Thursday, November 10, 2011

Spotlight: Dirty Paraffin

Dirty Paraffin is making waves in the world kwaito, a uniquely South African house/hip hop creation. The energetic duo from Johannesburg, made up of DJ Dokta Spizee and vocals by Okmalumekoolkat, seem to have a soft spot for old school rap and 80's electronica, both of which they sample smartly on the facetiously-titled mixtape "Greatest Hits." Their sound is all about stuttering beats, video game sound effects and playful lyrics. Not to mention a heavy reliance on internet jargon: "You can download this on MP3, but when I kick it live OMFG!" "When it drops it go APE, if you don't like it you can SMD." Dance track "Moonwalker" features the cut up and rearranged synth of "Thriller" to superbly disorienting effect. 

Other tracks feature a more minimalist beat and fuzzy bass lines for resting between the periodic freakouts. Topically, they borrow some of the anything-goes party themes of American hip-hop, but with a goofy side. In the green screen-assisted video for" Drip Dry" the duo performs intentionally lazy dance moves over a backdrop of flashing images of chickens, psychedelic patterns and palm trees. From an American perspective, their approach rings with the same irreverent deconstruction and parody found in Das Racist, or maybe even M.I.A. One thing can be said for sure, these guys seem to have a blast while doing their thing.

Dirty Paraffin-Drip Dry from Cuss on Vimeo.

- Will Yates
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