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No Good gone rap

Tamesha Doughty

No Good gone rap

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Pioneers of Barbados’ indigenous spouge beat are being honoured via a musical tribute by hip hop fusion group Evablaze.
The tribute saw the trio sample Jackie Opel’s No Good, which producer K.B. Sharp said they “chopped up inside of a beat of moderate tempo and used the same chorus because Jackie was saying what we wanted to get across in terms of dealing with situations that are no good”.
Sharp, also a member of the group, said that after he saw Ishiaka McNeil perform No Good at a Much Music Event in 1999 at The Boatyard, he developed a love for the song which propelled him to think about creating a hip hop version of it. 
 “As a producer, many ideas are in your head; it is only when the right artiste comes along that you can execute some ideas.
“With McNeil and Benzo in my circle – who make up the group Evablaze – I had the perfect utensils to create the song No Good,” Sharp explained.
With this in mind, he alluded to Barbados having “some great musical forefathers, with Jackie Opel being one, and it is an honour to highlight them”.
According to Sharp, the hip hop version of No Good would go a long way in highlighting these musical pioneers, thus carrying on the Barbadian legacy.
“These tracks help give us an identity internationally so we will constantly be pulling from the heritage pot because it benefits Barbados and also benefits us.
“It gives our songs an original image when we have to stand up against other international genres and artistes,” Sharp said.
Additionally, due to the group’s experience in hip hop specifically and writing and fusing music, he described the execution of the concept as “easy”.
“I started with the drums, threw on a bit of the sample, started to rap over it and then positioned the sample around the track.”
The producer thought it important to add cultural aspects to the track as a way of highlighting the indigenous elements of the Caribbean, which he was “adamant about injecting into this new genre called Caribbean hip hop”.
“A part that was injected which was not there in the original version of No Good was the steel pan. I injected this because, for the international audience, it is part of the Caribbean experience.”
On the flipside, Sharp bore the youth in mind during the production as he reflected on the days of boogie boarding on the West Coast that led to his becoming attracted to the melodious sound of the steel pan playing nearby.
“When I was going to school, nobody ever came to make sure we knew about these musical heroes.
“The youth under us have to know that [we have our own] pioneers of music here; otherwise they would pay sole attention to Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Jay Z, Shabba Ranks,” he said.
Fellow Evablaze member McNeil also saw it as his duty to pay tribute to the forefathers of spouge and was “eager to make my contribution to the art form”.
“I also think we can appeal to the youth in our society by reintroducing an older art form in a new and refreshing style to educate [them] about that art form.”
McNeil believed the fusion had “the ability to appeal to the older listeners in Barbados and build a bridge from the older to the younger generation”.
Veteran entertainer Mark Lord praised the production.
 “I think it is a wonderful effort by a young group. Spouge is not being taken care of in Barbados because people do not see spouge as one of the national things. I am very impressed with what I’ve heard,” Lord said.
He predicted that many Barbadians would respect the group’s effort and that younger people would relate to the song because of the hip hop version by Evablaze.