Sunday, October 08, 2006

Labtekwon - DJ Jazzy Jerk presents Ghettoclectic Volume WON (King of the Slow Burn) (Ankh Ba Records)

A couple days ago, my friend Tom Breihan posted an interview with Labtekwon on his Village Voice blog, and it's really worth a read. A lot of it focuses on Lab's perspective on the history and future of Baltimore club music, and the recent singles "Hammerdance" a.k.a. "Oh No (Watch Her Shake It)" (which Tom also mentioned in a post about his favorite recent singles) and "Sex Machine" by The 410 Pharoahs (Lab, Booman and Jimmy Jones), who, according to Booman's MySpace blog, have finished their album and are about to announce which major label they're signing with. I'm a young dude and by no means some kind of Baltimore club O.G., so there are a lot of things that I don't feel I have the authority to state publically, but Labtekwon does have that kind of credibility, and isn't afraid to say things like "On a whole, the wackest emcees are the ones getting there songs played on Bmore radio" and "When a style is just starting to be recognized, I think people should respect the pioneers first; then, the rest of the world can follow," and "The Lacrate joints are not official, the Spank Rock is not official, the Hollertronix is not official." I've actually been exchanging e-mails recently with Diplo from Hollertronix, a guy I've never been a fan of, giving him an honest critique of him and his scene's treatment of Bmore club, but also trying to hear out his side of things, and getting some pretty well thought out responses and finding a little bit of common ground (like us both not really trusting the way Aaron Lacrate is marketing Baltimore club right now, for one). If it doesn't turn into a shouting match eventually, maybe it'll be interesting enough that I'll ask him permission to post some of the discussion sometime (but maybe not since that dude gets enough attention from blogs as it is).

All that stuff isn't really relevent to this CD, though, which can be bought directly from Labtekwon's MySpace page. He kind of does the mixtape thing on here, rhyming over other people's tracks, but being that he's Labtekwon, he does it a little differently (and thank lord for that, if I hear one more freestyle over "Hustlin'" or "Go Crazy" I'm gonna scream; stop using played out beats, people). Instead, Lab grabs some classic Parliament and Prince, some modern R&B (D'Angelo, Aaliyah, Erykah Badu, Raheem Devaughn) and some Go-Go. Sometimes the crazy off-kilter beats on Labtekwon's proper albums wear on me a little, but when he kicks it over something a little smoother and more familiar you really get a sense of his skill and versatility.

Labtekwon - "Sardines" (mp3)
The first track is a flip on the D.C. Go-Go classic by the Junk Yard Band (remember that shit from Tougher Than Leather?). One of my favorite Go-Go songs of all time, I wish they all had a groove that hard, and Lab does his own thing with it, talking about sardines with tofu cheese. Lab's collaborators Jimmy Jones & Booman did a great Baltimore club version of "Sardines" a few years back, too. I like hearing some cross over between Bmore and D.C.'s respective musical cultures, maybe a G-Go band can do a version of a club song someday.

Labtekwon - "Adore" (mp3)
A remix of the ultimate Prince slow jam. He also does a version of "Darling Nikki" on here.

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