Monday, September 10, 2007

Chopped



Another one going back a couple of weeks, but I gotta rave (albeit quickly) about the Young Dot LP [not mixtape] 'This Is The Beginning' that I heard c/o dot-alt. It's a quickfire, solidly-grime collection of tracks that fit together in the complete and satisfying way that an album should do. It's got forward-looking rhymes - sure, there are 'I came from here, this is where I grew up, this was the scene, what has happened' retrospective moments, but the mood is aspirational: there's no question that grime has a future, in fact, the question doesn't even come up...

Like the majority of the grime repertoire, a lot of the themes of the tracks are self-regarding - five of the fourteen tracks have 'I' in the title - but there are quality bars throughout: "I beg you don't get rude, you'll only find out yer dad's a wanker and you came from a test-tube" and a bit later "I wanna get the dough that Nelly gets, so I'm gonna break fast like Ready-Brek". There's some raw cut beats - the neck snapping rhythms on 'Think Your A Top MC' syncopate with a mushrooming descending bassline. Even more notable is the fact that Dot Rotten is interested in flexing his chorister's cords - the album has a backdrop of pseudo-operatic sung harmonies. 'I've Been Broke So Long' has vocal breaks that manage to take a rise out of R.Kelly's HiphOpera hobbyism, and at the same time manage to keep a UK styling - Dot manages to sound London even when singing 'Ahhhh'.

There's a slew of bars on Wiley's 'Gangsters' rhythm, but you feel the fronting isn't the most important feature of the track (since "me and my gang we tend to get respect" is quite a modest claim). Here's the point - it's a massive instrumental, and everybody wants to get some rhymes on it, but Y. Dot goes a bit further. 'Top Gangsters' adds extra bassbeats, rolls the rhythm from bar to bar, and by the final verses he's chopped the beat to shreds, splicing in extra snares and hooks. The production isn't as sparse as Wiley's version, but carries and builds tension throughout.

The beat chopping and splicing is in greatest effect on 'I Violate Cause I'm A Sinner', reworking the Various Production tune 'Hater' that already got worked out in Wiley's 'I'm A Sinner' that you heard on War Report volume 1. Where Wiley superimposed the sound of Darth Vader breathing deeply, Dot's packs in a warm humming Light-Sabre sound effect by cutting and gating the bassline. Wiley dropped all of the original vocal except the 'I'm A Sinner' - Dot keeps the line and does a mean imitation, singing 'I Violate' in a similarly effected vocal style. Check it:
Young Dot - I Violate Cause I'm A Sinner - (4mins 00sec, 9.8mb, 320kbps) [zshare]

And best of all, it seems Y-Dot has made the whole LP available for free as a download, and it seems it might be that you could pick it up on the internet. Have it.