Tuesday, 15 July 2008
Raw Breed - Rollin' Deep
It's about that time again for a 'serious' Hip-Hop post, and this week I've pulled out a nice slab of black wax made in the Bronx. Raw Breed's "Rollin' Deep" 12" single - released in 1992 on what I'm presuming is their own label, PSK Records. Six tracks in all with Street, Radio and Instrumentals for both "Rollin' Deep" and the flip side track "Hard Life". Although the Street versions are credited on the labels as 'remixes', they are in fact, exactly the same as the Radio edits, obviously with the offending lyrics included.
I picked this up at a boot-sale around a year ago along with their "Rabbit Stew" 12", both sealed and for 50p a piece. To be honest, if they'd have been much more I probably would have left them. I already had the "Lune Tunz" album (also purchased at a boot-sale) and although the beats are pretty dope, the rapping really grinds on me. Alexander The Great, Marc Rippin' and Nick Swift were all trying to sound like other 'popular' rappers from that early '90s period (think Onyx, etc...) and nearly every track features the entire crew chanting a repeated hook for the chorus' which hasn't dated well. It also includes some of the worstcover artwork I've ever seen - definitely up there with Snoop's horrendous "Doggy Style" sleeve - see the picture below! Anyway, I'll give it a rest on the "Lune Tunz" criticism, just wanted to explain the reason I could easily have overlooked this 12".
So, back to the "Rollin' Deep" record. Both tracks on here are in that classic, New York underground mould with deep bass lines and rattling drums. The lyrics are your typical tales of life in the 'hood', gun talk, hustling, etc, but the rappers still have their own identity on this release (although one of them does remind me of Daddy-O a little) so everything works well. The Run DMC cuts on "Hard Life" could have been tighter and the group chanting for the chorus on "Rollin' Deep", again, sounds dated, but these are minor glitches and maybe just me being fussy. I play this 12" quite regularly so I must like it a lot and would definitely pick it up again if I saw it. No idea how much it goes for as I've never seen a copy for sale. It's one of those records that won't be expensive but just doesn't seem to turn up very often.
'Dedicated to Paul C. "The Legend & Undisputed King of Hip-Hop"
Raw Breed "Rollin' Deep" (1992 PKS Records 12")
Raw Breed "Hard Life" (1992 PKS Records 12")