Sunday, May 25, 2008

Tru-2-Culture: Local Music Distribution Company Launched

Yeah's Da Face. The price of food in Trinidad real grimey but that won't stop my flow.

So anyway. On Tuesday last week, a local music distribution company called Tru-2-Culture launched. What is Tru-2-Culture you ask and who are they? Don't worry hoss, it's self-explanatory; they distribute music. What's the difference between them and other existing music distribution companies? Well, many things my friend: their prices are geared to exist in our very real world of piracy (packaged cds cost $30TT and dvds cost $40TT), they do not only distribute the music of established, big-name artistes so the small man can 'eat ah food' as well, they distribute music in multiple locations all over the country and will distribute in many more soon and most importantly...they seem to have an innate love for quality local music.

For the first wave of products they are offering albums from Ozzy Magic, Ziggy Ranking, Zebulun, an alternative group called 'The Generals' and a rap artiste called 'Make-It-Hapn and all of these will be available in locations near you soon (like May 31st). Well yuh know yuh boy Da Face had to be on the scene and I managed to get some footage of a few live performances. Check it out.

Zebulun performance


Real Talk promo

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Incredible Myron B: Bottom in yuh face

Yeah man.

Da Face in real quick for a little bit. I dunno if any of you've seen this but is real jones. The name is "The Incredible Myron B" and he has just parodied one of Iwer's more beloved compositions (which also is almost a parody in itself). Anyway, let me not spoil it with my commentary. Enjoy.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Underground Rap Show in Club Pintz, Trinidad

Yeah folks,
I'm back in this. I'll always be back. Nobody can knock me out this game. I'm not Suge Knight . And the hard part man boast about it too. In the words of JayZ: "Part of me just got to laugh at that".

Anyways, yuh boy was up in the Club Pintz for a rap show hosted by a local rap group called ILS. Now the thing is, even though I bump rap on the regular and my musical style is rap-influenced, I'm still a few light years away from being a hardcore hip hop head and consequently this is the first such show I've ever attended. When I entered the Club Pintz and acquired my beastly cold Carib (allyuh Stag men really eh know) I realized that as a relatively in touch rap fan I only knew about 40% of what the dj was playing. Didn't matter though. The slim crowd was really liking the vibes and even I could predict that tune like "Ante Up" would tear up the crowd.

At the stoke of 12am Chaotix took the stage. I was finding it difficult to hear their actual lyrics clearly and I couldn't figure out if they were at fault, the mic was the issue or the beat was too loud. Either way, they had plenty vibes and the crowd (could this term be used for less than 30?) was lapping it up. They had this one guy who flowing like crazy fast on some kinda Twista kinda shit and he got real forward.

Chaotix performance

Chaotix performance Pt 2 with some Reggae dude

After Chaotix finished their set, ILS got up on the stage. They took a while to warm up and their preamble was so long that at one point I was wondering when they would start. They didn't disappoint when they did though. I really need to get my hands on their album though because I couldn't really hear the lyrics clearly of either group. Anyway it was nice and after this one I may go to a next local hip hop show soon. I hear Highway Records are involved in the organizing of a rap freestyle battle competition sometime in June so Da Face will definitely be there. Da Face out.

ILS performance

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Five Most Interesting Soca of the Last 15 Years

Username: Da Face
Password: DeNextBadArtiste

Aight then.
Da Face has logged in for another week.

I know you all are expecting some Digicel Rising star commentary but I didn't pass through the Digicel Rising Star auditions this week because I went and limed Friday night and didn't really feel to go Saturday (sigh...hangover and hot sun really doh mix). Anyhow, expect me to speak about it sometime during next week. By the way, did anybody see how that Jason Castro dude mangled Bob Marley's "I shot the sheriff" on American Idol. Damn. Weed is a hell of a drug.

This week, however, I'm going to feature and comment on what I believe are five of the most interesting soca songs produced in the last 15 years. Now before I go, I know I may have left out some so feel free to disagree vociferously and/or send me your choices. As underground artistes, the clear advantage we have over established artistes is a greater freedom to make interesting and innovative music. Being known and having a thousand 'bousand' fans often pressures you into making the type of music that those fans have grown to expect; underground artistes who sometimes have little more than their ceiling fans have much more room to experiment. With that said, almost all of the songs featured here were made by artistes who were fairly popular at the time, a fact that makes the existence of these songs all the more interesting. Also, big up to Rasadam for having these songs available on youtube.

