Sunday, December 7, 2008


You know whats sad and sort of endearing?
The amount of hits ive gotten recently from poor souls searching "lalala halehelohalow" like "english translation for lalala halehelohalow", "lalala halehelohalow helabalahehelebalo meaning", "arab money hook halehelohalow", "main chorus arab money halehelohalow", etc. I have no idea why he thought he could get away with that chorus in this day and age..

Over @ Ben Loxo, Matt recently had a guest post about Zouk, a genre worth defending. The english wikipedia zouk article is meh (but the french article is fun) ex:

"Zouk is a style of rhythmic music originating from the islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique and the former French colony of Haiti. Zouk means "party" or "festival" in the local creole of French with English influences. In Africa, it is popular in franco/luso countries, while on the African islands of Cape Verde they have developed their own type of zouk. In Europe it is particularly popular in France, and in North America the Canadian province of Quebec."

Im no expert, but does 'rhythmic music' mean anything?

Usually id post all my fav videos, but I doubt i'll win any converts. Sadly zouk is not a genre about to be featured in Fader. Esp zouk-love. The most saccarine of afro-carib 'post-colonial pop', to me its the panultimate slow dance music, influenced heavily by other sweet musics like Compas (and :. cheesy french chanson music) as well as american RnB. Its a music I probably wouldnt dig if it hadnt been such a staple in west african clubs, accompanied by riskee-for-senegal intricate grindin.


There are a number of reasons zouk is fun for me to dig a bit into. For starters, im always curious as to how music spreads thru spheres, and zouk in particular leaves me with a million questions. Why does zouk travel across francophone and lusophone countries but completely misses bordering language spheres? If the music isnt bound by one language sphere (sharing french and portuguese) why has it practically never crossed into anglo or spanish speaking territory? - especially when zouk has been so localized /adapted and embraced differently by various regions in these spheres, as Neva Wartell says:

"Today we can hear the influence of zouk in dance rhythms around the world, from Brazilian lambada to Caribbean styles as diverse as merengue and soca; from Cameroonian makossa, Congolese soukous and Cape Verdian funana to zouglou from Ivory Coast and even zouk-mbalax from Senegal."

Zouk-Mbalax : Philip Monteiro - Gainde njaay

Cape verde and west african zouk are closely linked, sharing some of the same artists (similar location, not language?). In Angola, zouk is known as Kizomba and shares a similar dramatic dancing style with brazilian zouk (language link, not location?) West African and Angolan zouk operate totally independantly (um, continant not country!) Also, Zouk is popular in France, with many crossover hits and steady influence on french RnB, but is much less visable in Portugal (France is closer linked to former colonies?). Finally, some stars tour thru / crossover everywhere. Congo-Brazzaville Zouk/coupe-decale star Kaysha's 'REPRESENT' tees and tour locales are give a good image of the widest possible zoukosphere, or Coupe-Decalesphere.

I also hear zouk in Akon's singing, subtly influencing while being influenced by the current sounds of hip-hop and RnB. Not just in its super slick vocals, but also because along with rai, zouk is something I associate with interesting autotune uses, esp as its becoming an RnB staple, as it has been in zouk for the past ~ 7 years.

old pop-zouk french crossover hit, sweet video : zouk machine - maldon

gotta say, those ladies are pretty rad..

Friday, November 14, 2008

When theres Arab Money......

**just wanted to highlight a few reactions by Arab-Americans to arab money:

"Busta Rhymes is a genius to me musically, he is someone who pioneered a style and someone I grew up listening to since the age of 13. ... But man, you know, the time and effort put into the hook by Ron Browz was really really really really depressing. At a time when our brothers and sisters are dying worldwide, we are subject to so much racism and insanity, I would want or expect a brother of this stature to speak on our people in a way that is intellectual, understanding and of growth. " - via The Narcicyst / Yassin Alsalman's clever response to arab $$


"My first thought when I heard the offensive chorus sandwiched in between gibberish "Arabic" ("The way i make the people wanna sing the hook in Arabic : LaLaLa HaleHeloHaLow/HelaBalaHeHeleBalo/We gettin Arab Money/We gettin Arab Money"): WTF Busta?" - Maytha @ Kabobfest


"At the end of the day, its up to the artist to win over the crowd. As an artist i dont do music to cater to just my people. I make music and I make a living off of it. I make it for the love of hip hop. I love my people and always represent and will always let the world know who I am and where I come form. I recommend to other up and coming artists to cater to all types of demographics and not just one group.. be diverse in your message." - Noose / Naseem


"Sometimes, people like to twist things. We ain't mockin' the culture. We ain't tryin' to be disrespectful. Ain't no racism going on right here.
If you listen to the song, you see that we are actually acknowledging the fact that the Arabian culture, a middle East culture is one of the few cultures, that value passing down hard work riches that's been built amongst the family.
It would be nice if a lot of other cultures did the same thing. Feel me? So, I would like for it to be like that in my culture where we could build things to the point where we got so much that we don't need to rely on other cultures to contribute majorly in a financial way, or in whatever other way, to societies, communities or whatever governments we might live in. So, we are actually biggin' up the culture. At the end of the day, I want to be like that. I think a lot of us want to be like that." - Busta HISSESLF


The real real arab money. Those Khaleeji arabs might get one Khaleeji $$$

ps. whaaaaaaa?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

media linkz

I'm going to miss all these songs!!!

Obama coupe-decale created by dj Kadhafi based in the Bronx @ club Zoodo, a center of nyc francafrique. Its website is in french but you can manage. They occasionally bring in some pretty big Ivorian stars, check them out!


Iran Negah is BACK online! An Irani video site w/ an array of cool vids from revolutionary anthems , beautiful silent documentaries about the Bakhtiari tribe of Persia in 1925, bling cell phone youth culture, etc..


Some dj went and made a Lebanon repping creamy house track incorporating techtonik moves and using those big yelle letters to spell out BERUIT


Galsen youth teching and insane skating across Dakar

Thursday, November 6, 2008

wah wah wah

its my blog so ill rant if I want to...

