Archive for April, 2008

April 9th, 2008

Beat Research :: DJ Refusenik

@ Beat Research, Monday, April 21 >>

Refusenik just got back from Buenos Aires, Argentina where he had been living for the past several months. He brought down his killer collection of dance cuts which drove the people crazy when he played at all the clubs and parties, but now he is bringing back a new collection of South American gems to school us on how the Southern Hempishere rocks.

Click here for a taste of his steez.

We are wicked psyched to have him back

Beat Research

Mondays at the Enormous Room with residents DJ Flack and Wayne and Wax
567 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA
9pm to 1am, 21 plus, Free

April 9th, 2008

Beat Research :: DJ Gaetano Fabri

@ Beat Research, Monday, April 14 >>

Balkan Beats w/
DJ Gaetano Fabri

Based in Belgium and Paris, DJ Gaetano Fabri will be stopping by BR as part of his world tour. He is known for mixing dancefloor beats with the traditional music from the Tzigane or ’Gypsy’ culture. The sounds of East European brass bands and Klezzmer and Russian folk melodies collide with upbeat drum machines and heavy bass for a funky mix of old and new.

His music can be found on both of the Electric Gypsyland compilations as well as on his full length CD Nuit Tsugane – Gypsy Night.

Beat Research

Mondays at the Enormous Room with residents DJ Flack and Wayne and Wax
567 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA
9pm to 1am, 21 plus, Free

April 7th, 2008

linkthink #2525: Afro Sheen

videyoga ::

April 7th, 2008

Nella Mia Lingua

Last week I gave a guest lecture in a “Global Pop” class at MIT. The professor, Patricia Tang, asked me to come in and do my thing where I show how various genres cohere depending on tempo and rhythmic pattern. It’s a shtick I’ve had going for years, using Ableton (or, previously, FruityLoops) to make hip-hop morph into dancehall into reggaeton into soca into techno and so on. At any rate, the presentation went fine and the students seemed to enjoy it.

As we were leaving, however, one of Patty’s colleagues came into the room. Patty introduced us and mentioned that we had just been “making beats” in her class. At which point, the professor pretty much turned up her nose (perhaps partly in jest) and said something which to the best of my memory went like, “Beats? Is that what I would call — in my language — rhythmic ostinati?”

At first, far too familiar with such a situation, I half-smiled at the joke and said “yes.” But then, thinking better, I said “sì,” since she seemed to be implying that her language was Italian or something.

She looked perplexed. We left the room.

For the last week or so the episode has been nagging me. I now wish that I had originally only replied in Italian (if only I were fluent in Italian). Or asked her what the hell a non-rhythmic ostinato might sound like.

Ah, Eurocentrists. They would be more amusing if they had less power.


April 6th, 2008

linkthink #1943: hello hipster

videyoga ::

April 6th, 2008

Hip-hop Japanthropology & the End of the Jews

Recently I brought two authors to campus to share their work with my class — that’s the only connection between the two otherwise disparate topics in the title of this post. (Hope I didn’t alarm anyone by implying improbable causal relationships.)


The “hip-hop Japanthropology” was c/o Ian Condry, a professor at MIT who wrote Hip-hop Japan — one of the texts we’re reading in my “Global Hip-hop” course this semester. The book is really quite good, an ethnography and analysis of, as the subtitle says, “Rap and the Paths of Cultural Globalization” in Japan. The text’s most important contribution to the global hip-hop literature, in my mind, is that Condry directs the reader away from misleading binaries such as local/global or imitation/authentic in order to focus on what seems the more interesting implication of hip-hop as a cultural phenom in Japan: i.e., the way that the use of such a “foreign” cultural resource as hip-hop serves to animate discussions in Japan about Japan — esp, about the alleged homogeneity of Japaneseness.

It’s a well rounded, deeply informed study, and Condry offers some supplements on his website, including a link to a subtitled version of King Giddra’s “911,” a striking meditation on, as GW would say, September the 11th. For Condry, Giddra’s “911” demonstrates that, despite such close engagement with US culture, Japanese hip-hoppers have a distinct, distanced, nuanced take on American affairs (connecting the event, for example, to the bombing of Hiroshima and criticizing our Manichean media response).

