Rather Unique

Unique EP

Sometimes, perseverance pays off. The guys over at DWG have already built themselves an admirable rep for sourcing lost and unreleased classics and re-releasing them in limited pressings. They kicked off with a much sought-after issue of Phill Most Chill bangers, and graduated to a Godfather Don E.P. which also sold like cakes of the finger-scolding variety. Throw in a poster of hard-to-obtain rap singles, and you’ve got a mini cottage industry (the core DWG fam numbers 4 at present). Their newest vinyl release, which dropped in a run of 175 last week, might just be the best yet. And that’s where the perseverance comes in. Many people are familiar with Unique’s ‘Axe Maniac / Pure Dynamite’ 12″ which dropped on New Day in 1989. It’s become valuable, which must gall our boy Mikey Mike who used to give them away free back in the day as he had a job lot. The label gives a mouthwatering hint as to a forthcoming LP called ‘Die Hard’, which set these inveterate diggers on the path for a promo, a cassette, a white label, anything.

Unique - Pure Dynamite

Years later, they finally tracked down a test pressing. Rather than just rip the tracks, DWG make a point of ensuring the artists are fully involved in these releases. This often means they’re getting paid properly for music that would otherwise be unheard and unloved. It also means signed and sometimes hand-illustrated copies for those who get in early (we didn’t get in early enough this time, damn). The four tracks taken from the unreleased ‘Die Hard’ (label politics, don’t you know) hint at a lost gem. Yes, many of the breaks might be over-familiar from years of use, but this is ’89 vintage, so cast your mind back to how fresh they’d have sounded then. Additionally, they afford an insight into how dope an MC he was, riding fast and slow tracks with real confidence. The package is beautifully simple – good pressing, four killers, stickered sleeve, press sheet. You need to get yourself one now. For us, ‘War Rap’ is the standout. We’re even awarding it Fat Lace instant classic status. Have a little listen to it, then go back to ’89 to sample the seeds of a career that’s taken nearly two decades to come to fruition. And it doesn’t stop there, DWG have more plans in the pipeline, whilst forum members like DJ Cro (check out his blog and downloadable super dope selection of tunes here) are in on the act too, with the forthcoming vinyl pressing of Kurious demo tracks. Truly, we live in a golden age.

Unique – War Rap (from the Die Hard E.P.)

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Unique – Pure Dynamite

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Unique – Axe Maniac

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16 Responses to "Rather Unique"
  1. Reply Sureshot La Rock January 25, 2008 11:14 am

    To think this material was sitting there for 18 years waiting to be heard…

    Thanks for the great review!

  2. Reply Cro January 25, 2008 12:25 pm

    and thanks for the mention, snippets of the Kurious tracks should be upon the blog tomorrow. The Unique record is a MONSTER going to be hard to top that this year!

  3. Reply country bumpkin January 25, 2008 15:46 pm

    I’ve never buy many of those old 80’s unreleased things, it’s all a bit geeky to me, is there any new records out by new artists you can reccomend?

  4. Reply noz January 26, 2008 04:28 am

    They should reissue the reissue. You know, for poor people.

  5. Reply Tha_Disc_Eater January 26, 2008 06:44 am

    I think Noz is missing the point – the record industry (who are able to issue stuff at $5 a go) aren’t interested in this sort of music. The high cost of the release was so that Unique (finally) got paid for his work. If a major label picks up on the popularity of the project because of DWG’s release , maybe it will come out on a wider distribution – that’s what happened with the DWG002 release (Godfather Don). In the mean time I am sure the MP3’s will end up leaked on the net somewhere, that should apease the type of person that doesn’t like to spend money on records…..

  6. Reply country bumpkin January 26, 2008 10:57 am

    but the Don EP was £40 new wasn’t it…what is this? Hip Hop for rich folks only? They can easily sell 500 or more of these releases, probably 1000’s and make some £££’s for the artits, but they seem to put out only 150 or so so it instantly sells for more on ebay and becomes an instant collectors item, it’s some wack sh*t in my opinion coz fans with limited funds can’t cop the records. i never rated Unique that much, I thought Brand Nubian made a better track with that break, but I rate Godfather Don and don’t see I should have to pay through the nose for a new record (of dope, but old, poorly mixed, basement tape material).

