|R-I-P - Paper Case / Angels And Devils 12" [Spit Fire]
The 12" kicks off with Paper Chase which takes a few listens to to get into. Initially the production was a bit too messy and reeked of old time UK Hip Hop production values. I don't mind at all a bit of hiss and crackle and some of that was definitely intended by the crew, but overall I thought this track could have sounded so much better than it did in terms of sonic quality. The ideas are there and this is so nearly great, but it is just a little way off. Subject matter is what a lot f heads are getting dissed for these days, but I will have none of that. The struggle of individual UK artists is still one of the most important things a UK MC can speak on and until things change I believe that every MC should be letting people know how hard it is. People who want everything to be blinging and Jiggy must have silver spoons and never had to work hard to get where they are. Rapidly strummed guitars, marching horns and powerful strings are all thrown into the mix by Chemo, who produces all the tracks on the 12" and tops and tails this track with some flutes which could be from another track really.
No Man Is Safe which features Frontline has none of my earlier misgivings. The MCs drop with altogether more urgency and come to the forefront of the mix. The beat is clearer, heavier and the whole backing of the thumping beat and single piano notes are the meagre backing that these verbalists need to spit some fury over.
The whole offering is rounded off with Angels And Devils which again has some nice piano notes and a repeating note which to me is reminiscent of BDP's The P Is Free. Chemo also samples up a great female moan which he waves into the sequence. Whist I feel the MCs could be a little more aware of the number of syllables in a line, it is verses like Rippah's on this track that let you see how they could really rip it once they have developed a touch more. The flow is on point and the structure of the verse fits with the deep subject matter. The whole verse sucks you in and you empathise with his sentiments.
With this release the R-I-P crew show their progression and their ability to hold a track together. They are still developing their styles, character and confidence on the microphone, but it seems they will have what it takes and admirably they state that they want to flip subject matter and have more meaning behind their verses. I for one hope that they can do this and avoid the trap of becoming identikit MCs.
All tracks were recorded at The Dump, South London apart from “No Man Is Safe” which was recorded at The Test Tube, also in South London. Both Paper Chase and Angels & Devils are taken from the forthcoming R-I-P LP, provisionally entitled “OUTNOW”, which is planned to be in stores by Spring 2005. The R-I-P crew have set themselves a target and have fired off a few rounds in the right direction. Lets see where they end up.
Photography: Ben Oluonye
Sleeve Art and R-I-P Logo: Anirban Chaudhuri & Khalil Asmall.
SpitFire Rec. logo: Conflix
Chemo logo: Chemo
2000 & Beyond