Wine ah de Century

Not far down a rabbit hole that opens when discovering Moombahton, one is almost certain to find him- or herself in the world of Dutch House, or “Dirty Dutch” as it is known in certain corners of the internet. Brooklyn-based producer Dubbel Dutch is responsible for some of the finest examples of music inspired by the Dutch’s keen ear for the bashment club vibe.

Dubbel Dutch – Dip So

Something interesting about this example is that the vocal samples belong to a singer who has been referred to of late as fellow Barbadian, Rihanna’s heir apparent.

Rihanna feat. J-Status & Shontelle – Roll It

Contrary to the impression you may have gotten watching the video, the lyrics actually express the singer’s appreciation for what she considers an ample physique.

Waistline me have plenty
And prepare fi de wine ah de century
Me look good and me fresh and me clean
Ah you nah ready fi de Bajan Queen

If you just close you’re eyes it’s easy to imagine she’s offering encouragement to women so often mistreated by show biz’s impossible body standards. If you’re going “who the hell is Shontelle”, here’s the one you’ve probably heard before:

Shontelle – Impossible

You may remember we mentioned Rihanna a couple of days ago in the same breath as Lil Kim, whose own successor, Tiffany Foxx, has been making waves for more than a year now:

Tiffany Foxx – Jellybean

In perhaps the most overt example of women’s adoption of the male rap persona to date, Foxx’s latest release which dropped last month is entitled King Foxx. Let’s hope the irony isn’t lost on her that her debut album was called “HERstory”.


Girl Power

You may remember from a week ago our treatment of what seems a new requirement of women in hip hop and R&B to have the kind of braggadocio traditionally belonging to men.

Azealia Banks

Until recently female swagger followed a trajectory better-suited to the traditional genders roles found in the lyrics of female rappers like Lil Kim in this gem from a track by our old friend, 50 Cent:

Lil’ Kim not a whore
But I sex a nigga so good, he gotta tell his boys

Since that track dropped, around the time some of the oldest of the millennials were in college, a lot has gone on. The aforementioned Rihanna rocketed to super-stardom just two years later with the unforgettable Pon de Replay.

Rihanna – Pon De Replay (Re-Verbz Moombah Bootleg)

The track prominently features the slack patois of the singer’s native Barbados.

For no reason at all, here is one of the dopest things ever to come out of Moombahton:

MRRSN – Alegria

This is the Way We Crash the Party

Munchi recently very conspicuously featured a track on his Facebook page by the one and only DJ Chuckie, proclaiming, “this is my shit!”


Munchi – Pun Aint Dead

Tell us with a straight face, that the 300th time you heard Eddy Lover champion reggaeton’s softer side, crooning ALGUUUUNA VEEEEZ, you didn’t pine for someone else (besides Nigga) to come along and progress the genre further into uncharted club music territory

La Factoria – Perdoname ft. Eddy Lover

What could possibly emerge to fill the void? Enter Moombahton.

Nadastrom & Sabo – The Union BBQ Mix

While this is the first mention of Moombahton inna disya website pon de intanet, it will most certainly not be the last.

Check out this nicely-balanced showcase of artists currently working in the genre. While it’s not exactly a who’s-who of the Moombahton‘s founding figures, that fact, and the truth that there are still this many good new examples to be found, are testaments to its veracity as a genre:

Various Artists – Original Moombahton Vol II

Here is a download of the Union mix:

And just for fun, here’s a Moombahton remix of an awful song that came out the year I graduated from high school:

Christina Aguilera ft. Redman – Dirrty (TMH & Nick Mathon Moombahton Bootleg)

Rum Pum Pah Pum

As Kanye has so abundantly demonstrated, “raw” isn’t always the same thing as “authentic”. But when it comes to female performers, it seems being “hard” has a kind of currency that is a little puzzling in the context of America’s heteronormativity:

Beyoncé – Bow Down

To claim urban music’s “queendom”, part of the role now seems to involve a kind of swagger once considered the domain of artists like Ice Cube who proclaimed in 2003,

To fuck with Ice Cube
You gotta shit talk, big talk, crip walk
Bang hard, run yards, flip cars

It is no surprise, then, that we’ve turned to the West Indies, with its tradition of killing sound boys and shooting sheriffs to give us our archetype for music’s bad gyal

Rihanna – Man Down

Who better to typify this kind of female manliness that Barbadian singer, Rihanna?

Nonviolent rapper, Lauryn Hill also approves of killing sound boys:

Ah Ha Honey

There is no accurate understanding of Kanye West, at the current stage of his career, that does not take into account the utter boringness of his self-aggrandizing lyrics. In case you’ve been living under a rock, here’s something ridiculous to help you re-acquaint yourself with him:

Kanye West – Bound 2 (Explicit)

Granted, he’s an easy target, but even USA Today has been getting in its digs with the The Kanye West Self-Confidence Generator

Is it any surprise that three years after the release of Watch The Throne, the object of his focus is still his self-depiction as “king” of hip hop? Is anyone less deserving of this honor?

Come and meet me in the bathroom stall
And show me why you deserve to have it all

The reader can be forgiven if every time she hears that lyric she throws up a little in her mouth. Clearly not content you would hear from a just and righteous king.