1) Ghetto Flex, KMC, Bunji Garlin and Ataklan - The All Star Show
One of my fondest memories from all the fetes I've attended is seeing the "All Star Show" performed live at Boy Scouts (who remember when dis fete was bad). It took about half hour for the song to finish because after each verse the next artiste had to be found backstage and the highlight for me was when they finally found Ataklan at the end. The only artiste that could have been found easily was a little known artiste (at the time) who went by the moniker of Bunji Garlin (Tell mih life eh funny). At the time it came out, a song featuring a sample of "The Muppets Show" was weird enough but hearing it now in a time where the majority of soca is depressingly generic makes this song sound like something straight off Mars. When this song came out, ragga soca was actually a genre that someone considered big enough to give it its own competition (Ragga Soca monarch anyone).
Most Interesting Points - Bunji Garlin was an unknown artiste at the time. Ghetto Flex and Ataklan were the two more popular artistes on the song at the time (Ataklan where yuh gone hoss?). Sampling "The Muppets Show"? Wtf? Four ragga soca artistes bussing lyrics on one track...ah yes, de good ole days.

2) Denise Belfon & Ghetto Flex - Rock Ya Body
This song is talking about basically "wukking a person's body right" but comes off sentimental at points. Ghetto Flex croons hopefully for permission to wuk Denise Belfon's body. Nice. At the time, a lot of men really wanted to wuk Mrs. Belfon's body right (how different is that from now?) and could have really felt where Mr. Flex was coming from I'm guessing. The beat itself is interesting as it features a pretty standard dub baseline with an organ coming in for the sentimental points on the chorus. For the intro, no hint of the baseline is given and Ghetto Flex starts by asking permission to wuk the body. Then the baseline kicks in hard and he lets Belfon know why he will wuk her body right. And in now classic Belfon fashion, she lets him know that she eh no joke either. Good stuff.
Interesting Points - The pairing of Ghetto Flex and Denise Belfon was a wtf moment at the time. One of the first soca songs to feature a heavily dub-influenced beat. One of the first of many back and forth soca songs featuring a man wanted to wuk a woman and she telling him that she eh no joke. The sentimental intro...I still get goosebumps hearing it even now. Still one of the best choruses ever in Trinidad music.

3) General Grant - Rev The Engine
Ah yes, 1996. There were a few common things about Trinidad music in 1996; analogies about cars ("Swinging engine" anyone), standard soca chipping beats ("Short pants" by Chinese Laundry comes to mind) and General Grant. Coming out as one of the most promising artistes from the Kiskidee caravan, General Grant had a few hits under his belt by the time this came out. Additionally, by the time this song came out there also were quite a few songs using cars as a metaphor for grinding. However, this remains the most memorable of all those songs (yes, it badder than "Swinging Engine")and what makes this song stand out is General Grant's nasal delivery over the very standard soca beat. In theory, this song should not be as much fun as it is but which fella could really resist a hook combining girls and cars.. I wonder how many girls actually processed that they were being revved when they let a man take a 'small chook' to this song?
Interesting Points - General Grant's delivery on the song...he was more known for being basically a dancehall artiste before this but he fit right in on this one. The hook on this song is still one of the most fun hooks ever. Made the best use of the car/wining metaphor of all the songs that used it.

4) Xtatik - Pretty Gurl
Now I'm going to start off by saying that this may not be the most interesting song that the Taipan has ever produced ("Hard Working Dog" could be though or the first collabo with Mr. Walker). I'm also going to say that I could have easily made this list only containing songs from Mr HD. With that said, this is definitely one of the most interesting he has ever done; the intro starts off on some sentimental bullsh*t and then goes into a dub beat for the intro with some guy (Machel?) saying "pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty dolly...oooh here she come here she come". The chorus also actually calls out the names of girls to promote moments of "he called my name" amongst the more vapid of the female gender.
Interesting Points - The song is constructed perfectly to appeal to women and men; it has a sentimental sequence of tones on the intro that is also used on the chorus and he calls out girls names on the chorus which sequences into a standard dub bassline on the verses that Machel uses to 'spit game' at a girl and let her know why she really 'bess' then. The first dub-influenced Machel song. The song is credited to Xtatic (when last you hear that name?).

