H Is For Hip Hop And Its Queens

H in the A to Z of fusion goes to Hip Hop music – leaving aside here the other core elements that make up hip hop culture.

Hip Hop earns its place because its creation definitely involves the refined art of fusion. From DJs mixing records they spin to studio producers/beat makers sampling, chopping, looping, sequencing, recording and mixing-  the beats, sounds and grooves that make up hip hop music are found and blended together from a broad range of worldwide music sources including funk, soul, rhythm and blues, disco, jazz, rock, heavy metal, reggae, salsa, cumbia, soca, pop and well, any other genre you choose really.

The evolution of hip hop music is long and involved. Its characters and contributors are many. Its history fills pages you can find elsewhere. Sufficed to say here its original roots are found in Africa and since its formation in New York in the 70’s the hip hop phenomena has spread far and wide throughout the world. Erykah Badu perfectly describes its contemporary influence in ‘The Healer’ when she sings “It’s bigger than religion, hip hop. It’s bigger than my nigga, hip hop. It’s bigger than the government”.  And thankfully so.

“The Healer” by Erykah Badu – New Amerykah: Part One (4th World War)

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It’s the hip hop Kings of the world who’ve generally been the most heard and celebrated. Check out “essential hip hop” albums to find most are compilations of tracks by male artists. But of course there are female artists all over the world creating hip hop music whether they be DJ’s, MCs, beat makers or producers. Sampled below are songs featuring just a handful of those many hip hop Queens – some widely known and celebrated, others less so.

The usual warning applies: versions you find here are just dirty, compressed mp3s. Get the real deal on hard copy from your local music store, in their sweetest of forms on vinyl.

Erykah Badu (U.S.A)

Erykah Badu - Worldwide Underground

“Love Of My Life Worldwide” featuring Queen Latifah, Angie Stone & Bahamadia – Worldwide Underground

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Fugees (inc. Ms Lauryn Hill) (U.S.A)

Fugees - Blunted On Reality

“Some Seek Stardom” – Blunted on Reality

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ChocQuibTown (Colombia)

ChocQuibTown - Somos Pacifico

“Somos Pacifico” – Somos Pacifico

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Georgia Anne Muldrow (U.S.A)

Georgia Anne Muldrow - A Thoughtiverse Unmarred

“Monoculture” – A Thoughtiverse Unmarred

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Ladi6 (Aotearoa/New Zealand)

Ladi6 - Time Is Not Much

“Give Me The Light” – Time Is Not Much

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Nneka (Nigeria/Germany)

Nneka - No Longer At Ease

“Halfcast” – No Longer At Ease 

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Telmary (Cuba)

Telmary - A Diario

“Ando” – A Diario

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Yep, blessed are we for the birth of hip hop music and its ongoing fusionary evolution since by artists all over the world.  Thankful are we for both its Queens and its Kings.

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ChocQuibTown Demonstrates The Power of Music

Back in Bogota from Medellin a few hours – all other plans for the night cancelled when a friend told me ChocQuibTown was playing a gig in Bogota.

I had to go yes? Six years on from my 1st ChocQuibTown gig in Bogota –my introduction to Colombia’s amazing fusion music bands. I love their Pacific Coast hip hop/Afro Colombian/funk fusion music.  I had to choose to have the live ChocQuibTown experience again.

ChocQuibTown at La Puerta Grande

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So, what was different in 2013?

Venue

The 2007 ChocQuibTown gig was at Quiebra Canto– a bar well known for live music in a very down to earth (some would say dodgy) central area of Bogota.

The 2013 ChocQuibTown gig was at La Puerta Grande – a very upmarket bar in a very affluent Bogota suburb known as Parque 93.  My 1 drink of the night was truly the most expensive drink I’d bought anywhere in the world before.  La Puerta Grande might be a little pretentious – but it’s also a really nice space with some cool decor, beautiful ambient lighting, even big palm trees growing out of the floor. ChocQuibTown @ La Puerta Grande - Bogota 2013 - Beaver on the Beats

People

Much less than at the 2007 gig (30 mil pesos tickets-alot of $ in Colombia-might have been why?). Selfishly it meant more space to dance.