This past week ive been skitzo & range from this / omg to unbelievable rage and sadness at the passing of prop 8, which affects family friends personally as well as totally fucking breaks my heart. It may not be that bleak but it feels like the entire gay rights movement which I have participated in during my lifetime is a failure, backfiring across the country w/ at least 41 states that now have statutes and/or constitutional provisions that prohibit same-sex marriage.

I guess the narrative is that we need to step back and win the affections of the people. (o rly? gag) we laugh and joke and act all cute on tv, and people love us and presidential candidates are hamming it up with ellen and you turn around and no everyone haaates us. [ ahem .. where were you barack] I always thought courts were the way to go, pushy but less humiliating than propositions. And we're right, not with this psuedo democratic mass rule but b/c we're created equal. I dont really know whats going to happen to the gay rights movement, but for now it feels like we are back to ZERO and its mindblowingly frustrating.

I cant avoid the personal. Esp when these scum have the audacity to call themselves things like Focus on the Family. My little brother just transfered from community college and entered his first semester at SCAD in Georgia studying achitecture. I'm so proud of him! But as my only sibling who is gay, he gets the bulk of my worries. Will his generation be as scarred and dysfunctional as my parents? Like them, will his friends be refugees confined to urban centers?

Theres a quote about fellow gayspawn in this 2004 article:

"For every kid who champions the brand-new world his gay parents have created, there's another one who sees his gay parents as so banal that they're not worth mentioning, or another who resents the way her parents' sexuality has become the central feature of her life. One young woman I interviewed, an academic in her late 20's who is still close with her out gay father, recently started dating a man who told her on their first date that he didn't believe gays should raise kids. She kept seeing him anyway, as if to prove she wouldn't let that one issue define her life, wouldn't use it as the litmus test by which she judged every person she encountered."

ugh, the dreaded litmus. I hate that i feel confined to an urban liberal bubble, and I always try to escape it but no it folloooowwws me. and it will always be the test by which I judge my nation.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

USA USA USA ETAZ-UNISS .... <3 <3 <3

nervous election stomach ache...

America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!


I got up to get a drink, came back and my cat was all: get offline and vote!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

ring ring ring

Global cell phone use at 50 percent

"At present, Africa has the largest growth rate of cellular subscribers in the world, its markets expanding nearly twice as fast as Asian markets. The availability of prepaid or 'pay-as-you-go' services, where the subscriber is not committed to a long term contract, has helped fuel this growth in Africa as well as in other continents." ~ wiki

To people going global south, esp Africa, i'd say avoid internet & get a cell! a. You can integrate / meet up better b. they are cheap and c. as Carlos recently reminded me, its the main way virals and memes and such get spread. Its youtube, boombox, AIM. Plus, its the only way to learn text languages. Im particularly fasinated with Arabizi, which is easier for me b/c I can't really read arabic w/o harakat anyway and I gratefully <3 the simple grammar.

Being able to understand chat language is really useful & surprisingly hard to get w/o traveling. Ive been really pissed off at, whose message boards have always been godly while trying to write french papers or translating messages at work. But the moderators have actually deleted my recent posts asking about west african french e-speak b/c they 'werent inquiring about correct french grammar', proving once again how commited most of french language academia in the US is to maintaining their own irrelevency. porkoi?!!

Above are the strangly appealing graphics of Kosovar youtuber Legoistat, who contributes to a long line of 'local' refurbishings of universal tech noises,in this case Nokia ringtones. He also made an amazing nationalist / homophobic video which gays up all the the flags of countries that did not recognize Kosovo. Somehow the hate ends up as a magical art.

These refurbs appeal to me as a nerd and lover of what may be now "contemporary post-colonial urban electronic dance music"

msn carib/braziled:

and dancinggg

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Colin Powell Yahooze

Colin Powell - "haha god bless africa... damn I love this song ... what does it mean?"

**update that first link was broken, this video has poorer quality. Now that ive seen a few more, despite the fact he cant do it well its clear he actually knows the yahooze dance!! Did they teach him or do we both share a love of dance virals??

No, Im not going to forgive him for failing his job and country and presenting us with evidence as fact that he himself doubted. I dont think anyone should. Yet I understand he was in a bad place at a bad time. And its not so much his endorsement as his well spoken defense of american muslims that i'll give props to. amen!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

bad karma for us

What Kwaw Kese wore to his christmas concet.

With style ranging from crunk to afrobeat/rasta, he also sports a kufiya and pals around with terrorists. Theres some orientalist / che vibes in this notorious brat's latest video.

true story -

Mia mama recently found and returned my old kufiya from Oman. Her girlfriend Marisa is German and grew up as a young punkette when the wall fell. When she saw it she said:
"ohhh a Che scarf!"
"No" my mom said. "Its islamic"
I try to explain: "its like a revolutionary chic thing b/c the palistinians wear it."
"In Berlin we call it a Che scarf b/c its bad karma for us" Marisa explained. "We already killed too many jews"

Understandable yet weird that people would vibe with and embrace its revolutionaryness w/o embracing the content of its specific revolution.

ps. the wackest aspect about the obama bin laden thing is that its a product of africas mixed heritage, arabs and islam mixin up east to west coast. And when you think about most black americans with araby/islamy names, i think talib kweli, aaliyah, queen latifeh, etcccccc ie parents giving their kids afro-centric names. why? cuz US slaves are mainly from west africa, which ranges from 95% (senegal) to 20% (cameroon) percent muslim. Sooo if we really have such a problem with people with araby/islamy names or ancestry, maybe we shouldnt have forcibly brought them to our country for hundreds of years.. /rant

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Darbuka / Tablah / Tombak / Djembe & Reggaeton (!)

wikipedia says "The goblet drum (also chalice drum) is a goblet shaped hand drum used mostly in Arabic, Assyrian, Persian, Balkan, Greek, Armenian, Azeri and Turkish music. Its thin, responsive drumhead and resonance help it produce a distinctively crisp sound. It is of ancient origin, and is believed by some to have been invented before the chair."

