Chamillionaire, The Sound Of Rev !NEW!
Fuel Economy: While plenty of songs focus on the drive itself, the Miami-based teens zeroed in on the sound system and the thrill of a booming bass, with equally exhilarating results.
Chamillionaire, The Sound Of Rev
Fuel Economy: Not even Sanford and/or Son had theme music this funky in the 1970s, as the Low Rider gets higher and drives slower to the sweet sounds of loping bass and chirping alto sax.
Todd (VO): ...rap music in the Bush years was too caught up in cash money hos and missed a prime opportunity to say something meaningful. Certainly, there was not much in the way of social commentary coming from Houston, which was primarily known for abusing cough syrup and making music that sounds like it does when you abuse cough syrup. I mean, there was probably a ton of provocative hip hop that I'm not remembering, but...
The Orpheum holds a special place in American history as the first atmospheric theater in the United States and the oldest one still standing. It was constructed at an initial cost of $750, 000 using the best possible building materials available at the time. It was truly built to last, and today it is still extremely structurally sound. Designed by noted theater architect John Eberson and conceived as a garden of old Andalusia, the theater interior was resplendent with the night sky and shimmering stars associated with atmospheric theaters. Adorned with decorative elements, plaster moldings and arched doorways, the 1200+ seat auditorium looked like a starlit Spanish courtyard.
Russel Elevado was kind enough to show me the ropes of film scoring on this groundbreaking soundtrack mix. This was the very first scoring LP I ever worked on and seeing Russel's name in the film credits was a very special moment for me indeed.
Trivia: Esquire named Pharrell the best dressed man in the world. He's an avid skateboarder with a half-pipe inside his house. He composed the entire soundtrack for the Despicable Me animated movie. He's the 12th artist to hold the #1 and #2 spots on the Billboard Top 100 at the same time.
Commercial music television is so saturated with the trope of thesouthern rap star on a boat that comedian Andy Samberg's hip-hop videosend-up of the genre--"I'm on a Boat!"--has come to definemainstream critical engagement with southern rap. (3) Akon's smooth,blues-keyed cadence, though, is definitive for the body of the genre, whichinfuses the posture of coastal "gangsta" hip-hop styles with thecool sung tones of Deep-South gospel and a particular attention to scenicnarratives and sharp wordplay. Even as these popular forms patch together alegacy of regional sounds and styles, they are contoured by growing Africanand diasporic communities that line the contemporary American South.
Akon represents the latest chapter in both southern social lifeand southern music that upends the notion that southernness must wear itshistory on its sleeve--that it must cast itself in the frayed aesthetic ofthe handmade and moor its imagination in farm and country. Instead, Akon andhis contemporaries, poised in the present tense, represent a nation they callthe "Dirty South": a loose family of artists associated with theurban centers and creative communities of the American South and the Southerndiaspora, who rose to popular prominence in the last decade on a wave ofnovel productions and dancehall hits. With its digitized productiontechniques and attention to high-end trend, the music is unapologeticallysuper-modern; its "dirt" emerges in its bassy car sound systems andclub speakers alike, the badness in its hustler's lyricism, and thedepiction of Scarface-inflected imagery in its videos. The music istime-stamped with unmistakable low-end rocking beats, tinny synthesizerflourishes, heavily processed vocals (often slowed down to sound vaguelysinister), and heavy lyrics with call-and-response choruses ready for instantmemorization. This is the music of the Global Dirty South: a zone based in amessy aesthetic of the here-and-now that Mississippi rapper/producer DavidBanner describes as "horror music" (5) and Akon calls "KonviktMuzik." (6) Akon's imagination, enunciated in his unmistakabletenor, wanders throughout a southern landscape peopled with stories pulledfrom classic American pop: the lament of a young man incarcerated for life,the heart of a lonely lover, the glorious payday.
In the folds of this new music are hidden a series of resources bywhich Africans and Americans rewrite their longstanding relationship. In thedeep registers of the New Orleans second line or in its contemporarycounterparts--Miami bass, Houston screwed, New Orleans trap, or Atlanta crunk(7)--rhythms are so laden with the flavor of speech that they demand audienceresponse. The musical word, deployed in the heavily stylized voice, andresonant drum lines sound transatlantic conversations. Even in theirgeographic specificity, hip-hop scenes throughout the Black Atlantic engage aunified vocabulary of migration and mobility that flips the scripts ofdisempowerment brought on by colonialism and poverty. Senegalese DJs like GinTess visit working cousins in Atlanta and Houston and return with stacks ofunderground tracks that sound perfect under the cadences of the Woloflanguage on Senegalese call-in talk/music shows.