Vibes were fine, vibes were good.  Slightly subdued maybe? Lacking a fire perhaps?

Basically the overall Quiebra Canto experience in 2007 was much more fun and lively than La Puerta Grande one.

ChocQuibTown Music

Chocquibtown’s songs were awesome to listen and dance to in 2007, and even more awesome to listen and dance to in 2013.

The quality of singing, rapping & toasting by the 3 principal members of ChocQuibTown (Slow, Goyo & Tostao) was faultless.

ChocQuibTown @ La Puerta Grande - Bogota 2013 - Beaver on the Beats

Slow, Goyo, Tostao

There was 1 big difference between the 2007 and 2013 gigs. As well as Slow on beats, ChocQuibTown also had a fantastic, funky live band (including horns) with them.  For me that made all of the music (including vocals & raps) sound more full and alive. The band was a great surprise.

ChocQuibTown @ La Puerta Grande - Bogota 2013 - Beaver on the Beats

The songs they played seemed to have more funk flavours than before – and I loved that cause in the end funk’s probably my most favourite music genre, just.

Set Time

I am guessing that ChocQuibTown’s set was about 45 minutes long?  However long it was it felt really, really short.  I wanted much more.

ChocQuibTown @ La Puerta Grande - Bogota 2013 - Beaver on the Beats

Check out these videos of ChocQuibTown’s La Puerta gig yourself…

 “The Power of Music”

One last thing I want to share about the ChocQuibTown gig: A friend I went there with said this to me afterwards (referring to some comments made by ChocQuibTown about the recent killing of a U.S citizen near Parque 93 and the government and media propaganda around it:
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If people talk about those type of things in a political discourse in Colombia they can be killed.  If musicians say them it’s okay. That’s the power of music. 

ChocQuibTown live in Bogota, Colombia 2013

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ChocQuibTown: First Taste of Colombian Fusion Music

I start with ChocQuibTown as opposed to any other Colombian fusion band I love, out of respect. A 2007 gig of theirs in Bogota was my first taste of Colombian fusion music.  An awesome taste of much more to come.

By the time I found ChocQuibTown I had already spent one month in Cartagena on the Caribbean Coast of Colombia. I had found no original live music there.

To Bogota

A woman coming alone to Bogota? It’s too dangerous. My advice to you is not to come.

Having decided I should listen to the Colombian woman giving me that advice, I had ditched Bogota in my Colombian travel plans.  Until some Bogotanos I met in Parque Tayrona told me that if I loved music so much, I had to go to Bogota.

So to Bogota I went – and musically blessed for that I have been ever since.

But I need melody

My first night there one of those Bogotano friends took me to Quiebra Canto, a well known bar in Bogota for live music.

I saw the band setting up and was thinking Oh no, there’s only three of them, and it all looks really percussive. I need melody in my music. This will be shite.

I was so wrong.

Bogota, Yes 🙂

The ChocQuibTown music I heard was incredibly unique, like nothing I’d ever heard before. Percussion yes, but also with an abundance of super sweet melodies.

It was awesome to dance to, the performance was amazing, and made me very happy I had come to Bogota.

The Mix

ChocQuibTown make music that is a fusion of Afro-Colombian music, funk and hip-hop.

They hail from the Pacific Coastal region of Choco, and their music and their lyrics pay proud homage to that fact. Those regional flavours with the funk and hip hop, blended seamlessly; the awesome melodies in the music and in the vocals and raps of Goyo, Tostao & Slow – are why I love the music.

Albums

ChocQuibTown have a few albums and an EP. You can easily buy the real CD copies on-line. Or you could buy the MP3 versions on-line too I suppose, if you wanted a lesser quality version.

Sample ChocQuibTown listening tracks here…

Choc Quib Town - Somos Pacifico (2006)

Somos Pacifico (2006)

 

 

 

 

Macru

 

Choc Quib Town - Oro (2009)

Oro (2009)

 

 

 

 

 

Mi Musica

 

Colombian Fusion Music, Yes 🙂

I’ll always be grateful to my Bogotano friend Sebastian for convincing me I had to go to Bogota. He introduced me to the joys of Colombian fusion music via ChocQuibTown.  Gracias amigo.

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