I try to keep some biodiversity going in this Ghetto Palms ecosystem. If I feature dancehall riddims a few weeks in a row, I know I must come back with a cumbia or a kuduro blend, and I’ve made a conscious effort to shine a light on undocumented scenes and avoid repetition. Inevitably though, there are certain artists and producers who I’ve featured again and again, either because their music so encapsulates the ethos of this palmcast or because they just come with quality shit that consistently.
The Alliance clique out of Jamaica makes up more than their fair share of these usual suspects, but Busy Signal in particular has made his appearance so many times it’s a joke. In fact it’s gone past farce and into tragedy; he comes with palm-worthy tunes so regularly that I am actually angry at him, although I guess I should be mad at the rest of dancehall and the world for failing to match his level of constant originality.
Black Belt / Go Go Club blend:
Busy Signal, “Black Belt” (Kirkledove/Jukeboxx)
Busy Signal, “Nuh Guh Round Me” (Kirkledove/Jukeboxx)
Merital, “My Money (Ha Ha)” (Go-Go Club riddim / Russian)
Demarco, “A Nuh Whore” (Go-Go Club riddim / Russian)
Lisa Hype & Gaza Kim, “Bill” (Go-Go Club riddim / Russian)
Konshens & Dario, “Do D Ting” (Go-Go Club riddim / Russian)
Vybz Kartel, “Go-Go Club” (Go-Go Club riddim / Russian)
Download: Ghetto Palms Go-Go Club Blend
I could probably do a decent weekly blog just on the 45s Busy puts out by himself and in fact I’ve passed up a few that would demand inclusion if they happened to made by another artist. Like Fatal Attraction, however, “Black Belt” would not be ignored. Busy again sets the standard for matching lyrics and concepts in dancehall, stuttering and chopping up syllables hibachi-style—“Bone crush out like a fockin hippopotamus / so we rise the sh-sh-shotty fuss”—over a minimal RZA meets Dave Kelly track made almost solely from kung fu sound effects. And clearly I’m not the only one who’s feeling the crush. I was re-listening to the track for the eighth time, wrestling with the microscopic Busy devil on one shoulder saying, Put it in! and the Busy-angel on the other saying, Give somebody else a bligh, when my dude Richard Antwi emailed from the UK and said “This has to be the toughest record out of the dancehalls this year, can’t stop playing it, listened to it 40 times in a row, flow and lyrics are just incredible,” thereby tipping the scale to hell.
The other Major component of this week’s blend is the Go-Go Club riddim from Russian, a young producer on set who I happened to know as a good yout’ and friend of a friend before I really knew him as a heavyweight in the studio. I've been keeping my ear out for his work, waiting for the right moment to showcase him, and this Vybz-friendly beat was it. As the title indicates, it’s clearly strip-club oriented, but not in any way you would expect a dancehall track to be, the eerie synth-pop of the intro colliding with Enya-ish “Orinoco Flow” chords and a shuffling hip-hop beat that makes an equally strong vehicle for a do the dance artist like Merital and a gangster like Vybz.