Interview in Music Journalism Insider

I first worked with Todd Burns back in 2013 when he commissioned me to write a “loop history” of one of my fave loops of all time: dembow. Of course, RBMA is no more, nor are various other outlets for music writers. In the light of this changing and precarious landscape, Todd has been devoting […]

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Ich kann ein bisschen Reggaeton verstehen

ila, a German magazine devoted to Latin America published a special issue on reggaeton this summer, including an interview with yours truly. If you kann ein bisschen Duetsch lesen (like those of us who studied vergleichende Musikwissenschaft in graduate school), then you can click on that link in the last sentence and read it there. […]

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Get on the Good Foot

The following piece was published in December 2016 in The Wire‘s special issue, Spirits Rejoice: Sacred Songs, Divine Drones, and Ritual Rhythms (#394). I was excited by the call for pitches because I’ve been connecting lots of dots in my music history courses at Berklee between sacred and secular traditions, and I’ve become more and […]

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Urb & Beach Boyz

This Friday, at the very #rare time of 5pm and at a rather lovely spot, I’m psyched to be opening for two of my favorite (erstwhile) local talents: Rizzla DJ & False Witness, the two from the #KUNQ crew who cooked up the time-warped, globally-warmed, zombie beach party of Isla Toxico — While we won’t […]

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Summer of Beat Research

Ok, Boston Massive, the time has come! Tonight we kick off our new monthly edition of Beat Research with none other than NYC’s DJ Rekha! What (more) can we say? Flack & I have been wanting to get Rekha up here for ages; we’ve both had the pleasure to open for her at local shows; […]

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Damas de Honor Duro

This is my new favorite thing in the world, and somehow it makes it make more sense that Luanda is the most expensive city on the planet. Sure is rich anyway (here’s a little background, fyi) — /big tip of the proverbial hat to Farrah Jarral, whose awesome voice I first encountered on Keysound’s classic […]

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& Found! (But Still a Little Lost)

Not long after my last post went public, a savvy searcher quickly proved that what I thought was fairly ungooglable (at least without knowing Arabic) was, in fact, waiting for me on eBay. And beyond simply locating & IDing the music/CD in question, this kind commenter hit Arabkidsmusic paydirt. First, I want to take back […]

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Talking Music & Media, Whirled & Jamaican, Self & Other

A couple items to share, pardon the self-centeredness, but hey, this is a blog, right? First, hot off the virtual presses: Radio Berkman has just posted a snappily edited podcast featuring yours truly in conversation with the one and only Ethan Zuckerman about world/whirled music, globalghettotech, jerkbow, tribal, moombahton, and platform politricks, among other things. […]

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Best African Dance Ever

So, yeah. There’s rearing; and then there’s rearing — Slightly older kids, well enculturated & irrepressibly motivated, can tend to take things to the next level, bumping body parts with acrobatic abandon and lighting rooftops (and laptops) on fire — Devotees of dancehall reggae and reggaeton will no doubt recognize elements of perreo and daggering […]

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Wata Gwaan?

Mil gracias a Marisol LeBron, who not only first brought to my attn the wonderful nueva-media phenom of “Watagatapitusberry,” but who has offered some interesting thoughts on its homosocial joi de vivre (check her initial round-up of home videos) and has kept up on the latest developments around the song. Most recently, the launch of […]

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do you bun what i bun? (riddim meth0d repost)

[Sticking to the seasonal, here’s another musical maneuver I pulled on some well-worn Christmas fare. Given the recent resurgence of talk about homophobia in reggae — not to mention what must be some serious shadenfreude over Buju Banton’s arrest — I have to admit that, sharing Rizzla’s frustration, I’m a little ambivalent about adding, um, […]

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Beyond Perreo

I’m heading to Seattle tomorrow to attend EMP’s Pop Conference for the second time (the last time was back in 07). I think EMP might have the best vibes of any music conference I’ve attended (and I’ve attended a few). The reason is simple: it brings together people — generally academics and professional music writers […]

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Dem Bow Dem

I’ve already discussed and DJ-demo’d the degree to which the Dem Bow riddim underpins the lion’s share of reggaeton tracks. But one remarkable part of the story I haven’t given much focus here is how “Dem Bow” the song — in particular, the chorus melody, but also the basic theme of the lyrics — has […]

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Halal Beats

illuminarcy blog devoted to arab hip-hop / challenging stereotypes of arabs&muslims (tags: blog hip-hop arab islam representation babylonia) illuminarcy: "Arab Money" Download & Lyrics a fierce, at times funny, response to busta's ignant "ay-rab money" (h/t rachel) :: lyrics & zshare link here :: someone pllllzzzz make sure that busta hears this (tags: arab representation […]

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Can’t We All Just Dance Along?

Thanks to Christina for sharing this video via Google Reader — We spent Tuesday in my class (AAAS 171a: Reggae Representation, Race and Nation) discussing sexuality and homophobia in Jamaica, and I wish that I had stumbled onto this in time to bring it into the conversation. One of the things we talked about was […]

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Palingenetic Ultranationalism

The Elephants Child: ring ring ring rachel re: ring tones, txt speak, & refurb'd nokia nat'lism (tags: cellphones video global nation language blogpost) ffm713's blog – FFM presents The Pen & Pixel Madhouse – Skyrock.com 73 pages of pen&pixel rap album covers (via noz) (tags: hip-hop art design album gangsta) Palingenetic ultranationalism – Wikipedia, the […]

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Flee Market

Ninjasonik – Tight Pants (The Rap Remix) – Chunnel o u mad? :: tight-pants wearers of the world, unite! (tags: brooklyn fashion video hip-hop EDM af-am race sexuality critique) Literary Encyclopedia: Mirror Stage, The 'It is a well-attested fact that one day, usually between six and eighteen months, a child that has not been able […]

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Just May Be

I’ve been on a serious YouTube grind over the last couple weeks, working up a couple papers/talks on black digital youth culture. Check the waxtube or my favorites to sink into a pixelated dance trance. Gave one version of this black-digi-youf chat a couple weeks ago at Harvard, which thx to a little bird tweet, […]

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