Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Back in the Day #7: Ini Kamoze


No, i didn't run out of songs that i'd like to discuss, i just sort of let this feature fall by the wayside in favor of less time consuming impersonal posts. Needless to say, we're back, and to announce our presence, we send in Ini Kamoze's 1994 dancehall track "Here Comes the Hotstepper". When i hear this song i think only of checking out the soundtrack to Robert Altman's fashion satire Ready to Wear (Prêt-à-Porter) from the library. The video only reinforces these associations, as i was just a little pre-teen and can't recall ever hearing it in any other context despite the fact it was a #1 hit in the US.

When i was young i had this thing with soundtracks. I checked them out obsessively at the local library and didn't care whether the movies they originated from were any good or not. Soundtracks make excellent gateway drugs. Through them i facilitated my own musical education, with every disc featuring upwards of 15 different artists, i would grow attached to one song and seek out full albums. I dug Moloko because "Fun for Me" was on Batman & Robin and "Indigo" was on Mystery Men. I directed myself to Bronski Beat because Jimmy Somerville had some high pitched vocal tracks on the score to Orlando. And the Trainspotting albums? Don't even get me started. Most of those artists still rank amongst my favorites. All that said, Ini Kamoze's "Here Comes the Hotstepper" was not, is not, a favorite by any means. I didn't go searching for his full album, and i sorta kinda hated the jangly 90's-ness of the song. I'm pretty sure that Kamoze is no 'lyrical gangster'...

But i can't escape the song. It always comes back. Always. With its catchy na na na's and easy nonsense rhythm all i have to do is see the words Prêt-à-Porter in any sort of context and there it is....Ini Kamoze, in my head, telling me he's the hotstepper with the refrain asking me to 'turn it up'. Eee gads.

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