In a recent entry, I posted sum vids of pnjbi/indo kids improving dhol beats over hh / global pop. I found a number of similar Turkish videos, featuring "darbuka mix" or "saz versions" of various global us/carib tracks. The videos aren't as fun because they aren't live, but the results are just as great.

& Missy,
Chris Brown,
Speedy & Lumidee
wait.. Speedy & Lumidee's Sentello? I was surprised reggaeton was so big in Senegal & the Maghreb, who knows why was I again surprised Turkey & the balkins love it too?

a romanian Don Omar cover:

Folks in turkey folk/breakdancing to popi chulo, drunk dancing to Dale Don Dale at a turkish wedding, Sazin up Sean Paul:

Theres a part of me that wants to believe these finds aren't random but from shared Andalusian/ triangletrade/ Mediterranean music sensibilities. (what?) but who knows. After all, you find lambada in Japan. oh wait. reasons?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

kuduro & tecktonik "débark dans la jungle urbaine"

Bondyblog(fr) does a brief write up on some kids mashing kuduro and techtonik. Its old (written in january) but the video is fun.

ohhh French charts.. zouglou dance recently peaked @ # 14 decale gwada hit # 3 this summer. I am not sure about the future of techtonik. Do the the hip androgenous children in kidtonik point to the end or deepening appeal? currently the # 4 spot is discobitch, whose obnoxious electro / terrible english verses i find strangely appealing.

clearly tho,




Known as the brokeback candidate, this hunk is running for congress in Nebraska. So far, I believe I have no hits from nebraska. But if you dont vote for him y'all not welcome here anyway. why?

the tight pants. the sparkling eyes. the oh la la :


He actually cares about the national debt:

the posi obama vibes & 'Nebraska values' :

just sayin'

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Nigerian 419 / US bailout satire here.

One of my co-workers, who is a f*$#king idiot, (dre if you see this you got owned, ilu :) ) has been chatting to a "hot woman" online for weeks before I convinced him he was being set up by 419 scammers. It revamped my 419 intrest and thanks to ghanamusic, I found a hiplife take on 'I go chop your dollar'. In case anyone is out of loop, chop ya dollar was originally a nigerian pop song performed by Nkem Owoh from the nollywood movie 'The Masters' written from the point of view of a 419 scammer and mocking the occidental mugus who fell for the schemes. As an northeast coast liberal with no small town or family values, its all robin hood / fair game to me.

At first I was gonna call out some Australian reporter for calling the scammers "internet gangsters" which sounded exaggerated/vaguely racist. But turns out there are crews who would love to be taken seriously as such. viola:

yahooooooo. wikipedia says yahoo is now slang meaninging to cheat. Which it was for a while. But now thanks to general yahoo celebrationry, it is now also, or more famously, a dance:

from this:

With 800+ youtube comments, lots of arguing about 419, his lifestyle, defending or railing against him. interesting stuff:
fatalpurity : i dont really get the money-tossing part...i know its unattractive to be the person that says this, but is this the msg naij people should be sending out? if people dont know what to do with money, abeg give it to the people that need it (not that the people in this vid have that kinda money to throw about) but others in general.its a glaring shame that shoes, rings, clothes, dogs etc etc appear to be worth more than a child's life to some celebrities (or other richos).

Essymee : I don't care what people think about Nigeria, we are always proud and I am one of the proud ones. What were you expecting in the video, people from the rural part of Nigeria or poverty? I am sure you have not being to Nigeria in years and never earned money or worked in Nigeria. Please be more objective and acknowledge what is good.

nubianbelle : i agree with essy, americans sing about crime, drugs and prostitution by justifying it as part of their culture...this song is about the struggles of young men/women in naija...its not their fault that they graduated with degrees and cannot find employment...get your priorities right and point ur fingers at the politicians

ash11x : A bunch of criminals celebrating their loot. No different from the leaders of their impoverished nation. I am ashamed folks actually like this song

emines01 : relax guys...after all we got 50 cents in the states...dey just havin a good time and putting evryone else in dat state...peace

Aihen020488 : while u guys r judging nd yabbing, dey r makin their money nd d actual yahoo boys r still doin their tin nd buyin hummers. u shud mayb start by judging d govt 4 nt providin jobs. dey r guilty of d same crime as d yahoo ppl nd even worse. these ppl 've 2 eat, at least dey r nt carring guns.

beautette : love dis song... but wats wit d dollar shit, its digrading,.... and i see dis all d time in naija films as well, i think its really stupuid 2 always see another country's currency in ur own country.. its pretty dumb period.... coming 4rm a naija girl.

MentalMindFork : im confused - what is yahooze exactly?
somethin1234 : lol i'm nigerian and i have no clue wat it means. i dont think it means anythin. i think its just a made up word for the song. its sounds cool tho. YaHoozze!!!
ajoke16 : its the online scamers hun..
BlackFistUpHigh : ok correct me if im wrong bruva , but i thought yahooze was a nigerian dance .
ajoke16 : it is??? well my friend, it's also a scamming thing!
moabite3 : no its just a frase like "just kidding"
moabite3 : it means they came from nigeria and finally made it to america
MentalMindFork : haha i'm ghanaian and i have no idea what it is!
9jaborn : if u r not nigerian or ghanian, y not ask properly abt the meaning b4 u say shit... listen carfully to the lyrics u might get the meaning if u understand 'broken english' ill give u a clue - fraud!

Tho i must admit as an internerd, I would enjoy seeing 419 scemes as a more common theme for naija/ghana hiplife and rappers. I'm curious if 419 scams a purely english phenomenom, making sense for pure numbers and the naija headedness? If so, pauvre frenchies for missing out on some great lit and the opportunity to laugh at a bumbly professor @ 3:30

In his defense, many share his view. When i would obnoxiously complain about having no internet in senegal people would scoff. The internet was still bascially seen as the pastime of 'bandits'(pronounced bhan-dee, similar to the word bandit/thugs but used in senegal from what i could fathom to mean anyone of dubious character, a term i heard most used applied to various ethic/relig groups, often as "fait attention au Tuaregs - ils ont bandits") Used primarily for porn, freakish e-dating, or scamming -like us before broadband. Using the internet in saint-louis is a bitch. yo, broadband for afrika.

