hip hop   massive attack  clean & the dirty (house)

Lil' Kim: Notorious K.I.M. 2000

Track: 6. Revolution
Track: 8. Notorious Kim Lil Kim

No hip hop during the fall or spring fashion shows!
A strange choice when considering this genre more than any is getting major play as a driving force in the fashion arena.

With Fubu's hip hopping up all over the place and Lil' Kim representing Mac Viva Glam cosmetics at Fashion Cares, it's interesting that Canadian designers did not address this style during recent collections.

Now if it doesn't fit, then don't play it, but hip hop cannot be ignored. Let's forget about the shiteroo out there like Busta Rhymes and Puff Shitty, you're not going to find a competitive advantage here. Also, let's ignore all the gunslingers and the bling blingers. They are usually too busy fronting and forget about the music. Put these guys in the same group as the debate club in high school, they love to hear themselves talk and need to pipe down.

Begin with the appropriately titled Handsome Boy Modeling School from Prince Paul and Dan the Automator Nakamura. Drop these dope rhymes at your fashion show, especially the track from Brand Nubian, and they will "bump and hustle" the consumer out of their seat and into your stores for some new gear. Paul and the Automator of De La Soul and Dr. Octagon fame respectively are certainly not shy from wily hip hop productions. Not only can they mix and mash bone-jarring beats outside of the repetitive nature that you hear on most cuts scrambling our radio waves; they have a great sense of humour.

Handsome Boy Modeling School: So...How's Your Girl? 1999

Track:6. Once Again
Track: 7. The Truth

Out the crib, I spit rhymes from the bib. Tell your kids I rip rhymes back to back, but understand this, I only drop mines on dope tracks - Rasco


The Herbaliser featuring silky smooth What What (MC) and the finest spy fly arrangements from the little man Ollie Teeba and Jake Wherry, provide that tough ass edge that works well in an urban collection. Recently, the duo has moved away from the elements of hip hop - DJ, MC, Graffiti, Breaking - to a live onslaught of sound titled Session One that includes a riff happy horn section, wakachika bass guitar, slinking keys, amidst a mad scratching backdrop minus the hip hop MC. This is a welcomed trend as DJ's fuse electronics with live instrumentation. Their desperation style chase music can get your models moving and allow the designer to take on some live action.

Herbaliser: Very Mercenary 1999
Track: 2. Mission Improbable

Jurassic 5: Quality Control 1999
Track: 5. Quality Control
Jurassic Five on the other hand are pure old school with DJ Nu-Mark and Cut Chemist on the decks. They lay down funky beats combined with relentless harmonies that will even persuade the moms, pops, and peeps to sing along. Beginning with a critically acclaimed EP two years ago, J5's Quality Control brings you back to the good ol' days when Dr. J Julius Erving was still dunking red, white, and blue basketballs and the Jefferson's were getting into trouble with the neighbours. While some may consider their lyrics to be on the soft side of gangsta, in fact there is very little gangsta in the message, J5 reminds you that Puff Daddy looks like a fool and the elements will never go away. If your fashion show requires a show- stopper, pull out any track that Cut Chemist touches including a hip hop compilation titled Funky Precedent or his latin side project Ozomatli.

Finally, it was a sad day when I read on the Internet that Butterfly, Doodlebug, and Ladybug of Digable Planets were calling it quits. Their first effort earned them a Grammy out of nowhere. 1994's follow up Blowout Comb is a jazzed out conscious experience that samples the legends of jazz/funk such as Roy Ayers and Bobbi Humphrey. They bring along Jeru the Damaja, Guru from Jazzmatazz and Gang Starr, and Sulaiman on tables for those vintage type tracks when you're rolling in a Cadillac on a sweet summer day. One of the most under appreciated albums ever.

Make sure to check out the big beat producers such as Properllerheads (Jungle Brothers, De La Soul), The Wiseguys (Sense Live), and Terranova (Rasco), etc. for MC guest spots; sometimes the best source for hip hop!

Down Tempo music is extremely relevant as we approach the next century especially since it takes on that futuristic feeling that many designers embrace. Minimalism was prominent over the last few years from Helmut Lang to Jilsander to Calvin Klein. Models have been making b-lines down the runway with too few expressions. So much for the hip and forget about any hops. However, the quality down tempo has a delicate pace that will float an audience through a fashion show feeling satisfied. A designer must be careful when choosing this genre because you are walking a fine line down that catwalk. A step in the wrong direction, the stiletto breaks, and you have lost the momentum you have been desperately trying to build. Many of the Canadian fashion shows have incorporated down tempo at strategic moments during this past fall and spring collections.

Kruder and Dorfmeister are the masters of spliffed out beats, sprawling soundscapes and gurgling late night sessions. This duo spin gems from other lesser knowns and create their own sublime tracks/remixes as a team or with various side projects including Tosca (with an Elvis impersonator as MC) and Peace Orchestra. Turn up the headphones a little louder and you will quickly find that faraway place where everything is just right. Cleverly, K&D's tracks are just as deadly in a swank lounge with sushi, blowfish, and Giselle or out on the streets for a laid-back skateboard and some sugar frosted fakes. I first heard one of their tracks, High Noon, on a snowboard video. I found the track again on the DJ Kicks series that caters to down tempo junkies and begins with waves rolling to shore and a Herbaliser track that creeps and jukes it's way into your fantasies. K&D will certainly take their time moving a song along but at least they will leave you a break to pick up the pace with another selection. If they were to add just a little more muscle into the mix, they would graduate from the masters to jedi knights.

Ludovic Navarre, AKA St. Germain, is the first electronic act to sign with perennial jazz label, Blue Note Records. Beginning with the impressive first full length, Boulevard, Navarre dabbles in almost every style including latin, funk, down tempo, etc. with a thumping 4/4 beat and songs that hit you quick to 20 minute long journeys. His Blue Note release, Tourist, is receiving rave reviews and combines a deft touch with live Parisian jazz musicians. Not only can this music be played at clubs/lounges as floor-fillers but it also makes great supper music and eases the evening into late night endeavors, whatever that might include. You might slip this one by the more mature jazzcats who typically toast to Sidney Bechet and Oscar Peterson. The bluesy raw guitar, Cabaret piano passes, lingering and full saxophones, and obscure voice-overs bring Navarre's groove machine to full force and allow it to breathe in new environments. The first designer to introduce this during a show to all those in the dark will certainly make a powerful impression … and sometimes we forget this simple point. Jeans and a t-shirt are much more appealing with St. Germain … a long legged blonde can't hurt either. He brings his 8 piece band to the Guvernment December 6 alongside the Movement crew.

Kruder and Dormeister
- DJ Kicks1998

Track: 01. A Mother
Track: 11. High Noon Dorfmeister/Kruder

St Germain: Tourist 2000


Until next time!
Brett Blankstein, Reporter

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Canadian Fashion Stage

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What’s in the Stereo?

Jimmy McGriff, Electric Funk - funk/jazz
Body and Soul NYC, Volume 3 - garage house
Kid Loco, DJ Kicks - down tempo
Nightmares on Wax, DJ Kicks - down tempo
Kevin Yost, In Motion - house

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