Every week resident FADER selector Eddie STATS runs through dancehall riddims and other artifacts from the ghetto archipelago.
Sometimes things come in waves, sometimes they come in unpredictable sparks and flashes. That’s what happened this week and even though I try to fight it, sometimes the sparks blow my mix format all to hell and this ends up being more of an mp3 blog than a palmcast. All I can say is, I don’t decide these things, the Ghetto Archipelago does. I am just the vessel through which it chooses to speak to music nerds. This week it said: Bubu!
But before I get to that, the first thing that grabbed me was a new tune by my favorite singjay on the come up, Laden, who debuted in the very first Ghetto Palms with “Gyal Coward” on the Day Break riddim about a year ago, back when his name was still Jim Laden. By November he had dropped enough dancehall bangers and left field JA pop to merit a column of his own, a move that was vindicated by the emergence of “Time to Shine” as an automatic forward in the Christmas-time bashment. “Bad Boys” replaces the Club Nouveau-meets-Daseca vibe of that tune with a Kid Cudi-meets-Mavado-meets-theme from COPS.
Download: Laden, “Bad Boys” (Big Ship)
Now, as I was saying: Bubu. Banana Clipz is a production outfit comprising 1) Chief Boima, regulator contributor to Ghetto Bassquake and general ambassador of all things African to the dancefloor, and 2) DJ Oro11, co-proprietor of nu-cumbia imprint Bersa Discos. Put peanut butter and chocolate together and you get Bananas republic. After peeping an inaugural track, which sounded like ominous afro-beat with Nigerian pidgin vocals, I didn’t hear much until recently, when Boima posted a crazy merengue-tempo Sierra Leonan track in a style called Bubu and then sent me a BC Bubu-style production called “Crisis.” I will eventually rope Boima into doing a guest-spot to showcase this stuff and his deep Decale crates, but for the moment these two gems will have to suffice. The vocals by Sierra Leonan reggae singer Khady Black are particularly brilliant: We a go bun dem history and bury the ashes in a USA.
Next up a post from DJ Rupture and crew at the excellent La Congona blog put me on to a group called Huelepega Sounsdsytem, which is apparently a collective of weirdo Latin musicians and intellectual types who all ended up in Toronto. They take the dubby trend in cumbia rebajadas to a level that’s almost not cumbia anymore and appropriately they call it doombia, by their own description the bastard child of Andres Landero and African Headcharge. This is the track that caught my ear, a particularly mindfucked version of Rod Stewart’s “If You Think I’m Sexy” (which is itself a rip-off of the wordless hook of Jorge Ben’s amazing Disco Brasil classic “Taj Mahal” educate yourself). Anyway to answer their musical query: Yes. We think you’re freaky.
Following the lines of spooky and dubby where they lay leads me back to Horace Andy. I got his “Inspiration Information” collabo LP with Ashley Beedle from the cats at Strut a while back but never had a blend to put it in until this track came up in my headphones today and I suddenly realized it belonged in the garrisontech mix in GP47, right after Instinct’s “Backbiters” remix of Tarrus Riley but had slipped out the leaky end of my brainpan. The Dub Syndicate x Kia Shine production values are too good to just let it sit unplayed in the hard drive though, so file this under “better late than never:”
And finishing up in style is a new track in throwback mode from Sly & Robbie’s Taxi label, which like the Laden joint, found it’s way to me courtesy of blastmaster Johnny Wonder. This Courtney John chestnut really isn’t in the vein of Ghetto Palms at all. There’s nothing digital about it, the riddim isn’t even straight one drop but more like oddly-tuned Jamaica soul. But it just so happens I love it and since this is my self-indulgent mp3 blog I am posting it, damn it.
Download: Courtney John, “Lucky Man” (Taxi)