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How Big Is Your World? DJ Class – “Bitch Ass Niggarrrrr”

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(photo by Josh Sisk)

DJ Class’ new track, titled um, “Bitch Ass Niggarrrrr” arrives at an interesting time for club music. Elements of the Baltimore sound have made their way to the radio (from four-on-the-floor pap like Usher’s “O.M.G,” to Waka Flocka Flame’s violent, dance records full of gun-shot percussion and more shouting than rapping) and into art-rap (Kanye’s “All Of The Lights” and Lil B’s “Ride Up” to name two up-to-the-minute examples), but club music itself remains as underground as ever. And if there were a sign that hometown producers are finally sick of trying to court mainstream attention, it would be this convulsive, completely off-putting, weirdly catchy track from Mr. “I’m The Ish” himself. A hybrid of two club classics (Class’ own “Tear Da Club Up” and Scottie B’s “Niggaz Fightin”), featuring an artfully chopped Boondocks sample (shades of Class’ masterful “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” refix) that couldn’t be less radio-friendly (or human friendly for that matter) and some incongruous auto-tune crooning, “Bitch Ass Niggarrrrr” is a harebrained attempt to merge Class’ singular street-pop sensibility with the kind of defiant, anti-social club music that he helped create almost twenty years ago–and it works way better than it really should.

Written by Brandon

November 12th, 2010 at 6:49 am

Ghetto Techno

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The video for DJ Class’ “I’m the Shit” finally dropped and though it’s a tad too low-budget for it’s own good, it’s also sorta perfectly insular and Baltimore, full of cameos (Sean Caesar, DJ Booman, Jimmy Jones, Mullyman, Labtekwon, lots more), and within that insularity, grabs some of the equally, awesomely weird plurality of the city’s current club scene: Thugs, nerds, skateboard hipster types, old dudes, really hot girls, the whole deal. The song’s still thrilling and one can imagine it losing none of its dancefloor power in ten years when it’s still a club staple.

At the My Crew Be Unruly 2 event back in July, there was a point where Baltimore’s James Nasty got a big, sly grin on his face and dropped 2 Hyped Brothers and a Dog’s “Doo Doo Brown”–those super-identifiable, down-tuned keys on the intro rolling out to a room of shouts, screams…hands thrown in the air showing approval. The song’s from 1991.

It’s worth pointing out that the videos for “Doo Doo Brown” were directed by a then, not that well-known Baltimore video director named Chris Robinson. This Class video’s produced by Chris Robinson’s Robot Films, directed by some dude named Iren. A few people’ve mentioned a rumor that Chris Robinson wants to do a documentary on Club music, a piece of information that even as rumor floating around is enough to make me cry with excitement.

That said, there’s a sense that “I’m the Ish” has already been passed over by the main, mainstream and I doubt DJ Class or Unruly Records care all that much. This is a good thing. Club music needn’t be Crunk or Hyphy or Jerk music or whatever, a blast of popularity followed by nothing really…all the artists crawling back and doing what they do. Nothing wrong with that, but sometimes I feel like my city’s musical heart couldn’t handle it.

-Pitbull “Juice Box” (Produced by DJ Class)

Production work like this is hopefully how Baltimore’s homegrown, handmade, worker-bee, avant dance music’ll wedge its way into the mainstream. Less classicist than “I’m the Ish”–this is closer to what you’ll hear young people in a club dancing to right now–it’s all the rubbery horns of newer Club music while wrapping the sound around an aggressive template basically invented by DJ Class on his old club hit “Tear Da Club Up”. Pitbull slaps on a regrettably silly hook–in Baltimore Club, there’s no interest in euphemism–but he chant-raps around the beat enough and knows when to be quiet and let the menacing club drone takeover and a few listens in, even the hook totally destroys.

-Jay Z “Ghetto Techno” (Produced by Timbaland)

Daniel Krow already pointed out that this song is a kind of remake of Rod Lee’s “Dance My Pain Away” which is pretty fascinating. Undoubtedly, there’s some Club influence in Timbaland’s work and so, who knows when and how this song came about.

