October 7th, 2008

Blogariddims 50

Today marks the seeding of the fiftieth and final episode of the brilliant Blogariddims series, a near-monthly “podcast” with which many readers of w&w no doubt have some passing acquaintance. Indeed, if you’re omnivorous like me, you’ve likely downloaded every one, each time enticed by the loving, careful, idiosyncratic and refreshingly all-over-the-map episodes from some of the most interesting and engaged music bloggers on the ol’ ‘osphere (if I don’t say so myself).

Nuff nuff props to Droid for imagineering the whole thing and running a pretty tight ship all the while. It was a pleasure to be involved, and I’m delighted to have been able to contribute to the appropriately motley final episode, which features 11 mini-mixes from former contributors to the series.

As with my previous contribution, Another Crunk Genealogy (#11), I couldn’t resist teasing a particular musical thread throughout my mix. In this case, however, rather than letting a suggestive set of rhythmic patterns guide my track selection, here I’ve decided to focus on a particular melody, often — but not always — taking the form of a familiar bassline cutting across (rhythm&)blues, soul, pop, hip-hop, dancehall, jungle, and bubbling, to name a bunch. It’s a surprisingly common riff, suggesting perhaps the naturalness of playing such a thing on an instrument (esp guitar/bass) rather than some (prolly) specious theory of origins. Many readers/listeners will know it best via Sly & Robbie’s Bam Bam riddim, which notably supported, among other hits, the early 90s crossover classic “Murder She Wrote.” Others will be transported back to Otis Redding’s “Tramp” right away.

Although I wouldn’t purport that this is a comprehensive genealogy of any sort, I’ve done my best to bring a number of the more important/influential tracks to employ this melody, throwing in a few (obscure) curveballs for good measure, and doing my best not to get too hung up on pseudo-genealogical orthodoxy. For the record, I’ve crammed the following 13 tracks into my 7 minutes (no numerology a gwaan, trust me); and while I tease some tracks in and out, the general sequence is as follows —

      >> Lowell Fulson, “Tramp”
      >> Otis Redding & Carla Thomas, “Tramp”
      >> Cypress Hill, “How I Could Just Kill a Man”
      >> Prince, “7”
      >> Sly & Robbie, “Bam Bam Riddim”
      >> Chaka Demus & Pliers, “Murder She Wrote”
      >> Cutty Ranks, “A Who Seh Me Dun”
      >> Cutty Ranks, “Limb By Limb” (original + jungle remix by DJ SS)
      >> Janet Lee Davis, “I Will Always Love You”
      >> DJ Playero, “DJ Playero Pistas #7″
      >> DJ Playero, “DJ Playero Pistas #9″
      >> ??, “Bubbling MSN Remix”

I don’t really want to get as prolix here as I did in my notes for “Another Crunk Genealogy.” Suffice to say (and I think you’ll hear) that there are lots of connections ricocheting around in this mini-mega-mix. For one, Lowell Fulson’s “Tramp,” which I tease in and out of the mix, is the track sampled by Muggs for Cypress’s “Kill a Man” — the latter track meshing/mashing incredibly well with Prince’s “7” (talk about nonsense numerology), a song that — cheese aside — always seemed kind of hardcore (and hip-hop influenced) with that low, 808-y bass playing that line in particular.

To step back for a minute, it’s worth noting that the version of “Tramp” recorded at/for Stax by Otis & Carla has also been widely sampled by hip-hop producers (though often for its drums rather than bassline). So between those two bluesy hits from 1967, that riff — played both on bass and by horns — was really in the air, both in the late 60s and the early 90s. It turns up in lots of other soul (not to mention rocksteady) and hip-hop tracks, and it’s not that surprising that such open-eared musicians as Sly & Robbie might have nodded to it on their massive production for 1992, the Bam Bam riddim. The opening — and recurring — guitar lick on that riddim is pretty clearly (and consonantly) related to the riff from “Tramp,” and though I could have stuck entirely to Bam Bam versions/voicings, I’ve also observed that several other reggae riddims from that time period seem to sample the riddim’s guitar, including the Pitch / Fever Pitch riddim produced in 1993 by Sly and Gitsy (which supports, among other big chunes, Cutty Ranks’s fierce “Limb by Limb”).

Couldn’t resist squeezing another genre into the mix, so I took the opportunity to work in, if briefly, a jungle remix of Cutty’s “Limb” before segueing to, even more briefly (for which you should thank me), a cloyingly cheesy cover of “I Will Always Love You” by Janet Lee Davis (which Droid sent to me via email about a year ago when I was looking into connections between Bam Bam and Fever Pitch, primarily for my research into early reggaeton history).

I finish with a couple “reggaeton” / “underground” pistas — c/o Daddy Playero — both inspired by (and sampling from) the Bam Bam / Pitch material. Those riddims became major sample sources for proto-reggaeton producers in the early&mid-90s, right alongside the (now better known / more synonymous) Dem Bow. Likewise, Holland’s bubbling scene has fixated on the Bam Bam as sample source. Not only are a good number of standard bubbling loops derived from the Bam Bam, but I remain totally tickled by the anonymous (to me anyhow) producer who decided to interpolate a couple measures of Bam Bam in his MSN messenger remix (which also made an appearance in my full-length Blogariddims mix). I drop in this final bit right at the end, ramping up the tempo from a steady 100+ to around 140 before crashing out with a reverbed landing on that original Fulsom guitar chord. Bam is right!

