Riddim of the week definitely goes to the Spider Web, a new mini-run from one of Kingston’s top female selectors, ZJ Sparks. It seems to be positioned as a soca look; the jump up fits into a recognizable ragga soca marching step and the stand-out tune features Macka Diamond tracing out all the various soca artists (Machel, Ziggy etc) who think they can handle her bumper. But the riddim starts off with an unmistakably cumbia-esque accordion lick and then settles into a synth vamp straight out of “Give it Up” or some other nuyorican house anthem circa 1994, placing it squarely in barrio palms jurisdiction. I like to think Ms. Sparks copped a grip of champeta dubs from some Colombian using Jamaica as a transshipment point, or maybe she happened to wake up that morning to the sounds of Toy Selectah throwing down a tribal guarachero set via FM waves bouncing across the gulf of Mexico from a Tejano pirate. I also like to believe she called herself "sparks" after the caffeinated alcoholic drank of the same name—so probably it’s a childhood nickname and she just read the cumbia villera article in FADER.
Ghetto Palms 83 Spider Web blend
Uproot Andy, “El Bolleton” (Bersa Discos)
Macka Diamond, “Think You Can Handle it” (Spider Web/ZJ Sparks)
RDX, “Every Man Need a Woman (Wine On)” (Spider Web/ZJ Sparks)
Mad Dog, “Wine it Gyal” (Spider Web/ZJ Sparks)
Winstar f. Tonny Cruz, “Pegate Mas”
Download: Ghetto Palms Spider Web Blend
The intro is Uproot Andy’s folk-house anthem “El Bolleton” from Bersa Discos #4 pitched down to negative 8. The last track is another one I copped from Chief Boima, an endless source of ethnomusicological madness, whether it’s about the best sites for freeloading new music from the Spanish Caribbean or underground Sierra Leonan parties in Maryland. As I remember, this track came up during a convo about the new wave of soca-tempo reggaeton coming out of Panama the last few years, although as far as I can tell this is actually Cartagenian bounce, a hybrid of champeta, reggaeton, soca (spelled "socca" if you’re Colombian) zouk and regular old booty bass. This particular specimen, “Pegate Mas” starts with evil swirling-dervish bollywood synths that are extra close to my orientalist heart. And since Cartagena and the whole Caribbean coast of Colombia is arguably the missing link or musical transshipment point for all these parallel strains of French, Spanish and English-speaking west indica, it seemed like the ideal barrio palms setting for Sparks’ gem.