Audio: Munga, “Nah Work”

May 15, 2007

Our dudes in Black Chiney Soundsystem are going for dolo with their latest project, the self-released Drumline/Timeline riddim, which you can purchase from iTunes starting today (dem nah curse - it's just the clean version for now). Highlights include some particularly venomous Vybz Kartel/Mavado diss tracks (which we premiered in our F43 podcast) and this likkle number from rising dancehaller Munga entitled "Nah Work." Check out Eddie Stats' Gen F on Munga from FADER 45 after the jump.

Shots Fired

Munga Honorable strings his bow

By Edwin STATS Houghton

Munga Honorable is the answer. The question, for selectors and dancehall professionals, is “Who are you checking for right now?” For chat-board color commentators on the skirmishes in Jamaica’s open-ended musical combat it’s “Pussyclaat...a which dutty ras sing dis???” The buzz and extra question marks are all for “Bad Like I,” the 45 with which Munga launched his deejay career last year by naming names and licking shots. “It could be slated as a DJs song, indirectly…” Munga says modestly, between mastications on a sasparilla chew-stick. Busy Signal fear Aidonia, I don’t was the first line of the verse, followed with Dem ’fraid fi shoot him, I won’t/ Dem a flatline…Munga hold high note. Playing off a feud within a rival crew to his own advantage, Munga violated every rule of military strategy, declaring lyrical war on at least two fronts with a single line and instantly commanding dancehall’s center stage.

The 38-bar tour de force that followed started as a short freestyle overheard by selector Cool Face while Munga was cutting dubs for small scale soundsystems—“What we call ‘ghetto sounds’,” he says—at Vendetta studios. When producer Don Corleone heard the lines, “him skin color change,” Munga says, but two weeks later Corleone recorded them on the throwback Sweat riddim, and quickly took Munga under his wing. Yet Munga has changed strategy with almost every 45 he’s dropped since, beginning with the soca-ish “Flippin Rhymes,” which shares a backing track with Sean Paul and Rihanna’s “Break it Off.” “I started my career as a feud artist,” Munga says. “’Bad Like I’ was like, ‘Yeah. Garrison. Grrrrr.’ But ‘Flippin Rhymes’ established the versatility.” “Earthquake” is another jump up tune built around a sing-song taunt in an auto-croon vocoder style, while “Came to Take My Place” is pure JA crunk, slow and ominous in a Bone-Thuggish way that is credible as straight ahead rap even as it displays a certain rastafied inflection. Munga is in fact a rasta, who came up in Capleton’s camp and voiced for one drop labels before connecting with Corleone. Conscious themes and rootsier rhythms offer yet another vein to his sound but what all his tunes have in common is a distinctive writing style built on simple freestyle constructions, deadly in a soundclash but also more transparent to non-Jamaican listeners. No doubt sensing platinum method in the madness of his forward-on-all-fronts strategy, Don Corleone is keeping Munga close to Vendetta studios, accumulating a war chest of material for a summer LP release. Munga, with characteristic caution, says simply, “2007 is mine.”

Audio: Munga, “Nah Work”