Roguish Armament, “Maintain,” from Roguish Armament (Striving for Togetherness, 1995)

An early release from Striving for Togetherness Records (V.O.D., District 9, Fahrenheit 451, etc.), I used to see ads for this CD in hardcore zines all the time. Despite boasting an excellently eye-catching logo, though, I never picked up the disc back then 'cause I'm just not the biggest hip-hop guy. Out of curiosity, I decided to look up Roguish Armament on YouTube a while back, and this is a damn fine album after all. Surprisingly rare these days, too—it tends to sell in the $30 range, but I finally snagged one last week from a seller in Canada for a little over half that price.

There's no way in hell I'm gonna sit here and try to compare Roguish Armament to other comparable rap groups—I'm far too uninformed for that. I'll just state that I'm always drawn to this style of delivery—hard-edged production that falls on the slightly rugged yet well-executed side, and especially the balance of funkiness and pensive melody to the overall aesthetic. "Maintain" is a fuckin' great track, so it makes sense that it was released as a 12" promo prior to the 15-song full-length. (Roguish Armament also appeared in the Dog Eat Dog track "Getting Live.") I dig it.

According to the internet, all three members of Roguish Armament were later involved with seemingly obscure projects with Bad Brains bassist Darryl Jenifer: Chip Love (apparently a former Bad Brains roadie) and Danny Illchuck (also mentioned in the production credits for Leeway's Adult Crash) in The Shining Path, and G-Pace in Stealth. As Hesher, Chip Love also released an album on Warner Bros. in 2000 that featured instrumental contributions from Darryl Jenifer, Mackie Jayson and Gabby Abularach (Cro-Mags, etc.), Charlie Garriga (Outface, Civ, etc.), and others. I might need to snag that disc as well...