February 16th, 2009

Re:Wine Wine Wine Wine Wine Wine Wine (We Like It)

As things ramp up for carnival, the strains of soca seem increasingly in the air (& my inbox).

Believe it or not, there actually is a likkle soca in the air here in Boston. One key source projecting the strains of carnival into the city’s soundscape is BIG CITY FM, my fave “pirate” reggae/soca channel in town. It’s great just to be able to have such a reliable public resource for Caribbean pop & dance music (well, relatively reliable — at least, it’s a pretty clear signal close to the city). But what makes BIG CITY so special is that, for all the ways it reps for JA or T&T, it also sounds very Boston.

Case in point: Junior Rodigan, the Iranian-British bloke who mixes up UK, JA, and Bawstin accents seamlessly while chatting about the Celtics or the latest reggae scandal. (I’ve got an old, juicy interview with Junior — who takes his name from Father Rodigan, of course — which I should post here at some point.) Take, for example, this recent excerpt that I recorded in my car on my phone a couple weeks ago (on Bob’s b-day, as you’ll hear). It gives a sense of the Boston-Carib banter of BIG CITY, but the main reason I recorded it — and share it here — is b/c it offers another lovely example of how something like the beat from “Miss Indpendent” gets loosed from its connections to the original tune, serving here as but a background riddim for hyping local events (sorry, Stargate, u cyaaaan stop that) —
pardon the dict-iphone audio quality

As you hear at the end of the excerpt, showing the station’s broad musical mandate, they launch into a new track by Ryan Leslie (who, you may not know, once sang in the same gospel choir as yer boy, but that’s a story for another time). BIG CITY tends to mix up hip-hop, reggae, r&b, and soca, depending on who’s DJing. Sunday morning = serious slow jam oldies session, complete w/ pullups!

Anywaaayeee, during a soca block a couple weeks ago, I heard a song on BIG CITY which quite caught my ears — on its own musical merits, yes, but also, importantly, how it tugged on the strings of musical memory. It sounded like this (actually, a lot better before it hit my phone) —

I tried shazam-ing it but no dice, so I later quoted the memorable chorus to a trusty Trinny trainspotter —

yes boss!

heard a nice soca pon the radio yesterday. chorus goes, “wine wine wine wine wine wine wine wine wine wine wine wine wine wine wine wine wine wine,” and has a buju-sounding vocalist on it (bunji?). any tips?

to which —

Hope tings cool on your side, rasta.

That’s Iwer George and Ziggy Rankin…Ziggy Ranking is the gravelly voiced singjay, a budding talent from T&T. Iwer is the self-proclaimed ‘boss’, but I have my issues with dat artiste…one thing’s for sure, he’s a guaranteed hit maker.

De riddim BAD for days…it’s out of Barbados (who always impresses me with their soca productions, especially their groovy soca), but make sure to check out the Peter Ram track and the Rupee track on dat riddim (coconut tree).

Yup, that’s the one. As noted, what caught my ear wasn’t just the tune itself (though I do like the simple, catchy chorus) but the references to reggae, including a riddim relick and a vocal allusion.

I mentioned these features to my bredrin, who replied,

De FIRST time I heard dat riddim, I was like: now DAT is how you combine dancehall and soca! Bro, there was a time growing up in Trini that NO session was complete without a complete Cat classic set!

The Bajan crew responsible for the Coconut Tree is known as Monstapiece Inc. They produced Bunji Garlin and Family’s “By de Bar” a few years ago. Interestingly, the riddim for “By de Bar” (which also propelled an ode to fancy alcohol by TOK) is itself a relick of sorts, though it takes inspiration not from a reggae riddim but from a hip-hop song: Busta’s “Pass the Courvoisier” (produced by the Neptunes).

This seems to be their shtick, relicking hip-hop/r&b beats for soca songs: 50’s “P.I.M.P.” and R.Kelly’s “Snake” have also been relicked by the Monstapiece crew. (Hear and excerpt of the former here.)

& round & round we go. Par for the course at this point, I know. Don’t mean to sound like a broken record. Just think of all these copywrong posts as relicks of each other, or sumpm.

Anyhow, here’s a playlist on the Coconut Tree, if you care to listen. I must confess I do like that Iwer/Ziggy jawn, but that might be due to pure music nerdery —

(2009)Coconut Tree Riddim***(Mostapiece Productions)(Trinidad & Barbados)

Or, if you’d prefer to watch a CDjuggling —


  • 1. Gabriel  |  February 17th, 2009 at 6:09 am

    i love this rhythm, also in part for the nerdery lol, featured the mp3s on my blog last week: http://www.theheatwave.co.uk/blog/item/coconut-tree-riddim/

  • 2. wayneandwax  |  February 17th, 2009 at 10:50 am

    i need to catch up with my rss reader. you’re always on top of caribbean currents, gabriel! great post. (anyone reading this who hasn’t been to heatwave needs to go on over there and grab some high qual mp3s of some of the big chunes referenced above.)

    got some other soca faves i hope to share here soon.

  • 3. erich  |  February 17th, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    oh man, i have to find that third bass “we shall overcome” on mp3. that is awesome. thanks for driving my afternoon slowness way away wayne.

  • 4. Hope  |  March 5th, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    This song is part of the KFC campaign in T&T. It has Iwer and Ziggy in the commercial, with the slogan, “KFC, We Like It.”

  • 5. wayneandwax  |  March 5th, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    insidiously delicious! good ol’ corporate cooptation–

  • 6. ix  |  April 12th, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    heres a soca block from bigCity

  • 7. ix  |  April 12th, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    nice to set heatwave show added to rinse. funny also was how i’d heard all the tracks before, vis-a-vis boston’s excellent radio dial.

    kinda convenient not having to give the dial a workout

  • 8. Christopher  |  September 14th, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    In a similar vein, you should check the “Patti Cake” riddim from this year’s Cropover, also a Peter Coppin/Monstapiece production – very similar, with the melody being a direct lift of the venerable “Punaany” riddim

  • 9. blackjack free bonus  |  March 11th, 2010 at 5:24 am

    they are always on top of the caribbean currents,i love this rhythm and nice to set heatwave show added to rinse. funny also was how i’d heard all the tracks before.thanks for posting this article.


I'm a techno-musicologist, internet annotator, imagined community organizer.

I left my <3 in the digital global, but I reside in Cambridge, MA, where I'm from.

I represent like that.

wayne at wayneandwax dot com

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