Last summer Bo Crane, president of Miami's Pandisc/StreetBeat Records, invited rapper Garrick "Jammin G" Troutman to contribute to one of the label's compilations. The intended genre was Pandisc's bread and butter, that brain-thumping derivative of rap known as bass music. "But G requested to do a few hip-hop songs," explains Crane, "and when we heard those, we scrapped the idea of making a bass album. His talent made it easy to break with tradition."
The result is a distinctly un-bass-ic debut: Jammin G's Back to Da Illness, which was released last month. The album already is enjoying healthy sales nationally, Crane reports, and he expects the numbers to rocket with the release of the single, "Coming Off," along with an accompanying video.
"We tried to keep the bass in the background," says the nineteen-year-old rapper. "I put the emphasis on the flow of the words, and the stories I've got to tell." These accounts detail his rough-and-tumble rearing in South Dade's Richmond Heights neighborhood, where he was raised by his grandmother. Amid the gritty rhymes, the rapper aims a few choice digs at Luther Campbell, the 2 Live Crew frontman whose success made Miami synonymous with bass music. "It ain't like I'm dissing Luke," G notes. "But it ain't fair for me and the other hip-hoppers down here to be prejudged on the basis of him."
Teenage Fan Club
Laid end to end, the list of failed Miami Beach rock venues would stretch from South Pointe to, oh, say, Wolfie's at 21st Street. Well, almost. And yet here comes promoter Bob Slade, hopping down the bunny trail, blithely booking national alt-rock acts into the just-opened Respectable Street Cafe (RSC) on Espanola Way. Earth to Slade: What makes you think this'll work? "How about blind optimism?" he jokes, before going on to explain that he plans to target the area's sixteen-and-up crowd, which now has few live-music options.
"A lot of young people are just walking around looking for something to do," Slade notes. Presto: the promoter brings a ska bill to RSC on August 15, queer-rock champeens Pansy Division on August 17, and former Damned singer Dave Vanian's new band, the Phantom Chords, on August 29 A all for six or seven dollars. "I'm trying to promote to a specific audience with each different show," he points out, adding that he'll steer clear of hard-core stuff at RSC, reserving that music for the Attic in Fort Lauderdale. And unlike the now-defunct Stephen Talkhouse, which had to put someone in its club every night, Slade can pick his spots with RSC. "It's not something I have to do on a regular basis," he says. "I can be selective.