Every week resident FADER selector Eddie STATS runs through dancehall riddims and other artifacts from the ghetto archipelago.
For awhile I have been stockpiling extremophile musics that fall into the general category of African dancehall in anticipation of a day such as this one. Let me just go ahead and apologize in advance for the sound quality on this blend which is a mixture of youtube rips, pirate downloads via Angola, and badly pressed vinyl. Some of it is actually trying to be dancehall, ie the hypermelodic Ugandan reggae singer Ziggy Dee. Some of it is Angolan reggaeton-tempo stuff which is made by the same dudes who make kuduro, like on their day off I guess (or maybe this is what an Angolan "chill room" sounds like). Some of it (well, one of it) is a differently engineered dancehall remix of Beninese diva Angelique Kidjo that got commissioned for an Island 12” circa 1994. And some of it is just Esau Mwamwaya going afropop crazy over an Architecture in Helsinki instrumental.
(Editor's Bonus: Download Esau Mwamwaya and Radioclit's The Very Best mixtape… read on.)
Download: Ghetto Palms Afrohall Blend
Esau Mwamwaya, “Kamphopo” (UK/Malawi)
DJ Znobia, “Marimba Remix” (Angola)
DJ Marcelo, “E Lola” (Angola)
DJ Puma & MC Eddy vs 50 Cent, “Outta Control” (Tarrachinha youtube bootleg, Angola)
Ziggy Dee ft. Bobi Wine, “Sunda” (Uganda)
Angelique Kidjo, “Agolo MK Kombat mix” (Benin/France)
Bushman, “Clutch Back”
Buju Banton, “Di Flavor”
Lady Saw, “Hot and Hungry”
Vybz Kartel, “Ovadose mi Bankbook”
Demarco, “Tight P***y Walk” (edit)
New Kidz, “Wave Them Off”
The Angolan tracks are labeled as KuBass on the Kuduro Files music blog but elsewhere I have seen similar beats called Tarrachinha, with various different spellings. Tarrachinha must just mean something like "slow jam" because it also brings up masses of syrupy love songs if you google it. And just to make things more confusing, when I interviewed Znobia he used KuBass as a term to describe the housier version of kuduro that Buraka Som Sistema and other Lisbon DJs play. So there you go. I feel fully vindicated for making up shit like Afrohall and my general tendency to create endless neologisms for this column because, if it isn’t obvious by now THESE GENRES ARE NOT GOING TO NAME THEMSELVES PEOPLE.
Anyway, whatever you call it, it is definitely a distinctive thing unto itself and the major tropes seem to be: using auto-tune software to rap or sing in a scary high pitched poltergeist-voice, marimbas, weird aggro-electronic noises, remixing commercial hip-hop tracks like 50 Cent’s “Outta Control” that sound like they were taped off cable TV with a contact mic and then overdubbed with ridiculously, crystal clear percussion and distorted bass in a reggaeton kind of marching pattern. In other words, I love it and it really makes you realize that if reggaeton dudes came as off the wall original on an album track as Angolans do for a bootleg refix, Daddy Yankee might still be on top of the world instead of slumming for a McCain endorsement (just saying).
The 2nd half of the blend is dedicated to the Yaaaz riddim (I don’t know. I don’t know about the extra aa’s either.)--a series of 45s on the Gravi-T label maintained by Renaissance selector Jazzy T. Besides being a generally super influential sound in terms of breaking house and rap music in JA at their dances, Renaissance were also the prescientists who gave Busy Signal his first shot on record (“Step Out”, also on Gravi-T). This time out the newcomer to check is Buju protégé New Kidz. It’s one dude, FYI, and he doesn’t sound that young, but then again Buju sounded like a grizzled old man at 15, too, and he kills it on “Wave Them Off.”