Proving once and for all that drugs and violence are both very cool individually, and that when put together they’re an indestructibly edgy intertwined force of coolness, Baltimore has risen to staggering levels of hip cache of the past 12 months or so.
I’m not even going to talk about ‘The Wire’, because frankly, if I hear another person start droning on about how it’s the most important piece of televisual blah in blahblahblah, I think I’ll choke them with a wire. And if I had to choke myself that’d not only be both silly and tricky, but it’d mean I couldn’t finish this amazing blog.
Anyways, aside from that unmentionable show, chaps like the only singer-songwriter that hasn’t made me want to gouge out my own ears with an Abu Hamza-style hook hand, Cass McCombs, have been churning out one of NME’s albums of last year, whereas the insanely prolific Wham City free-punk creative collective have been popping up with an insane slew of records from pretty much every kind of obscuro made-up genre possible, from Dan Deacon‘s circuit-bending power-glitch to The Death Set‘s casio-trash-thrash and Ponytail‘s fidget-love-scuzz.
Verb and La Crate – The bubbly isn’t big, really they’re both only two feet tall
In clubbing terms, B’more’s been re-heating up as one of the most influential circuits around. The massive resurgence of the style known simply as ‘Baltimore club’ has been employed as a staple by the likes of Diplo and MIA, turning DJ sets across the globe into a bludgeoning tirade of fierce-as-fuck rolling breakbeats, air raid sirens, pistol-whippin’ emcee slogans and clockwork ‘whoops’ and ‘yeahs’.
It’s been around for yonks, with the likes of Scottie B and Big Tony pioneering the first wave of Miami bass-influenced hip-house fusions in the early Nineties, but thanks to the entrepreneurial endeavors of chaps like Spank Rock, Amanda Blank and Mr Aaron La Crate with his Milkcrate record/fashion label, the sound has been given a new lease of life, or seen as we’re talking about ‘murdaland’ Baltimore here, a new lease of death, maybe.
Aaron has given us an exclusive download to give away. It’s a cut he produced with his new gun MC Verb, who sounds like a lovely chap. He told me it’s becoming something of a “street anthem”, to which I responded with a enthusiastic nod, but secretly it made me feel woefully middle-class and British deep inside.
It’s released soon on a new compilation delightfully entitled ‘B’More Crack’. It’s called ‘Down The Hill’. You can download it here.