EARTH PEOPLE. You may recall I used to do a weekly column round here titled Ghetto Palms. But lately, Ghetto Palms has been on a bit of a tropical vacation, while I've been chasing the dragon called Vybz Kartel (and a few other odds and ends). But as I have been promising some of the column's dedicated readers offline—Ghetto Palms now returns, in a new once-monthly format. Now it will be better suited to longer blends more in the vein of proper mixtapes, and hopefully grow as a forum for more developed, or at least longer-form, ideas—about the tropics, digital music, globalization, urbanism, daggering, war machines, ghetto orientalism and ecology of mind—that to date have popped up in a more fragmented and stream of consciousness way.
I couldn't really think of a better maiden voyage for the brave, new Ghetto Palms long-player than the following 40+ minutes of African sounds commissioned from frequent GP contributor DJ Chief Boima, who is currently somewhere in Liberia wrapping his head around urbanism, globalization and (I would hope) some Freetown daggering. The mix also happens to be the launch of a new monthly mixtape series from the good peoples at Okayafrica called Africa In Your Earbuds. Download the mix below and hit the next page for the full tracklist and more thoughts.
Download: Chief Boima's Okayafrica/Ghetto Palms Mixtape
What I really love about this shit is the range. It gives you the breadth of an actual Chief Boima club set—from afropop to soca to reggaeton/kuduro and house. My favorite moments, though, are double-time and digital; the points where Ghana or Angola synchs up with a flash of “Black and Yellow” or “Look At Me Now." I've had a lot of conversations with Boima where he’s talked about that being his zone, his micro-climate: the African in African-American.
For Boima that connection is obviously up close and personal, but it’s also one that I think really resonates with now. I get the sense that Cubans and Brazilians—even the ones of European descent—are conscious of how much of their unique national identity is African. But Americans—despite all the post-blackness talk and a president who is not just black but also second-generation Kenyan—seem to have a mental block about it. There are notable exceptions (Wills Glasspiegel’s Afropop Worldwide piece on Juke and Detroit Techno, for instance), but recognizing Africa in black American culture is usually cloaked in uncomfortable jokes. Now try telling the kid in the next row that his whole American belief system (not just Hemingway’s idea of “grace under pressure” for instance, but the whole concept of “cool”) is just a set of classical African concepts transplanted into North American soil.
I-10, “100 Percent vs. Look at Me Now”
Sarkodie, “Lay Away” f. Sway & JaySo
Dagrin, “Thank God” f. Omawunmi
Iba One, “No Limit vs. Poirier Black and Yellow Soca Remix”
Surpluz Rage, “What About”
M.I., “Blaze” (f. Jesse Jags, Ice Prince & Blaise)
Vybz Kartel, “Love Dem”
Morachi, “Marry Me”
Volcano, “Live Zouglou”
Awilo Longomba, “Manon”
DJ Magistral, “Instrumental”
Agev Munsen, “Gotta Get With You” f. Cassio Ware
Old Money, “Mamaseh” (Instrumental)
Supersonic Crew [Devin & Melo], “Untitled”
Mito, “Sele Mama Sele” ft Rei Anaconda
Lucenzo, “Danza Kuduro” (Original) f. Don Omar
Cabo Snoop, “Foi de Brincadeira” f. Mwana Po & Maskarado
Zito Silva, “Vamos Brincar”