Ever since Run DMC and Aerosmith broke the ice in ‘86 with their “Walk This Way” collab there has been an exponentially growing trend of hip-hop producers and MCs teaming up with some of rock n’ roll’s finest, pairing two genres that were born to blend. The era following gave rise to groundbreaking material like Dangermouse’s historic Grey Album, when Mouse introduced the Beatles to Jay-Z. The widespread success of the album may have been the tipping point of the crossover, building up to the stylistic diversity enjoyed today. Virtually every radio hit this past year was born of a pop/hip-hop marriage, MCs left and right are coming out with rock albums (think Lil’ Wayne’s Rebirth) and Travis Barker even has his own remixes up on YouTube.
Built on beats and samples, heavy guitars and clever lyrical games, Canada’s Down With Webster is a perfect example of the hybrid groups continuing to emerge from the cupboard. When you hear them, the back of your mind is wondering, “what is this?” but the frontal lobe telling it to shut the fuck up and enjoy whatever the hell it might be.
Take a standard rock band— bassist, drummer and vocalist/guitarist— a more progressive one, a la Incubus, and throw in a DJ— pop a couple MCs on the team, toss in a hype man and you’ve got DWW, the seven-member-whatever armed to explode.
Their songs range from catchy to clever, from rock to electronic to hip-hop. But core deep it doesn’t even matter what style they’re playing in because it’s DWW’s carefree attitude that makes them so likeable. Time To Win Vol. 1 is the first of two installments of their party anthem playlist, influenced from artists ranging from the Beastie Boys to Sublime to Linkin Park.
Intro “Time To Win” gets your feet wet in their general style and attitude, riding on a kickass trumpet line and chorus, I built my soul on rock n’ roll/Someone told me the kids don’t rock no more, letting you know from the get-go they plan on keeping it real. “Whoa Is Me” has got attitude from lick one, that eruptive feeling that something existential is awaiting. They end up spitting lines about gold chains, big wheels and hickeys woven through chants about being so “whoa.” The super-cocky rap parody hits it on the nose; it’s silly, clever and a full head rush of insanity. This brand of humorous hip-hop is a far cry from the more laidback style of De La Soul and it’s certainly something ground fresh.
The funniest track on the album, “Rich Girl$,” has a cheesy 80’s sound like Eddie Money and it’s got that guilty pleasure hook to go along. It feels like we haven’t seen each other in years/Why don’t you join me for a couple of beers/ Clink Cheers begins the narrative over a Facebook chat. It’s current, it’s progressive and it’s sure as hell ridiculous. The most epic of the album is “Back of My Hand,” which begins with rainstorms and keys like Eminem’s “Stan.” The flow, the build and the chorus are all to the max in this track and although they’re funny as hell, this is where you know they are no joke.