The strains of American hip-hop, cast in stylized English, arecrisscrossed by imaginary boats, highways, and request lines--a family ofcommon modernities. Yet, while a series of critics, blinded by the shinysurfaces of fresh hip-hop videos, dismiss Akon's brand of hip-hop asrootless and based in the slick commercial present, the Dirty South bringsthe sounds and styles of a young, black, American South into a new globalcurrency. On the international dance floor, southern artists infuse thelatest pop productions with the deep symbolism of the hip-hop hustler, afigure that draws as much on the historical blues boast (see MuddyWaters's "Mannish Boy" or Ike Turner's "Rocket'88") as it does on gold-chain novelty. Although the deceptivesimplicity of a chorus like "I'm so paid" makes an easy targetfor critics who dismiss the imaginative potential of the music, Akon'sstreamlined, stylized lyrics are legible to Americans and foreigners withlittle exposure to English--and for many, obviously, getting "sopaid" is a forever distant hope.
Some manage to gain entrance to more distant destinations;communities of undocumented and documented Senegalese immigrants have beenbounding into the United States throughout the last two decades. They haveestablished strong neighborhoods in New York and New Jersey but also gainfast numbers in the urban South, where large black populations make theAfrican presence less visually evident to immigration authorities. Thoselucky enough to secure good visas can bring their wives and sisters, who workas expert hair braiders, tailors, and cooks. Stateside, African migrants havefounded profitable domestic trade networks, Sufi worship and learningcollectives, and Africana Studies departments that will network communitieson both sides of the Atlantic for years to come. They look to Akon, theunflinching American rapper, to tall Wolof NBA stars Pape Sow and DeSaganaDiop, and to dozens of traveling Senegalese drum-and-dance ensembles thatanchor college-town culture, as they assemble international institutions bywhich they survive and thrive through their very Senegalese-ness. (9) Thisnetwork sounds the "thickness [of] the African present" as itextends through a Global South less visible to the mainstream. (10)
Yet, as wind-whipped yachts saturate the rap videos of Southernhip-hop artists to grandiose effect, they also anchor a serious visualcritique of restrictions to Black mobility in the context of regionalpoverty, prison, and paperlessness. The figure of a fast boat is one thatcrisscrosses the lives of young people across the Global South; the notion ofmigration is one that American citizen Akon, newly landed African andCaribbean immigrants, African Americans struggling to find work andsustenance, and young African people hoping to survive the circumstances ofglobal postcoloniality share. The sounds and symbols of migration serve as anindex to a world of commonalities that illuminate the Global South'smusical conversation.
Key to the emerging styles of the American South and West Africaalike are traditions of eloquence that extend to the foundations of BlackAtlantic culture. Across both continents, stylized practices of musicalspeech draw both from ancient established patterns of ritual sounding and theever-changing contexts of creativity. In the world of signs and symbols thatis the contemporary Dirty South, the African American conversation is sothick that the question of origins is no longer primary. This is a sharedvocabulary of style by which artists throughout the diaspora build globalcommunity. My own ethnographic fieldwork with rappers in the American Southand the young people of Dakar, Senegal, primarily engages three practitionersin addition to Akon, each of whose work is activated at the new crossroads ofthe global "Dirty South": Akon's father, Mor Thiam, theSenegalese drummer and West African praise singer; Toussa and a team ofSenegalese women rappers who align their work with southern hip-hop; and PapeNdiaye Thiopet, who infuses his traditional Wolof ritual song with therapper's burlesque as he brings new styles to African pop.
Within the States, the family has continued its migrations, allthe while intersecting with the travels and exiles of transplanted U. S.southerners, and Akon, like his father, is a stylistic world traveler. Fromhis teenage home in Jersey City, Akon recorded his first track with a groupcalled the (Re)Fugees, a group of Haitian-American and African Americanartists whose work gained phenomenal international attention in themid-1990s. For his current work, Akon's voice drips with the pixellatededges of the autotune production tool, another trademark of the southernhip-hop aesthetic. His earliest music showcased a Jamaican toasting styleinspired by Brixton Londoner-cum-New York hip-hop pioneer Slick Rick, whilehis latest hit, "Chammak Challo," is a Bollywood soundtrack send-upthat reflects the longstanding Senegalese obsession with Hindi style.