Super Negro Bantous + Super Five International | "Super Duo"
Reupped by popular demand here. [Originally written September 9, 2012.] I like to think of the Bronx as the birthplace of what more or less defines contemporary popular music, not just here in the U.S., but all over the world. It's an insane proposition, of course, and I know that. But if we can all agree that hip-hop has in a way become global pop's lingua franca, then it's not, like, KRAZY-crazy to think along these lines, is it? Whatever. This is merely a fancy way of saying that I spent a good chunk of time today in the Bronx, walking up White Plains Road from the intriguingly named Gun Hill Road to 232nd Street, stopping in African DVD stores, drug stores selling DVDs and CDs, and two black-music focused record/CD/cassette stores: Moodies Records (3976 White Plains Road) and Millennium Records (4045 White Plains Road). My first stop--where I found the CD above--was a combination drug/variety and DVD/CD store. The idea of combining one's music, movies and remedies all in one place is not unique to a single culture--there is, for instance, Tu Quynh Pharmacy in Manhattan's Chinatown, where I found at least one Vietnamese CD I've been meaning to add to the shelves here. "This music is in African language," one of clerks helpfully reported to me as I bent down to dig through the two-three dozen CDs they had relegated to about half of one side of the store's middle aisle. I wanted to say something clever in reply, something like, "Music is the universal language of mankind," or better yet, "Music is the language of the soul, and yet the soul can never translate it!"
Instead, I looked up, met his warm smile with one of my own, and said, "That's exactly why I'm here." It turned out to be the perfect answer and he left me to my digging. Several minutes later, I stood back up, now holding five promising-looking CDs in hand.
"How much are these?" I asked.
"Five dollars," he replied. "See?" I said. "They're totally speaking my language." This album, contrary to what the title suggests, is not a collaboration between Super Negro Bantous (who may have originally been from Camaroon) and Super Five International. Rather, it's a compilation containing three SNB songs and seven by SFI (including the sample above, "Do Me I Do You"). It is, as you'll soon discover, a totally kick-ass record.
And, in case you're wondering, the answer is yes. Yes, I did get a number of other Nigerian CDs I'll be upping this week or next. As well as things from Ghana, South Africa and Jamaica. Stay tuned.