ESP SENEGAL!! I keep wanting to post fresh mbalax clips, but the terrible quality and lack of quantity are KILLING. like everything and is for example things such as THIS! :


Ok so I'm super amused by a dutch (ngo?) called ghettoradio which posts videos and radio from the "ghettos" of Africa. Theres something really problematic about what they are doing, namely totally aestheticising the poverty of others, so I was surprised to enjoy them. The videos are mostly just walking around talking to people. Its just fun to watch a dakar bar owner talk about his business, or what a boy in soweto thinks about bob marley:

"Bob marley is more famous than anyone in South Africa"
Ive been catching up on a lot of 'African' movies this summer. I didnt like Bling, although it does have some interesting footage. The whole Democracy in Dakar series felt a little forced and one sided. Both felt too messagey w/o actually delving into the message - like, how exactly does the diamond industry function or feed war or interact with global markets, or what exactly are youth in dakar protesting and how does hiphop influence elections. Otherwise it becomes speak for vs. speak with, sort of what Johan is saying here, that great art is automatically less problematic. There are a few great films though, particularly Sissako's. He has an intersting style annndddd btw, If anyone is curious about Nollywood film, I recommend signing up to izognmovies. Not to sound like a commercial but they have a really broad collection of free or 99¢ english language nollywood films, not amazing streaming quality but def worth a few dollars to check out!

So back to ghettoradio, i think ghetto is just a weird term to use when talking about urban africa. Here, ghetto is a reclaimed word - ghettofabulous, etc. But i think its up to populations to use or reclaim that term. Ghetto comes from jewish ghettos, & is described as a "portion of a city in which members of a minority group live especially because of social, legal, or economic pressure." Which doesnt really work for African cities. The UN uses slum, legitly resisted by many, but fits better as according to wikipedia "other terms that are often used interchangeably with "slum" include shanty town, favela, skid row, barrio, ghetto, and "The Hood," although each of these has somewhat different meaning. ... By contrast, identification of an area as a slum is based solely on socio-economic criteria, not on racial, ethnic, or religious criteria." So i'll just go with 'informal settlements found in cities in the developing world, most which lack clean water, electricity, sanitation and other basic services.' which = ~ 50-90% of most urban populations. Thus, not a minority with its own subculture but most people in cities, whose music culture often dominates national radio.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Ramadan Kareem رمضان كريم

I just wanted to post some of the lovely Ramadan artz I have been seeing today. Ramadan Mubarak to all who celebrate!

Friday, August 29, 2008


The Rai'n'B compilations were pretty big a few years back and featured famous hits like 'un Gaou a Oran', 'Mon Bled', 'C Chô, Ca Brûle', a la french urban sounds. I'm not sure if African Tonik is going to be on the latest Rai'n'B release, but I'm excited to hear Rai'n'B Fever 3 comes out october 6th. If not the mix already has some great updates:

As for fun internet finds, I found yet another mix with African Tonik, a way less predictable mix by Dj Kayz. PARIS! NEW YORK! ORAN! I'm happy to see the Ivorian presence on the mix as well:

Blog searching also got me to Cyan Wait, which posts fun music but kinda creeps me out with its naked women american apparelish porno chic vibes..



African Tonik + world + Internet = lovely fruitssss

I found African Tonik bouncing around here, on an amazing mix of reggaeton (/dancehall/rnb) songs, many quite arab/desi informed. The blog is bursting with electro reggaeton, and pointed me to a lot of interesting tracks ie FRESH FRESH global reggaeton. Also, check out the genres in the label list on the side : Reggaeton, RNB, Dance Hall, House, Elektro, Mamboton, Soca, Remix, Reggae, Hip Hop, Reggaeton Romantico, Caribbean, Latin, Rai'N'b, Bachata, Bachaton, Flamenco-RNB, Merengue, Salsaton, Slow RNB, Anime, Arabic, Cubaton, Elektro-Reggaeton, German RNB, Mixtape, Party Music, Spanish, Tropical!!! NU-Whirled indeed!

Thanks to DA-Cri-EM, aside from all the electro-reggaeton, Ive also found found AMAZING electro/desi/dancehall tracks by Baba Khan like Tonight:

(electro-reggaeton?)(electroton?)(electron?)Rakim Y Ken-Y Come On:

and African Tonik fits right in!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

SeneRap, Rap Galsene : Hip Hop SeneGal

According to my stats, 'rap galsene' is currently the top search term thru which people find my blog, so I figured why not actually post about it.

Damn! It's so fun to see how rap galsene has developed since kicking around the region!

First of all, theres a lot more pure party beats than I remember. Senegal's never had a lack of dance music, so rap has often been free to be delightfully mellow. This seems to be changing, not that all hh is now 'booty beatz' but that rap galsene is becoming a more recognizable part of Senegalese dance music, largely by incorporating dancier pan-African or American hh styles. Here's a Snazzy video + serious crunky BASS:

Secondly, theres generally never been many Senegalese rappers who made my jaw drop in pure flow skill, and Ive been more interested in the beats, message, and incorporation of local soundscapes. A lot of early rap galsene, like a lot of old school American hh had a really simple rhyme scheme (every measure, etc). In the past few years I've seen seen more irregular, complex ryhme schemes for example Xuman & Amen-Ô-Fils' Bal Bi, tho it prolly doesnt sound worth noting to peeps with less galsene experience. It's another club track:

Im all for fantasy spaces, and I know its equally ridiculous in the U.S., but its lol to imagine anyone in Senegal actually living out that 1st video and cruising a street in a pretty conservative Muslim country and finding a babe in a bikini washing a convertible in public. Its not surprising that its got people talking.**(see below)

