"2FACED1 is a visionary digital network, a loose collective with members in Europe, Africa and North America, bound together by what we call ‘stereotypophobia’."
“It is all about critical questioning of what identity really is. Would you be the same person in another context? Does society have certain expectations on you based on traditional parameters like class, gender, color, sexual orientation, religious beliefs and so on? And how much do these expectations affect your so-called self? Every forward thinking person are aware of those things, its a gift which also make you relate to other peoples struggles.”
I am a huge fan of comedy, in this great documentary that I watched last night flying from CPh-JHB I learned from Deepak and Mike (first name basis...ya dun know!) about the metaphysical significance of humour...and the surrounding discource of humour as a response to recognising ones mortality. Really interesting and not as broing as i make it sound...lol. a lot about good health and fortune too.
The series in general is great...they pair up two great minds...one is with dave Chapelle and Maya Angelou.
I have just arrived back in bubbling hot Johannesburg and it is hot and sticky. I left Malmo yesterday and it properly feels like I am on another planet right now. I couldn't sleep for all this heat...don't know how I did 25 years in JHB summer without a fan. My sweet 3 year old neice, Bomi aka DiBomza aka Bomdigi is (understandably) excited to see her uncle and she won't stop swinging off my neck...(Danny Glover lethal weapoon Voice) I'm getting too old for this schitt!
With my pointless, misguided blog hiatus I never put this song up, which ruled a chunk of my November--->Dezembah!!
I am currently miles and miles away from that OG 2008 idea of HIVIP(mixes such as this http://www.thefader.com/2009/04/27/freeload-spoek-mathambo-s-h-i-v-i-p-devil-house-mafias-2-mix/)...which was about my supporting new and innovative house sounds from my native land of South Africa, i coined the music that i heard to be 'township tech', a silly an somewhat condicending term (as silly/condiscending/rascist as ghettotech, it's obvious nomanclative influence) to describe the waves of house music coming from all corners of SA. a distinctly SA take on house.
I championed the sound energetically, never claiming it as my own...just being a fan of the music, and feverishly putting out mixes to express this fandom. Then the fall came. (and in the phonk, the uk guardian called me the king of kwaito and i had a tweet fit about it hahaha)
It was not so much that my interest in the music wained, as a DJ those sounds have taken me as far as the US, Brazil and all over Europe...no, the music certainly never let me down. In a sense, it was through that SA house that I could learn about house in general...but most importantly, that I could learn to respect my country as an important voice in global progressive music dialogue. It made me the artist I am today.In another sense I let me down...over the last 2 years I have been spending less and less time in SA buying music...which was how my interest initially was sparked...simply by going into music stores and buying copious amounts of music.
This influence my first album a lot. My second album, not at all. It hasn't been all bad, I have since become a producer inspired by many diff worlds of sounds.
I am going to spend this trip, back in those stores buying music...relearning that passion.
"I'M A RUDE BITCH, NIGGA WHAT ARE YOU MADE OUT OF?"
Real spitters (as us old and dusty pre-melenial rap fans refered to a highly skilled rap singer"...lol) are very hard to front on. As are really serious singers. I mean, you can try (at your own risk), as I did with Azealia Banks, but it'll soon prove fruitless and more a testement to the haterade coarsing through your veins than comment on their artistry.
That said, super well done to Azealia for crushing it so hard, she sings amaazing...strong voice...and raps insanely. Wonder what an album would sound like. Special thanks to Gnucci for insisting on her amazingness so hard over the last loooooooong time.
On another note, Kreayshawn is not a spitter of any sort, more a drooly dribbler...her and Azealia got into a twitter beef earlier today.
*Their name 'UB40' stands for Unemployment Benefit, Form 40. The band named themselves after the paper form issued by the UK government's Department of Employment for claiming the dole. *
It's been about 10 years now since i started becoming truly closer to my father, miles away from that ashy little boy cursing feverishly into a pillowcase...Praying violently, *dear god, please kill him...Please. Amen*.
But it was that scrict, sometimes sullen and bitter father that i knew as a small boy who would also happily treat us to chicken licken, or rotisery chicken and fresh buns in brixton, as part of a saturday ritual of outings. We'd leave soweto early in the morning after a big breakfast and take the m1 north, a highway usually so congested during the week, also enjoying a two day break before once more being a mainline of johannesburg's workforce.
