This column was never just about dancehall, but it has maybe failed to touch on one of the most exciting things about the whole field of tropical music that I’ve been romping about in. Namely, the way it’s completely at home when crossing not just color lines and time zones but also genre distinctions and modes of musical production. Theophilus London started out chopping up samples of Amadou & Mariam to rap over and now accesses his own Trini-diasporic roots by collaborating with the
Truth & Soul catsBudos Band on a cover of Marvin Gaye covering Nat King Cole. He’s also quick to jump on a remix of The Very Best, who are touring with Vampire Weekend, who obviously listen to as much reggaeton as Paul Simon, Clash and vintage afro-pop—and they in turn are covered by Natty and Mystery Jets. El Guincho sounds like he got the idea of mining his island childhood from listening to J Dilla’s “Brazilian Groove” and Dam-Funk is on the same shit with “A Day at the Carnival.” So in summation I decided to open up the parameters of the Ghetto Palms mission statement a little and vibed out this quickie Indie-trop blend. Plus I needed to get off the dancefloor for a second because New York is so bloodclot tropical right now I can’t even move my eyebrow-muscles without breaking a sweat. I have to come out a road dabbing my neck with a handkerchief like a mad-dog Englishman in Africa.
GP110 Indie-Trop blend:
Theophilus London, “Calypso Blues”
Highlife, “F Kenya Rip”
El Guincho, “Antillas” (Chief Boima edit)
Dam-Funk, “A Day at the Carnival”
Natty f. Mystery Jets, “Vampire Weekend”
Download: GP110 Indie-Trop blend
Speaking of big sky country, Ghetto Radio, my favorite blog of recent times, posted this conceptually and sonically relevant Wiggers mixtape, featuring the sounds of white people “doing” African music, from Brian Eno to High Places. Which brings us to all the news that’s fit to palm: Wyclef Jean told Wolf Blitzer he was officially running for President of Haiti. TVB released an album-worth of remixes from So Shifty, Javelin, Architecture in Helsinki and the homey Uproot Andy. The other homey Max Glazer premiered a track he produced for dancehall king Vybz Kartel on the latest Federation podcast. Meanwhile the homey Paola Mendoza, who organized a little FADER/Current TV event I DJed a while back—hit me about a film she is doing on a crisis currently unfolding in Colombia. While there on a mission for the Nelson Mandela foundation Paola came across the story of the Afro-Colombian residents of a place called La Toma who are threatened with displacement from their land (or worse) by a coalition of the government, paramilitary groups and the ominously named Anglo Gold Ashanti mining company. Guess why. You can watch the short doc (and find out how to help her make her make it into a feature) here.