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AAA Music | 14 July 2024

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WTF & Dead Prez – It’s Bigger Than Hip Hop UK

| On 06, Aug 2010

Disclaimer: I do not have a good knowledge of hip-hop, rap, R&B, dance, or any of that kind of thing. And so if I have the wrong end of the stick, or seem ignorant at any point, I apologise in advance.

Now with that out the way, let’s get down to business. ‘It’s Bigger Than Hip Hop’ by WTF & Dead Prez employs a sluggish yet addictive beat, drawing out the pace of the vocals to a sneer that suits the song perfectly, however this is a double-edged sword, as the parts of the track where the lyrics repeat themselves feel drawn-out and repetitive after a while. But overall, the uninitiated is far from alienated and instead is intrigued. The synth sounds employed here play something almost approaching a fanfare, giving the track a subtly grand entrance. And on top of this, the juddering sounds wouldn’t go amiss on an old sci-fi film, which is a common thing on the club floor, but this track skirts around cliché, and when it does flirt with stereotypes, it is rather tongue-in-cheek. Despite being, as I have mentioned, juddering, the flow of the rhythm and sound is far from awkward. The lyrical content is boastful and the stream of words with no stumbles provide a great counterpoint to this grinding pace, and I’ll let the monotonous repetition of “bigger than hip-hop, hip-hop” slide as the rest of the track is so cleverly done. The production here is also notable, being practically crystalline beneath the gravelly tones of the synths. Every sound is clear and sharp as a pin.

The rest of the release consists of remixes of this single. Version 2 is a mix that is much heavier on the techno, pushing it over into a grinding, dark rave sound that is perfectly suited to dances, clubs, raves, or any of those settings, although the constant looping of lines (cutting out the verses with I thought were the best part) means that if you’re listening in the context of sitting down and quietly paying attention, it starts to wear out its welcome, despite the interesting things happening in the instrumental areas. However, given that it is under three minutes, it thankfully doesn’t tip over into boredom.

Version 3 is the “trippy” version, it seems, a metronome-regular drum machine thudding a strict rhythm intermittently, and a pulsating effect and pitch-climbing sequence loop placed on the synth that sounds similar to what happens when you unleash an eager child on those levers on a keyboard. The next five minutes are largely devoted to a series of instrumental sections (with occasional snippets of the actual song) that are geared precisely towards raves, but feel removed from the track they’re supposed to be a remix of.

Version 4 is a pretty straightforward remix, with precious few adjustments and pretty much no huge difference from the original track.

Overall, I suppose I’m not massively qualified to pass any definitive statement upon this release, but I would give it a tentative thumbs-up, as it has managed to keep my attention for four modifications of one track that is in a genre I normally avoid. So as far as accessibility and a generally good sound goes, I’d say this ticks the necessary boxes.

Author: Katie H-Halinski