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Rodney P - The Future 2xLP [Riddim Killa / Low Life]
Rodney P - The Future 2xLP [Riddim Killa / Low Life]
Tracklist:
01. Intro
02. The Nice Up
03. Da Hot Style
04. The Future
05. Big Tings Again ft. M.C.D.
06. Fading
07. I Don't Care (Time To Party) ft. Mystro
08. Doggist
09. Trouble ft. Honey Williams
10. Vibes
11. No Pets Allowed ft. Karizma
12. Temper Temper
13. We Don't Like Coppers
14. I Believe ft. Olivia Chaney
15. Riddim Killa
Rodney P and Skitz
This is the LP that most UK Hip Hop fans will have been waiting for, for, ooh, only about 10-15 years now! There have been a couple of occasions in Rodney’s recording career when he was close to dropping his own LP, but for whatever reason his first solo long player never arrived. Now however it is upon us and the wait was more than worth it. Although there was a bit of a hiccup surrounding the release date of this, two years on since it should have dropped the substantially re-worked wax is here, no joke, so everyone can rest assured. This record very much follows in the same vein that Rodney has started off in with his first few releases on his own label - Riddim Killa., i.e. production from a select group of beatmeisters who have crafted some outstanding backings for Rodney’s somewhat predictable lyrics. Still, somehow Rodney is appealing and when he does turn up the heat he can produce lyrics of top quality. At other times they just sound real good. This is a proper LP weighing in at 15 tracks reduced from the original which listed over 20 tracks, but on here there are very few fillers or skits.

The record opens with the obviously titled Intro. Not sure if this is the same as A Vision Of The Future, but anyway it is a severely dub laiden little opener that definitely gets you in the mood for what else is to come. It is essentially a excerpt / short dub from the heavy bumping Trouble the first single and makes the first use of the 'No More Trouble' sample from Bob Marley which supposedly delayed the release for so long. If that is what it was then it was worth it as it really works. The whole LP only has about five or so listed guest spots and so has a coherent feel, this is additionally the case because much of the production is undertaken by The Sea, with C-Swing touching up one beat and Joe Buhdha tapping out a couple for good measure. The Nice Up opens up with an old style selektah popping off gunshots and chopper noises before the absolute stormer gets going. The beat has a severe groove to it with a big bass line rumbling along. Clanking Reggae guitars and horns give a real original London Posse feel. The track features Rosita creating some unique sounding chorus. There is a whole laid back feel to this, but as Rodney says he has, 'come to Nice Up your area' and this should mash up any dance.

Da Hot Style produced by Dobie is rather different with its rapid repetitive bass and skippy beat with additional vocals from Daddy Kelly. More up tempo Rodney flits from subject to subject, but he has a lot to speak on from different experiences of his past to just giving people the impression that he has a renewed urgency to get his material out there. The title track The Future returns to more of a reggae vibsing track. For people who complain that Rodney only raps about a couple of things this LP should go some way to correcting that. Here is a story breaking down what a youth named Blue has to go through as he grows up, and how he could so easily turn to crime. This is a message to any one in a position to mentor kids to teach them good things and to 'boost' them. The message being that, 'fe real we have to boost them youths ya, if you do when they grown they'll build a world to suit ya, if you don't they'll take a gun and come shoot ya'.

Big Tings gets a remix, the same beat which was so dope the first time around, but with new lyrics and an additional vocal from the MC that Rodney P feels like no other - MCD. He has such a silky flow combined with a gruffness to his tone that he sounds unique. Rather than taking a verse each the two go back and forth quite a lot and it makes you wonder why these two haven't done more work together in the past as they work well together. Fading is on a more emotional tip where Rodney tells how one can fall off the edge of sanity and loose it for one reason or another. The roots tilt to the sung chorus which makes use of 'Fading Away' by Earl Smith and backing music along with the organ tugs those heart strings.

I Don't Care (Time To Party) for me feels like a bit of a mish mash of styles where everything is thrown in to the mix. Honey Williams is in there singing and competing too much with the MCs for me. The beat is heavy and a bit too stab driven and not as musical as some of the other tracks. Mystro also appears on this for his comedy punch lines and upbeat party vibe lyrics, but really this could be so much better with a remix.