The refrain of “9 – 1 – 1” in the chorus, reminded me of the following song, which made me wonder: is it really possible that no jaded observer has yet redeployed Flav’s chorus as a critique of the other 9-1-1?


The End of the Jews refers to the new novel by Adam Mansbach, a self-proclaimed (and justified) hip-hop novelist. When he spoke to the class, Adam did a wonderful job explaining what he means by the phrase “hip-hop literature.” He doesn’t mean books about hip-hop or featuring graffiti-esque fonts on the cover. Rather, for Mansbach, hip-hop literature comes into its own when it’s no longer about content but about form: hip-hop form. Hence, he likes the idea of hip-hop’s aesthetics as applied to things other than, say, the ol’ 4 elements. He discussed hip-hop academics as an example (and I’d like to think that I do bring a little hip-hop to class & conferences with me, whether or not I’m talking about hip-hop). But, most important, he talked about how he saw hip-hop inform in his writing style — the way he “chops” his words, the sense of flow, of play and humor, and, among other things, an underlying engagement with ideas about race and self and community and struggle.

Dude’s gotta show and prove, of course, and so his latest novel is about a multigenerational Jewish family rather than, say, a rapping, riot-causing race traitor. Sure, there’s a hip-hop gen DJ/graf-writer among the protagonists, but also a depression-era novelist and an Eastern European jazz photographer. It definitely reads as if written by a “head,” and even in the passages where one might least expect it. See, also, for example, “The case for ‘White History Month.'”

Mansbach may seem a stretch of a guest in a “Global Hip-hop” course, and it’s true that he was. But I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to have him share his story of black-Jewish relations, otherness, and hip-hop aesthetics with my class, especially considering where I teach. The week Adam visited us, we were studying Germany, which of course has its history of struggling with notions of self and racial otherness. This is a dimension unavoidable in a study of German hip-hop, since so many groups (e.g.) have represented the interests and plights of gastarbeiterin and their children and childrens’ children. So I introduced Adam by noting that Jews were archetypal racial others in Germany (and Europe more generally, along with “gypsies,” “moors,” etc.), but that for all their persistent otherness here in the US, it is an otherness of a different kind from that of blacks. This is an idea I cribbed from an interview with Adam about the book, in which he argues that

one of the great — if complicated — stories of 20th-century American culture is the relationship between blacks and Jews as Others, where immutable black Otherness has served as a foil for the mutability of Jewish identity, a dynamic that binds us together, if uneasily.

I’ll stop there for now, but suffice it to say that the book’s a good read. I’ll finish by saying that one thing I’ve learned to love about Adam is that he’s both an erudite mu’fukah and yet still sorta talks like a homeboy.

Reminds me of someone.


April 6th, 2008


Tomorrow (Monday) night @ Beat Research, we’re happy to host Boston’s mashup maestro, DJ BC

BC’s been cooking up mashed potatoes for years now, garnering international notoriety with such concept albums as the Beastles, Glassbreaks, Wu-Orleans, and other improbable partners.

Although the heyday of the mashup has seemingly passed, with the idea still ubiquitous (if absorbed back into remix culture), BC never fails to surprise me with some new concoctions. Holding aloft the A+B torch, he and his longtime partner-in-mash, Lenlow, just debuted Boston’s own Bootie franchise.

Moreover, BC’s been putting his remix skills to use of late, mashing up local punk/ska band, Big D and the Kids Table with a bunch of acapellas from my own Boston Jerk for a new release, Strictly Mixed and Mashed, which has been burning up the reggae charts on Amazon and iTunes. It even got boingboinged.

Here’s a track with me rappin to a beat I never rapped to. Watch me, rude boy —
DJ BC vs. Big D + W&W, “Oo Yah Dood (Boston Jerk)”

Who knows what kind of mashy goods he’ll bring to the tables tomorrow. Should be fun, regahdless —

April 6th, 2008

Mo’ Memoria

W&W is happy to host another loving nod to Tim Haslett. Namely, the two-hour radio show Brian Coleman did on March 24, prior to our Beat Research tribute. A description and tracklist, from Brian, follows —

WZBC “School Beats Tim Haslett Tribute” :: 24 March 2008

Back To The Old School and School Beats on WZBC 90.3 FM (which Tim and I did from 1992 until about 1997, when Tim moved to NYC… I kept the show going until about 2005) were always a hell of a lot of fun and I really miss those years on the air with him. Our basic goal was just to play music, specifically hip-hop music, that we didn’t feel was getting any love anywhere else in town. So even with old-school, we wouldn’t play too many of the traditional “hits.” Tim loved raw electro from the early-to-mid-80s and we also both had a soft spot for off-kilter, sometimes sloppily produced stuff from the late ’80s. As long as there was innovation or just raw passion involved in making the record, it was top of the pops as far as we were concerned.

