Words by Jesse Serwer
Even with lines like, “Mi like when di gyal dem bumpah big like carnival truck,” Mr. Killa‘s “Bam Bam” isn’t your typical soca ode to big butts. The Grenadian deejay’s latest contribution to the Spice Mas season features a distinctive combination of dutty, distorted bass and vintage calypso vibes courtesy of production duo Jus Now; to simply call this one a soca would hardly do justice to a complex arrangement that takes cues from dancehall, grime and Carmen.
The track samples a seminal early calypso from Syl Dopson & His Merry Boys that is considered the theme for Dame Lorraine, a traditional masquerade character at Trinidad Carnival known for her exaggerated bosom and behind.
“[Syl Dopson] was an English Trinidadian who had this five-piece band,” says Jus Now’s LAZABeam. “This is the era when calypso adopted a lot of clarinet and upright bass and that sort of thing. Basically what you are hearing is a very iconic folk melody in Trinidadian music, and that is one of the first times it was recorded in such an intricate and ornate manner.”
The track itself marries this vintage feel with the grimy U.K. bass sound Jus Now has become known for, bringing a new feel and sound to one of soca music’s most adventurous artists. “I met Killa a couple times in Trinidad, backstage at these concerts that we played together, and we expressed an interest in working with each other,” LAZABeam says of the “Rolly Polly” vocalist. “That was meant to be a riddim but it may have been too adventurous for some of the artists we had targeted, and Killa took it with open arms and murked it, basically.”
Listen to “Bam Bam” below and look out for the video premiering on LargeUp this month. Spice Mas 2016 is August 8th and 9th.