5) Godfather's Assylum & Treason - By De Bar
In rap there is a type of song called a "Posse cut". What is a "Posse cut" you ask? A "Posse cut" is a song that contains a gazillion rappers and one of the selling points of such a song is hearing the varied deliveries of each of the featured artistes. A good example of such a song is Triumph by the Wu tang clan. Essentially, "By De Bar" is the perfect example of a posse cut; it features the Godfather's Assylum (then was Bunji, Ninja, Scar and Benjai) and 3 Suns who went by Treason back then (Menace, Ace and Criminal). Interesting enough, the topic of this song is a common motif in rap songs where you're telling some girl that you have the bar locked down. In this song it is done but in a very Trinidadian way with a memorable hook provided by Benjai. In a nice touch, Bunji doesn't hog the spotlight in this song and Scar actually steals the show with his now signature verse on the song: "De gyal dem too bizarre, dey sight mih from far, sight Scarface in a one way car, "Take mih to de bar, buy mih caviar...". And as icing on the cake, the baddest ragga soca group ever steps up to the mic. I remember getting goosebumps when this song came out and the "Treeeaaaasooon familleee" came in on the last verse. I was like "dey on this too?".
Interesting Points -The beat: some chutney-like drum is the most prominent thing on it...its still one of my favourite soca beats ever. Godfather's Asylum and Treason on one song. Scar's verse...take mih to de bar, buy mih caviar?, good stuff. Menace coming in and totally distressing the beat at the end. Seven men on one soca song (is there another soca song with this much features?).

Alright people, that was one to five. If you have thoughts, 'leh mih know'. Da Face out. Check out de myspace page nuh...ah have a new song up there called "Uwi girls":

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

We Talent (Digicel Rising Star on a break)

Yeah man.
Is yuh boy Da Face again. Don't worry, they can't get rid of me like they did 'mih boy' Rowley. This underground trini artiste not going nowhere.

This week I had originally planned to continue my ongoing report on the Digicel Rising Star auditions but I think that audtions are on a break this week. I haven't heard anything about it, a fact made even weirder because of the fact that I was actually trying to hear something about it; a google search for Digicel Rising Star yielded the partially-working, non-updated official site and a lot of other outdated links (Rising Star 2006 anyone). In any case, it's not like I was going Tobago just to film the auditions anyways.

However, sometime last week a friend of mine told me about this competition called 'We Talent'. Now personally, I find putting 'We' in front of Trinidadian stuff is like really, really played out dude. It's kinda like putting an 'i' in front of the name of electronic devices. Nevertheless, Sunday I found myself up in the club Bleu for the auditions. In terms of numbers, the turnout was extremely underwhelming. Basically, only the people who had to be there were there; people who were auditioning, hosting or judging. On the upside, Club Bleu has a really nice ambience and was surprisingly perfect for this type of show, so much so that I was finding it hard picturing it as a place where people would go to 'pelt some waist' after work. The quality of contestants was sketchy and for this year at least it seems that We Talent will suffer because most of T+T's best talent have probably gravitated towards the better advertised Digicel show featuring the more lucrative prizes. However my underground friends, the path to greatness is not always paved in gold and you could do a lot worse than this competition. Da Face out...till next week.

A We-Talent contestant singing and original composition: "Thank you Lord"

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Trini videos on youtube part 2

Yes folks,
Is Da Face in your face again. I'm still keeping my head on and hoping that when I get old and gray, I never go batty like Paula Abdul. Damn!

Anyway, I looked hard and managed to scrape up a few youtube videos from some underground trini artistes. It's not much but it will have to do for now. Enjoy!

"Nervous Wreck" performed by DL

"Iron" performed by Spotrushaz