View Full Version : The British Are Coming! (Or are they?)

17-04-2016, 04:40 PM
A thread to discuss the current Drake-induced phenomenon of Americans having heard of Skepta/Crazy Cousinz possibly being persuaded into making funky again.

Is it a coming of age, a tipping point, a much deserved and delayed coronation? Or is it just Drakeula looking for a new angle for his album and a fad which will change nothing really?


17-04-2016, 05:25 PM
Skepta and Crazy Cousins are slotted alongside Wizkid and Popcaan, so Jamaica/Africa/UK is all just further grab bagging.

Plenty of people have negotiated the concept that "Well, being from Toronto, there is a greater exposure to this music than in the US, so of course he would've heard it and listened to it and want to draw from its influence", and maybe so.

That said, he never displayed much serious consideration of this sort of thing in the initial stages of his career. If he was making more "GLOBAL BASS" (as a 2012 bloger would've labeled this) music for a longer period of time on his albums then yes, there'd be a logical precedent. But I feel that simply he's beginning to use this because he senses that his own brand of rap now has too many contenders who emulate/parallel his work such as Bryson Tiller and Tory Lanez. Because he's so successful and holds a lot of influence, nobody's going to refuse the co-sign of Drake because that guarantees attention far beyond what they've got access to.

Its a lot more fucked up for the acts from Africa/Jamaica because as big as they are, there will never be the North American embrace of them that Drake has access to because of a myriad of factors.

But on the flipside, apparently Kyla was motivated to do a comeback record now off the strength of Drake reviving public interest in her just off a sample, so that's nice.

17-04-2016, 06:49 PM
Didn't P Diddy discover grime and skepta a few years ago?

There's a history of nuum inspired hip hop:

The Game's Holy Water sounding like Mala's Changes

Azealia Banks has been rapping over nuum stuff for a few years. This one's a Funky/Wonky hybrid (featuring a UK MC):


Last year Tink jumped on a Deep Tech track:


I hear there's a nu-Grime scene in the states (which I presume artists like SD Laika are a part of), so I think it's natural people might start backtracking and discover proper Grime.

There's a couple of Grime- influenced Danny Brown tracks (I seem to recall him saying Boy In Da Corner was one of his favourite albums).

Going way back, Baltimore club was apparently inspired by Hardcore.

17-04-2016, 06:59 PM

17-04-2016, 07:42 PM
Thanks Crowley for contextualising Drake's adoption of this stuff. It's funny to ponder if Drake scoring a funky backed hit could be enough to spur a funky revival here as his Skepta fandom seems to have at the least helped stimulate Grime's commercial profile.

And Bartys response makes me think that I should retitle the thread "The Special Relationship" as an exploration of cross-atlantic give and take.

17-04-2016, 07:46 PM
Oh, and Crowley's point re JA/Afrobeats is of course true and interesting. These countries and their immigrant/ex pat communities are what has traditionally fed the UK scene and continues to. And with the autotune thing in recent years, rap is arguably closer to dancehall than it has been in some time anyway.

EDIT and I forgot briefly that dancehall, in the guise of "tropical house", is all the rage in mainstream dance music ATM. So that's probably another factor.

17-04-2016, 08:01 PM
Its funny, a year or so ago when Logan was talking after he had to leave Kiss finally, he mentioned how distribution channels for Dancehall to get into stores have almost entirely been dissolved, so now you have a lot of these artists putting out tons of releases on iTunes. Which is great in the sense of it cutting out the middleman. BUT Dancehall is one of those genres that's always been struggling to gain music criticism attention because of A) the profiles of the artists (because of their controversial reputations) and B) because writers tend to prefer discussing ALBUMS in statements over singles. Its how Popcaan was able to have the benefit of an increased commercial presence in the mainstream the last couple years with the Mixpak album. Doesn't hurt either that Mixpak are essentially a US Dance label as well so they were able to market Popcaan to that crowd. Didn't do a lot for him necessarily on a commercial level but his critical profile gained a huge boost after I imagine most people only knew him as 'the guy on Clarks' thanks to how rapidly dwindling dancehall blogging/coverage turned in the last 4-5 years. Even Noisey's coverage of dancehall a year or so back was through the filter of trying to follow Snoop's reggae flirtations *eyeroll*

So there's a problem there where Dancehall struggles to adapt to the modern age in how it can be digested, appraised, appreciated. Drake will never have this issue, but you think the least he could do was maybe officially sign Popcaan. Rather there's just some loose collaborations, no real idea if he'll appear on a song for Poppy.

Also interesting in how his frequent producer/collaborator Partynextdoor is the writer of the hook for Rihanna's "Work", which ofc. Drake features on, so you have them assembling a sort of pop take on Dancehall. Part of this is radio now focuses on selecting only secure brand names or songs that have been exclusively groomed/cared for by major label interests. So if Rihanna or Drake do a song like work, it takes off like a rocket. If it were people closer to the source of inspiration, no such consideration.

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18-04-2016, 08:48 AM
have to say i thought the bit i heard of the do you mind-sampling drake tune was dissapointing. IIRC it wasnt even at funky tempo! its not that new a thing for drake though. hes been an anglo-dance-o-phile at least since that rihanna duet over that jamie xx remix of gil scot heron that he did.

19-04-2016, 10:37 PM