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|Cultural origins||Late 1980s; Baltimore, United States|
Baltimore club, also called Bmore club, Bmore house or simply Bmore, is a breakbeat genre. A blend of hip hop and chopped, staccato house music, it was created in Baltimore, Maryland, United States in the late 1980s by 2 Live Crew's Luther Campbell, Frank Ski, Miss Tony (known as Big Tony after he ceased presenting in drag), Scottie B. and DJ Spen.
Baltimore club is based on an 8/4 beat structure, and includes tempos around 130 beats per minute. It combines repetitive, looped vocal snippets similar to trap, bounce, ghetto house and ghettotech. Baltimore club is a sample based form of breakbeat, with samples used including theme songs to shows like Sanford and Son, SpongeBob SquarePants and Elmo's World, along with samples from shows like Family Guy, South Park & Ren & Stimpy - though can also be simple repeated phrases and chants. The instrumental tracks include heavy breakbeats and call and response stanzas similar to those found in the go-go music of Washington, D.C.. The breakbeats are pulled from samples, with the most prominent being "Sing Sing" by disco band Gaz and "Think (About It)" by Lyn Collins. Much like the rave-era genre known as breakbeat hardcore, Baltimore club sounds as if the music was intentionally hurried, as each song is made with a limited palette of sounds and is based on similar frameworks.
Origin and Development
Baltimore club was born in the record stores of Baltimore first by Scottie B, Shawn Caesar and DJ Equalizer. They were then joined by DJ Patrick, Kenny B, DJ Class, Diamond K and others. They took some inspiration for their sets and production from British breakbeat hardcore records.The Blapps! Records (UK) label released several records between 1989 and 1992 that are considered classics in the Baltimore genre, as well as in the British rave scene. "Don't Hold Back", "Too Much Energy" and "Let the Freak" were sampled and played heavily by DJs and producers, and would define the Baltimore club sound.
In the early 1990s, Baltimore club music developed a cult following in the North Jersey club scene, particularly in the Jersey club genre of Newark, New Jersey developed by DJ Tameil. This spread stems from the distribution of mix tapes from traveling Baltimore DJs. There were also a number of Boston-area radio shows in the mid-nineties that played Baltimore club music. It has also spread south to Virginia club scene (VA 757 Club) and even farther south in Alabama with DJ Seven formally known as DJ Taj developed Bamabounce. It has also started to spread to New York City.
Recently[when?] the genre has gained popularity in Baltimore's rock underground, due to Baltimore club nights at the Talking Head Club and others. Baltimore club was featured in Spin Magazine in December 2005.
Bmore club music adds authentic texture to the soundscape of David Simon's HBO series The Wire. A scene in season two demonstrates the importance of club music in defining space that disadvantaged locals know as their home. The character Bodie becomes confused, thinking that the rented van's radio must be broken, when the station that plays club music fades to static and then A Prairie Home Companion on the road from Baltimore to Philadelphia to pick up a "package" of heroin. In season four, assassins working for a local drug operation identify interlopers from New York by quizzing them about club artists.
Following local uprisings in response to the death of Freddie Gray, Miss Tony, who lived in the same Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood as Gray, has been newly appreciated for his contributions to Baltimore's culture and counterculture. Miss Tony has been an icon to members of Baltimore's queer community, and local rappers continue to riff on the refrain of Miss Tony's "How U Wanna Carry It?" as a challenge to respond to local social needs.
When Terry Wedington, the man who made dancing to this music popular, formed a dance group called TSU, Team Squad Up, Baltimore Club dancing was put on the map. There are other noteworthy members of the group such as Brandon Dawson who has been named the King of Baltimore in a dance competition two times. If an individual was asked to describe what Baltimore Club dancing looks like, others would usually say that it is high paced with knees jerking, legs kicking, and feet stomping in unusual patterns and with fast-paced Baltimore Club music. This style of dance includes moves such as “crazy legs,” and “spongebob,” which have been movements that were deemed noteworthy in other forms of dance and are now making Baltimore Club dancing history. Wedington aspires to pass on this style of dance to future generations so people will continue to Baltimore Club dance for years to come. An individual named Janiyah Johnson has already started learning from Wedington and just recently was named the 2017 Queen of Baltimore in a dance competition. Baltimore Club dancing has already begun to grow at a rapid pace and will continue to do so as the art is moved down for generations to come. The source of this information, KQED, is a notable radio station and television station located in San Francisco, California. This source is credible as they keep up with all of the latest music and keep up multiple series on their television station such as, “If Cities Could Dance.” One of more popular shows on their station was the “If Cities Could Dance: Baltimore,” where they filmed about the culture and history of Baltimore Club dancing.
