In 2008, after DJ /rupture and Matt Shadetek had both returned to the US from Europe to settle in New York, they joined forces to start a record label and blog to provide a stateside platform for some of the music styles that they had immersed themselves in London, Berlin and Barcelona. By then, it seemed that the mainstream music industry was destined to disassemble. While pop superstars quickly saw record sales dry up, and corporate offices at major labels were drastically downsized, personal music blogs and self-hosted forums had now become central organizing nodes for music fans, often specializing in the appreciation of what before then was fairly esoteric cultural phenomena.

Forgotten about rappers cast off from the major label system found new audiences, retired African funk musicians started rehearsing for international tours, local electronic music styles like kuduro, baile funk, footwork, coupe decale, baltimore club, grime, champeta, plena, cumbia sonidera, and merengue de la calle emerged from the cultural periphery, and industry outsiders could now gain overnight international fame. A new, more democratic version of the commercial music industry seemed to be emerging, even if we didn’t yet know what that would look like.

2008, however, was a very different time to today. The platforms that most of us consume content on today were all in comparatively startup stages. YouTube was still primarily seen as a social network for home video makers. Snapchat, Instagram, Soundcloud and Spotify didn’t exist. Twitter had only become widely known in the US (thanks to the presidential debates of that year). And, Facebook was a burgeoning social media network trying to compete with Myspace (who just recently admitted to erasing all of their data from that era).

At the same time we were becoming more internationally connected and aware of others on the other side of the Earth, political and economic leaders in the North were busy driving capitalism to its biggest crisis since the Great Depression. In the midst of the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, no one (at least publicly) ever thought that the premise that we should be working towards a more unified, peaceful and multicultural global society would ever be brought into question.

Along with hundreds of other blogs, influenced by youthful global music expressions in marginalized urban communities of both the global North and South, Dutty Artz would publish essays to contextualize the music, release original productions and throw events. Such activities would go on to become organizing nodes for an IRL diverse music community based in and around Brooklyn, NY. Over its 10 years of active existence, Dutty Artz, and its affiliates would provide an early career platform for internationally recognized names such as Jahdan Blakkamoore, Maluca, Dave Nada, Munchi, Kingdom, DJ Orion, Rita Indiana, La Yegros, Venus X, Bomba Estereo, Titica, Choquibtown, Nguzunguzu, Kalup Linzy, Tropkillaz, Buyepongo and more.

Before protestors occupied Wall Street, music seemed to be leading us towards a revolution in how we identify, relate and situate ourselves in the world. Unfortunately, that journey—to a more democratic and egalitarian future—was cut short (the “global bass” scene as it was, was still largely filled with the digitally privileged in the global North, and even there overrepresented by inquisitive early adaptors). In the wake of the global economic recession of 2008, the reactionary forces of social privilege and global capitalism awoke latent desires in the global public sphere to retain a status quo of white, male and heterosexual supremacy both on and offline. And, as the promise of cheaper connections and faster speeds would lure the rest of the world to the Internet, we would all unwittingly sink our free exchange of ideas and artistic expression into the digital infrastructures of large corporate social media companies. Soundcloud, Spotify, Facebook and Google were able to retain control over how information is disseminated and consumed (likes, algorithms, ads, etc), privileging the interests of global capital and corporate-controlled intellectual property.

Dutty Artz would survive these tumultuous times by flirting with cooperative organizational structures and collective creative processes. Yet, the ideals that were born out of the blogging era, and upheld in a collectively organized community of creatives, could not survive the pressure that gentrification (both in our cities and of our sub-cultures) would eventually bring. So in the spirit of renewal and change, after 10 years, we have decided to move on.

Dutty Artz is not ending. But it will be changing forms.

This for all intents and purposes will be the last post on the Dutty Artz blog. The blog itself will live on as an archive on this website and potentially in an edited print edition sometime in the future (when we have time to go through the ten years of posts).

Many of the former members are still active in the cultural industries in ways that are still as exciting and full of revolutionary potential as in 2008. So, the other way that the spirit of Dutty Artz will stay alive is by supporting the label projects that are springing up in the wake of the dormancy of the Dutty Artz record label.

These labels are both engaging and challenging the splintering of the “global bass” scene into the identity-driven, online-centered and geographically non-specific underground scenes today. The egalitarian and democratic potential of the Internet still bubbles under the surface of the corporate social media juggernauts and their algorithmic formulas—especially across the global South—so, in order to keep the fire burning for those potential revolutionary sparks, Dutty Artz will move from becoming a collective of DJs and producers to a loose association of independent music labels.

Dutty Artz label group will maintain the catalog of previous Dutty Artz releases, as well as provide business infrastructure for two labels (initially): INTL BLK—a platform and incubator for cultural expressions of Blackness that stretch beyond national boundaries (founded by myself—Chief Boima); and Discos Rolas—a record label and creative research project exploring diasporic sounds of Latin America through art and anthropology (founded by Dutty Artz member Alexandra Lippman and collaborator Gary “Ganas” Garay).

