is glamourising
a thug lifestyle, but there is a twist in the penultimate verse when it becomes apparent that the life of
crime is 2nd choice and only a means to an end and once he has enough to put out a demo
tape he's going legit. In the final verse the consequences of a crime
fuelled existence are explored.
My Design Enjoyment is one
of the roughest and simplest tracks on the album, but is also one of the
dopest as the MC straight out of jail spits what he's been writing
behind bars. The other track with a similar vibe is the penultimate
track 'The Ones That Know' in which Profesah 194 rhymes about spending
his 18th and 21st birthdays in a young offenders institution.
I always think it is
unfortunate to have an extra track on a CD because I still love my
vinyl, but Heir to the Throne is a worthy addition on the mellow and
relaxing tip. Other tracks on a more mellow weed influenced vibe include
'Comin' Thru' and 'Guv'nors Of Wolftown'.
There are only a couple of
short skitz/beats and 'Murda One' is one of them. One minute of a fat
IMD beat adorned with additional percussion from chimes and bells. The
other is 'IMD's Groove' another short beat, this time with a piano accompaniment.
Tracks on an angry,
stressed and paranoid tip include 'Get Out Of My Way', 'Stress' and
'Paranoid' which express sentiments of frustration with the system, a
sense of provocation from the police and exasperation with a small cash
Without describing each
track in detail the overall theme for the LP is realness and life on the
dole. The pictures and emotions conjured up are those of deprivation, dispossession,
recession and stress and are similar to those experiences most people
will endure in urban areas in Britain today. What I really like is the
continual references to stuff uniquely identifiable as British, like
people parking their Benz's round the corner before they sign on, which
we see everyday and this means I can identify with their messages.
In 'Going On Rago' Late
tells listeners via real life experiences what'll happen if one carries
on too 'Rago'. Basically it may lead to getting some shine on the
streets, but ultimately it could lead to 4 years of hell in big mans
jail, and back on the streets you'll still broke for realla.... Get the
The first track laid down
for the LP was 'Welcome To Wolftown' which is now 2 years old but still
sounds fresh. Its all about the dodgy runnings which are needed to get
by on meager Giro cheques and the mean streets of Wolftown.
The album is rounded off
with 'For The Mans Dem' a posse cut featuring just about all of the
other Wolftown members such as Vicious Circle (14 year olds Lee Dee and
Wayney G), Jai-Boo (only 5 foot 2") and ragga artist High Timez as
well as all the Villains. Each MC rhymes for 8 bars over the piano
oriented beat. Each shows their potential with the more experienced MCs
coming off best.
For me this is a hard
working crew who have plenty of ideas along with the motivation and
desire to make something of their talents. The LP is very well produced
and everything comes through clear and all the different elements are
placed well in the mix - they have obviously spent a lot of time
refining their sound. I really like Late who really uses his own accent
comes on beat and is eminently intelligible and has deep thoughtful
lyrics. However a few people I have played the tracks to don't rate his
flow, saying it is too simplistic and plodding. I'd allow him this at
this stage in his development and take him for what he is. Similar
complaints have been heard for IMD/Tricksta's production such as all the
instrumentation sounding like it came from the same keyboard. They guys
have definitely got skills, and are most likely working with some limited
equipment, from which they are getting good results, and although their
composition and arrangements are top notch, they need to learn how to add
a grimy edge and choose sounds with more depth and resonance.
There is not one bad track
on this album, although none are perfect either. This is a very strong
release and the collection of tracks makes for something that can be
played over and over.