But hey don't let those videos give you the wrong idea of the current face of Senegalese hh as they exist within a really diverse roomy music scene & roots rap is still. dominant. esp when compared to Cote D'Ivoire, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, etc.. Xuman (above) is also responsible for some crazy creative tracks, such as the following about domestic violence, presented in a pretty humorous way. The wife here is a 'victim' but also pretty capable of defending herself ball twisting style. K.O.!!!
Xuman - buki ak mbaam:

Boima just posted some tunes from the new compilation Lessons Learned featuring Islamic hip hop from north and west Africa. My fav part is Sister Fa's catchy, breezy chorus of Selebou Yoon [mp3]. However my all time favorite Islamic hip hop song is an old one, Bidew Bu Bess's 'Baye' which my pot smoking, sufihead pals would BLAST from their dorm. The chorus incorporates Sufi religious chants, a major part of the Senegal soundscape:

Once every 3-4 weeks on campus at least one brotherhood would have a holiday or religious scholar / leader visiting. This merits setting up enormous speakers and echoey microphones under a tent and chanting (or sometimes walking in circles) ALL NIGHT MIND NUMBINGLY LOUD from about 7-8 in the evening till the first prayer call in the morning at ~ 6 am in the courtyards of dorm buildings. A pretty beautiful, amazing thing to witness the first 1-2 times but becomes incredibly aggravating if you want to say, write a paper or get some sleep before an exam the next day. Like this for 11 hrs:

**It's really fun when I find discussions in the comments on various African music sites engaging similar questions as the folks at and dutty artz.

smut/slackness and vacant lyrics (senegal)
negative influence of american pop (ghana)
debating "western" mbalax artists & audiences (senegal)
understanding lyrics (senegal)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Afrika Youtube extravaganzathon

French tecktonik meets Algerian rai meets Ivorian coupe decale meets Guinean Afropop meets Hip Hop in Mokobe's song 'African Tonik'.

What?! They made a new sexier video! (with way better sound) I was originally going to post this video with my commentary, got bored with the idea, but now decided to do it anyway with my comments from the old video b/c im LAZY:

:01 aiight with a french accent.
:09 yeediii yedeeii - tu te rapple? ouiaa but what is this word?? Hes referencing Mohamed Lamines chorus of 'un gaou oran'.
:18 old people schtick. yesssss.
:19 trancy araby technoey noize loop. rai/arab pop/eurobeatttt. I'm sure theres more of this, but where? amazing!
:41 Coupe decale style. yessss. oh wait, I barely recognized him all glossed up, thats DJ ARAFAT.
:50 again, Mohamed Lamine! to me, vocoder = rai so when all this t pain vocoder/autotone love swept up lately ive been sorta hoping rai might surface strongly up somewhere. yesssss. Lamine has some fun rai only vids.
1:05 harp/kora kicks in and Mory Kanté pops up. his voice style is that baba maal / uber mali/ senegal/ guinee/ gambia / the western sahel sound that can be be echoy, sweet and dizzying in mbalax or uber soul gutting in its folksier rootsy deserty "blues" expression (think Xala soundtrack, not Tinawaren) anyway, yesssssssss. Kanté is old school afropop.
1:28 chubby singing kid. very meme - y. very internet. also, he stole kanyes glasses!
1:41 fat people replace old people.
2:28 GAY! yeah we are all in spandex dancing like fools, but were not gay, ok??? see? look men touching oops ew. NOTE: this part is no longer in the new video, looks like somebody said something? or maybe cuz it obnoxiously stopped the flow?
2:37 again that nice noize. thnx to all involved in this techno/trance & hip-hop love affair fad thing.
2:47 fat people replaced by tecktonik lessons! yesss
3:05 um.. who invented this ridiculous urban day glo style? when / where did all that electroclash get hip hop filtered into this aesthetic? everybody mentions it, has anybody written more about it?
3:06 keffeyis attack! weird that its in a "rai" vid. or is it more duh than wow?
3:31 awww drumming kid
4:00 full dance party commences
4:05 again... wtf is Lamine sayinnnnnggg? :( so far I can't find lyrics yet.
4:27 cest ca! (qui a la verite)

It seems like Mokobe is continuing along the lines of his 113 rai'n'b fever work. RIM'K also released a solo album last year with an interestingly titled single "l'Espoir des Favelas", showing shots from across france of it's "favelas" mixed w/ shots of brazil and algeria.

The rai'n'b mixing seems natural, like if everyone in paris is mixing their national musics with hip hop, why not just start blending them all together? He does seem to have his hands in a ton of this years amazing stuff. I recently saw him pop up in a Alex dioufaniokhobaay video, whom calls "le bow wow senegalais" :

Alex also shows up in this video with AKON, showing his crazy popularity in senegal, i haven't seen much footage of him there:

Speaking of senegal's music gods, how sweet is Youssou's dramatic intro to his live dvd album? part fantasy, part real, he emerges:

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Gay President

I just googled "ethnically gay" & found this:

"It has been two years since I moved back to San Francisco. ... An entirely new 21st-century urban high-density city is rising. Dire, street-survival poverty jostles up against an unprecedented exuberance of über-conspicuous consumption here. As gay community scholar Gayle Rubin remarked at a recent GLBT Historical Society presentation, our painted lady is being transformed into a "command city for the 21st century." Like Hong Kong or Dubai, it is a "desirable" place for the new global corporate elite to build their personal homes. ...

And as cities have become desirable again, deeper-pocket interests have been gentrifying the gays out of their urban enclaves all across the country. The Castro, our own homegrown "ethnically" gay neighborhood and symbolic (if less frequently visited) gay capital of the United States, suddenly looks like the last "traditional" gay neighborhood. As the Castro has been turning a bit seedy, local queer pride and, increasingly, the city planning and tourism boards see it as the Gay Capital of the World. Herein lies the ironic paradox today: as gay folk have been disappeared by AIDS or sucked into the queer diaspora, gays and straights alike see this newly "ethnic" community through gently softening lenses, engulfed in cloud-shrouded images of quaint, nostalgic, queer white picket fences."