It’s basically a late 90s Club production dipped in Timbaland’s video game electronics sheen. Did Timbaland give this to Jay with an mp3 of Rod Lee’s local hit attached? Between Kanye, Pharrell, and TImbaland, some of Jay’s closest musical collaborators are/were fucking with Club music. I’d like to think this song was recorded a bunch of months ago when the success of “I’m the Ish” made it seem like maybe, just maybe, Club music would be the next production trend to jump on and so, Jay did his approximation.

And it’s a damned good one. A respectful one too. The Club aspects go beyond the production and into Jay’s hook and verses and even the working-class thematics of the whole thing. Jay’s a killer mimic, he knows how to inhabit other rappers’ flow and cadences and here, he does a fairly convincing throaty Rod Lee yell. Kinda like how Jay does this startlingly hilarious 50 Cent impression at the beginning of “Hate”.

further reading/viewing:
-”The Right Track(s)” by Daniel Krow
-DJ Class and DJ Scottie B performing “Tear Da Club Up” at MCBU2
-”Pharrell and Twista Discover Baltimore Club” by Tom Breihan
-”My Crew Be Unruly 2: Words and Photos” by Josh Sisk and ME from City Paper
-2 Hype Brothers & a Dog “Doo Doo Brown” (Version One) Video directed by Chris Robinson
-2 Hype Brothers & a Dog “Doo Doo Brown” (Version Two) Video directed by Chris Robinson

Written by Brandon

September 18th, 2009 at 4:01 am

Posted in DJ Class, Jay-Z, Timbaland

City Paper Noise: My Crew Be Unruly 2


Some of my scatter-shot thoughts on the “My Crew Be Unruly 2″ show along with some very awesome photos from Josh Sisk are up on City Paper’s Noise blog. My words or the photos (or these or these or these) though, don’t really do the event justice at all and it’s totally the sort of thing that I’d encourage any and everybody to come on down to Baltimore to check out. Seriously, if it happens next year–and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t–you can stay with me or my parents or my grandparents or some shit. Also cop the MCBU LP when it’s out in a few weeks!

“With the Artscape DJ Culture stage relegated to some Wind-Up Space shows last Friday and Saturday night-a kind of cruel and confusing shift, given that July is the one year anniversary of K-Swift’s death and club’s massive global growth over the past year-My Crew Be Unruly 2, the second edition of what better become an annual event from now until the end of time, felt even more essential. That it was even bigger and badder than last year’s, even more vital in its delightfully sloppy mixture of any and everybody, wasn’t lost on those attending. Be it it Paradox regulars or goofy kids that don’t normally set foot in the club, an unspoken “this is something special,” got passed all around and rattled between the walls of “the ‘Dox” two Fridays ago.”

Written by Brandon

July 31st, 2009 at 9:33 pm

"I’m the Shit" Is Here to Stay, Thank Kanye.

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As I mentioned before, I’m working on this Baltimore music site called 41yo.Com. I’m probably going to be pushing it pretty hard and obnoxiously but I’m also excited about it, so deal with it. I’ll be updating it daily with the kind of stuff I usually do here, also some typical “Web 2.0″ stuff like videos and mp3s, and some super-nerdy old Baltimore Club rarities and mixes and stuff too. Anyway, my first piece is a little essay on “I’m the Shit” by DJ Class, especially the Kanye West remix:

“Late last week, yet another kinda surreal remix of DJ Class’ Baltimore Club crossover blasted across the internet. This time though, it wasn’t relegated to club or radio-rap friendly blogs only. Sites like 2 Dope Boyz and the hip-hop oriented (though Baltimore friendly) Metal Lungies…hell even Internets Celebrity Dallas Penn is on his “I’m the Shit” shit.

The “I’m the Shit (Remix)” featuring Kanye West feels like the true arrival of DJ Class’ song, something of a guarantee the hype won’t stop or stumble or be curtailed by those that seem only interested in pushing seven or so artists interchangeably over seven or so of the same beats.”

Written by Brandon

March 30th, 2009 at 10:00 am