You gotta hear it in context, natch, so gwaan and grab Blogariddims 50 right now (& maybe the other 49 while you’re at it). Still, for anyone who wants to hear the mini-mega-mix it on its own, here it is:

      >> wayne&wax, “bam bam big!” (mini-mega-mix) [16mb / 320k]
      

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Blogariddims done! Long live Blogariddims!

Here’s the full list of final episode contributors, for those wanting to peruse tracklists and notes and such. Fine company, I have to say —

0- Droid Intro
1- Autonomic (6.01)
2- JEPM (eden + meme) (8:41)
3- Matt B (6:33)
4- Rambler (7:09)
5- Wayne (7:00)
6 – Droid (7:44)
7- Gutta (6:02)
8- Heatwave (6:04)
9- Hal (8.01)
10- Flack (6:15)
11– Slug/Droid outro

/fin

22 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Blogariddims 50: Terminus&hellip  |  October 7th, 2008 at 11:12 am

    […] And now the baton passes to Wayne and Wax… […]

  • 2. Gabriel  |  October 7th, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Nice mix, more interesting lines… I’ve always thought of the Bam Bam bassline as a variation on the Stalag bassline, a kind of more regularised version in terms of the rhythm, notes are pretty similar if not the same. And there’s the obvious Bam Bam melody/Stalag rhythm connection in Sister Nancy’s Stalag version. Didn’t know about the Otis Redding/Lowell Fulson link though…

  • 3. wayneandwax  |  October 7th, 2008 at 11:53 am

    Good call, Gabriel, and this lil mix could have definitely incorporated other angles. I was tempted to add something from Stalag and maybe even Tempo — both of which seem rhythmically and melodically related to the melody I’m tracing here — but in the end, when I listened to those against “Tramp”/”Murder She Wrote” it seemed like Stalag was not quite close enough. Sure, they have similar rhythms, and it’s possible to hear Stalag as simply a more skeletal version of the melody I’m tracing here, but it wasn’t quite enough — given my 7 minutes — to fit (stretch?) it in.

    As for the Sister Nancy tune, I just want to be clear that the “Bam Bam” she interpolates over the Stalag riddim is not the same melody as the guitar line in the Bam Bam riddim (which is the melodic/thematic focus of my mix). The Sly&Robbie riddim is, of course, called “Bam Bam” because Pliers did another voicing in which he also interpolates the same tune (originally [but who can say?] from Toots & the Maytals’ “Bam Bam“). I suppose I could have gone down that ancillary road, but what with just 7 mins…

    Confused yet? I am.

    Enjoyed your lil Fever genealogy, btw!

  • 4. geoff  |  October 7th, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    Wayne… enjoyed the minimix.

    I have a question that’s actually been bugging me for a while. Its regarding “Limb by limb”, one of my favorite songs. Obviously its quite a violent song (“send fi di hacksaw, take out the tongue”) but I’ve always wondered if the violence was specifically targeted towards gays? The question resurfaced in my mind because of your more recent discussions of “gay” fashion emerging in dancehall and the violent responses circulating on dancehall web forums.
    Some lyrics that have always triggered these thoughts:

    “Nuff a dem a pose off
    Like-a dem run de world
    Let me tell you something
    See me come
    HIM TURN AH GIRL”

    “Me gun mi hug up and kiss
    Sleep with at night
    IF A BOY TRY A TING
    Me shoot out him eyesight ”

    Any insight into this? This has been in the back of my mind for a while. Not that it takes away from Cutty Ranks awesome delivery but it always makes me think twice about blasting this “at 11″ on my stereo.

  • 5. droid  |  October 8th, 2008 at 4:33 am

    Geoff – i think some slightly misheard lyrics have led you down the garden path here:

    “Nuff a dem a pose off
    Like-a dem run de world
    Let me tell you something
    Fi mi GUN
    it a mi girl

    The ‘boy try a ting’ line doesn’t have any sexual connotations either IMO.

    Cutty isn’t really a prime offender when it comes to battyboy tune. Most of his tracks are simply badbwoy business aimed at boosting his own status.

    Great selection btw Wayne. Loving the SS drop in. I have to get round to making that fever Pitch instrumental for you sometime…

  • 6. wayneandwax  |  October 8th, 2008 at 8:35 am

    Yeah, Geoff, I think Droid’s right here — there’s nothing explicitly or implicitly homophobic about Cutty’s lyrics here. Sure, they can border on the hypermacho, but that’s par for the course. And the violence, well, there’s no getting around that. Sometimes it’s possible/better to read a lot of the guntalk as “kill a soundbwoy / competitor” metaphors, but Cutty Ranks could very well have been talking about real tings (even tho he often approaches self-deconstructing hyperbole in this regard — hand grenade?).

