John Connor/Drive It Like It’s Stolen single

Release date: 13th April on download

Music Review

In today’s mollycoddled, cotton wool-enshrouded, health and safety-dictated world, can anything truly be considered dangerous anymore?  Climbing Everest is now simply a case of signing the risk assessment and letting the sherpas carry you to the top.  Kids go skateboarding cosseted in helmets and bubble-wrapped in protective padding.  Conkers are enjoyed with safety goggles, sparklers with fireproof gloves.  While any reduction in domestic accidents is to be encouraged, sometimes you can’t help longing for a little danger, something to elicit that frisson of excitement that makes us all feel so alive in the first place.  Oh for the days when you couldn’t walk to the shops without being stalked by serial killers or mowed down by drunk drivers.  The concept of Radio 1 banning The Sex Pistols’ ‘subversive’ music sounds ridiculous in today’s unshockable world.  Besides, if Malcolm McLaren were alive in 2011 to launch The Sex Pistols, they would be auto-tuned to f*** (to use the technical term for it), and their songs would feature middle eights from the sort of rappers used to filling time on Rebecca Black tracks.  ‘God save the queen cos she down like that, all the ladies in the club hit the town like that, I make you feel my gat, when the bass go ‘Blat!’, I show you freaky, funky, sexy money, beats so phat.’ With controversial the new uncontroversial, it’s hard to offend anyone now unless you’re making doodles of the Prophet Muhammed.  Anything outré you care to think of, be it lyrical, musical, sexual or animal, has already been done and then done to death, and then done some more and then turned into a remix featuring Rebecca Black’s rent-a-rapper.  What’s this, you say you want to make music that sounds ridiculously heavy?  And what exactly are you gonna offer that Slipknot, Napalm Death and 1000 dubstep producers haven’t done before?  You wanna offend people, you say?  Well good luck in finding a perversion that Marilyn Manson and every horrorcore rapper out there hasn’t already f***ed the life out of.

With the world so inured to everything and everyone, it takes something a bit special to ruffle feathers and raise fists these days.  Step forward Drew Devine.  Better known as Werd, this Edinburgh MC has seemingly been spitting bars since the dawn of Scottish hip-hop.  (Which, for the record, was a long time ago.)  In spite of having collaborated with anyone who’s anyone – and a few someones who are no one – within the rap scene, this is Werd’s first official release under his own sobriquet.  His oeuvre – and his reputation – is impressive however; try typing ‘Scottish Rap’ into YouTube and see who comes up top, with over 120,000 channel views.

On first impressions, new single Drive It Like It’s Stolen sounds like neds’ music made for neds – the very same ones prone to sporting ill-fitting tracksuits and ‘chibbing some c*** wi a bottle o breach’ because he had the temerity to look at them funny.  The beat is startlingly simple and the synth hook reminiscent of an old 8-bit computer game.  In fact it is the sort of song that wouldn’t sound out of place in the original Grand Theft Auto game, and that’s before we consider the lyrics.  With lines like ‘Blunt in ma mooth I toke it, pigs, bacon – f*** the polis’, it’s probably not likely to trouble daytime radio anytime soon.  Drive It Like It’s Stolen – or Drive It Like It’s F****ng Stolen to give the song its full name – is three minutes of potty-mouthed, insurrectionary attitude. It is a middle finger raised to the law and anyone else who cares to take offence.  And for that, it’s truly brilliant.  If listening to this UV Beatz production doesn’t make you want to spin doughnuts, jack Porsches and torch speed cameras, you must have no soul.  Admittedly, the track’s not quite dangerous enough to foment a government overthrow or cause riots in the streets, but it’s a valiant effort nonetheless.

John Connor, with its ‘F****ng up your machine, call me John Connor’ refrain is the more original of the two songs on this release.  Produced by DJ Jolly Joker, the track contains a snare sample that is so evil it deserves to be locked up with Joseph Fritzl.  Unfortunately the beat – like the accompanying hook – tires after 90 seconds, yet still insists on sticking around for another 120 after that.  It really doesn’t matter though – Drive It Like It’s Stolen is so catchy, you won’t want to listen to anything else for a fortnight anyway.  If you’ve always wanted to break the law but were too afraid to, try cruising round Edinburgh with this pumping in your motor.  The song might not be illegal, but it’s about as dangerous as safe living gets these days.