- Les Wright, part 1 & part2

Growing up straight in a gay family I've come to think of myself as "ethnically gay" ie. gay culture being my culture, values, and community; place of origin. Ive noticed other "second generation" peeps speak similarly. I can't betray my people so it pretty much sums up my politics and influences my relationships, career, spirituality, etc. Also my notions of race. Thus, I feel my racism / ideas of race and class come out of racism within the gay community vs. middle class America per se.

It also informs how I see Obama. When he dismisses the cheap radicalism or the apologetics 'excuses & blaming' of black America while totally understanding and sympathizing, I get it. I dismiss the cheap radicalism or the constant apologetics excuses & blaming of gay America while totally understanding and sympathizing. As he is a biracial man who worries about appearing too black or too white I worry about me and my family appearing too gay or my own ability to pass as totally straight (ie. deliberately misleading people about my family, something i do all the time). Not to say i understand at all what racism feels like, but that i sympathize with his unique dual position and all the complications that come with it. We are both bizarre, unique productions of changing times.

For me Obama is also exciting in perhaps foolish ways - if sax-playing bill was dubbed the first "black" president then to me Obama, with all his metrosexual tendencies, is the first "gay" president. He exudes a very casual yet meticulous (gay culture informed) masculinity tho he might mention faith & pander (and trouble me) when it comes to gay rights. But how would his election affect American masculinity?

I know a lot of gays esp. boys who embrace pieces of hh & 'black' masculinity, and I'm curious as to when, where, and why I see so many black men embrace metrosexuality [the trappings of yet not actual gayness = whiteness / class ? The trappings of blackness = masculinity? ]. These two cultures deal with similar presence/absence in the public sphere. Both appropriations seem increasingly common. Both are somewhat awesome. Both are also offensive.

ps. hmm?
pps: speaking of gayness, i LOVE this video:

the shocking truth @ 4:11!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

stuff showing up places

I recently found an amazing kiswahili cover of Nancy Ajram's Yay, called sina hali by mask girls:

I heard whiffs of Arabic pop played in west afrique, and I always thought it was a Muslim Maghreb cultural connection. But this song is Tanzanian, and suggests perhaps a wider sub-saharan influence / linkages of Arabic pop in the continent. or perhaps a specifically tanzanian (&somali?) concoction? Im interested in how these links play out on the east coast.

I love the bubbling flustered girlishness jumping around these vocals. Nancy sings:

"yay, the charm of his eyes, his looks, once our eyes met ... I forgot my name"

also this:

Although this video's basic premise could beget major analyses, I'm less interested in what snoop is doing in the punjab (or australia?) and that now classic bhangra / hip-hop mix than I am in what hes wearing on his neck @ 1:38. After reading too many Hawgblawg posts Ive become a kuffiya hawk and was totally surprised to see one show up here on a Sikh character of a bollywood film.

Is this just the crazy aimless spreading of international fashion? Was it adopted obliviously for more 'punjabi' flair? Are kufiya so linked with edgy hip-hop culture its adopted as a signifier here? or is this a delibrate mashing of a new urban third/forth-world/global south pride chic? After all, with its sparta references and sarcasm it seems pretty u.s. culture saavy..

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Mauritainian youth say whhhhhhaaatt??

I thought it would be fun to post some interesting opinions / reactions from a debate some mauritainians were having about the coup. Warning: loosely (poorly) translated by moi.

"en tous cas moi j'opte pour que les americains ns envoient des contegents pour raser ces imbeciles qui ne sont la que pour remplir leur compte."

"In any case I opt that the americans send contingents to demolish these imbeciles who are only here to fill their pockets."

**note** Its pretty interesting to hear somebody wishing the U.S. would invade their country. It shakes my perspective a bit.

"moi c ki me choque c, en plein crise économique, on a dépensé du fric pour fabriquer les bulletins de vote, toute la mauritanie c'est rendu aux urnes pour voter et aprés tout cela la situation change en quelques minutes."
"what shocks me personally is that in the middle of an economic crises, we spent money to print the ballots, all of mauritania goes to the polls to vote and after all of that the situation changes in a few minutes."

"Le pays va vachement mal,et tant que ces généraux fictifs sont toujours là alors, la situation que vivent les peuples mauritaniennes restera cyclique.Il faut les raser et je pense que c'est l'unique solution pour qu'on puisse initier la démocratie qu'on attendait depuis prés d'un démi siecle."
"the country is doing terribly, and as long as the sham generals are still here the situtation in which the mauritainian people ar eliving with remain cyclical. we must remove them, i think thats the only solution with which we can initiate the democracy we have waited for almost half a century."

"Mes fréres, un coup d'etat de tel genre n'est jamais valable.Mais, nous tous nous savons que le pays va mal, et que Sidi n'arrivais pas à regler le Bléme dépuis des mois,il a changé dans une année 3 fois le gouvernement. Mais tous cella, ne mérite un coup d'etat, les militaires pouvaient démande aux peuples de sortir pour démander le depart de Sidi, comme ce qui est passé aux iles de comore, dans ce cas s'il refise, les militaires auront les soutients de l'union Africaine, union europeen,des nation unis."
"my brothers, a coup d'etat of this type is never valid. But we all know the country was not going well, an that Sidi was not managing well for months. he changed the government 3 time in one year. But all that does not merit a coup. The military could have asked the people to demonstate for Sidi's resignation, such as what happened in the commoros iles, in this case if he refused the army could have assisted an organized effort by the African Union, European Union or the United Nations."

"les mauritanien la plus parts c des imbécilles ou des ignorant..dir ke certain poppulations sorte pour manifester en favuer des poutchiste! mmmrrrdd!
on s"en bate des kouille de leurs politike et des millitaire. nous on fait du fric. et vs devriez en faire autant, et laisser c lapidé avec leurs propre sorts. faite du fgric les jeunes, et ne vs intérraissez pas à ces cloone."

