September 01, 2022

Rob Swift - Wargames (2005)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
Label Number: CGC5013

© 2005 Coup De GrĂ¢ce
After his very public split from the X-Ecutioners in 2004, Rob Swift decided to continue his work as one of the world's best DJs by going the route of the solo artist. In 2005, Swift released War Games, the ideas for which he had been developing since September 11, 2001. With War Games, Swift wanted to show his intellectual side, not just the scratching ability he had consistently demonstrated with his old band, and while initially the DJ admitted that the album reflected his negative feelings toward the Bush administration and its behavior regarding the war on terror, he later recanted and explained that he was instead trying to present an unbiased picture of the situation in order to give his listeners something to think about. In reality, unbiased is the wrong word to use. But that there's an attempt to show more than one side of the argument can certainly be allowed. Many of the tracks consist of news clips, both real and made up, and not just from one perspective (though the more conservative views sometimes seem to have a particularly phony sound to them). "Mad Wrist," for example, is about the horrific chaos after the bombing of the presumably American town "Metropolis," and "41 Bullets" details the real-life shooting of an innocent man, Amadou Diallo, by four New York City police officers. Not unexpectedly, President Bush himself is often sampled, including a 39-second clip of his explanation for going to war ("our aim is a democratic peace...this great republic will lead the cause of freedom"), which then moves very purposefully into a track comparing the Vietnam and Iraq Wars, and finally finishes with various samples admitting the nonexistence of weapons of mass destruction. The rest of the album deals mostly with poverty and racism, including a moving remix of Main Source's "Another Friendly Game of Baseball" that has a new live vocal track from Large Professor, and a wry explanation of the "vicious cycle" of poverty in "A Ghetto Poem." With such depressing subject matter, it is not surprising that Swift chooses dark, even scary, samples and heavy scratches to carry the album, which, by the way, remains on par with his previous releases. War Games is an ominous soundtrack to the DJ's perspective on the state of the contemporary world, and while it does lean more toward the left, those disagreeing with Swift shouldn't feel ostracized from the album. It's complex, intelligent, and provocative, and it's certainly worth listening to.

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tags: rob swift, wargames, war games, 2005, flac,