Every week resident FADER selector Eddie STATS runs through dancehall riddims and other artifacts from the ghetto archipelago.
As soon as I did the Desihall II blend in honor of my set at the Dutty Chutney party (Basement Bhangra’s 12th Anniversary slash Tigerstyle release party this week. Then Tigerstyle developed visa problems and my CD drive broke when I tried to insert their new CD Mystics Martyrs and Maharajas. Luckily some new shit dropped my way and nudged this week’s quick and dirty blend out of the desihall zone and into the sector of Indocrunk.
Jab We Met OST, “Nagada Nagada” (T-Series)
Tigerstyle, “Girl From Pakistan” (Nachural)
A.R. Rahman vs Jay-Z, “Jai Hov” (RajStar refix / white label)
Jazzy B, “Naag” (Dutty Chutney refix / white label)
Download: Ghetto Palms Indocrunk Blend
The first track is a Bollywood take on a Punjabi bacchanalia from the Jab We Met soundtrack. In tracking down the release info I came across this review on a bollywood site:
“Nagada Nagada follows on the same fast-paced vein as ‘Mauja Hi Mauja’. Barely a few seconds into the song, Sonu Nigam’s adored voice starts the song off on a high note. The happy, free-spirited feel is maintained through the song. There are some annoying and rather unwanted elements (the girls chanting, weird exclamations from the background singers, too much emphasis on the snake-charming-like music). On the whole though, don’t write it off completely before listening to it.”
Which manages to completely miss the point while accurately capturing everything that makes this track pure genius. In fact, I am pretty much good with this as an epitaph on my DJ tombstone: “Eddie STATS: Girls chanting, weird exclamations, too much emphasis on snake-charming. But don’t write him off completely.” Actually there is one element they overlooked: nagada is a huge truck-sized drum (you can see Shahid Kapoor, the new Tom Cruise of bollywood [not to be confused with Shah Rukh Khan, the original Tom Cruise of bollywood] beating on it in the film’s dance sequence) which back in the day was apparently used as a call to gather people for announcements and whatnot. So the chorus “Nagada, nagada baja” could easily be translated as “sound the big thing” or “ring the alarm” or “wake the town and tell the people” which explains why it feels so dancehall to me even though it is filmi pop-bhangra.
Also the percussion combined with what I assume is trying to be a techno bassline does end up sounding like fast dancehall in the coolie dance mode, and blends perfectly with Tigerstyle reworking Renaissance Soundsystem’s “Stepz” riddim into a vehicle for Basement Bhangra regular guest Bikram Singh to kill it on the vocal. “Girl From Pakistan” harks back to their pirate days but nowadays they can actually get Vybz Kartel to drop an original vocal on their tracks.
In the same vein are the two Indocrunk refixes that follow: “Jai Hov” and “Watch My Naag” from RajStar and the Dutty Chutney crew respectively. “Jai Hov” in particular is hurting them on the dancefloor at Basement. Between the throwback to the Hype Williams era of rap and the energy of this new Slumdog reality we are living in, it makes a nice little time-lapse movie of the Basement Bhangra experience: Bill Clinton was in office when Rekha started this shit. 9/11 was unimaginable and Panjabi MC was just about to lay a Labh Junjua vocal over the Knight-Rider bassline for a little thing called “Mundain to Bach Ke.” Now we can run through a set from PMC to Jay-Z to MIA to AR Rahman to Barack Obama doing the dirt off his shoulder dance and realize: these people actually know each other.
Download: RajStar, “Jai Hov”