“Having gay sex to homophobic reggae is almost as thrilling as blowing lines to anticocaine reggae” reads one of the Rizzla tweets that the Generation Bass blog showcased while debuting the new Blk.Adonis collaboration EP yesterday, whose title is a double play on Jamaica’s beleaguered People’s National Party and “Party and Play,” i.e. drug-fueled gay sex.
For those used to dance music that packs a little less of an socially inquisitive punch, Rizzla’s statements can come off as a little confusing. Is this critical of dancehall? Professing a love for it? Wedged somewhere uncomfortably between these two sentiments?
I’m more familiar with Rizzla than Blk. Adonis, but I can speak to the huge respect that I’ve seen Rizzla proclaim for the dancehall, reggae and soca genres that the “PNP EP” runs through a gauntlet of washing machine style throbbing basslines.
And while the “PNP EP” is full of twisted vocal snippets and amen breaks with sinister ha’s layered in between liquid drum & bass that on first listen might not resemble a dancehall influence, spending some time with it you can see a re-contextualized pastiche of dance music that’s both critical and embracing of the source material it draws inspiration from. At least, maybe. Maybe I’m not so sure.
To that effect, it’s a shame that Rizzla’s now defunct Wasted Youth Soundsystem blog isn’t still active, since it’s maybe a good place to look for more contextualization of the music. As well as pointing out the political hypocrisies of some queer circles exercising an outernational pursuit of sanctions against reggae artists, WYS also had tons of amazing soca edits and great articles, like this one on Gay Imperialism by Jin Haritaworn. If you’re interested in reading more about Rizzla’s relation to the politics of Jamacian music and North America’s somewhat neo-imperialist motivated persecution of it, it’s a great blog to spend some time on, as well as the comments in this thread of the Wayne and Wax blog for his take on imperialism and dancehall.
But geez, enough politics – what does this EP sound like? Pretty fantastic, actually. “PNP” sounds like a slice of moody, dark, cough syrup injected dancehall gets rubbed all over with KY Jelly and starts a wrestling match with Kingdom. “She Only Dance” pitches the phrase ‘she only dance to reggae and calypso’ to a uncomfortably high level, and envelops it in a castle of pounding kick drums, eerie vocal echos and rhythmically aggressive SOS signal bleeps.
“Go Straight Vs. So Fine” is total warehouse fare, integrating dissonant ha beats sampled from the MAW classic staple around some heavy, heavy jungle beats. Finally, the closer “Bekiki” is described fantastically by Generation Bass as being a “melancholy future-bashment” piece of work, and showcases a slower burning style of production that still fits extremely well with the vibe of the rest of the EP.
Download the full EP below, courtesy of Generation Bass (thanks folks)!
BLK.ADONIS + Rizzla – PNP EP
2 SHE ONLY DANCE
3 GO STR8 vs SO FINE