LISTEN: Moombahsoul takes tropical bass in a R & B direction
by Marcus K. Dowling
Pictured above is David Heartbreak. A former NYC rapper turned producer, he’s one of the most prolific and internationally acclaimed producers of the Dutch house meets reggaeton tropical bass explosion known as moombahton. Washington, DC’s Dave Nada invented the rapidly circulating in underground circles genre as a stopgap measure when confronted by a house party of Latino teens unwilling to get down to 130 BPM house melodies, but definitely willing to get into bubblin’ melodies around 108 BPM. However, as with most things in this most technologically advanced era, moombahton’s gotten out of control really fast, and led to some amazing permutations. The most noteworthy of these mutations is Heartbreak’s invention and addition to moombahton, moombahsoul.
Dance music has always had a rich R & B tradition. Long before disco was associated with synthesized rhythms and monotonous percussion, the genre started as party throwers like David Mancuso threw loft parties that broke unique R & B tracks like Manu Dibango’s “Soul Makossa,” War’s “City Country City” and the Four Tops “Are You Man Enough?,” and the Philly soul concoctions of the entire collective at Philadelphia International Records blended soul and dance with effortless grace. House music has always been a hotbed for the most soulful of vocals, as artists as diverse as Martha Wash and Loleatta Holloway to more modern voices like Deborah Cox and Kelly Rowland have used the genre to breathe life into their stalled careers. And of course, what would hip hop be without hip house, the sub genre that from the Jungle Brothers’ famous “Girl I’ll House You” to Chubb Rock’s “Treat Em Right” has been built on breaks that come straight from the sweaty dance floors to the realm of the boom bap.
David Heartbreak is an anomaly to dance music. By his own admission he’s growing in his knowledge of pure dance music, and is “trying to do something different, to not be just another dude making moombahton.” His co-conspirator, Dutch heavy bass wunderkind Munchi agrees, and in summer of 2010, really set upon a journey to expand moombahton. Their first directive was to involve R & B. The first of these tracks, Heartbreak’s edit of Sade’s “No Ordinary Love,” “Shy Day,” took what was basically a deep house oriented genre in a very sensuous direction, and moombahton producers haven’t looked back since. Munchi’s Montell Jordan “Get It On Tonight” edit “Esta Noche” is tremendous as well, and is a staple in the live mixes of moombahton creator Nada and a plethora of others.
Many producers and dance fanatics alike are skeptical and derisive about moombahton, noting the lack of talent required to pitch down Dutch house and make edits. However, in moombahsoul, you find some of the early signs of true musicianship and creativity in the moombahton genre. Names unfamiliar to most music fans like Philadelphia’s Jon Kwest, Arizona’s DJ Melo and Pickster One, DCs Cam Jus and a number of others have excelled in this format and are leading arbiters of this new sonic craze.
As an adjoiner to this post, Kansas City’s own Brent Tactic mixes 30 minutes of moombahsoul, guaranteed to invite even the most hardened anti-moombahton fanatic to groove. Tracks from artists as diverse as Curtis Mayfield, Troop, Chris Brown, Aretha Franklin, and the Notorious BIG have been re-imagined with a tropical sway, and provide intriguing listens. As a DJ, Tactic’s weekly Sunday parties at Kansas City’s Californos bar/club follow the standard of moombahton’s spread, functions that blend the best parts of LA’s Do Over with the best impulses of classic era DC punk Food for Thought Sunday matinees.
1.Wiz & Snoop – That Good (Theory’s Moombahstoned Remix)
2.Heartbreak – Shy Day
3.DJ Teenage Wolf – Think Of You
4.Cam Jus – Deuces (Moombahton Ish)
5.Jon Kwest – Angie’s Song
6.Pickster & Melo – Fat Booty
7.Heartbreak – Grown Man Shi
8.Munchi – Me & My Bitch
9.Melo – Es Deficil
10. Munchi – Hope
11. Roska ft. Jamie George – Wonderful Day (Dave Nada Moombahton Edit)
12. Heartbreak – Dance If You Like
13. Jacques Greene – Tell (Kingdom Edit Brent Tactic Moombahton Flip)