wax Poetics

TWR Production

“Those Who Rock/ Coolin’/ Stupid Deff!”

Released 1986
record label TWR Production
Written by Robbie Busch

Those Who Rock/ Coolin’/ Stupid Deff!
Those Who Rock/ Coolin’/ Stupid Deff!

    A barrage of Centipedes drop through the magic mushrooms and attack the dubbed-out bunker of electro over a frenzy of hand claps and lead-footed drum-machine stabs while a carnival of souls cheer from a Bambaataa-less pit of reverb. 

    TWR were some Boston boys with reverb, and they weren’t going to let you forget it. By putting the dub-a-licious “Those Who Rock” as the first track on the 12-inch, they beamed out an Atari Force transmission of bombastic proportions to let us know that the instrumental was key. As they tell us later, they were “Using def-ill equipment, funky-fresh high tech.” The video game sound effects, a mix of Centipede and Galaga, that lead into the TWR war room were synched up with enough stuttering drum programming to create a shoot-’em-up arcade fever dream where the echoing voice of the Wizard of Rockin’ shouts out to his homeboys, the Writer of Rhymes and DJ Krush. His mission was to keep reminding the listener that they are “Those Who Rock,” and he does so till the bitter end when a swarm of insects swallows him up.

    TWR decided that level two was where they needed to start rapping. On the second track, “Coolin’,” they took the drum pattern from the first track, but replaced the sound effects with the simple vocal sample “Coolin’ ” and repeated it with an itchy trigger-finger fanaticism. They built the track on overdubbed variations of that one word, pitched up and down to create a choral bed. Then the Wizard of Rockin’ was free to jump all over it as he used the same technique to double himself on the two verses. Yeah, only two. And no chorus to speak of. They were out to rock and didn’t want the fussy words of rap to get in their way.

    With the B-side, “Stupid Deff!,” TWR show their hand. The repeated hi-hat and screeching-wheel scratch attack was cribbed straight out of the Def Jam playbook. They eschew pesky choruses for a display of turntablism heavily influenced by the bottom of a cough syrup bottle and a broken Trak-Ball controller. After two short verses, DJ Krush takes over to scratch and claw his way over the wall of sound that they’d built for themselves, leaving nothing in his wake but the mysteries hidden behind the break-dancing robot and brick wall that grace the label of this old school curiosity.