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Thread: Whither Dancehall?

  1. #16

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    I'll agree to the decline as well, and to the convergence of reggae/soca. Probably "Dude"/"Vitamin S" continued to run things in 2004 (as least in NYC) - as far as break out tunes go.

    On the year end Hot97 MassiveB/Bobby Konders show, they asked people to vote for their fave tracks of the year. Elephant Man's "Bad Bun Mind" came out on top followed by I-Wayne's "Can't Satisfy Her".

    Actually, I've wondered if the HUGE explosion in Reggaeton's popularity has taken away steam from Reggae (most likely a far flung idea). But by the sound of this thread, it seems like the actual weakness of the music itself, is the primary cause for it's declining popularity?

  2. #17

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    I am not a Vybz Kartel fan, by the way.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nostra Namus
    Elephant Man's "Bad Bun Mind"
    pains me as it does to admit it, but i just dont enjoy elephant mans stuff. saw a video of him performing live (swarming with ladies) and that went some way to accounting for his appeal.

    Quote Originally Posted by bun-u
    Greensleeves Comps
    its a respectable option bun-u! i tend to pick up the VP comps vol32 out now. but interestingly their vol31 which came out amidst the diwali fever was a double LP whereas this one (again as per usual) a single. good indication methinks. i'm not a hardcore dancehall fan like molex roots, stelfox or eden so my default position these days tends to be to pick up the comps unless (like it was in 1991-2 in the past) tings are hot. lame i know....

    reggae DOES have these periodic surges doesnt it:

    era1: Guns of Navarone
    era2: Liquidator
    era3: Uptown Top Ranking
    era4: Murder She Wrote
    era5: Get Busy

  4. #19

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    i used to like elephant man quite a bit, but now i'm all but burnt out on him. i can feel vybz kartel fatigue coming on too. you know, they pump out so much material, and when they become the fan favorite for a season or two and are on every comp...you just get sick of their little catch phrases, their shtick.

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by WOEBOT
    reggae DOES have these periodic surges doesnt it:

    era1: Guns of Navarone
    era2: Liquidator
    era3: Uptown Top Ranking
    era4: Murder She Wrote
    era5: Get Busy
    I think those are just the points when the rest of the world notices, but music in Jamaica is almost always of a very consistently high quality (a glance at the last five-six years of Greensleeves/VP comps will confirm that "Get Busy"/Diwali was certainly no fluke and just one of hundreds of amazing tracks which dancehall was churning out over that period.)

    I do miss Elephant Man though (although I will concede that after four albums and a million singles he does sort of lose a bit of novelty--even Bounty Killer and Beenie Man can provoke this kind of fatigue in me eventually.) Still I am sad he's almost completely non-present on the recent spate of years-best compilations which were definitely a little weaker this year than in years previous. I don't think this had as much to do with lack of quality as perhaps with licensing problems--given the huge sucesses of the previous year, I think perhaps the best artists held their tracks back for release on their own albums. I could be wrong about this, but it would explain their conspicuous absense from Greensleeves' collections this time around.

  6. #21
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    I'm not quite as pessimistic as most people seem to be on this forum either. I liked a number of the rhythms this year---Red Alert (concurring with everyone), Bubble Up, Drop Leaf, etc ... as far as vocals I feel like most of Sizzla's output these days is of pretty high quality, at least on the big rhythms (though I don't always feel that way about the material on the albums).

  7. #22
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    Yeah, the new Sizzla stuff is really strange. I thought the Lady Saw album was good too, there were a bunch of songs I was into ("I've got your man" was my favorite) and I liked all the auto tuning stuff. I don't know nearly as much about this stuff as everyone posting seems to though.

  8. #23
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    the rise in bpm count is a direct effect of the diwali rhythm, simple as that. it's the hugest thing to have happened in dancehall for ages so people have followed that sped-up lead with the coolie dance, mad instruments, phantom etc. it's also that soca and dancehall are converging more. logan's right, the chaka chaka fucking stinks: the worst rhythm i've heard in about three years, but saying that, i loved the black attack, which was equally idiotic. for the record, my fave of the year was the drop leaf coz it all the voicings were loved-up, conscious or just a bit more low-key (except for tanya's which was hilariously bitchy) and at the end of a tough year for the genre media-wise it was good to hear the likes of bounty killer singing about love rather than bunning everything in sight. anyway, once i'm back from nyc, i'll be throwing a new mix up on the blog with some good stuff for all the doubters

  9. #24

    Default dance to di riddim

    "Chaka Tall" (Beenie) and "Clap Yu Hands" (Marshall) are the 2 I like on Chaka Chaka
    (and about those banjos - do you hate fun? admittedly, I enjoy the image of Elephant Man as Harpo Marx -like pied-piper more than I like most of the actual silly dance songs)

    re: Drop Leaf
    just got Jah Cure - "Longing For"

    also like "Striptease" (Lady Saw) and "Full Up The Party" (Marshall/Ward 21) on Viagra Dose (aka Striptease) but that's older riddim now

