Saturday, 20 April 2013

Shy FX & Gunsmoke - Gangsta Kid II

Shy FX & Gunsmoke - Gangsta Kid II (SOUR, 1994)

Here's part two of my post on Shy FX's 'Gangsta Kid' series - check part one here if you missed it.

While some people thought that tracks like 'Gangsta Kid' glorified violence, this was not Shy FX & Gunsmoke's intention - as Koushik Banerjea, a Lecturer in Cultural Studies at Goldsmith's College says in the video below: "If it's a reflection on the reality which an individual seeks to portray through his or her music than I cannot see how it can be a negative thing".

Like the first track, 'Gangsta Kid II' opens with a movie-like sequence. This time we hear Gunsmoke and a friend discussing his need to have protection as he expects revenge for the murder we previously heard him carry out - "if any of Kane's people come to me they gonna come constructive". However while they are talking someone approaches and after confirming Gunsmoke's identity tells him "I've got a message for you" before gunning them both down. It is clear that the moral of the story is the pointlessness of violence and the tragedy of lost lives.

'Gangsta Kid II' retains the "As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster" line from Goodfellas along with the Cypress Hill sample. It adds a nice horn riff from The Heptone's 'Gonna Fight' while the original's bassline is rearranged and there are also more lyrics from Gunsmoke - the sung refrain of "always wanted to be a gangster" is given an air of tragedy by the events of the intro. The track mostly uses the Think break rather than the Amen although this is also brought in during the track's mid-section. In the Gangsta Kid series this one is my favourite as it's more developed and differentiates itself from 'Original Nuttah' further than the first.

Although the release this came out on is labelled 'The Final Chapter' Shy would go on to remake it again as 'Gangsta Kid III' which sees Gunsmoke seemingly resurrected and back to his murdering ways. There are also a couple of remixes with T Power tackling part one and L Double taking on part two. Have a look at this great video shown on BBC 2 in 1994 about the developing jungle scene. From around 5:47 onwards we see Shy FX in his home studio with Gunsmoke creating this very track and talking about the idea behind the original. Essential viewing for any discerning junglist.

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