The African diaspora – and beyond

We’ve reached the final chapter in our study of the African Diaspora. Let’s finish it off with some high quality, Hip Hop beats.

Ok, I’ll be honest. The “and beyond” portion of this series is a chink in my armor. My 25 years of listening have only seen small rivulets of knowledge find their way into the years 1975-1990 (where I, of course, pick up with purchases of Pearl Jams Ten and Spin Doctors’ Pocket Full of Kryptonite). Anyhow, there is no shame in saying “I don’t know,” and although there are certainly a few things I do know and am happy to share and chit chat about, there are also some cracks in my knowledge. Nonetheless, I will wrap up this series the best I can with some wonderful tracks from some beautiful artists – I hope you enjoy.


Brazil truly embraced the Funk that was streaming from the U.S. and, perhaps more than any other country, truly created its own culture and aesthetic around their own set of special Brazilian colored beats. Favela funk, Samba rock, and a whole Rio funk culture known as “Black Rio” emerged and continues to keep record collectors very busy, and bloggers and supanerds up late into the night.

1. Banda Black Rio


2. Tim Maia



Let me spend a second and explain dub music because to me it was confusing. “Dub” means so many things somehow, and we miss the beauty of history if we don’t set things straight. So first there were normal records that these Jamaican cats played at parties. Then, the partiers got so they liked to sing along. The folks that made the records did this clever trick where they took away the vocals so that the crowd could indeed sing a long. In the process of “re-mixing” the record and removing the vocals, the folks that made the records (called “producers”) did things like pump the bass and add all kinds of effects. This second version of the song, sans vocals and including many effects and a different mix altogether, soon became a genre unto itself called Dub. It soon became that at these parties the MC would take a quick second and, being unobstructed by vocals and backed by these all instrumental dub tracks, would give what was called a toast – an extensive improvised rhythmic talking section. You might hear said section as a primitive rap, and it was indeed from Jamaican neighborhoods in New York where this culture would raise its head and produce what we now call Hip Hop.

Here is the original song by Devon Irons…

3. Devon Irons


Here is the Dub version by Lee Perry…

4. Lee Perry and the Upsetters


Lee Perry and King Tubby are generally credited as the inventors of Dub. Scientist is King Tubby’s protege. Here is the second generation jams…

5. Scientist



Continuing on. The Sound System culture of Jamaica (huge parties with big ass sound systems) found a home quickly in New York City. Block Parties, in every way the same as Jamaican Sound System Clashes, quickly became popular in neighborhoods throughout NYC and ex-pat Jamaican DJ’s, most notable DJ Kool Herc, are credited with the creation of Hip Hop

From the dawn of Hip Hop…

6. Spoonie Gee


My middle/high school dance floor favorite…

7. Outkast


Legendary producer J Dilla died an untimely death in 2006. This is a cut from his posthumously released, back to the basics, avant Hip Hop recording Ruff Draft.

8. Jdilla



I’ll be honest, I don’t really know what happened in Africa post Afro-beat. It would be shameful of me to try to half-ass my way through this section. So instead of trying to fool the readership with my clever tricks and then get pwned by Bopst and Tburton, I’ll just post the latest chronological Afro-beat-ish things that I can find. No doubt they will be wonderful and satiate your desires for monster beats and get-down-soundz.


9. I forget



10. Orchestra Poly-Rythmo


Thanks so much for listening and commenting. It has been a blast putting this thing together. The music that this series represents is, to me, the most powerful music in the world. I am thankful for it every day, and I hope that perhaps I have been able to share a few interesting and beautiful things with some folks. All my love to these musicians who have changed the world with their wonderful talents. Keep your ears oiled.

All my love,

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Matthew E. White

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