Nidia Minaj Danger

[Príncipe; 2015]

Styles: sound of Lisbon
Others: DJ Nigga Fox, DJ Maboku, DJ Firmeza, DJ Lilocox, DJ Marfox, Tia Maria Producoes, CDM Producoes, Blacksea Nao Maya

The Lisbon dance scene, cultivated over the past decade in the city’s outlying neighborhoods, has only just recently reached foreign ears, with Príncipe Discos being a crucial catalyst in forwarding the Lisbon sound abroad. The staggered trajectory is in part due to the city’s urban makeup; the DJs producing in this scene come from neighborhoods isolated by scarce transport links. It’s an unfortunate example of failed urban planning, but it also forces makeshift systems that can engender exciting consequences.

The intensity parallels other localized developments, such as grime or, more recently, mahraganat, an Egyptian development from shaabi, which too has experienced a global growth in audience. The musics are equally political in their common revolt for enjoyment. The applicable phrase “It started all with a smile” recurs throughout “House Kaliente” — a collaboration between Nidia Minaj and DJ Olifox — and, just as mahraganat translates as “festival,” it seems the Lisbon sound could be fittingly characterized by a similar term were it to ultimately find a lasting name. Indeed, the intensity of Danger hits outwardly from the raw audio and overdriven percussion, but also from the sheer festive energy — something that is hard to rationalize.

The sound, however, has far sidestepped prescriptive labeling, largely due to the knotty miscellany of styles it combines. There are implications of kuduro, tarraxinha, and batida, but also techno and house. The track “Limite Master,” for example, contains fragments of rave in its saw-like synth motif. Although based in France, Minaj’s Portuguese roots also remain strong on Danger. The tracks are short and frantic, generally ceasing after a couple of minutes before reestablishing another rabid rhythmic pattern — each design as wild and zealous as the next — and are interspersed with circling textures that almost hint at intermission.

One characteristic of the music is the signing of each track through proclamations of the DJ’s handle, typically as the beat recoils for a moment — another marking of the sound. On Danger, the listener is constantly reminded of Minaj’s existence through sporadic interjections of “Nidia Minaj.” Such affirmations of the DJ’s presence are particularly significant on Danger, considering the architect is a 17-year-old schoolgirl in a generally older, male-dominated context. But make no mistake: Nidia Minaj has produced one of the most forcible works to come through this avenue, let alone recent dance music as a whole.

Links: Nidia Minaj - Príncipe


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