  10. #25
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    This is i suppose essentially meaningless but i asked a friend of mine here at school from jamaica how she thought this year's output of dancehall compared to last years, and she said she thought stuff was better this year; perhaps this is bcuz she spent the summer in jamaica and was engaging with it more directly, or maybe she just has a different perspective, or maybe she just prefers faster riddims bcuz she likes to dance, but whatever. Thought I'd throw that out there.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clubberlang
    I think those are just the points when the rest of the world notices
    obv

    Quote Originally Posted by Clubberlang
    but music in Jamaica is almost always of a very consistently high quality
    hmm. have to disagree here. i think the way the cultural-group-mind (just dont say scenius) works is that often the music advances into territory whos delineation is not dictated entirely by its sonic qualities.

    for example slackness as an era is in part a revolt against roots worthiness/a move designed to reintroduce/reinvolve the female audience. as i was sayling earlier re someone like elephant man, the key to grasping him may lie in understanding him primarily as a kinetic performer, rather than a recording artist per se. its a muso-centric perspective to assume that the sonic is always the most important factor to a "music".

    call me a wimp, but i dont go (entirely) with the angle that Jamaica routinely produces excellent music (certainly not in the last ten years anyway, whereas throughout the sixties and seventies that was definitely the case). i guess its just a cosmic convergance of factors which do that to a culture. lest you think im prioritising music of that era (easy to do) grime has for the last three years been in same situation, the musical template (the default musical assumptions underlying its construction/conception) has just been perfect.

  12. #27
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    The majority of 7" pre's are utter shite in my opinion.

    Seriously - if you buy bashment records randomly - 2nd hand or on spec you are more than likely to end up with well over half being not very good. This is the whole reason for having filters like shop owners, or being able to listen to stuff before you buy, or Greensleeves/VP.

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by WOEBOT
    re someone like elephant man, the key to grasping him may lie in understanding him primarily as a kinetic performer, rather than a recording artist per se. .
    his nickname is the Energy God, right?

    (if such a deity really existed, that would be my religion actually. that's my philosophic bone of contention with kpunk, he's into everything becoming inanimate and uttunul-like, i'm into what some ardkore record titled itself, "the quickening")


    Quote Originally Posted by WOEBOT
    hmm. have to disagree here. i think the way the cultural-group-mind (just dont say scenius) works is that often the music advances into territory whos delineation is not dictated entirely by its sonic qualities.ts a muso-centric perspective to assume that the sonic is always the most important factor to a "music"..
    that's a good point, seems like it would have a bunch of applications

    if i was feeling more energetic this morning i'd try and think of a whole series of examples in the history of pop where the non-musical factors take over and are steering where things are going. Glam rock is one presumably

    i used to be a Sound First kind of guy, mainly a reaction to the way record reviewers in the UK would almost entirely deal with lyrics or socio-political stuff or the artist's biography/personality and hardly every deal with the stuff of sound itself (actually American rock critics were even worse, in those days )

    but now i think the whole thing about pop is that it's this messy hybrid of sound, words, persona, socio-politico-cultural context, biography/neurosis, performance, clothes, choreography, charisma

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by WOEBOT
    call me a wimp, but i dont go (entirely) with the angle that Jamaica routinely produces excellent music (certainly not in the last ten years anyway, whereas throughout the sixties and seventies that was definitely the case). i guess its just a cosmic convergance of factors which do that to a culture. lest you think im prioritising music of that era (easy to do) grime has for the last three years been in same situation, the musical template (the default musical assumptions underlying its construction/conception) has just been perfect.
    I should modify what I was saying. I think Jamaican music does make leaps and I do think there are times when it's been in somewhat of a holding period (my music collection would suggest that post-1994 to 1999 was indeed one of those times--other than the rise of conscious dancehall perhaps--and we may in fact be entering another holding period and the era immediately pre-"Under Mi Sleng Teng" was perhaps another) BUT I would argue that even during those period of slight doldrums there is still a lot of good stuff being released (as there currently is, even if it perhaps lacks the great novelty of that initial burst of innovation) certainly more than you would expect given the idea that it was supposedly a "scene" in "decline".

    I think one of the interesting things about dancehall though is the way it constantly exists in a state of almost-just about-we're right there breaking into pop/popular consciousness/whatnot on some semi-permanent basis and then immediately pulls back and looks inward, reinvents itself slightly, disappears from pop (perhaps not in that order) and then begins the process of slowly breaking through again. Which makes it look like these BIG SPIKES (like "Murder She Wrote" or "Get Busy") just happen out of nowhere, whereas they are really the result of like 3-5 years of ideas percolating in the dancehall.

  15. #30

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    check the latest (Thursday 6th) Robbo Ranx show
    with updated tracklist! (though Monday's show still reflects a November set):

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/1xtra/tracklist...urtracks.shtml
    (click LOWER listen again link)

    for awesome new Steelie & Clevie riddim: Sleepy Dog
    with Mr Vegas on top form: "Dat Ting There" !

    Mad Cobra fearsome "Switch" on Chatt too

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