Sunday, 11 November 2012

Late 90s 12"s Part 3:L'a the Darkman featuring Raekwon-As the World Turns

It was late 1995 and the Hip-Hop world has firmly in the grip of Wu-Tang fever. We had been listening to the original 9 members for almost two years and the affiliates were starting to appear; Sunz of Man, Killarmy, Shabazz the Disciple, Dark Skinned Assassin and of course L'a The Darkman. Their 12"s were of varying levels of quality but all had that Wu Tang sound despite hardly any of them being produced by The Rza and most being produced by one of his many proteges; 4Th Disciple, Mathematics, True Master and Bronze Navareth. Some of them were even lucky enough to have one of the original 9 dropping a verse or at times just a chorus. This 12" here is one of them.
I picked this joint up in the fantastic but long since gone Deal Real record shop in London's west End (the first and real one, not the recreated trendy one off Carnaby Street but the true one on D'Arblay street) I probably paid about £6 for it and it would have been picked up with other similar joints.
As a teenager in New York City, the Crown Heights, Brooklyn-bred emcee born La The Darkman (Lason Jackson) negotiated his first deal just as he was finishing high school. Having studied the game he was more than prepared when an in-studio freestyle on WKCR's The Stretch and Bobbito Show drew the attention of major and indie labels alike. Like many emcees at the time he put out a 12" on the indie label Fo'Real records under the Wu Tang Productions heading.
The A-side has two versions I want it all both produced by Carlos "6th July" Broady who has also produced tracks for various Bad Boy artists, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon and Nas amongst others. The beat on the first version is a rather subdued affair with muted drums and some nice orchestral string. La raps about how he wants it all "Lex and Tech and Shit". At the time this joint came out La was an average to above average emcee however today he'd be one of the best considering the drop in quality over the 17th years since this was released. The second version of I want it all has some nice xylophone stabs and a slightly nicer snare and is actually my favorite of the two. The B side is probably the reason most people bought this track as it features Raekwon on the chorus and the first verse. Its typical Cuban linx part one era Rae which is of course a very good thing especially as he works so well with La. The beat itself is a mellow track with nice strings and crisp snares. Generrally a nice slower than most Raekwon track that became a staple of those underground Wu tape of the mid nineties check the link below for the vinyl rip and check back soon for some more late 90s gems.