The drive would take us to sandton, or norwood and we would shop in our matching lacoste polo shirts, (often to my boredom), i would sulk and we would drive home through nasrec and back to rockville, soweto. We'd spend a lot of those long hot johannesburg days in the car, and i strongly remember one particular set of years where the tape deck was ruled by ub40.
When I was 6, there was a school production put on, and the lead number was Red Wine, which I still hate to this day because of the day's occurences.---a long story i'll tell some other day
I turned 13 and the mere mention of the letter *u* next to the number *40* would make me vomit a little bit in my mouth. I had confused pro black politics swirling in my head and elvis and ub40 fell under my amateur farrakhaning.
I've since become a rocksteady/ska fan in a way, and i love how ub40 falls into that *version* culture...so much so that it informs a lot of the work that i do (eg I just finished a project covering South African classics http://motel11.tv/).
This last year has been funny, for finally recognising myself to be a fully fledged adult, potbelly and all. I get so nostalgic and foggy hearing their music, so much so that when i went back to johannesburg a couple of months ago to work on some new productions, we spent an unhealthy amount of time deconstructing ub40 songs trying to find what was so damn good about them. We ended up making dub on one side...And a very boisterous bass bomb. Nothing close to the smooth pop reggea sound so embedded in the uk's assimilation of jamaican music and culture.
OH MY GOD. THIS IS ONE TIME WHERE I AM NOT SURE WHETHER IF I HAD A TIME MACHINE I WOULD GO BACK AND SLAP/PUNCH MYSELF TOOTHLESS OR GO BACK AND KISS MYSELF PASSIONATELY...FOR WHAT!? FOR SLEEPING ON SLUM VILLAGE FOR ALL OF THESE YEARS, NOW I GET TO LISTEN TO ALL OF THIS LIKE IT'S THE VERY FIRAST TIME...BECAUSE IT IS THE FIRST TIME. I REMEMBER ABOUT 10 YRS AGO, SITTING BY THE RADIO GRIMACING AT THE SV ...SO HAPPY NOW. WOWOOWOWOWOWOOWOWO!!
I THINK AT SOME POINT (ARND 16/17) I WAS SO ANTI SAMPLING, ANTI "WEEDED" BEATS/RAP, ANTI RAPPERS WITH HEADWRAPS AND ANTI ROMANTIC RAP, AND ON THAT VERY BASIS DENIED MYSELF SV, MADLIB AND COUNTLESS OTHERS. NOW OLDER (BUSSIN MORE NUTS AND TEHREFORE LESSS FRUSTRATED WITH WHAT PEOPEL R DOING... WITH LESS HATERADE COARSING THROUGH MY VEINS I CAN ENJOY EVVVVVVVVVVERYTHING!
THE DEPTHS OF SADNESS HAVE FORCED ME TO GO DEEP INTO MYSELF TO FIND SUBTLEY GLOWING EMBERS OF HAPPY...ONE THING THAT NEVER CEASES TO MAKE ME GRIN (WITH A MILD TO SPICEY BONER) IS PATRA'S ROMANTIC CALL. AND SO IT WAS WITH GREAT JOY THAT I SAW THIS A Q&A WITH THE DANCEHALL QUEEN/LIVING LEGEND!!
LET'S TAKE THE MOMENT TO SALUTE STRONG BRAVE WOMEN AT THE SAME TIME!!
Words by Jesse Serwer, Photos by Kevin Ornelas
For years, “What ever happened to Patra?” has been one of the great mysteries of dancehall music. The “Queen of the Pack”had a run of crossover hits in the early and mid ’90s including “Romantic Call,”“Worker Man”and “Pull Up to the Bumper,” but after her sophomore album Scent of Attraction in 1995, she essentially disappeared from the scene. (Though she did release two, very below-the-radar albums in the 2000s— 2003′sThe Great Escape and 2005′s Where I’ve Been) Recently, after turning up on the bill for a show at BB King’s Blues Club in New York City, we learned that Patra was back in the studio, working on a new album and plotting a comeback. Last month, Tiffany Rhodes of bad-gyal spandex label Butch Diva invited us to meet the elusive singer, whom she’d landed as a model for her fall line, as they prepped for a catalog shoot at Tiffany’s studio in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. In one of her first interviews in years, Patra spoke with us (wearing the transparent lace shirt you see in these photos) about everything from her iconic braids and her fashion choices to her days as the “female Shabba Ranks,” her departure from the music business and what she’s been up to all these years. Patra isn’t one to give away secrets, though. She might be on Twitter now, but this is one lady who values having an air of mystery about her.
