Thursday, September 3, 2009

2004 : 26 "Diplo Rhythm" by Diplo w/ Sandra Melody, Vybz Kartel & Pantera os Danadinhos

Diplo's a white dude, but his DJ sets, mixtapes, and other musical projects frequently incorporate contributions from baile funk or Jamaician vocalists, or other samples drawn from the "Global South." How you respond to Diplo is going to be connected to how you respond to this sort of cultural activity. On a bad day, I might consider him a crass appropriator, or a kind of information-age colonial imperialist, utilizing the works of "authentic" brown people as a way of enriching his own "brand." But on a good day—when I'm more prone to admire the fluidity of cultural forms and the positive effects of cross-cultural transmission—I'm more likely to consider Diplo's work as an extended act of fandom, amplifying and popularizing a style of music that might normally have fallen outside of the listening scope of First World pop cosmopolitans like you or I. Still other days [!] I might argue that this type of music is actually the legitimate musical heritage of someone who grew up consuming the hybrid dance music(s) germinating in the hothouse environment of Florida's club scene. It's a complicated debate, and I don't really know where exactly I stand on it. But on the bright side, I've never been opposed to things that raise questions, and so the political and aesthetic concerns that circulate around a track like "Diplo Rhythm" (from his 2004 long-player Florida) may actually elevate it above a lot of other tracks that sound equally great on the dance floor.

Jeremy Bushnell

Listen: Diplo (with Sandra Melody, Vybz Kartel, and Pantera os Danadinhos) >> "Diplo Rhythm"

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