Now, the style and its direct derivatives are becoming exceptionally popular on the internet due to music sharing websites such as soundcloud.com, and is becoming popular across the United States, Australia and Europe.
Baltimore Club Dancing History
Baltimore Club dancing works in tandem with Baltimore Club music. This wild-legged dance style is native to Baltimore and the dance culture offers the city's youth a platform for self-expression and an alternative to the treacherous realities of life in the streets. TSU Terry, a young Baltimore Club dancer started his own movement with his TSU dance crew. Terry picked up the dancing to stay out of trouble in high school. Before long, he was digging through the scene's history, but most importantly though, TSU Terry uses dance as a way to clean himself out, to vent his emotions in a burst of kinetic energy. TSU says, “Baltimore music is like….the beat makes you want to dance, it makes you want to get up. It don’t matter if you don’t know how to dance, don’t matter if you do know how to dance, the beat itself makes you wanna dance, get up, party and groove. It’s definitely high energy, but it’s based in emotion.” Like many high-schoolers, TSU Terry needed an escape from his everyday reality. Kids in Baltimore were getting into trouble, but Bmore Club dancing helped them stay out of it. Many of the teens were able to connect with it on an emotional level, unlike they have done with anything in the past. “The music helped me release everything silently. By dancing, I didn’t have to talk. I let my dancing do it,” he said. Children didn't have to keep those feelings in anymore. Bmore dancing allowed them to express themselves and stay out of trouble in the process.
Philly and Jersey club
Philly and Jersey club music are both subgenres of Baltimore club music, but they each have their own individual history and evolution. The vocals in Bmore club music one of the factors that sets this style of music apart from the rest. The vocals are raunchy, repetitive, and choppy, and often based on rap acapellas. For the technical aspect, Baltimore club music incorporates a "think break," which is a bass drum pattern that signifies this style of music. As this style of music has evolved, the tempo has increased, and background noises such as gunshots, "What!", and "Hey!" have been increasing in popularity. As these sounds spread into Philadelphia, the city developed them into their own. This genre became known as Philly club, otherwise referred to "party music." This style is much faster that Baltimore club music, manic, and includes elements of hardstyle such as sirens. In contrast, Baltimore club music spread into New Jersey in an entirely different manner. New Jersey DJs were taking runs to Baltimore to pick up the latest club records and bring them back to New Jersey to play at parties. Once this occurred, the sounds began to mutate with what local DJs and producers added on and changed. This style became known as Jersey club, which smoothed out the rugged, raw, and violent edges of Baltimore club music. Similarly, Jersey club dance is simpler and more universal in response to the smoother sounds. The source of this information, Vice News, was created in December 2013 and is based in New York City. This news outlet is created for a connected generation and prides itself on covering "under-reported stories" and pop-culture, which is why this source is credible for the specific topic. Vice focuses on what is popular for our generation, so their knowledge of hip hop music is extensive.
Baltimore Club dance
Baltimore Club dance became very popular with Baltimore's African-American community. Throughout the city, there were dance crews who battled against each other at recreation centers and nightclubs, where music from famous disc jockeys dominated the sound system. These dance moves created from Baltimore Club music were usually high-paced and intense due to the fact that Baltimore Club music evolved from house music, with a mix of hip hop, two fast-paced music genres. One of the many moves born out of Baltimore Club music is the “crazy legs,” a fierce shaking of both legs combined with simultaneous foot tapping and shoulder shrugging. Another dance move evolved out of Baltimore Club music was the “What What”, a dance move involving difficult footwork where one raises up one bent leg over the other in a fast, hopping-like movement. During its highest point of popularity, DJs in the world of Baltimore Club music received international recognition and were featured on the records of major artists. Due to this publicity with Baltimore Club music, naturally, Baltimore Club dance became popular internationally. But international recognition given to Baltimore Club music and dance was short lived. Many attribute the downfall of Baltimore Club culture to the radio. After limiting club music to less than an hour a day of live radio play, there was very little publicity for Baltimore Club music. If it wasn't a hit song, the odds of it getting radio time were close to zero. Though many credit radio with the downfall of Baltimore Club culture, most attribute it to the closing of major Baltimore clubs, such as Paradox and Hammerjacks. Nightclubs like these are where Baltimore Club culture was born. By these clubs and recreation centers closing, it prohibited the experimenting and practice that was necessary for Baltimore Club dance.
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