Ghetto Palms: Hardcore Riddim

November 19, 2008

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

Right now is when all the “Pussy Good riddim” jokes I’ve been making the last two weeks come back on me. “Hardcore” may not be quite equal to “Pussy Good” in directness, but don’t let the understated double entendre throw you off—this shit is pure lyrical raunch. The first time I listened to it a week or two ago, I filed it pretty quickly under S for "soca" and "slackness." But then the other day the instrumental came through my headphones while I was looking for something else in Serato (digital serendipity part II) and I was like, What just happened? Sometimes you got to hear things out of context to really get them, and the more I listened to the straight riddim mix thinking it was some mysterious house track I’d accidentally downloaded, the more brilliant nuances jumped out at me: the subs booming in a ragga-soca march, the afro-latin triangle lick, the bhangra-ish strings, the “Break 4 Love” 808 claps and synth washes.

Hardcore riddim blend:

Jukie Blacks, “Dash Out You Hole”

Jukie Blacks, “Boom Pon di Cocky”

Charly Blacks, “Pon Me”

Crazy Chris, “Tippy Toes”

Fudgie Springer, “Your Buddy”

Brilliant, “In Deh”

Download: Ghetto Palms Hardcore riddim blend

The beat definitely won me over but lyrically you can’t really front on any riddim which serves as a vehicle for the first ever—to my knowledge, the only—pro-oral sex song in Jamaican history. I am talking about Fudgie Springer’s “Your Buddy,” which, in defiance of all previous dancehall protocol, blatantly instructs dancehall queens to Put your mout’ pon di buddy / kiss di bussy, love di buddy—Your Buddy! and generally encourages women to go low with their heads high. That doesn’t sound quite right but you know what I mean. Up til now, even saying something like that out loud was pretty much unthinkable in Jamaica, much less singing about it. Change has come, indeed, but just in case you thought the world had gone completely crazy, Fudgie is still against cunnilingus.

Personally I don’t know if I would be so vocal on the topic if my name was Fudgie, but “Buddy” is a good indicator of the tunes on this riddim, almost every one of which contains some or other lyrical moment which is completely unacceptable gender-politics-wise and also random and also amazing. For instance, on his version, Charly Blacks (not to be confused with Jukie Blacks) starts out with: Pittsburgh gals dem come wine, Chicago, Miami, Hartford, New York gal dem wine! Although I’m a little offended Detroit is omitted from the strip club circuit roll call, I fully endorse taking dancehall off the beaten track. But Hartford? I mean…Pittsburgh!? I’ve lived in Pittsburgh. There is exactly one dude running authentic dancehall nights there and his name is Militant Barry. If you want to shout the Pittsburgh reggae scene, it’d be easier to just call him out by name.

Anyway back to the riddim, the essential housiness that first caught my ear is one of several wonders and signs that have recently had me thinking I need to re-discover tribal house. After a 130 bpm youth in Detroit, I basically took a ten year vacation from all house and techno music, and in the process missed a whole generation of ghetto house that might’ve compensated for the transgressions of “James Brown is Dead” if I’d been listening. This was first underscored when Max Glazer did a daggering track with TNT over Goodmen’s “Give it up” on the Three the Hard Way mix, and when I asked him what that carnival track was, he was like, “You don’t now that song? It’s like the Puerto Rican national anthem!” (…or words to that effect.) Since then, I keep noticing more tracks (Busy Signal voicing the Latin club classic “Magalenha”) that make me realize that '90s Latin/tribal house is one of the key missing links between current soca, kuduro, DJ Mujava, and any Pitbull song that’s any good. Makes sense, since a lot of Nuyorican house is basically carnival drums programmed with 808s, but who knew it would become the blueprint that it has? The final nail in the coffin was Geko Jones' recent blog post on the Mexican phenom called tribal guachero, and now I am going to go La India crazy.

PS I really am gonna run through the new tunes on the Mini Skirt riddim one of these weeks.

From The Collection:

Ghetto Palms
Ghetto Palms: Hardcore Riddim