I had about two crates picked out for this WZBC tribute show I did on Monday, March 24, 2008 to celebrate the hip-hop that Tim loved, and I got through about 1/3 of one crate. But I think that I can safely say that Tim loved every one of these tracks, and any of them would have made his eyes squint up after he heard the first two or three beats, sending his hands into wild gesticulations (which always ended up looking like he was an overcaffeinated, crazed orchestral conductor).

Hopefully this is just the first of many tributes to Tim, who was a music junkie like no other. Hip-hop was just one of the many genres that he loved. But I think this set gives a good idea about the aesthetic and the sounds that drew him in – artists who made music because they just couldn’t help but express themselves, whether they had a record deal, or had good enough equipment.

Brian Coleman

WZBC “School Beats Tim Haslett Tribute” Playlist March 24, 2008

Portishead – Cowboys
Davy DMX – One For The Treble
Man Parrish – Boogie Down Bronx
Egyptian Lover – Egypt, Egypt
Mantronix – Bassline
DJ Born Supreme Allah – 2,3 Break
MC Craig G- Shout
Marley Marl / MC Shan – Marley Marl Scratch
Mixmaster Gee – The Manipulator
Cash Money & Marvelous – Ugly People Be Quiet
Super Kids – The Tragedy (Don’t Do It)
Jewel T – I Like It Loud
EPMD – It’s My Thing
Paris – Break The Grip Of Shame
Malcolm X / Keith Leblanc – No Sell Out
Chubb Rock – Daddy’s Home
BDP / DJ Red Alert – Criminal Minded Mix
Mantronix – King Of The Beats
Gregory Isaacs – Night Nurse
New Order – The Perfect Kiss



April 6th, 2008

Slang Tang

I have to admit, when I first heard MIA sing “slang tang” during the opening salvo on Arular, I found it an awfully clever gesture. And I liked it. A lot.

I appreciated the allusion to a classic riddim and the winking rearticulation to describe how the gyal’s (s)language — London calling / speak the slang now / boys say wha / gwaan / girls say wha — had a certain tang to it, a distinctive flavor. Salt&pepper on a mango and whatnot.

And so I thought it quite apropos for Stu FatPlanet to name his recently launched podcast after the ‘nu‘ spelling of the phrase Wayne Smith injected into the global lexicon.

But now, having seen several times the new MIA-propelled commercial for Bud Light Lime (during last night’s Kansas-UNC game), the phrase suggests yet another meaning to me: rather than her slang having tang, MIA is in fact just slanging tangy beverages. [update! i’ve been corrected in a comment below; turns out it’s not MIA but santogold; even so, i think we can still argue that the spot is “MIA-propelled”; i mean, come on]

I should have suspected as much, previously hocking Hondas and all.

One question, tho: will MIA’s core audience really put down the PBR for BLL?

Ok, two: Who are the ad wizards who came up with this campaign?

A-B’s memo said it was aiming Bud Light Lime at light-beer drinkers aged 25 to 54 who prefer a “sweeter” beer, as well as “trendsetters and aspirers.”


Bud Light Lime (or “BL Lime,” as the beer may be titled on the clear bottles’ packaging) is expected to draw much of its sales from “Aspirers” — primarly blue-collar urban males who like mainstream imported beers like Heineken and Corona — and “Trendsetters,” who are very interested in fitness and may not like beer as much.


April 6th, 2008

Sunday Blog Spectacular

cyaan seh me neva did a warn you —

1 comment

April 3rd, 2008

MixxThink #5736: Yip Yip Yip, Uh-huh Uh-huh

videyoga ::

1 comment

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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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