#RapDfndr: Intro


I have, for a while now, been toying with the idea of writing about rap music that I’ve listened to and liked in that week. The concept stemmed from my realisation that I needed to keep in touch with what is happening with rap movements across the continent, from links which constantly stream on my twitter timeline; to random nuggets that I run into either while doing a quick check-in/check-out on facebook; receiving e-mails from newletters that I signed up to; or mining the infinite audio treasure that is soundcloud.

But there’s so much other good music; some of it mainstream, some of niche, but all of it brilliant and affecting, in equal parts. Hence the idea morphed into a new life-form. I shall endeavour to write (bi-)weekly about the good music I find while scrolling through the interwebs; welcome to part 1.

Dirty Parraffin – Pabap (Ox++ remix)

Rob Brink is known to Cape Town music circles for two things: as drummer for the band Beatenberg, a folksy, Beatles-meets-Dejohnette with a Mingus-esque smoothness; and electronic music producer of note, turning up the dancefloor with beats in the region of 130 while finding time to crank up footwork-inspired production for the likes of Dirty Paraffin. I remember the bare-bone beat structure as he showed it to me in Ableton; I inquired about the progress not so long ago. I love the results!

(P.S. Rob’s other hobby is painting; check out his blog)

Snoop Dogg – No guns (ft. Drake and Cory B)

Much has been said about Snoop’s recent artistic metamorphosis. I’ve missed most of it; I have found that, after a few listens, valid points just become noise, with life getting chocked out of them by the part-truth-mostly-fiction ‘reality’ of the media. I watched the video for his “Reincarnated” documentary the day it came out; I learnt about the people involved in the project (Major Lazer), and can remember that frame in the trailer where Bunny Wailer christens him Snoop Lion. It did come as a surprise when, a couple of months later, I saw news headlines of Wailer berating Snoop for apparently derailing from the tenents of Ras Tafari.

This song, then, came as a happy moment in mine and Snoop’s relationship. See, eversince getting his “Doggfather” CD close to fifteen years ago, we’ve had our on/off moments. Things have gone from thorny, to mild, to almost-there, to utter disappointment and right back. What I haven’t lost for Snoop, however, is respect for his innovative nature, his ability to stand firm in a fickle industry. That is why I like this song; it is Snoop Dogg disguised as a reggae messiah, perhaps to enlighten  perhaps for more sinister reasons. Whatever the case, and with America’s current problem with guns, not to mention Drake’s alluvial star, Snoop managed to grab my attention.

Zubz – Purpose (ft. Melvin “Melly Mel” Biza)

It’s that undulating piano riff, nothing else! It evokes a feeling, it makes one revel in wonderment. It invites you into its household, then orders you around; “sit down!”, it exclaims to your beholden self. This it does, this undulating piano riff, in ways unexplored; or perhaps those ways are so well-known, so entrenched in one’s conscience, that hearing them is guaranteed to bring a smile. Mine and Zubz’s relationship has taken a severe beating eversince his phenomenal 2009 album, “Cochlea: One last letter.” I have a feeling this song might go a long way in mending that relationship. I’ve bought every album that he has released; I got my first copy of “Listener’s digest“, his debut offering, from Lesotho-based rapper Skebza for R80. He [Zubz] signed the other two for me, “Headphone music in a parallel world” and the aforementioned “Cochlea…“. He has a new album on the way entitled “DragonLion_FullCircle.” Let’s wait and see how that shall fare.

***In writing-related news, I’ve been in pursuit of an interview with Sesotho music extraordinare Mants’a since the year started out. We were supposed to meet this weekend, but it has not occurred yet. Here’s to hoping something pans out.

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