Album art of Kanye West and Jay-Z’s 2011 release, Watch the Throne

This is the same upsetting video, but instead it stars James Franco & Seth Rogan:

Also, here is a comedy sketch that features a grade-schooler delivering excerpts from an actual interview his supposed majesty gave:

Needless to say, Kanye was not amused.

Reference or Plagiarism?

The transgressions of the “do-overs” covered in my recent post about 50 Cent’s mixtape output is even more pronounced when you recognize that the original works aren’t merely sampled but rather stolen outright.

Method Man pays homage to dancehall great Ninjaman in his classic, “Bring The Pain”

To understand this fully, you have to understand the concept of a mixtape as it is understood in the world of hip hop. Specifically, there is a variety of mixtape that features the same rapper over many different producers’ instrumentals (known simply as “beats”) including examples sometimes taken from some previous release by another artist.

“Mek Duppy” by Busy Signal features verses sung to the tune of Lil Wayne’s “Good Kush and Alcohol”

This way of thinking about the rapper or MC’s beat is at play to such an extent in the world of Dancehall reggae, that the backing track (or instrumental), known in Jamaica as a “riddim”, is freely distributed and presented by multiple artists as original material. However, in the United States it is often looked upon with harsh judgement and referred to as “biting”.

Faking It Til You Make It

A further twist to the plot of 50 Cent’s career is that, despite his much-lauded authenticity, most of the material he released before his first hit single was recorded over beats that already had a notoriety of their own. Perhaps nowhere does this irony shine more brightly than in examples where the original track came from a conscious rapper whose original intent was to entertain while sharing forward-thinking views. Take, for example, the track “Baby Phat” by De La Soul:

De La Soul – Baby Phat

In the hands of 50 Cent, this recording, with its praiseworthy encouragement of women to appreciate their average bodies, is perverted into a disgusting celebration of the meanness perpetrated by men that causes women to have such insecurities in the first place.

Raphael Saadiq feat. D’Angelo’s – Be Here

Likewise, the kind-hearted innocent love expressed in Raphael Saadiq and D’Angelo’s “Be Here” is transformed into an all-too-intimate portrayal of the upsetting nature of a pimp’s relationship to his “bottom bitch”.

Realer Than Thou

Many people who have a distaste for what they call “rap” are unaware that there are examples which do not take for granted that the person the rapper is addressing with his/her lyrics is an opponent. To these peoples’ credit, I think it’s safe to say the complaint that “rap is so angry” often has merit.

“Why are there so many angry young rappers?”

There indeed exists within the world of battle-rapping (where rappers compete to demonstrate their appeal and ability over one another) a tradition of violent language directed at another rapper.

Rapper Mac Lethal battle raps at Scribble Jam

Perhaps more to the complainers’ point, though, the violence and aggression is often directed someplace more in keeping with the personality the rapper portrays (at a “bitch”, at a rival dealer, etc.). They hasten to point out that the examples of this we admire often reflect a very sick and upsetting reality.

Perhaps no rapper better embodies this celebration of the sewer better than 50 Cent. Readers familiar with his track, “You Ain’t No Gangsta” will remember the verse that proclaims,

…you spit it cause you seen it
I spit it cause I did it and I mean it

While this kind of attack on another’s authenticity is found in countless examples throughout rap’s history, you may find it amusing to know that 50 cent himself is one of the few rappers ever to draw attention with his lyrics to the fact that rap of the type he creates is ultimately a form of theater:

These cats always escape reality when they rhyme
That’s why they write about bricks and only dealt wit dimes

Bismillah, Yes

Yesterday I wrote about DJ /Rupture and his contribution to the canon of the amen break. It should be noted that his work goes far beyond that narrow facet of electronic music. You may have noted that Gold Teeth Thief features the instrumental for Oochie Wally by Nas. This, in turn, is made up of samples taken from an album many consider an example of the orientalism inspired by the hippy movement.

Gong – Bambooji

While some artist would be content to allow “Middle Eastern” music of western origin such as this to a inform their aesthetic, a perusal of /Rupture’s output reveals that this is not his MO. If you had listened to his Mudd Up radio show, you would have noticed just how authentic his selections from this part of the world are.

Azeddine – Choufou Zwaj Lgawria

If it wasn’t for DJ /Rupture I would never have heard Chaabi artists like Azeddine and been aware of Moroccan, Algerian, and Berber people’s strange and beautiful love affair with auto-tune.

Here is a forum post that captures the phenomenon far better than I possibly could.

Amens I have Known: Part 4

The third artist I encountered, after kid606 and Lesser, who really “opened the throttle” on amen breaks, was DJ /Rupture. In 2002 I got my hands on a copy of Gold Teeth Thief. The moment at 4:50 when he drops the amen rinse from Badman Time by DJ Scud followed by Barrington Levy‘s inspired vocal stylings, will forever be etched in my mind.

Barrington Levy – Here I Come

DJ /Rupture – Gold Teeth Thief (Check out 4:50)

What is this? Jungle? Breakcore? Without artists like DJ /Rupture, we are beholden to the almighty genre and record label to give context to music we are exposed to. I would argue that until you embrace the idea of the DJ set as a form of artistic expression, it is impossible to fully appreciate electronic dance music and understand the futility of language and business to confine it within limits.