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|Cultural origins||Late 1980s; Baltimore, United States|
Baltimore club, also called Bmore club, Bmore house or simply Bmore, is a fusion of breakbeat and house genres. It is often referred to as a blend of hip hop and chopped, staccato house music. It was created in Baltimore, Maryland, United States in the late 1980s by 2 Live Crew's Luther Campbell, Frank Ski, Miss Tony (known as Big Tony after he stopped presenting in drag), Scottie B. and DJ Spen.
Baltimore club is based on an 8/4 beat structure, and includes tempos around 130 beats per minute. It combines repetitive, looped vocal snippets similar to trap, bounce, ghetto house and ghettotech. Baltimore club is a sample based form of breakbeat, with samples used including theme songs to shows like Sanford and Son, SpongeBob SquarePants and Elmo's World, along with samples from shows like Family Guy, South Park & Ren & Stimpy - though can also be simple repeated phrases and chants. The instrumental tracks include heavy breakbeats and call and response stanzas similar to those found in the go-go music of Washington, D.C. The breakbeats are pulled from samples, with the most prominent being "Sing Sing" by disco band Gaz and "Think (About It)" by Lyn Collins. It is similar to the rave-era genre known as breakbeat hardcore. Baltimore club sounds as if the music was intentionally hurried, as each song is made with a limited palette of sounds and is based on similar frameworks.
Origin and development [ edit ]
Baltimore club was born in the record stores of Baltimore. Early adopters included Scottie B, Shawn Caesar and DJ Equalizer[when?]. They were later joined by DJ Patrick, Kenny B, DJ Class, Diamond K and others. They took some inspiration for their sets and production from British breakbeat hardcore records. The Blapps! Records (UK) label released several records between 1989 and 1992 that are considered classics in the Baltimore genre, as well as in the British rave scene. "Don't Hold Back", "Too Much Energy" and "Let the Freak" were sampled and played heavily by DJs and producers, and would later define the Baltimore Club sound.
In the early 1990s, Baltimore club music developed a cult following in the North Jersey club scene, particularly in the Jersey club genre of Newark, New Jersey developed by DJ Tameil. This spread stemmed from the distribution of mix tapes by traveling Baltimore DJs. There were also a number of Boston-area radio shows in the mid-1990's that played Baltimore club music. It also spread south to the Virginia club scene (VA 757 Club), and even further south to Alabama where DJ Seven, formerly known as DJ Taj, developed Bamabounce. It had also started to spread to New York City.
Recently[when?] the genre has gained popularity in Baltimore's rock underground, due to "Baltimore club nights" at venues such as the Talking Head Club. Baltimore club was featured in Spin Magazine in December 2005.
Following local uprisings in response to the death of Freddie Gray, Baltimore club DJ Miss Tony, who lived in the same Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood as Gray, has recently been acknowledged for his contributions to Baltimore's culture and counterculture. Miss Tony has been an icon to members of Baltimore's LGBT community, and local rappers continue to riff on the refrain of Miss Tony's "How U Wanna Carry It?" as a challenge to respond to local social needs.
Baltimore club dancing history [ edit ]
Baltimore club dancing works in tandem with Baltimore club music. This wild-legged dance style is native to Baltimore and the dance culture offers the city's youth a platform for self-expression and an alternative to the treacherous realities of life in the streets. TSU Terry, a young Baltimore club dancer started his own movement with his TSU dance crew. Terry picked up the dancing to stay out of trouble in high school. Before long, he was digging through the scene's history, but most importantly though, TSU Terry uses dance as a way to clean himself out, to vent his emotions in a burst of kinetic energy. TSU says, "Baltimore music is like the beat makes you want to dance, it makes you want to get up. It don’t matter if you don’t know how to dance, don’t matter if you do know how to dance, the beat itself makes you wanna dance, get up, party and groove. It’s definitely high energy, but it’s based on emotion. The music helped me release everything silently. By dancing, I didn’t have to talk. I let my dancing do it."
Philly and Jersey club [ edit ]
Philly and Jersey club music are both subgenres of Baltimore club music, but they each have their own individual history and evolution. The vocals in Baltimore club music one of the factors that sets this style of music apart from the rest. The vocals are raunchy, repetitive, and choppy, and often based on rap acapellas. For the technical aspect, Baltimore club music incorporates a "think break," which is a bass drum pattern that signifies this style of music. As this style of music has evolved, the tempo has increased, and background noises such as gunshots, "What!", and "Hey!" have been increasing in popularity. As these sounds spread into Philadelphia, the city developed them into their own. This genre became known as Philly club, otherwise referred to "party music." This style is much faster than Baltimore club music and includes elements of hardstyle such as sirens. In contrast, Baltimore club music spread into New Jersey in an entirely different manner. New Jersey DJs were taking runs to Baltimore to pick up the latest club records and bring them back to New Jersey to play at parties. Once this occurred, the sounds began to mutate with what local DJs and producers added on and changed. This style became known as Jersey club, which smoothed out the rugged, raw, and violent edges of Baltimore club music. Similarly, Jersey club dance is simpler and more universal in response to the smoother sounds.
Baltimore club dance [ edit ]
Baltimore club dance became very popular with Baltimore's African-American community. Throughout the city, there were dance crews who battled against each other at recreation centers and nightclubs, and music from famous disc jockeys was at its peak. These dance moves, created from Baltimore club music, were usually high-paced and intense due to the fact that Baltimore club music evolved from house music, with a mix of hip hop, two fast-paced music genres. One of the many moves born out of Baltimore club music is the "crazy legs", a fierce shaking of both legs combined with simultaneous foot tapping and shoulder shrugging. Another dance move evolved out of Baltimore club music was the “what what”, a dance move involving difficult footwork where one raises up one bent leg over the other, in a fast, hopping-like movement. During its peak, Baltimore club DJs received international recognition and were featured on the records of major artists. Due to this publicity with Baltimore club music, naturally, Baltimore club dance became popular internationally. But international recognition given to Baltimore club music and dance was short lived. Many attribute the downfall of Baltimore club culture to the radio. After limiting club music to less than an hour a day of live radio play, there was very little publicity for Baltimore club music. If it wasn't a hit song, the odds of it getting radio time were close to zero. Though many credit radio with the downfall of Baltimore club culture, most attribute it to the closing of major Baltimore clubs, such as Paradox and Hammerjacks. Nightclubs like these are where Baltimore club culture was born, and by these clubs and recreation centers closing, it prohibited the experimenting and practice that was necessary for Baltimore club dance.
References [ edit ]
- Deveraux, Andrew (December 2007). "What You Know About Down the Hill?": Baltimore Club Music, Subgenre Crossover, and the New Subcultural Capital of Race and Space". Journal of Popular Music Studies. 19 (4): 311–341. doi:10.1111/j.1533-1598.2007.00131.x. Retrieved 2008-01-19.
- Reid, Shaheem; Paco, Matt (2007). "Young Leek & the Baltimore Scene". MTV Networks. Archived from the original on 11 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-19.
- Bernard, Patrick (2006-07-03). "Scottie B and Baltimore Club". The Wire. Archived from the original on 2008-01-12. Retrieved 2008-01-19.
- Host, Vivian (September 7, 2014). "Sing Sing: A Loop History". Red Bull Music Academy. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
- Shipley, Al (2006-01-19). "The Best Of Both Worlds". Baltimore City Paper. Retrieved 2008-01-19.
- "Dance the Pain Away". Spin. 2005-12-03. Retrieved 2017-06-04.
- Inoue, Todd (July 31, 2005), "Rod Lee, Putting B-More On the Map", The Washington Post
- Burney, Lawrence (2016-10-18). "Baltimore's Creative Community Still Looks to Queer Icon Miss Tony for Inspiration". Thump. Retrieved 2018-01-11.
- Soderberg, Brandon (2016-05-17). "The life of Baltimore icon Miss Tony and the death of Freddie Gray". FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music. Retrieved 2018-01-11.
- Britto, Brittany. “Keep the Beat.” Data Desk - Baltimore Sun, data.baltimoresun.com/features/keep-the-beat/.
Further reading [ edit ]
- Inoue, Todd. "Rod Lee, Putting B-More On The Map." The Washington Post. 07/31/2005. N02.
- Janis, Stephen; Lee, Rod; Young, Omar Akbar. "Labtekwon & Rod Lee Interview" (PDF). Link. 9: 56–64. [permanent dead link]
- Soderberg, Brandon. "61 Digressions About Baltimore Club Music." City Paper. 06/22/2016.