  7. Reply country bumpkin January 26, 2008 11:47 am

    ps. I am quite ashamed I own the godfather don EP (I got it from a trade) as I know many people who love his stuff, but couldn’t afford that EP, I think it you paid £40 for a new one then you may as well have ‘more money than sense’ written on your head.

  8. Reply country bumpkin January 26, 2008 12:14 pm

    there is one of these unique EP’s for sale now on discogs…only £250! Is it really THAT good? Maybe it is, I dunno, it all seems bonkers to me.

  9. Reply Tha_Disc_Eater January 26, 2008 16:48 pm

    Certainly paying £40 for a record isn’t going to appeal to everyone, and to some extent I can understand that view – but I bet those very same people who would complain on that price for a new record would drop DOUBLE that amount on a new pair of sneakers without even thinking about it.

    As far as limiting the release, well that probably has more to do with the fact that they pressed up a quantity that they knew they could sell. You can only sell thousands of records with promotion, radio play, magazine space etc…..promotion costs money, DWG are just ordinary guys with day jobs – not a label with a budget for promotion.

    If DWG didn’t press this up, it wouldn’t be out, period. I’m glad I was able to get a copy and that a significant proportion of the money I paid went direct to Unique.

  10. Reply EastCockNDieURAllFagz January 26, 2008 18:44 pm

    its pretty simple really… these guys are basically pressing 150 and selling at £40, rather than doing 1500 at £4, same money with less work and something for the collector dudes too (not hip hop, but whatever).

    at least the artists see some quick dough off stuff they have laying around – stuff which the larger labels are too stupid to consider putting out!

    E.C.

  11. Reply country bumpkin January 26, 2008 18:47 pm

    I spose there’s good points there, I just get the feeling that becasue it’s so limited people can geek off or gloat over it and/or buy copies to sell on to people with more money than sense for ridiculous prices. It seems to be more about capitalism to me, DWG could sell 500 for £10 a pop online easily and make the same profit and Unique would still get paid, people could still sellthemon for profit if they wanted, but why only 175, it seems that it’s more about being part of an elite who has something so rare, but it’s rare coz it was made to be rare by being so limited, you can’t say there’s no intention for it to be mad rare so it goes up in value, I just think that’s a bit wack, I think it’s OK if there’s 500 or 1000 and you get one for £10 or something, that seems fair, but like with that Don EP, I actually feel like I own a ‘bogus’ record or something coz it wasn’t put out at a price that your average 9-5 low-medium income person could afford, I can only thankmy friend who runs a record shop and traded me a copy for a load of doubles and other stuff I was clearing out, but I’m not particularlyproud about having it, I feel a bit greedy to be honest.

  12. Reply EatCockNDieURAllFagz January 26, 2008 19:12 pm

    I think in an ideal world all records should be affordable and it sucks that some people are priced out… but I doubt DWG or whoever else have the time to deal with selling 500 records, after all they are regular Joe’s right? I get the impression that its just something pressed for peeps in the know….

    …a similar release is that Dooley O 12″ on Stones Throw, wonder how many that sold?

    E.C.

    also, they only way I got one was by

  13. Reply EatCockNDieURAllFagz January 26, 2008 19:12 pm

    woops………

  14. Reply country bumpkin January 26, 2008 19:22 pm

    yeah, maybe ‘bogus’ was a bit strong as it’s a dope record, but I do kinda feel a bit bad that I was lucky to get one and other mates who are ‘in the know’ but broke couldn’t, but I suppose I’m thinking about it way too deeply as nobody has actually begrudged me or been bitter about mine as they haven’t got a copy. I suppose you could pay £50 for a night out without batting an eyelid and at least a record is something you can keep and get years of entertainment from.

  15. Reply EatCockNDieURAllFagz January 26, 2008 19:29 pm

    “I suppose you could pay £50 for a night out without batting an eyelid and at least a record is something you can keep and get years of entertainment from.”

    true words… rap records are still relatively cheap compared to other genres I guess.

    Just saw that copy on Discogs for £250… cheaky bastard / fucking chancer if you ask me!

    E.C.

  16. Reply twix January 26, 2008 19:38 pm

    thanks fatlace. ‘war rap’ is a great record, nice to hear it. i like unique as an mc, well, from the time he’s from anyhow. The pure dynamite 12″ is a great record.

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