Bubblin In Dublin is one of the tracks removed from the original provisional issue, but it was only one of the few skits and in this case took the form of a live recording from a show in Dublin which just shows how much the fans out there love him. Doggist is a track that explains all about Rodney and his weakness for the ladies. Again stab driven, but this has a more complete and cohesive feel if not completely outstanding. Another track removed from the original is Hip Hop Gangster for which Rodney P chose to get his old London Posse member Sipho in to collaborate on. It was a remake of the classic Just Ice track and follows the same flows and patterns with Sipho taking the place of DMX (the Human Beatbox). It is probably true though that the overall LP has been made stronger and more focussed with its reduction in terms of track numbers and re-working.

Trouble featuring Honey Brown, which received an up front debut on Plus One’s Champion Sounds Mix CD is the first single and a reggae influenced boomer of a track that features soulful sung female vocals explaining how ‘we don’t need more trouble’, a super heavy throbbing bass which will test any set of speakers and the usual bouncy chirpy presence of Rodney himself. This really is a stand out track which I just can't get enough of. This like so many tracks on here is one to play loud and flip out to.

Vibes is just that, pure and relaxing and a mellow out point after a set of booming tracks. This is instrumental, but evocative and fulfils a similar role to Remedy For The Black Ash Blues on the Gangster Chronicle LP. No Pets Allowed gets back to straight up Hip Hop with the Notts tones of Karizma from the Out Da Ville crew. The MCs start off by saying how they have no times for people who run off their mouths, but when they are challenged they back down quick sharp. Temper Temper is all electronic keyboards but sounds fat like the rest of the tracks on here as does We Don't Like Coppers. Its just like a real episode of the Bill depicted by an MC proving he can tell tales, the sad side being this could easily all be so true. Skitz  put this one together and the horn loops and rim shot snare make for an exigency that befits the nature of the stories contained within the track. The LP's penultimate track I Believe starts off possibly being a remedy or antidote for the fuckries described in the previous track, probably due to the uplifting lyrics of Olivia Chaney and the sample from 'You Gotta Believe' by Norman Whitfield. But actually it seems that Rodney has become cynical and doesn't believe in a great deal any more. Many of his statements really do ring true especially to an old cynic like me.

Rodney P - The Future 2xLP [Riddim Killa / Low Life]Of the previous releases on Riddim Killa, such as Murder Style, World-Wide which features Skinnyman and Mr 45, and A Love Song featuring Julie Dexter which were again on the original track list only Riddim Killa remains on here, but again this does not diminish the LP, and helps to make this LP sound newer and less familiar. I think it makes the whole thing seems like a new step on, whereas if all the older tracks had been included it would have harked too far back and felt more like Klashnekoff's LP i.e. a collection of previous singles. People should not be too disappointed because those previous 12”s are still available and because on the 12”s you’d get the extra tracks and instrumentals, and this LP has more than enough new material on it anyway.

All cuts on the LP are performed by DJ Agzi aka the Deckwrecka except for Fade Away where the cuts are competently performed by DJ Serious. Overall this is a tremendous, possibly to be seen as groundbreaking LP from one of the UK’s finest artists, which by all rights should blow up everywhere. Lets hope it does. Some critics have admonished Rodney for the lack of variety in his lyrics and I thought that this could potentially be a problem for this release, but it is not so. Rodney does have his own phrases that can get repetitive, but over the whole LP the subject matter is surprisingly varied. The original cover featured a cartoon design by Dreadi, which continued the theme of previous Riddim Killa releases. It was an outdoor party scene, which to view properly you needed to unfold he gatefold. It looked great. This time though, Guy Featherstone has concocted a series of detailed silhouettes which each time you look at you notice something else. This version of the cover is probably a bit more stylish.  So in short this is a must purchase LP, and with HHC giving this 5/5 in their review I would have to agree with them for once. Run out and get this as soon as you can.

Related links:

Riddim Killa Discography :: Rodney P Discography
http://www.lowliferecords.co.uk :: http://www.rodneyp.com :: http://www.bbc.co.uk/1xtra
 

Intro Early Doors:
1979-1985
False Dawn:
1985-1990
Underground Years:
1990-1995
The Renaissance:
1995- 2000
The Future:
2000 & Beyond
Artists &
Discographies

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