Tuesday, 14 July 2009

living in vinyl

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Vinyl Life
Vinyl Life
Tape Theory Records
Vinyl: August 4
CD/Digital: September 15

When Eminem dropped Relapse in May this year it put the wigger back in the spotlight. This is significant for white rappers because as an artist he's separated himself from bomb-outs like Vanilla Ice with an ability to successfully cross over from a black to white audience.

One reason why Eminem is the fastest selling artist of all time is that he crafts rhymes like a sculptor, chipping away at the world’s ears with angst and virulence. He could leave an irate vocalist like Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington naked and whimpering in the corner of a communal shower like a bitch.

But honestly, I have never liked wiggers. They're part of a counterculture that turned its back to hordes of teen virgins that clutched their crotches and chased New Kids on the Block and 'N Sync between hotels and limousines. Instead, these white boys preferred to polish their glocks and mutedly suck on glass bongs in their parents’ garages.

Then The Marshall Mathers LP landed in 2000, buffered in part by the success of Death Row and Bad Boy Records in the mid-90s. Their media saturation drew the world’s attention to rap and the power within its message, derived from oppressed African-American communities.

Standing on the shoulders of thugs, Eminem’s singles like 'The Way I Am' and 'Stan' definitively brought rap to a wealthier white audience, on a level to which they related, and made the wigger tentatively cool. Even when 50 Cent released Get Rich Or Die Tryin' (2003), so many successful rap albums were released in the previous decade that the back story he survived nine gunshots and had more tattoos than a Kings Cross bikie wasn’t impressive. Really, he just wasn’t white enough.

Today, with a strong wigger following in ghettos everywhere, from midtown Manhattan to Sydney’s North Shore, the moment is ripe to reveal the next group in line to drop panties and smack hoes. New York trio Vinyl Life (pictured below) have revealed their self-titled debut album and it has all the hallmarks we expect from a rap release, but also undoes its zipper at dance music simultaneously.

Vinyl Life is comprised of founder and programmer Butcha, vocalist MC Phaze Future and keyboardist Richie Roxx. The LP is a combination of rap, hip-hop, ghettotech and Baltimore club influences and is a concoction of Basement Jaxx, MSTRKRFT, Afrika Bambaataa, De La Soul, Dynamix II, Fast Eddie, Kraftwerk and The Jungle Brothers.

It begins with ‘Hot Sauce’, showing that Vinyl Life has its ears to the clubs and is in-tune with its audience. It has a classic vocoder, quirky synthlines, a 4/4 beat, P-Funk basslines and catchy clap snare that have been made for one purpose – animating your rear.

The breaks are done proficiently on ‘Bass Go Boom’, with lyrics that are catchier than velcro pubic hair. The genre-spectrum of this track is actually quite impressive. It even uses a Blanka sample from the Street Fighter series. I shit you not.

One of my favourites is ‘Electric Symphony’, so cool and smooth. This is one of those tracks where you'd light the candles and pour some wine (grab a few glasses if you’re kinky) with your boo - it's a real lovers anthem.

Skip to ‘Future Beat’ and we have a bomb track that goes to a distant, robot populated future (probably a place where the Planet of the Apes theme song loops perpetually) although it's more a tip-of-the-hat to my homies Run DMC. A retro-future classic, perhaps?

But then ‘Take it off’ tries too hard to be gangsta. It uses scathing raps in the vein of 2pac on ‘Fake Ass Bitches’ and some cheesily named guest rappers (J-Zone and Ray West…Jay-Z and Kanye West copied and pasted?). It feels like we’ve heard this too many times before.

Overall Vinyl Life is well produced and encompasses genre and style-shifts with confidence usually expected of more experienced groups. A testament to what will come from their future releases.

Three-and-a-half stars for this one. Grab a copy of the album here.

Vinyl Life vs Kraftwerk - Good Life (It's More Fun To Compute)

Vinyl Life - Hot Sauce

Vinyl Life - Electric Symphony (feat. Nite Club)


JustDima said...

I don't understand why you compared these guys to Eminem? They are nothing alike.

This was a great post in terms of writing, you made these guys sound really, really awesome. Like they are the next big thing. But, unless I downloaded the wrong files, they really didn't live up to what you were saying about them.

Sorry, I'm really not feeling it. In my opinion - they sound like a lame, cheesy version of Chromeo.

Acid Midget said...

Thanks for the comment.

I wasn't comparing them to Eminem musically, i was linking the fact they are white rappers.

I did only give the album 3.5 stars.

TomLondon said...

Sorry but they sound nothing like Chromeo either. Chromeo sings, and this is rap. Electric Symphony is the only song with singing that's not vocoded. I went to their homepage and heard the album (which is pretty tough by the way). By the way, Take It Off is a cover of an old De La Soul song. Thanks for bringing this artist to my attention. Not bad at all.

Acid Midget said...

Glad i could share some new tunes with you Tom.

Ubbs said...

had a quick listen to the album then and liked them from such a short stint. Going to digest it and come back with something a bit better haha

Acid Midget said...

Haha yeah i always need a few listens to catch on.

Enjoy the digestion Ubbles (can we be on nickname terms?)