In 1997, Adam F had his worldwide debut with the wonderfully jazzy, melodic drum 'n' bass album Colours. The disc combined a wide range of production approaches, and spun out three top-20 hits in the UK. Vocalist Tracey Thorn added a pop-accessibility quotient, while remixes by Grooverider appealed to the hardcore purists. Adam F went on to tour as Goldie's live DJ, and has since created a niche for himself as one of the few drum 'n' bass producers who get enough props from the U.S. hiphop community to work with key players like Missy Elliott and DMX.
On Drum and Bass Warfare, Adam F focuses on linking hiphop and drum 'n' bass through the commonalities of apocalyptic and paranoid imagery; three-time DMC world champ/drum 'n' bass turntablist DJ Craze lends his expert cutting and mixing skills to tracks on the second disc. Both CDs begin with melodramatic, soundtrack-style intros, setting a theatrical tone. Redman reigns as the standout MC here, and on the track "Smash Sumthin'" he has enough rhyming dexterity to keep up with the breakneck speed of the beats. Ray Keith's remix of "The Greatest of All Time" (featuring LL Cool J) is probably the most dynamic track from a production standpoint, with a hand-swept acid riff that would make the straightest people feel like they were candy-flipping in some dank basement party. The rest of the tracks are excellently produced, but do lean heavily on the testosterone-driven persona that dominates much of today's drum 'n' bass--although the track "Where's My...?", featuring Lil' Mo, at least demonstrates how refreshing the feminine touch is for jungle. The functionality of these tracks on the dance floor is undeniable, though--hiphop and drum 'n' bass rolled into one package are enough to make even the most adept beat-head spontaneously combust.
With Adam F and DJ Craze double-teaming one venue, it's almost too much to handle. If you're a hardcore hiphop head, or even just a casual drum 'n' bass user, don't sleep on this show. NICOLAE WHITE
Drum and Bass Warfare Tour featuring Adam F and DJ Craze w/MC Skibadee, Wed March 5 at Chop Suey, 1325 E Madison, 324-8000, 9 pm-2 am, 21+, $15.