BEFORE you get into the interview, though, we’ve got a web-exclusive, 1:35 snippet of Patra’s new single “Bad In a Bed,” produced by Rellee Hayden and theA-Team. (Right now you can only hear the full thing--which debuted on MTV Radio’s syndicated Weekend Countdown this past weekend--on Sway in the Morning on Sirius XM’s Shade 45). True to her roots, Patra takes it back to the early 90s dancehall era, the tough throwback rhythm (sounds a bit like “Chase Vampire” updated with rock guitar) making the perfect vehicle for her Shabba Ranks-meets-Grace Jones vocal style. Stream below and read on for the exclusive Q&A.
LargeUp: You really owned the braids look, and I see you still have it going on. Have you always had them?
P: No, I have my undercover look but now that I’m getting ready to come back out, I get back in character. Because people love everything else but they will always love the Patra braids.
LU: What did you think when you started to see other people pick your look up in the ’90s…
P: Great. Sometimes I want to get my hair braided in different countries and, because I’m coming, there’s no braids left. I was in Japan and every girl was braided out. It makes you keep it an irie and cultural and natural thing. It doesn’t matter what color or race you are, you can braid your hair because braids is just a natural vibe. Its tourist-y, laid back. You can feel like a Ras if you want. I use it as my link to my African culture. Jamaica is full of Rastafari. We do our thing differently so that’s how I maintain that African culture and then I put the dancehall to it to make it Patra style.
LU: You had some interesting outfits for the time when you first came out. Where would you get them from?
P: I would get outfits from all over. Sony used to take care of everything. I would have people like Patricia Field, Todd Oldham, Versace, everybody. And then I also like to go and shop for myself. I mix everything up. And then, again, the Jamaican culture, all we wear down there is batty rider at dance. It’s like, hello? It’s very simple. Coming from an island, it’s easier for me, because less is more. I don’t have to pick all this stuff to get dressed up.
LU: You’re here modeling for Butch Diva, wearing spandex. Do you remember the first spandex outfit that you had?
P: I couldn’t remember but I’m always wearing spandex because I work out very hard so my stuff is always tight. How I get to know Diva is, I have a friend who knows her. I was doing something in New York and she hooked me up with some outfits. You have to be confident to wear this. Obviously it’s for the woman who has a little body and it’s keeping it very urban and real. It’s a very sensual vibe. I really appreciate the feel of the outfit. That’s what spandex does to the female body.
LU: Who was the original dancehall queen, in your opinion? Before the ’90s, female dancehall artists had more of a tomboy look. Was it you?
P: I let the people decide. But everybody knows what I did was the sensual side of it. Pure sex, straight up. I’m not going around the corner, that’s who I am. I’m not trying to solve the world’s problems. I just speak sensually--make the man feel good, let the woman know how to please their man, all of that stuff.
LU: Tell me about how your career in dancehall got started…
P: I was born in Kingston and raised in Westmoreland, Jamaica, which is the countryside. So I’m a country girl. I used to sing a lot in school and church. There was a contest that I won that had me going to Kingston. And when I went to Kingston, I won the contest again. People realized I could do something. So then I went into the studio, made one or two songs and within a couple weeks I was on one of the biggest stage shows in Jamaica, Sting, which we call Baghdad, because if you’re not good, it’s the most dangerous show in Jamaica. We had a four-way clash with all the female artists, (see video below--Patra performs 2nd after Lady Saw) and from there I walked straight off into Sony’s hands, cause they were looking for the female Shabba. At first I thought it was a joke. I was like, whatever, but still they pursued.
It’s been a long time since you’ve been on the scene. I know you put out some independent albums a few years ago but, for the most part, people haven’t heard from you since the ’90s…
P: What happened was in order for me to be where I am today, being free, I had to make certain choices. Where I’m at now is where I’ve wanted to be for years. I like to consider myself very patient. Now, the time is right, and I’m getting to come back out…What I want my fans to know is I took a break for my own sanity. In order for me to get things in line and make sure I’m happy. Because I loved, and love, what I’m doing. But, at the time, I had to make changes. I have a new team. I moved on, and I’m happy. Now I’m in more demand than before, actually.
