Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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In this time when we're not actually waging war on Islam, Americans who want to know who their friends are should check out an astute collection of North African pop prepared well before September 11 by master compiler Trevor Herman. Tea in Marrakech (Earthworks) begins with the Arabic peace greeting Salam over a setting you could macarena to, and tours 15 of the region's bestsellers from the turbulent '90s. Like most hits, these songs place a premium on the catchy, albeit in modes with a distinct desert tinge. They're also funky, reproducing beats from all over the pop world on indigenous drums and fretboards and adapting local rhythms to electric instruments. Above all, they're jubilantly secular and passionately impure--exemplary melting-pot music, committed to Western notions of pop. Enjoy them, and learn from them, before it's too late.


Fifteen years ago, the funky D.C. dance style called go-go was a duly certified Next Big Thing. Didn't happen. Which didn't stop it--locally, the hits just kept on coming. The Beat: Go-Go's Fusion of Funk and Hip Hop (Liaison) is two CD's of swinging party rap that serves notice that these citizens who can't vote for president deserve to be heard from.

Playboy, Oct. 2001


Sept. 2001 Nov. 2001