Ghetto Palms: Ricky Blaze

April 09, 2008

Every week resident FADER selector Eddie STATS runs through dancehall riddims and other artifacts from the ghetto archipelago.

Since the new issue of FADER just dropped it only seemed right I should dreadicate a column to Brooklyn’s enfant terrifabolous Ricky Blaze, who I shadowed around Crown Heights and Flatbush for a feature in the mag. Like cover stars Glass Candy and Lil Boosie, Ricky is what you might call a divisive figga. The partisans mostly split up along generational lines ie big-people dancehall and reggae purists are a little skeptical of his auto-croon production values, while under-21 youth who came up on Passa Passa dubs and YouTubes of the "Chicken Noodle Soup" dance fuckin love him. Like they literally can’t stop jumping up and down until all hours of the morning.

Being more of the former than the latter I was somewhat hesitant to give him the Mr. C-style cosign myself but having lamped with him in the studio and on the street I realized that he’s kind of an irresistible force, whether you like him or not. In the time I parred with him, he composed you-dun-know how many new tracks on the fly, ranging from trancehall to one drop to '80s pop throwback to crunk 'n' b. Basically he seems like one of these individuals like Clef or R.Kelly who is just MUSICAL, and forget about classifying, let alone stopping the constant flow. Not saying he’s on a level with those two artists, just saying he shares with them that sense that he just has a LOT of music in him; a lot of good, some not so good, and all shades in between—and likewise with them it’s not so much a matter of rating him overall as it is about picking your spots. With that in mind, I’ve broken a lot of the music he’s put out to date into 2 blend categories:

Dance-tempo blend:

“Cut Dem Off” – Ricky Blaze

“Love Dancing” – Merital (Ricky Blaze production)

“Tek it to Dem” – Ricky Blaze

“Badman Forward, Badman Pull Up” – DingDong (Ricky Blaze production)

First one is the dance thing, the Passa Passa meets trance meets Aunt Jacky meets “Get Low” thing he’s gotten famous for, at least around Brooklyn. I included tracks he produced for Merital and DingDong--a lot of people don’t know Ricky did the beat for “Badman Forward” and was kind of a seminal force in making the whole dance thing happen in New York as a super-young dude even way back then. My conceptual punch-phrasing between that and the “Killa Swing! Jesse James!” dance calls in “Tek it to Dem” didn’t work out so good but then again it didn’t seem bad enough for me to re-record that shit, either.

Ricky Blaze Mid-tempo blend:

“For Life” – Ricky Blaze ft. DingDong

“Set Like Rain” – Majah Hype and Ricky Blaze

“Give I” – Ricky Blaze

“Jolly My Baby” – Ricky Blaze

The 2nd blend is a mess of stuff Ricky’s done more in the vein of Akonic soul, both the ominous “Still Kill” kind and the more doo-wop, “Mr. Lonely” kind. Personally this is more my shit and kinda shows his versatility better, and he especially seems to kill it on combinations—with Ding on “For Life” and Majah Hype on “Set Like Rain.” Blaze fans: knock yourself out. Detractors: think of Ricky Blaze like Detroit weather; if you don’t like it, wait 5 minutes.

Posted: April 09, 2008
Ghetto Palms: Ricky Blaze