Apr 18, 2014
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Posts tagged: Haiti

Now Things: A Q+A with Watch the Throne Producer Sham “Sak Pase” Joseph

Words by Jesse Serwer—

Haitian-American producer Shama (Sham) Joseph first landed on our radar with his production for Rihanna’s “Man Down.” The reggae-flavored hit (now officially a touchstone) brought RiRi back to her Caribbean roots but also grabbed our attention with the opening tag, “Sak Pase!”— “What’s happening” in Kreyòl. Building on the momentum of “Man Down,” Sham placed “Who Gon Stop Me” and “Made it in America,” two of the best tracks on Kanye West and Jay-Z’s blockbuster Watch the Throne album. Apparently, he was just getting warmed up, though, as a partial list of the artists he’s working with currently reads like a list of hip-hop, R&B and dancehall’s biggest hitmakers of the last 10 years: Sean Paul, T.I., Keyshia Cole, Usher, Ciara, Busta Rhymes, Chris Brown, Mavado. So whether you’ve got Haitian friends or not, get used to hearing “Sak Pase!” a whole hell of a lot. We recently spoke with the Fort Lauderdale, Florida native over the phone from his current homebase in Atlanta.

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Sak Posse: Cormega + Kreyol Hip-Hop Come Together For Haiti

Words by Jesse Serwer—

Back in May, after Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake had faded from most people’s minds (and before its plight became a cause célèbre again), Queens rapper Cormega corralled a crew of New York rappers (Redman, General Steele from Cocoa Brovaz, Stic Man from Dead Prez, MOP’s Lil Fame) for the Haiti-themed track, “I Made A Difference,” with 100 percent of sales going to benefit Sean Penn’s J/P Haiti Relief Organization. Tomorrow night, on the eve of the earthquake’s second anniversary, ‘Mega continues his charitable efforts for Haiti as the host of Kreyol Hip Hop 4 Haiti benefit concert at New York’s SOBs tonight. The event, presented by Wyclef’s Sak Pase label, features a roster of Haitian rap acts (both Kreyol-speaking and otherwise), most notably Mystik 703, who are fresh off of a tour of Japan. See the flyer below.

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Haitian in Montréal: Stream Mr. OK’s “Wa Wont”

Words by Jesse Serwer—

We’d been wondering recently what had become of Mr. OK. The Montréal-based Haitian MC’s 2010 EP Ma Mwen had us thinking he could be the guy to bring kreyòl rap to the non-kreyòl speaking world’s attention but sometime after we interviewed him in this space that year he dropped off our collective radar screen. Well, our curiosity has been salved in the form of “Wa Wont,” a prelude to OK’s upcoming sophomore EP with producer Freeworm (his primary collaborator on Ma Mwen). Turns out “Wa Wont,” a big anthem over the beat from Childish Gambino’s “Bonfire,” is actually the latest of several leaks posted on the Masalacism blog leading up to the new EP’s release, with each available as a free download for a limited time. Stream “Wa Wont” below, and download it here for the price of your e-mail address.

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Jump and Win: Olympic Dreams for Haitian Athlete Samyr Laine

Words By Nico Simino, via BBC

With all of the tragedy that has struck Haiti the last few years, one positive note that has emerged is Samyr Laine. Laine, who was born and raised in New York City, will soon be competing in the triple jump at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Because Laine’s parents are both from Haiti, he can represent the island at the games. ”I am a US citizen but when it comes to competing or representing Haiti I feel I am an ambassador on an international level,” Laine told the BBC. “I wear my red and blue on my sleeve and the country is near and dear to me.”

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Caribbean Cookbook: How To Make Soupe Joumou

Words by Alexandra C. Wood—

A native New Yorker and graduate of The French Culinary Institute, Alexandra C. Wood has sampled soupe joumou, the squash-based soup traditionally consumed to celebrate Haitian Independence on New Year’s Day, from Manhattan to the Marais. She shared her own variation on her family’s recipe from Haiti.

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Toppa Top 10: Ten NBA Ballers From The Caribbean

Words by Jesse Serwer

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