Album Cover

That East and West Indies have come together this summer to induce some much needed spice into the tiring boom, the bip, the boom-bip cadence of hip hop is news to no one, except maybe for the troglodyte brotherhoods of midland, and their more refined cousins to the north, who believe Pop Culture is bringing society to its knees. Perhaps it is, but that girl's just grinding baby-displaying her flexibility. And her swaggering partner shaking what he can, without spilling too much of the drink in his hand, is only doing what comes naturally. Multiply this couple by one hundred, jammed into the sunken dance floor at Plaid, writhing in unison, and you have what amounts to the equivalent of a community engaged in a timeless tribal ritual. In a minute the DJ, our modern day shaman, is gonna drop some Jay Z vocals and pause just that moment before letting go the Punjaabi MC instrumental on top. Of course the crowd goes wild-so he lets that simmer awhile, before delivering the coup de gras.

The Bug, or Kevin Martin, who has more styles and pseudonyms than Dirt McGirt, (Ice God, Techno Animal, Curse of the Golden Vampire) is the man responsible for this final blow to the head. Not being previously familiar with Martin's work I was somewhat skeptical of the flat red packaging with what looked like a mutated yellow insect on the front cover. Less than a minute later, we were sitting with our mouths open and our brows wrinkled. We breathed expletives, rocked our heads back and forth like possessed robots, got up and walked around in tight circles, only to sit back down and stare at the screen in disbelief. We were obviously malfunctioning. Here was something new. A new strain released by the Kid 606 label, Tigerbeat6, at around the same time as SARS was elbowing its way onto the continent. By the end of the first track we had a pretty good idea of what was going on. Some idiot savant had taken the beeps and tweaks of electronica and crossed them with the infective bass lines of dub and dancehall. Whether its called “glitch ragga,” “bionic bashment,” or simply “dancehall for the twenty first century,” the results are the same; with the release of “Pressure”, The Bug has single handedly created a new category of music that defies description. There are already plenty of reviews out there wherein wordsmiths have done their best to describe what “Pressure” sounds like. Most have failed miserably. To avoid doing the same, I'll quit while I'm ahead, and leave the audio for your ears and instead focus on what “Pressure” feels like: Like getting smacked in the head with a spiked two by four and begging for more. It feels like the better part of addiction-the highs.

The beats are impossibly good-they make perfect sense-nothing could make them better. After you pick yourself up from the floor, you'll hold your head in both hands wondering why you didn't think of it first. But the beats are only half the story. In a recent interview, The Bug said “Previously, I've just been attacking minds with my music. Now it's an all out sonic war on mind and body.” To make “Pressure” much more than just another summer ass shaker, The Bug has compiled an impressive group of collaborators with various styles of delivery and component messages. From the bittersweet crooning of Paul St Hilaire on “Live and Learn” and “Some Days”, to the forceful, dark poetic narratives of Trinidad native London based writer, Roger Robinson on “Executor” and “Night Steppa,” to toaster Wayne Lonseome, the man no one wants to face on stage at Sunsplash, chest thumping “Fuck Y-Self,” to the legendary Daddy Freddy, once entered in the Guiness Book of Records as “The World's Fastest MC”, in true yardcore style preaching down the evils of globalization on the album's opening banger, “Politicians & Pedophiles”, “Pressure” packs enough punch to level anyone who so much as dared to glance at a bottle of All Spice once in the ethnic aisle.

But the DJ has let that track sit long enough, and now he drops what maybe the hottest track on “Pressure”. “Killer” featuring He-Man and The Rootsman sounds like the soundtrack for every Post Apocalyptic movie you've ever seen combined. To say the track is dark is an understatement. The revelers are momentarily stunned by the initial impact, but then the bass drives in, and puts the party into overdrive. R leans over and says, “it sounds like Louis Armstrong if he was the devil.” I thought that was the most apt statement to wrap up the feeling conveyed by “Pressure” and in a world that seems to be teetering on the edge of oblivion, The Bug's “Pressure” should be you're daily soundtrack.

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Brooklyn, NY