"Most Mauritanians are idiots or ignorant..To think that some parts of the population go out and demonstrate in favor of those who did the coup! shit! We don't give a fuck about their politics or their army. We make cash and you should too, leave them to handle their own fate. youth - Make cash and don't pay attention to those clowns!"

"Un pays qui va mal sans democratie sans dignité sans respect pour son peuple. 3 president en espace de 3ans! les militaires ont aujourdhui confirmé une fois de plus qu'il etaient les maitres de ce pays et c'est eux qui dirigeaient et pas sidi que son election a la tete de la president ne servait que de decoration pr le pays... kan ya pas de bon gouvernment yarra tjrs une division d'ethinique!"
"A country goes poorly without democracy without dignity without respect for its people. 3 presidents in the space of 3 years! Today the military has confirmed one more time that they are the real masters of this country and its them who rule and not Sidi whose election to president served as nothing but a decoration for their country. ... when there is no good government there is always an ethnic division!

Via a messageboard some friends were writing on. im paranoid. Not like my blog gets any traffic, but im a little hesitant to link up to this e-convo w/ everybody's attached personal profiles last names and locations and such until i know more about whats going on la-bas.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

شرف إخاء عدل Honor, Fraternity, Justice ?

Paint on boat, Nouadhibou - Mauritaine

Speaking of CONTEXT, Mauritania's military seized power yesterday and removed from office the country's first democratically elected president in over 20 yrs. To me, an unexpected blow, tho this seems to have been brewing for the past year or so.. I've been writing optimistically [naively] about Mauritania's 2005 onward slow shift towards democracy and recent discovery of oil, and what it could mean for the next generation of Mauritanians. B/c its so isolated yet connected, 'Arab' and 'African' yet neither, and so rarely written about, Mauritania was a really interesting/fresh space for me to examine all those themes of petrocracy, global china, terrorism, race, human migration, desertification and global warming, etc in college. So it goes.

sand dunes devouring the capital [Nouakchott]

Of course, its all hella complicated. a: The president was fairly corrupt and a previous coup leader himself b: the same military leaders who took control were some of the same ones involved in democratization efforts. c: Public anger at the govt for failing to protect them from rising food prices and costs of living may have helped push public opinion against the ex-pres Sidi. but in terms of optimism, and the future of race relations this feels like a huge step backwards. Like in the Sudan, southern "black Africans" have huge legitimate issues with the minority "northern Arabs" totalitarian rule (oversimplification of course, the majority are mixed race). Race riots and isolated incidents of and fears of ethnic cleansing have led to refugee populations, and the new democracy was organizing repatriation and nobody is sure what is going to happen to them now..

if you want more info, the bbc, nytimes, and even aljazeera have released vague, unhelpful reports. The most useful to understand the recent coup in context for me has been Western Sahara info (esp comments),The moor next door, and Mosaic.

sum wonderful awkward Mauritanian (puelar) dancehall/hiphop

Monday, July 28, 2008


love this mini youtube trend:

It seems great in that its improv'ed "trad" beats over hip hop vs. my usual sense of mixing and improving beats over trad indian soundz. (or maybe i just dig them brit/pnjbi accents)


Sunday, July 6, 2008


After rolling my eyes at the Fader's mini presentation of Coupé-Décalé, especially the comment "I could get all anthropological and delve into the context of it but other more knowledgable people have already done that" with a link to this wikipedia article with only a wee little paragraph on Coupé-Décalé.

I've seen a lot of write-ups which describe it as a 'hot new scene' (umm at least 5yrs late) & after searching the anglosphere for better sources i found a serious lack of info. I know that new documentary is coming out which will prolly give people a better sense of the music's context and history but i figured id try to help out by adding some francophone knowledge to the mix and give Coupé Décalé its own wikipedia article. It's very adhok right now, im hoping people add and edit to what i started.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008



I made a minimix of pop songs I like todayyy - reggada, ethiopian dance remix, etc.


loooovvveee dancinnnnn


Monday, June 30, 2008

Tech weh yuself

Wayne @ has, as usual, written a really interesting post on chabbi and how it might/ might not fit into the 'ghettotech' umbrella.

If the guys in those chaabi videos were a street gang, holding guns & wearing kiffeyehs people would eat it up?

back when i was runnin my mouth, complaining about bizzarro distorted concepts of african music wayne quoted me (theantisuck) here.

I said - The roots obsessed decry Hip-Hop for losing touch with indigenous sounds. They blame American rap for destroying indigenous sounds yet they love ali farka toure, amadou &mariam, ethiopiques, ie. things that sound like American jazz and rock music. Then you have hipsters into African rap scenes, daraa j, kuduro, trying to find the music with the most dangerous street cred/booty beats and/or backpacker rap in Africa. Both “scenes” are perhaps dying yet so small and insignificant as to be nearly nonexistent next to the reality of African pop music and the actually huge scenes alive and well of coupe-decale, mbalax, swahili pop, zouk.

This isn’t to say that kuduro isn’t fascinating, especially from an academic perspective. It's just that I find it disquieting to see western audiences picking and choosing and making their own African celebrities and ideas of African music that seems so detached - in fact largely IGNORES much of the most popular African musical trends and artists celebrated across the continent. We seem to be creating our own African music scenes in our heads yet ignoring the scenes alive and kicking. Is this so bad or understandable? What are the consequences?

He responded by saying some legit points like we don’t have to listen to what's popular, shouldn’t worry too much about heisenbergian effects, and are coming from our own American, hip hop informed perspective.

Wayne asks: “Where are the Asian, Middle Eastern, or even European standard bearers for the global proles, if that’s what we’re repping?” global proles? I don’t feel like that’s what ghettotech is repping, even Wayne's stated bloggy interest is ‘American’ music, even in its broadest sense.

