Rugged dancehall, shameless pop, hipster electro bangers, rude dubstep—fuck it, South Rakkas does it all. The duo comprised of Dennis “D-Rakkas” Shaw and Alex “Alex G” Greggs, South Rakkas took an unusual path to become the dons of digital funk. South Rakkas first gained fame for their blazing dancehall riddims (“Clappas,” “Red Alert,” “Bionic Ras,” “Chinkuzi” anyone?), which brought production work for stars like Vybz Kartel, Mr. Vegas, Elephant Man.
But it’s not for nothing that XLR8R recently praised South Rakkas for their “boundary-pushing” powers; indeed, these futuristic rhythm killers can’t be held down to any one sound or style. SRC can flex from Beenie Man and Bounty Killer one moment, T-Pain the next, and then on to the likes of M.I.A., Lily Allen, Beck, Duran Duran, Justin Timberlake, The Bug, Warrior Queen, Britney Spears, and Shakira—all of whom have been touched by South Rakkas’ edgy studio savvy.
Those skills came about when D-Rakkas and Alex G met up working at the same recording studio in Toronto, Canada. Both had roots in the local hip-hop/reggae scene: Alex G created beats for local rap groups and, erm, Barenaked Ladies, while D-Rakkas spent his youth as charismatic, party-starting DJ (“Rakkas” is in fact a local West Indian slang term for “rockers” reggae music that he used to put on his DJ flyers to indicate his parties’ music policy). The concept for SRC first hatched, though, when the duo moved to Orlando, Florida to become a crucial part of ‘N Sync’s production team.
There, D-Rakkas conceptualized South Rakkas Crew and enlisting Alex G in a pairing that would combine both their strengths. The plan was simple: Alex G would hold down the pop/dance production side in Florida (his work with the archetypal boy band on smash albums like Pop would catapult him into the pantheon of platinum-plated star producer/mixer/remixers);
D-Rakkas, meanwhile, would travel to ruffneck Kingston, Jamaica, where an introduction from his brother-in-law Mr. Vegas gave him access to dancehall’s top talent. Rakkas’ first riddim, “Clappas,” quickly proved a major island smash, paving the way for many more; Jamaican and non-Jamaican audiences alike also appreciated SRC’s talent for fusing hook-laden song structure with sound-system destroying beats.
South Rakkas Crew (MAD DECENT)Cassette Number Nine, 9 Vulcan Lane, AK CityThursday 27th June, $10 Pre-sales, $15 on the doorPre-sales at www.dashtickets.co.nz
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