It’s a 1537 super giveaway dance /hip-hop mash-up weekend! 3 for the price of 2. Here we have MARRS Pump up The Volume, Silver Bullet Bring Forth The Guillotine and 20 Seconds to Comply; one unlikely monster international hit and 2 which in any kind of just and righteous world would have been.
First Pump up The Volume, I only bought this about 8 years ago. When it first came out I liked it a lot but it used to be played so much everywhere that I didn’t need to buy it. I vividly remember walking through Carmarthen one night with my mates and passing 4 pubs in a row on the same street, each one of which was blasting this track out. Even if you don’t like this one, you’ll know exactly what it sounds like, but what interests me now is its’ genesis as an arty project on the 4AD record label and the cool Public Enemy samples I couldn’t identify yet when it first came out. Interesting also that it was a double A-side (ask your parents, younger readers!) with ‘Anitina’, much as I would like to report that it’s a lost classis, I can’t. It sounds to me like a ham-fisted Massive Attack, the beats are too loud and swamp the tune. I do like ‘Pump up The Volume’ and any observant neighbours of mine would have been treated to the sight of me shaking my booty to it whilst ironing this afternoon – yup, life in the 1537 household has been its usual high-octane, hedonistic, live-fast-die-young whirlwind self today.
Now Silver Bullet, I know so little about him other than he made the two best UK hip-hop singles I have ever heard back in 1989, actually to be fair they are near-enough identical and when its this good, who cares?! I only know about these tracks because my friend’s big brother had put a track on a compilation tape he made his brother, it really is as random as that, without that I would have missed them. Bring Forth The Guillotine, with its faux-Vincent price intro and whiplash-style, suped-up James Brown ‘Superbad’ beats is just amazing. The rapping here is absolutely Olympic sprint standard, completely breakneck, and I love it! I really like my MCs to sound like they’re working up a sweat and Mr Bullet cvertainly does. The horror FX and lyrics also prefigure the Gravediggaz by a few years, so clearly others were listening too. What is even better is that they printed the lyrics on the back and so you can, as I have drunkenly several times, compete with your friends to see how far you can rap along with Silver Bullet for; I usually spin off the road around about,
No time to break tic tac toe or take,
Select like a snake or fuckers fake.
It really is incredible stuff. 20 Seconds to Comply is pretty much more of the same and as I said above, I mean that in a good way here, although it is Robocop rather than horror themed. The B-side remixes by Ben Chapman are interesting for once as, especially on ‘Bring Forth the Guillotine – Mental Mix’ (subtle guys, subtle!) it veers off into dance and proto-house territory, putting me in mind of people I only vaguely recall like Shut Up And Dance. I do think it is interesting that UK Hip-hop was willing to embrace dance music right from the off and in fact all three records here do represent a blurring of the genres and boundaries from dance with hip-hop samples, to hip-hop with dance remixes and as usual when you get interesting people willing to flex the boundaries, that’s when you get little bits of magic occurring. I also love this era of hip-hop when angry, (mostly) men were making fabulous records, just showing-off their furious skills for the sheer love of speed, before the whole genre got infected by big-booty, aspirational, lowest-common-denominator sexism. Rant over, I love these records.
P.S – Silver Bullet gets massive 1537 bonus points not only for rhyming ‘lobectomy’ with ‘infect ya see’, but for his first name, apparently, being Hereward. No wonder he left all other MCs in his wake …