  • 7. vamanos  |  October 8th, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    Another Banger. Its been way too long since we had a W&W mix and this is way too short! Mas.

  • 8. wayneandwax  |  October 9th, 2008 at 7:36 am

    Aw, thanks, Vamanos. It’s been a long time. I’ve got a couple others in the pipeline. Hope to get em mixed and up before too long.

  • 9. el canyonazo  |  October 10th, 2008 at 9:34 am

    wow. your mixes kinda make me feel like Kitundu makes you feel.

    to save fellow readers some googling, heres a few more hiphop tracks in the thoughtcloud

    EPMD “Rampage”

    Redman “Time 4 Sum Aksion” (this one samples both Fulson original and B-Real´s voice from “Kill A Man” , ala Zunguzung meme

    De La Soul “Let, Let Me In” (this one samples both the Otis and Fulson versions)

    House of Pain “Jump Around (Pete Rock Remix)”

    Will Smith “Somethin Like Dis”

    Wu-Tang Clan “Protect Ya Neck”

    plus interesting readings wrt teefing steez

    ! we want more w&w mixes !

  • 10. wayneandwax  |  October 10th, 2008 at 10:10 am

    wow — thanks for all these, canyon. as i said, this mix could have been a lot longer if i had more than 7 minutes. i did consider dropping some of these in, but instead chose to let a few play a little longer. i have to admit, tho, i really don’t hear the sample in pete rock’s “jump around” remix (which has long been a fave beat).

    & thx for that post over at funky16corners. who knew? i had no idea that the mohawks’ “champ” was also riffing on this. amazing! & round and round we go.

    the more we dig into this stuff, the more it’s clear that this is how music has always been made, copyrights be damned. we should all have copy rights! fight for your right to copy!

  • 11. Gabriel  |  October 16th, 2008 at 3:11 am

    > As for the Sister Nancy tune, I just want to be clear that the “Bam Bam” she interpolates over the Stalag riddim is not the same melody as the guitar line in the Bam Bam riddim (which is the melodic/thematic focus of my mix)

    Yeah sure, sorry to confuse things by not being clear – I just meant that given that the vocal melody of Pliers’s Bam Bam references Sister Nancy’s Bam Bam vocal, I’ve always assumed that the guitar line (which I confusingly referred to as a bassline!) in the (Pliers) Bam Bam riddim is also referencing the melody (of the bassline) in Sister Nancy’s Bam Bam.

    That’s not a very clear clarification is it? LOL

  • 12. wayneandwax  |  January 15th, 2009 at 10:29 am

    A few more “bam bam” riffs via Africa:

    Burundi ragga mix

    &

    via Uganda —

  • 13. wayneandwax.com » G&hellip  |  January 20th, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    […] been a long time since I’ve shared a mix with y’all (not incl that brief bit for Blogariddims 50). No good reason for that. I’ve been DJing every Monday night at Beat Research and I’ve […]

  • 14. MORE BAM BAM! « Gen&hellip  |  March 23rd, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    […] info here: http://wayneandwax.com/?p=556 […]

  • 15. Transnational Riddims: Ba&hellip  |  September 7th, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    […] And the beat goes on… You can find more info over here. […]

  • 16. promoguy1  |  March 26th, 2010 at 12:54 am

    nice mix! i have a question though…..from what track is the bam bam guitar from that u mixed over the Lowell Fulsom “Tramp”? usually i only hear that guitar over a drum, but it sounds like you have the solo guitar without any drums behind it?

  • 17. wayneandwax  |  March 26th, 2010 at 8:00 am

    I have an instrumental version which leaves the guitar part bare for a moment, and I’ve looped that in various spots here.

  • 18. promoguy1  |  March 26th, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    that’s a great idea…..i was actually looking for an instrumental version that leaves the guitar part bare (for an epic 3CD 90’s reggae-hiphop mixtape set i’m working on).

    would you mind uploading it for me? it would be much appreciated!
    my email address is djfilthyrich@yahoo.com

    Thanks in advance!

    great job on your mix….i like when dj’s approach mix sets with some thought! i wish other dj’s would do the same, instead of just flooding the net with boring sets

  • 19. promoguy1  |  March 26th, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    hey wayne….i just listened to my Murder She Wrote vinyl single….it has 4 versions on it, but none have the guitar by itself.
    what is the name of the track that the solo guitar is from? maybe i can find it without troubling you :)

  • 20. Magne  |  November 7th, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    I’d like to know what drum machine has been used to make the Fever Pitch/Bam Bam riddim

  • 21. wayneandwax  |  November 8th, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    Come to think of it, so would I. Thanks for the question, Magne, here’s hoping we can find out the answer.

  • 22. wayneandwax.com » R&hellip  |  April 11th, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    […] so defines “Murder She Wrote” (also known as the Bam Bam riddim) — a riff which, as I’ve explored in mini-mega-mix form, is itself quite caught up in international networks of creative riffing […]

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Wayne&Wax

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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