LU: Are you living in New York at the moment?
P: Normally, I don’t give out the info where I live. Because I’m still undercover. I like it like that. I don’t want to get trapped up into the whole thing that is going on. I know my fans are going to see me very soon, when I’m ready. But I’m all over. But I have to big up Jamaica all the time because without Jamaica, trust me, I wouldn’t even be coming back out because that’s where I go for my mental…my roots. So has been like my rehab for me. It’s perfect, I love Jamaica. It has helped me a lot mentally, physically, spiritually and all of that.
LU: We’re in the era of oversharing and telling people where you’re at and what you’re doing constantly on Twitter. I see you like to keep things mysterious…
P: I tweet but to let the people know what I’m doing. But if I’m under a cave, I’m not gonna say, “Guess what, I’m in the cave.” I’m gonna tweet about what’s important to them. And to uplift them and let them know the queen is back to turn them on, sensually. That’s basically it. [Being mysterious] is a good thing. You don’t want to overexpose. I’m the most down to earth, roots girl you’ll ever find. I’m straight up. I love it like that. Life should be simple. If you want to come to my house and ting like that, I’ll cook for you. I do all of that. I have many things you’re going to see me doing.
LU: What are some of those things?
P: You’re gonna hear soon. I’m here right now recording—album soon finish. I have to be this way—mysterious—right now because of how long I took a break to get my life back together. For me, actions speak louder than words.
LU: If somebody said where have you been all these years, what would you say?
P: I been chilling, and trying to get everything right. I’m going to a new team—that takes time. It wasn’t that detrimental. The break I took, I’m happy I did. Because if I didn’t, trust me, I wouldn’t be here doing anything right now. Now I have the drive, I’m in control, and it’s a good thing for me. So where I been? Chilling, working out, cooking…I’ve been writing my autobiography, finishing my education, getting close again to my family, but most of all [getting] in control of myself as a human being.
LU: Have you gotten a degree?
P: I got a little thing going on. I’m studying ancient history and political science. That’s my off-time thing. I’m more interested in how the world is evolving than thinking about minor details.
LU: Ancient history, huh?
P: I started that a long time ago because I wanted to know who Cleopatra was, really, because of the name Patra. I was drawn to how she was. It was like wow, it looks like I was meant for this. I can’t stop watching the History Channel so I decided to look further into it, where I would start from way back.
LU: So next time I tune into the History Channel and see archaeologists digging into the tombs in Egypt, I might see you there with them?
P: [Laughs] No, you’re not gonna see me like that. You’re crazy [laughs]. No, no. If you take on a name like Patra—and I travel a lot so people always ask me—you need to know what the whole [Cleo]patra thing is all about. When I first came out, my image was portrayed that way—the whole African thing. So it’s only right to know. Just like we have Michael Manley who we respect so much in Jamaica and Bob Marley and then here in America you have Martin Luther King… It’s easy when you take a break from this crazy world of entertainment, to fall into something more intriguing and educational. Yeah, so I love it.
LU: Is there anything happening recently that inspired you to get back into making music?
P: I haven’t been watching anything. Nothing. For years. Trust me, if something was going on I would get a call, because I have people in the street. There’s nothing. Have you seen anything? You seen a Patra out there or something? I’m just focusing on my thing. It shouldn’t affect me because I’m a Jamaican. I’m in a totally different zone.
LU: No radio, TV, magazines?
P: Nothing, I know it sounds weird but it’s a fact. I listen to mostly Rastaman music right now. My mentor is Bunny Wailer. I grew up in the mountains. I’m a yardie. I can put in a Richie Spice, I can put in an I-Wayne, the meditation is so real, you can say anything you want on a certain recording and touch you as a person. You listen to a Bob Marley record, you gotta feel some sort of something unless you’re heartless. Whatever’s going on I respect but it’s not for me to dissect because I’ve been through so much to get back to where I’m at. To have time to be influenced by something? I’m the queen.
Patra and models. Photo: Dex R. Jones, courtesy Butch Diva
in the tumbling world jokes flow freely, i imagine on the other side, heavy shit flows just as freely, stuff like hate...
i found this angry bit funny. imagine all teh militant tumbling agwaning.
