Wednesday, December 08, 2004
More current listening:

Pitbull - Shake It Up
I have this loose theory about crunk 'n' bubblecrunk which is that I like the latter when it's hard and the former when it's soft. I mean, stuff like "Real Big", "Fuck 'Em" and the heavy metal tracks on the new Lil Jon album are great, but mostly there's not much grr crunk that couldn't be improved by the addition of some sparkling synthesisers and pop cuteness inna "Freek A Leek" style. Pitbull is pretty softcore generally: I have to conclude that it's his Miami heritage that makes him firmly align himself with the upbeat party music side of crunk rather than its strangled-scream dystopian side.

"Shake It Up" in particular seems to constantly threaten to turn into fullblown Miami Bass or fullblown R&B. So much to love here! The sugary, multitracked female vox, the morose 80s guitar whine in the background, the fairy floss synths that hover like pink clouds around that central perky Miami Bass groove. The only thing that would improve it would be if Pitbull would launch into Spanish every once in a while. As it is I like to pretend that he's holding himself in check in accordance with gentlemanly thug-luv principles - that slightly strained straightforwardness he's employing here is like holding his hands two centimeters away from his girl and not letting them get any closer.

Highly Flammable ft. Gemma Fox, D Double E, JME, God’s Gift, Lethal B, Crazy Titch, Jamakabi, Frisko, Tinchy Stryder & Heartless Crew – Charge (Remix)
I'd been trying to remember the name of this for months and months; I should have known that my beloved Spizzazzz would have the answer all along. Anyway, this has been one of my favourite grime tracks this year, and it's definitely my favourite of the grr crash bang grime tracks (if it was a tad harder the answer would be Crazy Titch and JME's "Stop", maybe). In fact for a long time before I heard the legendary Forward Riddim I had been hoping that this was it, and I was a bit disappointed when I actually heard the latter.

"Charge (Remix)" isn't the most revolutionary piece of sonic or MC invention to come out of grime this year (but if you can ID the track on a Roll Deep Crew Freeze FM live set from March where Flo Dan freestyles over an uttterly tense eastern-riddim that sounds like Target meets Zed Bias I will love you forever); what it has in spades is sheer unstoppable energy, a forward propulsion that floods your ears with its desire to impress. The blocky rhythm (Rob Them Co OTM w/ his Ms Dynamite "Ramp" comparison) and the hype-inducing horn blasts make this highly reminiscent of "Are You Really From The Endz" and its various tuff-as-nails remixes and edits - that sort of organic rawness that's markedly different from post-"Pulse X" synthetic menace.

Right on cue every MC on track descends to near self-parody in an effort to get their basic MO across in the shortest time possible. Lethal B does it best with his straight-to-the-point "ARGH! LETHAL B'S GOT A GUN!" (complete with gunfire noises). But I mainly want to get the name of the hilarious MC who declares in a lovable high-pitched voice, "If a galla get sexual it's essential that we get sensual!" I'm sure he's terribly well-known among all the bloggers with pirate radio access. Hit me up please.


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