(GIF via Art Becomes You)
Got some more Iswayski for ya! Today’s focus is Azonto beats.
The Ghana dance that’s been wildly popular for the past few years continues to result in a lot of good music. The beat that’s generally associated with it is a super dancey and effective pop formula blended with traditional Ga drumming. Who made the first beat is up for debate, but E.L‘s “U Go Kill Me” is what brought it to the masses.
I’m still surprised I don’t hear more of this in US club sets outside of African nights. It’s impossible not to move your body to, has high production standards, and a lot of the lyrics are even in English. Maybe it’s because so few Western artists are producing it? The UK has Fuse ODG bringing it to the Grime crowds and the whole Afrobeats thing is probably helping to spread it over there. But there’s not much of an American counterpart to any of that. Not that any of this matters as a symbol of the sound’s success, I just personally fuck with it and would like to hear more of it.
So let’s go over a few recent tracks that are doing pretty well that I like a lot:
(I painted this over the weekend.)
It’s me, Iswayski. This time around we’re going to dive into some New York rap.
In general, hip hop is in a good place right now. Whether you’re looking for some ignant club joints, deft lyricism, or skater comedy, it’s probably available. There’s a gang of different styles floating around out there. And here in NYC, things are in a similar state. You’ve got the turnt coke boy rap of French Montana, some pretty flacko rare shot from A$AP Mob, and the late 90s throwback flavas of Pro Era. It seems we’re finally starting to climb out from under the weight that years of tradition and hierarchy that the genre’s birthplace had imposed on the game. So let’s go over a couple lesser known recent efforts.
(GIF via tutclearwater)
Ayo, it’s Iswayski yet again. I’ve noticed that R&B is taking up more and more space in my playlists lately, so I’m going to zero on that for today.
I won’t front – R&B wasn’t always my favorite thing. When it would come on Hot 97 or Power 105, I used to flip to other stations in search of rap. But things and people change. And regardless of whether it’s the first time, the genre is currently in the midst of some great creative energies. Production is more daring, fresh vocal styles are being explored, and the line between rap and R&B is constantly blurring. (I think that last point brings things in line with where dancehall is at. You rarely have a popular vocalist who doesn’t pay close attention to melodic development in JA.)
(Photo of Shaggy by Daniel Boud)
Yes, yes, it’s time for more Iswayski. Let’s get into some dancehall this time around. Since we’re on that New York Tropical tip at DA, I’ll zero in on the local stuff. Jamaica is obviously where it’s at, but there’s plenty of tuff sounds coming out of NYC. And since it was recently the 20th anniversary of Flatbush-bred Shaggy’s “Oh Carolina” version, it’s fitting moment.
Yerp. Iswayski here once again. Today I want to talk about this new internet flare up, Zouk Bass. Apparently this is a thing now. Buraka Som Sistema went on Boiler Room – the best place online to watch people dance awkwardly to good music – and spawned the whole mania. They say it’s a slower, more electronic version of zouk they “created.” Really, it just kinda sounds like moombahton.
Of course we could just ignore the whole thing and let it blow over next month when the kids get distracted by Bollystep. But it raises a lot of meaty issues we like to talk about over here.
(Image via Brandi Muffins, because we got firrre.)
Yooo! Iswayski here. Nice to meet you, loyal DA legions. I used to help /rupture out on Mudd Up!. But now that the show is a part of history and fondly remembered by the present, I’m going to use this here space as my new excuse to go hunting for strange and wonderful tunes. I’ll be here once a week from now on, bringing you a collection of heat, wrapped neatly into a fresh blog post for ease of digestion.