The White Apologist: “I’m so, so sorry for what my ancestors did to yours, man! It really breaks me down sometimes thinking about how despicable we were to you guys! Please forgive us!”
The Faux-Humanist: “Stop talking about race. We’re all just human.”
The Martin-Lover: “Yeah, but didn’t Martin Luther King say to judge people not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character! I have a dream today!”
The Lord of the Fee-Fees: “Don’t you understand how your comments about what SOME White people do are offensive to me and hurt my feelings? Not all of us are racist! By pointing out my “privilege”, you are spreading hate!”
The Wonderful White Friend: “I’m not racist, some of my best friends are Arabs!”
The Nigger-Lover: “Why can’t I say nigger? I saw it on the Boondocks! Why can’t I say nigger? Eminem’s a rapper! Why can’t she say nigger? What if she married a Black man? Why can’t she say nigger? What if he was adopted by a Black family?”
The Pea-Brained Peacemaker: “Maybe if you people weren’t so harsh and hostile, White people would want to listen to you? Try being a little calmer next time, why don’t you?”
The Silly Bitch: “I don’t care what you say, nigger isn’t a racist word. NIGGER.”
The Annoying White Feminist: ”I think our shared experiences as women are more important than race at this time, look at the bigger picture! Woman is the nigger of the world, and I have a right to say it, you colored women are just being divisive!”
The Reverse Race Specialist: “How come there are no historically white colleges? REVERSE RACISM!”
The Slave-Thrower: “Everybody was enslaved, not just you guys!”
The Fool: “I know you were fired from your modeling job because the casting agent said you didn’t ‘have the look’ and you were passed over for the job by ten other White models, but I don’t think this has anything to do with racism!”
The Colorblind Crook: “I don’t see color! There’s no difference at all between the races, we’re all the same deep down!”
The Bleeder: “Racism wouldn’t exist if you stopped talking about it. WE ALL BLEED RED!”
This should be the happiest month of my life. All the work i have been doing over the last year has culminated with a new album being finished and the record label ever soe gracefuly furbiushing us with a release date...i am making the best work i have ever done...on top of that, (and i say this with the most humility) i have become a third of a badass production crew...
but all feels lost and confused...johannesburg is depressing me, i lost my fone in cape town last night. i haven't been home in almost two months....urgh
And in this pit of dispair, where do i turn, my beloved Zombo...zombo baby.
"ALL THE WOMANANAN...ALL THE MANANAN...CALL YOU FAMALAM...YOUR MOM AND NANANANANAN...OH WE'RE HAVING A JAM...OH WE'RE GOING HAM...TILL THE AM...OUT THE BEER CANONNANAN!!"
The famalam video is finally here!!!!!!!!!
A few months ago I had the supreme honour of joining the lord her majesty, Gnucci Banana on a little excursion to Barcelona for the video shoot for her single ‘Famalam Jam’...we had fun...we had paella...this is what came out...she's gonan tell her version when she gets back to the M-A-AYYYY-L-MO
**peep me playing video vixen with some of the most spastic dancing everrrrrrrrr
Produced by the super-homies, Schlachthofbronx (with whom Gnucci dropped her first release 'Ayoba' on Man Recordings), Famalam Jam is a tastey slice of summer jump up...Nola Bounce inspired summer jam for the whole famalam!!
PS. WE JUST PLAYED A FESTIVAL IN HELSINKI...SPECIAL UNSCHEDULED GUEST APPEARENCE FROM GNUCCI BANANA AND THE CROWD WENT WIIIIIIIILD
"Spoek Mathambo is a slippery post-Apartheid glam-rap prince from Soweto who is descended from distant African royalty, or Jewish, or both" - FADER MAGAZINE
Part of a new breed of African artists, 25 year old Spoek Mathambo (Rapper and Graphic Designer/ Illustrator) is hitting the world hard with his take on Afro-futurism. Spoek sees himself as a part of a new wave of energy in Africa, which is intent on nurturing a sense of progressiveness while maintaining a pride in culture.
THE BLOG "I write and draw. My content focus will be music and visual art...as well as documenting my travels as a musician. Expect loads and loads of club tropicana...club music of Africa, the Carribean and South America. "
WATCH OUT! Cause sometimes GNUCCI BANANA bumrushes the Zombo Island!