Notable instruments: Oberheim DMX, Drum machine, Electronic keyboard, Sequencer


10 years ago I was driving through Boston listening to one of the reggae mix shows on WERS (i think). A riddim came on which nearly made me stop the car. It was Steely & Clevie’s Street Sweeper. A strident minimal percussion pattern, little fragments of guitar washing in & out. A string flourish there, a whistle sound here, a vocal snippet. I’d been following dancehall for awhile and was used to surprises, but Street Sweeper floored me. As a DJ, producer, and listener.


[Wycliffe ‘Steely’ Johnson]

It was possibility and emphatic silence as much as it was a song. To clarify: Steely and Clevie built the Street Sweeper riddim, which a few dozen vocalists transformed into songs, riffing on the beat’s undeniable power to deliver some top-notch chatting. Here’s a youtube medley of the popular versions:

Wycliffe ‘Steely’ Johnson passed away in New York City & the world is poorer without him. Street Sweeper cracked things open for me; they had countless other hits but it was these moments of skullcrushing genius economy that made this riddim one of my all-time favorite pieces of music.


Mode Raw is blogging over at Dutty Artz! check his Gaza Thugs post on “auto-tune gun ballads” in Kingston, that mixtape is craziness.

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allo bamako

following the Mande Variations piece, here’s some more Malian music. I’m embedding this using a different ‘content delivery system’, let me know if this is an improvement. I think it’s easier to stream/pause?


Djelimady Tounkara – Affair Social

When my neighbor attempts to sing opera, I reach for this. 70s sweetness from Djelimady Tounkara & the Super Rail Band. It’s from a new label, Oriki, buyable.


More evidence that teen dancehall producer Stephen ‘Da Genius’ McGregor is pretty much creating his own genre (by splicing open silent time and organizing all the bits of guitars, voices, drums, synths, and glittering sky that fall out):

Eddie Stats’ new column ups a riddim mix of McGregor’s latest beat, DayBreak. great writeup, insane vocal runs…

speaking of reggae & daybreaks, here’s some cumbia remniscent of a dark, metaphysically heavy Lee Perry production. Traigan aguardiente!

Includes the lyrics: “que si no hay pelea no va a amanacer”

the dawn won’t come without a fight.

Super Combo – Cumbia de las Velas