The fourth instalment of Dub-Stuy’s riddim series takes a slight detour from its modern dancehall focus with a darker, hip hop influenced riddim featuring contributions from an international cast of vocalists affiliated with the label.
Santa Muerte Riddim puts forward a new sound for the series with a fresh beat courtesy of Brooklyn producer Jonah Freed. The slower 80bpm riddim combines a hypnotizing string melody, eerie sweeps and punching boom bap kicks bringing to mind the heydays of 90’s NYC reggae hip-hop or classic Bristol fusion styles (think the Wild Bunch, Portishead or, more recently, the Young Echo crew). In fact the riddim has a direct tie to Bristol. After Freed first made it, while studying in Chicago when he was just 18, he sent it to Bristol MC Rider Shafique and the two eventually connected for a show in town where Young Echo member Kahn wheeled up the song. After that it was clear this was a riddim that needed to be put out into the world.
Taking turns on the vocal tracks are three artists with a wide stylistic range. Bristol’s Rider Shafique kicks things off with striking confidence, his laid-back flow flexing between boasts and elevated reflections to make ‘Santa Muerte’ a new outernational standard. Next up is veteran NYC artist Jahdan Blakkamoore who showcases his versatility and delivers an uplifting call to leave violence behind on ‘Liberation Over Liberace’. Pupajim from Stand High Patrol takes on the last version with “Open Mindedness”, an unexpected rendition of the riddim laced with a layer of Rhodes harmonies. With his unmistakable vocal style, the french MC urges the music industry to break down musical barriers and embrace the diversity of styles and sounds.
To echo Pupajim’s lyrics, the Santa Muerte Riddim is a testament to the rich history of fusion and eclecticism in sound system culture.
released October 18, 2019
Mastered by Precise. Artwork by Cyril Dosnon. Executive Producer: Quoc Pham.