linkthink re: hip-hop, reggae, the US, jamaica, and anything else wayne wants to wax on


guests are the best

last week's demanding schedule was appreciably lightened by a few great guests.

so my deep appreciation goes to:

1) dj paul dailey, who came to my electronic music class on tuesday, demonstrated the basics of techno-style mixing, discoursed on the finer points of bpm science, demonstrated a deep love for music, answered as many questions as we could throw at him, performed the funkiest lil' set that harvard's music building has heard, and gave out passes to any students who wanted to check out the afterhours club where he's one of the residents. (now that's a field-trip.)

2) jeff chang, who came to the hip-hop/reggae class on thursday, showed some amazing film footage of the bronx gang truce of 1971, gave a lecture about the impact of the cross-bronx-expressway on the socio-cultural landscape of new york, discussed the connection between jamaica's roots generation and america's hip-hop generation, graciously answered all kinds of questions, and spent a 'minute' signing books and discussing hip-hop activism with students. if you haven't picked up a copy yet, cantstopwontstop is an amazing book--vivid, expansive, and passionate--and the mixtape is off the hook. (watch out for the quannum reissue of the ghetto brothers album, an exuberant nuyorican funk-rock session.)

3) dj brynmore, who brought nuff dubby treats to last week's wicked wicked thursday session.


a few more tings

here're a few more items to peruse before i can write what i consider to be a proper blog. gotta finish a book review and make it through a crazy weekend first, though.

1) pete murdah tone delivers part two of his interview with russ of the disciples. lots more technical and musical illumination here.

2) an entertaining video courtesy of those convincing germaican fellows, seeed. the riddim's a lil cheesy, but you gotta love those casio bloops. plus, the choreography is fun, and that carnival gyal deserves three and a half minutes of her own.

3) props to my man ben walker, who somehow stole the show in an article ostensibly about podcasting. ben's radio show is blowing up right now. currently, he's poking around in kyrgyzstan and china, trying to see which websites he can access and which he can't and, hopefully, avoiding the authorities. should make for more great madcap radio artistry.

4) could we chill on the daily health updates for the pope? just tell me when the big man dies. i mean, are there really that many catholics in the world? i don't mean to be crude, but c'mon already.


check these

still can barely pull my head above all this prep for teaching (though the classes are going well, i should say). so my posts are perhaps becoming more blog-like in that they don't contain thousands of words per post, just lots of neat links. anyways, hope to get all prolix again before too long. meantime, check these:

1) christopher porter digs deep to bring dizzy reece back into light. i can remember really digging reece's work back in my previous incarnation as a jazz-buff. didn't even know he was jamaican back then. i guess as a born-again jamaican-music-buff i should turn my ears once more to his sweet trumpet tone and quirky compositions. you should too. some great info and audio courtesy of CP.

2) pete murder tone delivers the first part of an interview series with russ d of the disciples, one of the more prominent and consistent UK soundsystems/production-teams over the last x-amount of years. great to see some light shed on this scene. big ups to pete for much technical/musical illumination.

3) lots of great interviews/articles and audio available over at hyperdub, which is run by kode9, dubstep DJ and ruffneck-academic (to borrow simon's phrase, which brought my syllabus more hits than i may have wanted). i especially love the mixes arranged by bpm. some great interviews, too. my students (in both classes) will be reading a bunch of these this semester.

4) finally, elena oumano has a piece in this week's voice that weighs in on the dancehall/homophobia debate with nuff perspective. seriously, she comes at this very complex issue from almost every angle. a really balanced, informed, sensitive portrayal. oumano does such a good job representing all the sides in the argument, she makes me wish everyone involved would read it--nothing like considering other perspectives to work toward mediation. (definitely looking forward to her dancehall book whenever that's due.)

likkle more soon come (to mangle two jamaican phrases, signifying nothing).


tidbits and illshit

all this teaching is seriously cutting into my blogging. what can you do?

but before people completely give up on me, i offer you some choice cuts from around the net:

1) first off, big up to my man pace, who laced the a it dat acapella with some thomas dolby dissent to produce this tasty mashup.

2) for those of you who haven't been following the hot-97-tsunami-gate controversy, or for those who don't realize what's at stake, my man jeff chang puts it all in perspective.

3) proud papi and ph.d and blogger extraordinaire, o-dub, who was on a tear in january re: hip-hop blogging and race, pimpin' and language, and the gay mafia, among other hot topics, has taken a hiatus, and his substitute-blogger, p-nut, has been filling in admirably.

4) p-nut's latest blog points readers to elizabeth mendez berry's courageous expose about one of the bigger skeleton's in hip-hop's closet: domestic violence. download the pdf (courtesy of sasha), or pick up this month's vibe. a must read.

5) dj /rupture continues to provoke and provide over at negrophonic. check the analog-to-digital mp3 section for some real treats.

6) for all of you internet/law heads out there (and i know you're out there), my main man, and, yes, my father-in-law, charles nesson, has an audioblog. so fasten your headphones. (incidentally, charlie's the man responsible for getting me all mixed up in jamaica. thanks again, charlie, and happy birthday!)

7) a belated but formal welcome to the blogosphere to my favorite copyleft-junglist, dj ripley.

8) and a salute to my favorite musical-pan-africanist-sweet-mother-evangelist, dna, who also now has a blog, and who just joined the swelling ranks of great harvard drop-outs. (my favorite of all time is e.e. cummings, but let's give derrick a minute to prove himself.)

all right, that should point you to plenty if you haven't seen it already. i hope to have some of my own thoughts soon. meantime, check the blogroll, seen? nuff good stuff a gwaan. -->


labor and belabor

an interesting and admirable piece of pro-labor news: recently tego calderon refused an offer to promote sean john clothing, explaining that he couldn't endorse a company that exploits south american workers in sweatshops. some great quotes by tego, too. represente la gente, como siempre. comprende?

also, an old friend of mine has a new piece out on the challenges that dockworkers, and labor unions more generally, face in post-communist russia. liz does some great work in the sphere of the international labor movement, and i like the way she puts a human face on the (literal) trials and tribulations. that is, after all, the bottom line here: human dignity persevering in the face of dehumanizing capital.

and, not to belabor an already tired (which is not to say, resolved) issue, there have been some interesting posts recently regarding homophobia in dancehall:

first, an impassioned argument to stop the bashment bashing.

second, a related approach: a petition signed/promoted/circulated by dancehall fans who maintain their love of dancehall and their disapproval of anti-gay content. (as you can see from this discussion, though, people are pretty ambivalent about such efforts.)

also, shedding light from another angle, here's a bbc/1extra piece in which vybz kartel, macka diamond, capleton, sizzla, and others weigh in on the subject.

i'm wondering whether all of this controversy will soon pass, though. in an interesting musical development, jamaica's dancehalls have seen a resurgence in positive, rootsy vibes over the last year. the rasta youth dem are making their voices heard, and, in general, the messages floating over the newest one-drop riddims are less about the fiyah and more about the 'igher.

along these lines, i've been enjoying a new mix put together (and made available for download) by boston-area selecta and "stout stylist," mad skim. skim describes the mix as "timeless," by which he means that he mixes old and new, and i love the way that the classics seamlessly segue into these new roots movements. skim also gives the mix a nice personal stamp by mixing in a few dub-plates--shouting out himself, his sound (stout style!), and his town (boston!)--and done by the same artists and on the same riddims that he's juggling. a definite download for the reggae lovers out there: organize the vibes!