Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Check the Similarity 3 - The Roots, Outkast, Missy, Rhianna and Soundsystem Musics

Diddy with UK Rapper Skepta - the international exchange...

The exchange between U.S. artists and producers with Soundsystem music from everywhere else is a hidden little gem. Below, you'll see how Hip Hop artists draw production styles from UK Garage, Kuduro, Drum and Bass, Jungle, and Dubstep with little mention of their origins. On the other side of the table, we see a lot of U.S. artists appear on tracks from other soundsystem music when they go international. I can't help but think of cultural imperialism and U.S. xenophobia aspect taking a role in this. Why is there no attribution to the influence of other soundsystem music on U.S. music? Is this a means of maintaining cultural superiority? Are we playing into the xenophobic and isolated ignorance of Americans in an international context?

Historically, U.S. genres have been exported to other nations, where UK, France, Germany, Japan, and many nations in Africa will absorb and use U.S. genres with their own language and re-release as reinterpretations. Producers outside the U.S. openly acknowledge their roots in Blues, Hip Hop, or House, acknowledging a cultural imperialism of sorts, but also an open understanding of an international exchange taking place. Whereas the gringos don't talk of international, yet draw from it in a sneaky way.

In the 60s-70s, UK genres like Northern Soul or Lover's Rock, and African Funk took hold in reshaping their sounds to meet their contexts. But it hasn't been until the late 90s with Jungle, Baile Funk, Kurduro, etc. where nations rid themselves of U.S. exported templates and reframed beat patterns, sounds, and motifs for the creation of brand new genres. Obviously this is a matter of interpretation that the line is drawn so cleanly here... but I make the claim as Northern Soul (for example) could possibly be reinserted into Motown (minus the accents), or the Clash was easily embraced by American audiences, but putting a Jungle tune next to N.W.A. would be a bit shocking. But to put it in context, this is not the only way music gets exchanged, as today we see artists speaking to each other without the influence of U.S. cultural infrastructures, thanks to the web, mobile phones, and social media.

But then again, this could all just be Africa right here. So, here is a showcase of some of this exchange... Hopefully you can check the similarity of music, enjoy some tracks, and see ourselves in a more transnational light.

Round 1: The Roots "You got Me" (in particular ?uestlove's drumming at 3:30) vs Hidden Agenda "The Flute Tune" with the use of jungle shuffle drums - Circa late 90s early 2000s

Round 2: Outkast's "Bombs over Bagdad" vs. Shy FX and T-Power's "Shake Ur Body" in the use of Drum and Bass, specifically the pounding 2-step jump up riddm.

Round 3: Aalyiah's "One in a Million" (produced by Timerbland of course) v. Mo Fire Crew's "Oi" on the UK Garage 2 step beat pattern exchange.

Round 4: Rhianna's "G4L" and " on the Dubstep beat... In this case, Rhianna used an actually UK beat by producers Chase and Status

And on the other side of the soundclash, a showcase of U.S. artists who appeared on other soundsystem music... these are not acapellas, but original productions...

KRS-1 rides a Drum and Bass riddm with UK's Goldie

Method Man v. Roni Size - Drum and Bass

UK Giggs and U.S. BoB - Hip Hop

UK Dizzie Rascal v UGK - Grime

Diddy v Skepta - Grime

Robert Owens with Photek - House (Yes, I know that House vocalists in UK House is kinda a duh moment, but the exchange is there)

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