Archive for the ‘When You Hear The Bassline’ tag
By now, schoolchildren across America have surely been told the heroic tale of Major Lazer, the Jamaican commando who, according to press releases, lost an arm in the secret Zombie War of 1984. Fortunately for those of us born after said carnage, M. Lazer is known not only for his exploits against the undead and his rocket-powered hoverboard, but for his hard-partying dancehall music as well. DJs Diplo and Switch, who met while working with M.I.A., are responsible for Major Lazer’s sound. Their first album, Guns Don’t Kill People… Lazers Do was released in 2009, and while its music has hit on in universities and clubs here and there, it is not nearly as well known up north as it should be.
Major Lazer recorded Guns Don’t Kill People… Lazers Do in Jamaica, infused it with local dancehall beats, and installed prominent Jamaican MCs on the mic. The result is a dancehall / hip-hop / reggae extravaganza, and ended up being one of the best releases of 2009. My personal favorite, “When You Hear The Bassline,” is defined by that classic, pulsating “thump, thump, thump… thump THUMP” beat throughout, balanced by a schizophrenic distorted synthesizer that slides up and down according to the DJs’ whims. Subtle it is not: the song practically grinds its ass into you the second you turn it on, but hey. That’s the dancehall way. And this is an example of the genre at its best. This sublimely catchy beat is counterbalanced perfectly by an even better rap, delivered by one of the queens of Jamaican hip-hop: Ms. Thing.
I really can’t say enough good things about her flow on this track. She manages to make verse after verse even more addictive than the music itself, despite the fact that it’s hard for the average American English speaker to understand a single string of words she puts together. It’s an otherworldly delivery. Minaj should take notes.