We will not be active (at least as much) on Dutty Artz social media channels, but will use the old Dutty Artz mailing list to make announcements about new releases from the label group. If you would like to be updated on label and city specific events and other non-release happenings then you can sign up for updates for INTL BLK here and Discos Rolas here.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the blog or released music with Dutty Artz over the years. I’ll leave a link to the archives of all the authors who ever contributed to the site as reference. Look out for a possible print version of the blog sometime in the near future.

INTL BLK is happy to announce the release of “Tiene El Control” a romantic Afrobeats en Español single by Raka Rich of Los Rakas. A continuation of the platform’s Black Atlantic single series, the track brings together 3 California-based artists, each with Panamanian, Garifuna and Sierra Leonean origins. It is a perfect example of INTL BLK’s mission to be a platform celebrating Black diversity.

Read an interview with Raka Rich on the motivation behind the collaboration on Africa’s premiere music blog, NotJustOk.com, and stream or buy the song via any major digital platform.

It’s been some time coming, but Kondi Band — the inspired Afro-electronic collaboration between Dutty Artz member Chief Boima and Sierra Leonean kondi (thumb piano) virtuoso Sorie Kondi — will release their debut LP Salone in partnership with Strut Records and Chief Boima’s own INTL BLK, this June 2nd.

The album follows the release of 2016’s Belle Wahallah EP, which spawned a #1 Spotify Viral Chart hit in the form of the track “Yeanoh (Powe Handa Blingabe),” as well as The Freetown Tapes, a free collection of Kondi’s solo work in the early 2000’s, mixed by Boima.

Salone arrives on CD, 2LP, and digital formats. Pre-order the album and get the song “Titi Dem Too Service” (performed live at WOMEX below) now!

In a little over a week from now, INTL BLK comes to NY.

It is a celebration of the international black magic radiating out of the big apple, with support from the Dutty Artz family. RSVP on Facebook, or just come thru to Queens the night of!

Here’s descriptions of invited artists on this super stacked lineup:

DJ Flex (Empire) – New Jersey based DJ of Ghanaian origin, who is introducing West African Afrobeats sounds into the Jersey Club scene. https://twitter.com/therealdjflex

SHYBOI (Kunq/Discwoman) – New York based DJ of Jamaican origin, incorporating the sounds of the African diapsora in lively New York club sets, refracted through a Queer New York Caribbean immigrant lens. https://soundcloud.com/djshyboi

Bembona (Bembona & Friends/Pillow Talk) – New York based DJ of Panamanian and Puerto Rican origin, bringing the sounds of a new generation of Afro Latin and Caribbean club music. https://soundcloud.com/djbembona

Africa Latina (Chief Boima & Geko Jones) – The Dutty Artz initiated African and Latin house project of Chief Boima and Geko Jones. https://soundcloud.com/africalatina

Shawn Dub (I Love Vinyl) – New York based DJ from Long Beach, steeped in the Funk and Hip Hop of his native West Coast, he plays from one of the deepest catalogs of American Black music in the United States. https://soundcloud.com/shawndub

Kondi Band Soundsystem (Chief Boima & Will LV) – The rhythm section of Chief Boima and Sorie Kondi’s new collaboration Kondi Band… opening up the night, the two producers will talk about and play their influences, soundsystem style. https://kondiband.bandcamp.com/

Dutty Artz (Ushka, Riobamba and K7) – representing the Brooklyn-centered, community and social justice oriented collective of DJs.

IOIA – DJ project of Antonio Antmaper + Glaucia Mayer from Rio de Janeiro, aiming to bridge through sonics, the oceanic gap between Rio, Lisboa, Praia, and Luanda. https://soundcloud.com/ioiamusica

I’ll be back in the States for about a month this summer, and have just touched down in NYC!

I’ll be moving around the country a bit, but catch me DJing first at Trans-Pecos in Queens on Friday night! The early show is called “Becoming New Objects” and features a host of experimental performers gathering for the Queens International Concert Series, including Chino Amobi of NON — someone who I’ve seen create quite a stir from a distance, and am looking forward to catching live.

After that, on the same night in the same venue, I will be part of the Mixpak x Tryna Function party with another great lineup, including Ikonika and Scratcha DVA of Hyperdub fame! Both artists, I’m also very excited to be able to catch live, so I’ll be in the building both as a DJ and a fan.

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Finally, I will be recording a live edition of Africa is a Radio at The Lot Radio in Brooklyn with special guests on Sunday June 26th from 6-8pm. Tune in here!

Africa is a Radio

Looking forward to catching up with my NY fam!

Our man with the photoshop plan, Talacha, has been the eye behind the visual identity of Dutty Artz for a few years now (buy his T-Shirts here!). Not content to stick with one medium, Diego has always been lurking in the shadows behind the DJ booth, and unbeknownst to myself, picking up a thing or two from the audio-mixation world along the way! (more…)