Soca and Hip Hop…The movement is coming!!

| April 10, 2012 | 0 Comments

Nicki Minaj in Trinadad

When Nicki Minaj touched down in Trinidad in October of 2010 for her much-anticipated homecoming dubbed The Localize Itt Concert, she created quite a stir —and this time it wasn’t for her outrageous wigs or mismatched body fitted ensembles.

It was, however, for her dirty mouth. An expletive here and there during her 40-minute performance of tracks from her successful Pink Friday debut album, did not escape the ears of an opposition politician, who wasn’t too pleased with the Young Money Entertainment rapper’s salty lyrics. And while he may have let the critically acclaimed singer get a pass for signing some boobs, Minaj’s state funded concert rivaled issues of escalating crime and corruption for weeks in the nation’s parliament.

Despite the controversy, Minaj, who recently released her newest album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, put Trinidad on the map in a big way. Her MTV News documentary, My Time Now, released shortly after her visit not only shed some light on her upbringing in Trinidad, it also turned the world’s attention to the island and re-ignited the nation’s drive to put soca on the world map.

Soca is indigenous to the island of steelpan and Calypso and many believe that it’s just a matter of time before its pulsating rhythms explode onto the international music scene…Hip Hop may just be the genre to help it get there. Soca artiste Kees Dieffenthaller had tongues yapping in February when word hit the streets that he had collaborated with Hip Hop superstar Snoop Dogg for the remix of his Carnival hit, Stress Away. After all it’s not every day that an artiste from the Caribbean gets a Grammy award-winning rapper to jump on a track, a soca track at that.

Kees Dieffenthaller

Soca pioneer Machel Montano achieved that feat in 2008, though, when he pulled out the big guns, teaming up with South rappers Lil Jon and Pitbull for the tune, Defense. The dynamic trio collaborated again a year later for a track called Floor on Fire. The rappers literally flattened the stage at every event they were scheduled to perform with the soca heavyweight and it seemed that the fusion of Hip Hop and Soca was catching on. But will the world embrace it?  It seems likely.

The world got a potent taste of Trinidad and soca in the 90s thanks to Anslem Douglas’ infectious hit, “Who Let the Dogs Out” which earned him a Grammy. The song became even more popular after the Bahamian music group, The Baha Men, put their spin on it and the title became a common catch phrase in America when it was used in the 2000 World Series between the Mets and Yankees.

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Even Hip Hop mogul Jay-Z seemed to think the island had something special. Back in 2000, the rapper shot his popular Big Pimpin’ video in Trinidad during its Carnival celebrations. However, Jay-Z’s interest in Trinidad may not have been all about the music. Rumor has it the Girls Girls Girls singer fathered a son with a Trinidadian model nine years ago. The Hov has since denied those rumours. The only child he claims is his already famous daughter Blue Ivy with his superstar wife Beyonce Knowles.

Jay Z in 2000 on "Big Pimpin" video shoot

Still, with international artistes now open to exploring different genres, whether a Soca and Hip Hop industry becomes a reality is left to be seen and heard. However, many believe that the movement is coming and coming fast.

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