Words by Eddie STATS Houghton
The stereotype about latin dancehall (and I have probably been as guilty as anybody in perpetuating it) is that it all sounds the same–that Puerto Rico basically co-opted the Pocoman/Dem Bow riddim that was the sound of JA circa 1990 and never looked back. The criticism is not totally unfounded–the genre was simply called ‘dembow’ for years before someone coined the term reggaeton–but if you look at the phenomenon around the crossover of Gyptian’s “Hold Yuh” the equation gets reversed. While every Jamaican artist and them old-time granny is jumping on the beat trying to piggyback it’s success, Panama via the Bay singjays Los Rakas conscripted Large Up Homey Uproot Andy to rework it into a wholly original masterpiece, fleshing out the chords (themselves co-opted from an Algerian pop jam anyway??) with chutney drums and deeper, more intricate synth-lines.
I debuted the Uproot version over at Ghetto Palms but the official video (below) is now online in all it’s carnival/beach/gangbanging glory (see comments). One day in and it’s already got several thousand pageviews. You can get more of the story from Dutty Artz and while you’re over there, check Geko Jones’ post on DJ Blass, a reggaeton OG who has rewritten the rules of that genre a couple times already, further undermining the arguments of Los Hateros.