Boima has been absolutely killing it
writing for Africa is A Country this year. When I ask him to blog on DA, he tells me that he’s too busy to re-post everything from Ghetto Bassquake, Africa is A Country and his own personal blog. Wayne talks about the free labor we all put into this collective project of music making, sharing, talking about it, whatever- you can’t really blame someone for not having time for one more piece of themselves.
Boima has been giving a lot recently, burning through school, putting together compilations in West Africa, producing most of one of the dopest releases of the year, steady attending and updating the world on #OWS, drinking bloody marys in Fort Green, getting his full length debut together for DA and working on a remix album with street impresario Sorie Kondi. DUDE IS BUSY. So when he takes the time to go in on one of the biggest, but least talked about undercurrents in the self-reflective bass/tropical/hood synthetics world- what the fuck is a/(wrong with) Wesley Pentz and why we all want(ed) to be him, but also don’t, or maybe never did, but maybe that major label beat money would be nice…..etc. U SHOULD PAY ATTENTION. Another pretty white face stands in for so many sexy/violent/not available black/brown/redbone faces.. but B draws out the nuance of the thing in a way that’s missing from pretty much every other summary/criticism I have ever read about Diplo. Read an excerpt below or click over to Africa is a Country for the whole thing.
“Around the start of Occupy Wall Street, an international DJ called Samim tweeted, “Did you know that the richest 1% of DJ´s control over 80% of the industry´s wealth and over 70% the media coverage?#occupyDJs”. Perhaps it was meant as an off-hand joke, but the fact that the DJ industry is an unbalanced place in terms of representation is clearly a reality. Nothing materialized this notion more than DJ Mag’s annual Top 100 DJs list, which read like a Forbes’ top 100, but for wealthiest DJs. Many people noticed the racial, gender, and wealth imbalances of the list, which in today’s music world almost seems preposterous (or maybe not.) Also, considering that House and Techno music’s roots are in the Black and/or Gay communities of the Rust Belt urban centers in the American Midwest, it becomes a curious example of cultural appropriation.
Noticeably absent from the list was popular American DJ, Diplo, who is also a successful producer, record label owner, and style icon. Perhaps the reason why he didn’t show up in the list is because he explicitly prefers to align himself with a global contemporary “underground”. Most recently he has done so in a series of travel journals for Vanity Fair magazine. The first one about this past year’s Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago and the latest where he “Discovers the Last True Underground Club Scene in New York.” In these travel journals Diplo makes clear his critical stance to the mainstream. But, with all the structural inequalities inherent in the industry, and qualifying statements like, “I don’t know a lot about being black and gay and cool…” Diplo’s critique mostly ends up sounding a lot like someone looking for redemption in a pure, untouched, uncontaminated, Other.
Why should you care about this? Because, no matter where you are in the world, if there’s an underground dance scene or marginalized community, Diplo has probably “discovered,” re-framed, and sold it audiences in another part of the world. If he hasn’t yet, he’s on his way, and your local scene might just end up being the next European House or Techno.