I could try to do a Ghetto Archipelago headline without mentioning Monday’s Labor Day festivities here in New York. But that would just be silly. Three million strong, Brooklyn Carnival is the elephant in the room this week, assuming the room was North America. The parade itself was too short and too stage-managed for me but nevertheless I caught a little “I love Brooklyn” shiver walking back up Lincoln Place, feathered gal-creatures moving in and out of the haze to the left and right. Haiti represented like mad (what up, Zoe) but even if the daytime masquerade was mostly anticlimactic, Jamaica more than made up for it at the afterparty (Sway!) where we bashed it up with Bobby Konders, Shaggy, Stephen “Di Genius” McGregor and new dude Richie Loops.
Elsewhere, Scion just released a whole booklet/EP of Max Glazer productions (Ricky Blaze, Natalie Storm and more—free download here) and photography from regular Ghetto Palms shutterbug Martei Korley. Extradited crimelord/community leader Dudus Coke was immortalized in paint. And the Daily Beast made a pretty convincing argument that crime fiction has taken up the role of the social novel. I’m thinking that goes double for music, cause who else talks about anything real but shottas, gangster rappers and MIA? Fittingly, this week I was inundated with a wave of dancehall-related tracks built around the kind of piano licks I associate with Al Capone and gangbusters—call it crime fiction riddim. Some of it is old, some of it is brand, brand new and whole lot of it is an exclusive preview of the unreleased Exodus riddim from Daseca.
Vegas, “Boy Shorts”
Spragga Benz f. Nas, “This is The Way” (Shotta Culture/Salaam Remi)
Vijay Iyer Trio, “Galang” (Trio Riot version)
Assassin, “Pay Attention” (Daseca/Exodus riddim)
Bugle, “It Mek You Get Richer” (Daseca/Exodus riddim)
Serani, “I Forgive You” (Daseca/Exodus riddim)
Voicemail, “What is For You” (Daseca/Exodus riddim)
Tony Rebel, “Deliver Us” (Daseca/Exodus riddim)
Wayne Wonder, “Never See Us Falling” (Daseca/Exodus riddim)
Download: GP113 Crime Fiction Blend
Of course the ivory scales on Exodus are more power ballad/concert piano than badman vamp, but our crime story wouldn’t be a social novel in disguise if it didn’t pause for minor-keyed reflection amidst the flying bullets. Classic Daseca material, the best thing about it is the way it provides a conduit for veteran artists like Wayne Wonder and Tony Rebel to put their mark on a modern riddim. I love the fact that it flows so beautifully out of the Vijay Iyer Trio’s take on “Galang”—and the fact that that sounds so much like the new dancehall anthem where Vegas is talking about girls in boyshorts. And that’s all the news that’s fit for punny-printers.