Monday, 12 July 2010
Township Tech Revisited
Following on from my Shakira/vuvuzuela/South Africa World Cup rant, Blackdown weighs in with a far more nuanced survey of the current influences in the UK Bass scene, focusing particularly on the cross-fertilisation between South African riddims and grime, post-garage and funky. I can't honestly claim to be aware of any of the producers he mentions other than Mujava, but it is nonetheless interesting to note the influence of Rinse Breakfast shows on the SA yute. It reminds me of one of my favourite articles in Vice (does anyone read that hipster wankrag anymore), 'MOGADISHU MASSIVE: Grime is No. 1 in Hell'.
The journo, Herp J T Smith (?), found himself in Somalia on a surfing trip, and whilst there, found the local kids bouncing around to Boy in Da Corner. As he investigated further, it turned out that one of his local connects, ""Bari" seemed like he had a sweet hook-up in London. He ran home and brought back a stack of crazy tapes that comprised a huge library of unreleased material from "Disssseee" recording sessions. These were tracks that the biggest Grime aficionado in New York would sweat. Tracks that most likely didn't make it to record because the samples couldn't be cleared. The quality was super bad, but as soon as they cranked it up, the Rol Deep Krew was jumping and dancing like it was being piped down straight from the pearly Bose in the sky. We hung with the Grime kids for a while as they strutted up and down the dirty streets of the worst town in the world, rocking the most progressive and relevant music being made in Western culture today."
Ok, pointless 2006 grime-is-manna-from-heaven-hyperbole aside, it is worth pointing out that this scenic miscegenation, noted by Blackdown, isn't exactly new. These future-tanker-marauding pirates and warlords were fully aware of the big boys in the hip hop world - "Somalis don't like American rap much, either. Some of it they were into, like early NWA and Snoop, but they were most decidedly NOT down with 50 or Puffy. They talked about how the American rappers were "niggers," poor and stupid. "We aren't niggers," they told me, so they didn't want to listen to that shit" - but they shunned it in favour of So Solid or Roll Deep. As such, it doesn't seem that surprising, given the astounding reach of the internet etc etc etc, that these comparative trust fund kids in South Africa would be hip to the latest London hop, when their Somali cousins were five steps ahead, jamming to unreleased tracks that most heads in London could only dream of getting hold of. Suddenly this whole globalisation thing seems a whole lot more benign.