Blaqstarr – Gangsta & The Return of Club Music

If you’ve paid any attention to contemporary music trends in the last decade or so, you’ve noticed a recurring pattern. It usually goes something like this:

  1. New popular (meaning “of the people”) style is formed in a local region, city, or neighborhood.
  2. People from surrounding  regions, cities, or neighborhoods catch on to this newness.
  3. The style is spread through the International Hipster Underground and emulated (with varying degrees of success).
  4. The dreaded “Mainstream” catches on. The style starts getting incorporated into Top 40 hits.
  5. Viral videos are made, cultural appropriation thinkpieces are written, and now your parents are asking you about it.

The time it takes for this process to run its course varies, but we’ve all seen it happen with everything from Baile Funk and Baltimore club music to dubstep, moombahton, trap, and twerk. Heck, a similar chain of events (minus Internet) could probably even be applied to the beginnings of hip-hop, grunge, and punk, etc.

If this rant is sounding familiar, it’s probably because I touched on this topic in regards to Baltimore club music last year. In that post I also re-upped a legendary zip file of common breaks and samples used by club producers, and it gets daily views and clicks from all over the world.

That data, when looked at against old school DJs returning to the scene, young producers pushing the sound in new directions, and other people doing so in a questionable manner, it all points to club music making a second round on this circuit.

Jeffree’s, a sub-label of Mad Decent (which had a big hand in step 3 last time around), is releasing a new/like-new EP from Baltimore club artist Blaqstarr. His work is always unique because it has that raw street-banger quality but also incorporates some approaches to sound design and song composition that appear to come way out of left field.

Judging by some of the Soundcloud comments, a lot of “EDM” fans just are not ready for this sound. To be fair, it’s really impossible to fully appreciate Baltimore club music without experiencing it in a Baltimore club. It’s more than just a kick pattern and breakbeat – it’s a culture with its own traditions, rationales, and of course, dances.

So as we proceed into this new era of club music’s popularity, allow this video to serve as a PSA. Instead of getting your fists pumping and your rage faces on when the DJ drops the beat, let TSU’s Terry and Rum show you how it’s done:

That video was produced by TT the Artist, whose documentary on Baltimore club Dark City is finally back in production mode. If you love this music and want to try to understand more about the environment that created it, you’re gonna wanna see this movie.


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