Saturday, 27 August 2011

Founding Father or Sellout?

Second hand sources say Derek B was criticised for rapping with an American accent instead of his native British voice.  But second hand sources also say that, when Music of Life was compiling tracks for Def Beats 1, Derek stepped up and made his own song - Rock the Beat.  Look at the last comment on the cover below.  Did Derek rap with an American accent to give the impression he was from New York City?  Did he set the precedent for his style that he couldn't then turn his back on?  How convincing was his accent anyway?

One thing's for sure.  He put his homeland before America.  He rapped:
  • "America you're under attack!" - from "Bullet From a Gun"
  • "Step off New York cause London's here!" - from "We've Got the Juice"
Within a culture that takes it's history very seriously them's fightin words!  I guess KRS-ONE wasn't listening.  But it wasn't all one-way traffic:
  • "I give thanks to the brothers from across the ocean for giving me a sip of their magic potion." - from "Get Down"
It's clear though that Derek wasn't sure where he fit in:
  • "In the States, the brothers, they are proud.  In England they tried to pull me down." - from "All City"
And the recognition of his US counterparts was something he proudly promoted:
  • "Derek B has one of the hottest records in New York." - Chuck D from the "Power Move" intro.
But the accent was something consciously dealt with.  On "Success", Derek B the DJ & producer speaks with a British accent to EZQ, the MC with an American accent:

EZQ:        Yo D!
Derek B:  Yeah?
EZQ:        You know that def B line you was runnin on me?
Derek B:  Go on, yeah.
EZQ:        Give it to me please.
Derek B:  Alright, sweet.  Hold on.  What, like this?
EZQ:        Yeah, that's right.

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