I’ll save you all the New Year’s jeer and just get right to the point: If you have read anything by me over the past year, then you know by now that I “pen” content for SYFFAL in the EDM genre, and if you don’t remember what the acronym EDM stands for, then stop reading. Another thing you may remember about my column, is that I write a lot about a specific, Washington D.C. born, happy-accident of a genre, Moombahton. If you don’t know what that means, either read on or refer back to ceasing to read on any further.
Last year the world was exposed to a multi-faceted attack on all fronts from Moombahton. From the original birth at 108-110 bpm’s, the music world was opened up like Pandora’s box and the classical arguments of genre became stale in the face of something that is more than the flash-in-the-pan it was first dubbed 2 years ago. Some of the world’s biggest electronic music producers started making it, spinning it in their sets/podcasts/mixes, and the largest distributor of electronic music (Beatport) finally recognized it as a legitimate genre. Moombahcore, Moombahsoul, Moombahluv, Moombahstep, plus other incarnations of traditional Latin, Caribbean, South American, and other world sounds weaved their way into the diverse tapestry that is Moombahton. This evolution of 2011 was evident in the way that it was blowing off the doors of what is deemed “safe” to play within a genre, changing tempo’s, beat changing, genre blending, by bringing on a slew of remixes, edits, and bootlegs that kept dance floors packed from LA to Australia and back. Fueling the fire were epic monthly parties at U Street Music Hall (Moombahton Massive), that spread to Las Vegas, & LA,, Nadastrom doing a huge tour with Skrillex, and producers of the genre progressing it at an alarming rate like that of an Apocalyptic virus.
Before I heard Cam Jus’ Badman EP, I mainly knew him as an extremely talented, humble, and hard-working DJ from our Nation’s Capital. Along with Billy The Gent, he is one-half of the monthly, Sunday night party for Velvet Lounge’s Tropixxx, (The incubator of Moombahton) that had a sizable amount of re-works and edits from 2011 that helped people outside of DC and the US to turn themselves onto to Cam’s brand of Moombah.
Badman starts off with the title track and you can tell by the patented steam sound, marching band-like drum pattern, “ooh’s”, and dembow riddim that this track is going to evolve into a sinister build, complete with loudspeaker soaked vocals telling the listener who the original badman is. I love how the track leaves the listener in suspense, you know that there is going to be a huge, riotous, and anarchic drop after the build, but it is impossible to guess what it is going to sound like the first, or fiftieth time you’ve heard it. It reminds me of the first time that I heard “Pendejas” by Alvin Risk and Tittsworth, you had this percussive, amazing tempo that was leading to a build that would catch the dance floor patrons off guard and have them ditching clothes and their drinks to gyrate wantonly to the sex of the music.
While Badman may be a more familiar sounding style of Moombah that most casual listener’s of the genre may be able to identify with, I believe that the second track off of the EP, The Kingdom Eucharist takes the cake as one of the most original tracks I’ve heard of the genre since Billy The Gent’s, JWLS, and Long Jwns fever-pitch inducing single “Vibrate Chick”. Sampling a warm, and melodic church choir for setting the mysterious mood and ambient vibe of the track, just as you become comfortable with the track you are jacked out of your holy house and onto a packed, sweaty dancehall in Panama during Carnivale.
Chase The Devil gives Max Romeo’s classic, reggae composition a re-work after Jay-Z’s “Lucifer” release on the The Black Album back in 2003. What’s the difference between the two songs? Well, Kanye West produced one of the biggest hip hop songs, on one of the biggest rap albums of this millennium, and Cam Jus helms his own masterpiece in creating a different direction than what fans of Romeo’s or West’s score may be accustomed to. He gives it a Latin/Dancehall vibe that deviate’s nicely by giving it a more danceable and carefree sound to it. By chopping the catchphrase “Lucifer son of the morning…” and constructing the drop directly after the sample plays out, “I’m going to chase you out of Earth” let’s you know that it’s ok to dance and get loose to the final track of this solid release.
A final thought on Moombahton was what DJ Ayres said when I was shooting an interview with him, Nadastrom and Tittsworth in the elevator of U Street Music Hall back in early 2011. He said, “What people don’t realize is how crazy shit get’s when you play Moombahton…It’s way different from how it is on Soundcloud.” That is exactly true, to properly enjoy the production of the genre and what get’s mixed into it, you need a proper sound-system, venue, and environment to make it Moombahton. What I love about all three of these tracks is that anyone of them could, and will be certified, dance floor heaters that are going to blaze through speakers all over the world. For those that haven’t been privy to any of Cam Jus sets all over the DC area, mainly the U street Corridor then you can see by the merits of his production that dude can throw a set down just a confidently as a 3-song EP, deftly adding his ingredient into the paella of Moombahton.