September 7, 2010

Best remembered by North-Americans as one of those female British rappers your local alt-weekly forced you to vaguely care about pre-M.I.A (at least she was better than Lady Sovereign!), I was surprised to find that Ms Dynamite actually still holds weight across the pond. The combination of Garage-era nostalgia and Funky’s need for dancehall inflected vocals is strong. While I won’t be pulling out Dy-na-mi-tee anytime soon, I’m glad to report that the singer is still accidentally tapping old sitcom catchphrases for her single titles, dropping Good Times for Different Strokes on “What you Talkin About?”

Produced by Redlight who’s already hit bull’s eye on this year’s Stupid Riddim, “What you Talking About?” is state of the art UK pop. Cunningly grafting pop-grime hooks to funky drums and mutating bass lines before sprinkling just enough melody on top to get Rhianna fans to pay attention, the song packs serious mainstream appeal and isn’t afraid to flaunt it. It certainly captures the mood I felt in London: Dubstep is now proletarian and the cool kids are still grumbling about it but the real creative types are already moving forward, be it deeper underground or higher up towards the stars. Along with the even more brazenly populist Katy on a Mission, this got rinsed repeatedly and you couldn’t help but notice people taking pride in the fact that local underground music made good, even if that means an almost complete realignment of said music’s values and sound. Befitting a song originally named MDMA, “What You Talkin About?”‘s sense of euphoria may well capture the zeitgeist in a city trying to forget a financial meltdown and look forward to 2012 and while it probably won’t win over those looking for shadowy darkness, believe me when I say it gets the girls dancing.

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MP3: Redlight ft Ms Dynamite – What You Talkin About?