Sunday, March 22, 2009

Could Rye Rye Popularize Baltimore Club Rap?

By Evan Rytlewski
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Baltimore's native strain of rap, a fusion of house and dancehall conventions known as Baltimore club, is one of the most unique in the country, along with D.C. go-go a distinct alternative to the southern club music that's infiltrated much many of the country's bigger, less-isolated rap scenes. DJ Blaqstarr is the new face of Baltimore club, but its great white hope could be his protege, a teenage rapper called Rye Rye. With Blaqstarr, she scored a regional hit (and modest YouTube sensation) in the single "Shake it to the Ground," and appearances on couple of M.I.A. remixes (including one of "Paper Planes") have put her squarely on the radar of club enthusiasts.

Her DJ played up the M.I.A. connection at a SXSW performance, where Rye Rye flaunted choreographed moves with a pair of back-up dancers, but if anything, with her doubled vocals and frequent declarations of being the baddest, Rye Rye came across more like a more personable Trina than anything. As a lyricist, she's nothing to write home about, but her confidence and breathless swagger gives the Blaqstarrs and Diplos of the world plenty to work with. Baltimore club may finally have the star it needs to give it the broader exposure it deserves.

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