Ghettotech is music that is identifiably both ghetto (poor, urban, [hopefully black?]) and tech (what Wayne calls ““hip-hop logic” as well as the audibility of certain technologies and a set of sonic priorities weighted toward the low-end & the polyrhythmic”)

I feel like it would be hard to find Asian, Middle Eastern and Euro musics that fit entirely into that category. low-fi, urban, poor, sure. But they are just not engaged in the same intense dialogue with hip-hop as the Americas and Africa. I think that music comes from a totally different soundscape than that ol time triangular trade route of bodies/culture. Also not black. Race is probably an issue here.


Since runnin my mouth it turns out I was too cynical, at least about coupe decale. The mixtapes were already brewin. I can't even say I know mucho about African music anyway. Most of my knowledge is from living in Senegal in 2006 and the contacts I’ve maintained with friends there and diasporic shops/contacts. I think the distortion is also b/c African music is so mixtape/radio/adhoc spread. In Saint-Louis when I wanted to buy a cd I would tell shop owner Lamine what sounds I was interested in and ask about songs id heard at the club the night before and he would burn me a mix. no cd sales info. Even in JA, there’s trustworthy charts. So far I have been able to find no sort of trustworthy parallel African music charts. I feel like nobody has any idea what the people are actually listening to and so it’s hard to gauge context when discussing African music. If anyone begs to differ send me some links.

My orig point in that quote is that as somebody who just loves African pop music I love a lot of ghettotech music and the scenes occasionally awesome reflective engagement but find its limited scope frustrating. When I try to go to most clubs or music shops its arggg all marketed into that ol world music/nu whirled music ideas of African music. I wish there was a 3rd way audience dance/club scene that embraced global beats w/o always being ghettoed or downtempoed. But I dont think we are at a point where its easy to get direct engagement yet, so these scopes and ranges, i think, still matter. Not b/c of a few blogs influencing a music scene far away, but perhaps in terms of U.S. distribution.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Robbers, bandits, and blood-sucking vampires

"Average CEO compensation grew by 3.5 percent last year despite slowing economic growth, falling profits and mass layoffs, according to an Associated Press review published Monday. The review found that the S&P 500 CEO received an average yearly compensation of $8.4 million, up $280,000 (an average raise that is the equivalent of six times the US median household income) during 2006.

The data render ridiculous those apologies for social inequality resting on the idea that CEO pay is linked to ‘performance’ in some meaningful way. The Associated Press review found that “CEO pay rose or fell regardless of the direction of a company’s stock price or profits.” The report also notes that half of the 10 best paid CEOs—who collectively hauled in half a billion dollars last year—presided over companies whose profits shrank “dramatically.”

John Thain, the CEO of Merrill Lynch, ranks first on the list. He received $83 million in compensation for the year, despite presiding over a company that posted a $9.8 billion loss in the fourth quarter. He replaced former CEO Stanley O’Neal on December 1, 2007. O’Neal left the bank with a compensation package worth over $161 million, despite his direct oversight of the bank’s gambling with mortgage-backed securities that ultimately exploded in 2006-2007.

Likewise, John Mack of Morgan Stanley, also in the top 10, received a compensation package worth $41.7 million, even though his firm announced the writing down of $9.8 billion worth of loans and a loss of $3.61 billion in the fourth quarter.

The housing bubble and the worldwide financial crisis it has created were fueled by people like Mack and Thain, as well as the enormously wealthy shareholders they represent.

In good times, financial executive compensation has been tied to increases in stock value and short-term asset performance. But it does not seem to track the downward spiral as these measures fall. In recent years, financial executives have swelled their bonuses by buying up huge tracts of “mystery-meat” securities with high yields and intentionally miscalculated risk.

This reporter recently attended a lecture by David Hartzell, a former vice-president of Salomon Brothers, who played a role in the development of the mortgage-backed securities that were instrumental in creating the current crisis. He noted that by repackaging bad mortgages as high quality securities, his firm could generate previously unimaginable profits. “When we first discovered this, it was like somebody turned on the cash spigot,” Hartzell said. Naturally, a great deal of this cash made it into executives’ pockets.

The latest figures have already evoked calls from sections of the business press for greater corporate oversight of CEO activities and compensation. Much of this comes in the form of “shareholder activism,” as if the biggest shareholders did not approve the policies implemented by financial CEOs when they sent stock prices and dividends soaring.

Questions along these lines were raised at Hartzell’s speech at the University of Delaware. The dean of the university’s business college observed, “In accounting 101 we learn that high yields equal high risk. We know the CEOs had an incentive to disregard this because they were getting huge bonuses. But why didn’t the shareholders say anything?”

Hartzell did not have a ready answer, but it does not take much soul-searching to find one. The wealthy shareholders—those with real voting power—were perfectly happy to see the financial firms’ profits and stock prices skyrocket, even at the expense of long-term stability, and to give top executives tens of millions for making this happen.

Looking at the AP compensation report, one is struck by the apparent correlation between a CEO’s pay and the amount of social harm his or her company inflicts. The bankers who triggered a worldwide financial crisis got the biggest bonuses. Then we have the energy executives, whose compensation shot up some 32 percent last year as gas prices breached $4 per gallon, sharply reducing the real incomes of millions of working people.

Bob Simpson of XTO Energy took home $50 billion in compensation in 2007, ranking him at number four this year. Other energy executives on the list included Eugene Isenberg of Nabors Industries and Ray Irani of Occidental Petroleum, who took home $44 billion and $34 billion respectively.

Other bonus hikes went to executives who succeeded in destroying jobs and driving down wages. Rick Wagoner of General Motors received a compensation package of $15.7 million, up 60 percent from the previous year, despite presiding over a company that posted a $39 billion loss in 2007. He was, however, successful in scrapping GM’s healthcare obligations to workers and pushing through plant closures.

And what have been the social consequences of all this? Who has paid the cost of this enrichment of a tiny layer at the top of the social ladder? According to the latest estimates, one in twenty Americans will soon have negative equity in their homes, and millions already face foreclosure. Energy prices have shot up by 17 percent in the past year alone. Real wages have fallen by about 1 percent during the same period, with far steeper declines threatened."

US: CEO pay sets new record as economy tanks.
via jdean