For a while now I have been bugging left coast DJ Chief Boima to put together a mix of all the afro-stuff he has been educating me about via email correspondence ever since he cold-called the firstname.lastname@example.org inbox with a message headed “African remixes from San Francisco” back around the time of the Africa issue. This is the week it all came together and I won’t comment much since the Chief can put things in better context himself (his notes are in italics next to each track), but I will say this: I have had in the back of my mind for years the idea of making a “Black Atlantic” mixtape, connecting dots between the various threads of the African diaspora described in the Paul Gilroy book of the same name and now I can’t because this mix is basically it.
Chief Boima “Descendants United” Blend
1.Black Nature, vocal intro (homie of mine that’s in the Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars)
2. Abdul Tee-Jay, “Ka-Bubu No.1” (Sierra Leonean [in London I Think] bubu music)
3. Chi Boogie, “Move Back” (Chicago juke)
4. Janka Nabay, “Ah Gboleah” (Sierra Leone bubu)
5. Boca Chica y El Presidente, Boca3 (Unknown name and artist, from Boca Chica in Dominican Republic. Boca Chica is a city with a popular beach and DJs sell mixtapes on the beach. These guys were Haitian descendants.. This was from a mixtape by selectas Boca Chica y El Presidente)
6. Ghislain Poirier, “Karnival” (Montreal…electro-soca?)
7. DJ Black, “Los Locos Somos Mas” (Panama… Haitian influenced reggae soca)
8. Silver Star, “Va Canon” (Honduras punta)
9. Sierra Leone’s Refugee Allstars, “Ya N’Digba” (Sierra Leone [Not sure the style, but traditional from the villages])
10. Joe y Kello, “Mambo Gaga-Gaga” (Dominican Republic gaga)
11. Zion I, “Geek to the Beat” (Bay Area rap)
12. Didacia, “Misseru” (Mozambique marrabenta)
13. Dj Terrivel, “Danca So” (Angola tarraxa kuBass)
14. Unknown, “Micola” (Angola kuduro)
15. DJ Click, “Bloque Brandy” (Ivory Coast coupe decale)
16. Eedris Abdulkareem, “2 Legs Up” (Nigeria rap)
17. Akon, “Right Now (Na Na Na)” Chief Boima Remix (Sierra Leone, Senegal, Jersey, Oakland, Milwaukee, Atlanta mbalax decale)
Download: Chief Boima “Descendants United” Blend
Apparently Boima took my guideline of 15-20 minutes as some kind of challenge to run true as many continents and cultures as humanly possible in 19:45. A decale producer like Bablee doesn’t even need to change drum presets to fill up 19 minutes and 45 seconds. Meanwhile, this dude single-handedly introduces 1, 2, 3…4 new genres to this column (gaga, punta, mbalax and marrabenta, and that’s not even counting Sierra Leonan bubu, which he schooled me on a few weeks ago) all in a quick-mix style that I will forever associate with the Bay, where every other person you meet is some ridiculous battle DJ and the whole party is on fast-forward because last call is at 1:30 but people still don’t come out until midnight. In his own words:
I called the mix Descendants United, which is the name of a weekly party me and some folks are starting in Oakland at the end of May (Thursday the 28th). It was also partly inspired by the fact that my Highlife party will be hosting Geko Jones on Saturday May 30th at Little Baobab in San Francisco. The music ties into the two parties ’cause Descendants United is based around the idea that people here in Oakland are coming together from so many different places to make this a Bay and more specifically unique Oakland culture.Descendants Reunion is what we called my African family’s reunions, and those parties were my DJ education. This music is all rooted in parents, ancestors, traditions, and updated with urban stylings. It also represents what I think is going to go down with Geko Jones of Dutty Artz fam (Big Up!), because the theme of the night is Champeteando, which is a verb I’m inventing (ok I didn’t invent it but I’m using it) to signify the African influence of music in the Americas. This mix hits as many countries as I could in a short time, on both sides of the Atlantic African Diaspora. They’re songs that are fast, and yet are rooted in tradition. Big up DJ Rajah of Soulcocina for putting me on to Dominican gaga which helped inspire this mix, and many of my other creations. Oh, and all these tracks except the last one are available somewhere online.
The last one is of course Boima’s own superdecale refix of Akon’s “Right Now,” giving it the same crushing treatment he has given Elephant Man and Usher on remixes I’ve reviewed here. Those who read The FADER know we fucks with Akon and those who know me personally know I rate him highly. I would even put him alongside MIA and Sean Paul in the top three ranking of artists I was amped about from jump and told everybody they would be huge and then was actually vindicated. But 2009 Akon has been putting kind of a hurting on my vision. I didn’t jump ship when he veered from “Pot of Gold” to “We the Best!” but sometime this year he swerved over an invisible line into HI-NRG Z100 pap. Boima’s remix, along with the Kardi-featuring one drop refix of “Beautiful” has got me realizing that it’s not ‘Kon himself so much as it is a production problem. As such, it is nothing that can’t be fixed by tripling up on the synchro-system snares or switching the “concert hall” setting on the bass reverb to “Atlantic Ocean” instead.
But don’t take my word for it, freeload the remixes in question below and let me know where you stand (and now every track on Boima’s blend is available online! Boom.)