Worldtown Jams of 2010
— By Adri Wong | January 12, 2011
Sonically speaking, what happened in 2010? It seems the world went tropical while the streets went club; the World Cup pit the saccharine (wakawaka) against the strident (vuvuzela). Remix reached its house-y zenith — transforming Gyptian’s “Hold You” from single to myriad — guided along by an ever-so-generative stock of conversational young indie DJs. Mostly male, lets be honest, with center stage looking increasingly fresa/Euro, but by no means was this the year to mourn the death of the wild female MC we observed in the oh nine, notwithstanding the Times’s celebrity provocations. Bloggers fanned the flames of networked niche-scenes and artists internationally confronted the double-edged sword that is Fader love. 2010: there was a proliferation of genres, several quality mixtapes, quite a few innovative rumpshaking jams. Here are about ten favorites.
Spoek Mathambo – “Mshini Wam“
The PR describes him as “part ‘prince of township tech’, part ‘suburban space invader.’” Individually, the South African artist perfectly captures the tension in this post. While his darker electronic Afro-futurist stylings are at the heart of his recent celebrity, Mathambo’s bold, jubilant flow and the more organic oh nine feel of “Mshini Wam” — complete with female-choral-refrain and harsh-edged synths — make this song stand out even on a record replete with other choice tracks.
Dave Nada – “Punk Rock Latino”
“I cant play house/techno shit,” Nada thought, confronted by a bunch of bachata-reggaeton-lovin’ Latin kids upon the cusp of his creation. “I’ll get jumped.” And so moombahton was born (or so the story goes). About two months after the release of his Moohbahton EP, T&A Records put out this hyperactive club-banger.
Munchi – “Pun Ain’t Dead”
Meanwhile, in Rotterdam, a twenty-somethin’ Dutch-Dominican kid sounded out in response. “Who the fuck is Munchi? Just a kid with big hair that loves to make all kinds of music and share his love for music in the clubs.”
Maluca – “Tigeraso”
Says Maluca of her work: “I was influenced by a lot of different styles of music – hip hop, salsa, meringue, reggae, house … My parents exposed me to a lot of different stuff. I am born and raised in New York and I don’t know if it’s so much the music that’s influenced my music, but I think more so New York influences my music.” And it shows. This catchy remix fav mixes sultry sass and danceability with a decidedly New York edge.
Banana Clipz Mega-Mini Mix by Chief Boima
I couldn’t pick between the equally bumpin’ “War Dem Want” ft. MC Tidal (@ 2:20) and “Afro Latino” ft. Los Rakas (@ 0:01) as the track to select off Oro11 & Boima‘s Banana Clipz EP; then this megamix conveniently showed up on soundcloud. The tracks are impressive individually as well, so I recommend you get that mixtape.
Bomba Estéreo – “Fuego”(Frikstailers Remix)
Compare the stripped-down beats, otherworldly echo, and electronic kick of the Frikstailers remix with the warmer, more instrumentally elaborate original:
Das Racist – “Who’s That? Brooown”
Surprise! The boys who brought you the Taco Bell/Pizza Hut song got rhymes. “Who’s That? Brooown” is just one of many hilarious free-association raps reppin’ boroughs Brown power on their mixtape Shut up, Dude. Other notable favorites include “Fake Patois,” “Ek Shakeesh,” and “Nutmeg” — the latter of which includes a meandering anecdote about a Dominican friend-cum-assassin that never fails to get me chuckling. This track gets special mention, however, for its super-infectious hook (“What can Brown do for you / what has Brown done for me / lately?) and the throwback video-game music video that accompanies it.
Poirier ft. Face-T – “Wha-La-La-Leng”
Canadian artist Poirier has been described as an “activist” for soca – a fast-paced dance genre hailing from Trinidad and Tobago. His record Running High displays a melange of additional international styles, from dancehall to bashment to kwaito. “Wha-la-la-leng” shows off Poirier’s gift for cross-cultural production, uptempo beats, and collaboration with a diverse set of MCs to produce blustering, hard-hitting musical creations.
Rye Rye ft. M.I.A. – “Sunshine”
Save the Palestine Summertime Schoolyard Jam! I hope she won’t cut me for saying this, but doesn’t it seem M.I.A.’s passed on the torch? B-more club queen Rye Rye is a worthy heir to Arulpragasm’s crown. “Sunshine” might be one of the most underrated tracks on this list, but that won’t stop me from putting this joyful street shit on loop.
Los Rakas ft. Faviola – “Abrazame” (Uproot Andy remix)
It was a good year for Los Rakas — as mentioned, they got up on that Banana Clipz EP; they caught the attention of the international electrocumbia elite; and along with DJ Uproot Andy, they produced what I may now hazard to declare the jam of the year: