What is the purpose of musical (as a segment of general aesthetic) categorisation? Why does the categorisation of music function so similarly to the modes of categorisation used to racially determine the nation? Why does the free movement of music across the border of genre raise such a violent consternation? In what sense is listening, and its resulting construction of an audience, an activity that can easily lend itself to a xenophobic disposition?Dhanveer Singh Brar, The 87 Press
DB: That place Alibi used to be called PIER 1. Akon used to come down there a lot, Ja Rule used to go down there, it used to be a proper African hip-hop spot. It used to have a boat sticking out, it was the spot! If it just went through that wave where black music wasn’t being so rinsed round here like it is now, it would have still been a poppin’ club in the area. Because people would have still gone to it. It didn’t survive the wave.
There was a time long ago when I used to put on nights and they’d be like ‘don’t play hip-hop because it brings in the wrong kind of people’. It happened all the time, any time we’d DJ round there the venue owner would come down from the social club upstairs and tell you off for playing hip-hop because it attracted, you know, ‘trouble’. And it’s funny, because that’s all you hear coming out the same clubs now.
I would like another form of popular black music to not be hip-hop, grime or dancehall. Or for there to be more variation of sensibilities. RnB is unfortunately not as popular as it used to be. And there was a time when RnB and hip-hop both co-existed. The fact that we still have black hyper- masculinity as the dominant image in popular black music is just like… I’m done with it man, I’ve been done with it. RnB is not looking like it’s going to have a resurgence in that way because that kind of black communication is just… people don’t really want to hear that.
G: It’s been obscured by capitalism. I’ve kind of moved my own work away from hyper-masculinity.
DB: It’s toxic, because in a short space of time, I mean it’s always been mainstream, but there’s something about it, the performance has become so… normalised. At the same time I don’t think politically about lyrics or whatever, partly cause I think black artists should still have the same freedom as white artists. Warts and all. And they should always exercise that freedom.