Thursday, 27 August 2015

DJ Squeeky presents Tom Skeemask - 2 Wild for the World (1998)

Just the other day I happened to slip upon a patch of oil left over and not yet cleared up after stripping down and cleaning my numerous hand guns and assault rifles, and falling against the computer I found myself accidentally online and unintentionally logged on to a bulletin board dedicated to the children's television show Doctor Who. Naturally I made attempts to sign out but, already confused, I found that I had instead been drawn into a section of the forum dedicated to music, and specifically to a thread purportedly set up for fans of hip hop and rap, although it would be fairer to describe it as a thread for forum members owning one or two rap albums. It took only seconds to locate the first claim of there having been no decent rap music recorded since the first Wu-Tang Clan album, because it's all that Puff Daddy and commercial rap like Lil' Wayne, and Public Enemy were great, and in fact It Takes A Nation of Millions is probably the best rap album ever - and yes, I know I'm going out on a limb with such a bold, unpopular statement - and we don't like that commercial rap because we only like the underground stuff which you probably won't have heard of because it's underground and not commercial like Puff Daddy and that bass music, whatever it's called; the Fugees were good too, and that Will Smith is a great entertainer...

Luckily I had already returned my firearms to the rack in Junior's room, because I really, really felt like emptying a clip into the fuckin' screen, lemme tell ya...

This was about rap for people who don't actually like rap - rap deemed more adventurous and underground than the Puff Daddy commercial rap because it appeals to fans of Radiohead and really interesting groups of that sort, because it's progressive and exciting and not actually much like rap, which is all too commercial and made by angry black men talking about guns and money and saying some really sexist stuff too, like that so-called Fat Joe. Alex Petridis in the Guradian pointed out that Fat Joe has a song called Shit is Real which just goes to show what a stupid, uneducated fellow he is. Shit is Real - I mean come on, it's hardly William Blake now is it snurf snurf...

So that was how I came to experience a sudden and overpowering need to cleanse my soul with some real rap, as distinguished by its copious swearing, threatening behaviour, actual beats, and fixation on real shit of flavours rarely experienced by folks with fucking cLOUDDEAD records; and as is appreciated by people who listen to rap. This will undoubtedly resemble sneering, but fuck it - if you don't like rap just go ahead and say it, but don't claim otherwise whilst referencing some shit that came out a quarter of a century ago as representative of the last time it was good enough for you to bother listening. Piss off and take your friggin' Buck 65 twelves with you back to fuckin' Starbucks.

Tom Skeemask is, for what it may be worth, the real deal. He says stuff you really might not want to hear, but which might do you good to hear; and whilst he may not be the greatest rapper in the world, he really ain't that bad, and if there's any suggestion that maybe he doesn't mean it, or that he's just saying this stuff so as to appear like some commercial rap big shot - you know, like that Puff Daddy, well - he's probably not that hard to track down, so please feel free to go ahead and tell him to his face. It's violent and territorial because sometimes life is violent and shitty and unhappy, and territory is the only thing some people have at the lower end of the economy.

This is southern rap - hard words spat out at machine gun tempo and a hot, slow Memphis vibe timed to the pace of life in the hotter states, places in which the weather obliges you to move around real slow for the best part of the day. It's closer in spirit to Eightball & MJG than any Hypnotize Minds thing - electric piano, lush guitar licks, and a bass so deep you can only hear it in cars, it being designed to scare the shit out of whoever you happen to drive past at snail's pace with your window down. DJ Squeeky lays down the tracks and Tom Skeemask tells it like it is, and there isn't much more to say about it because it speaks for itself, what with being the real thing and all.

I feel better now.

Thank you, Tom Skeemask.

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