Monday, September 25, 2017

Snap! - World Power

Arista: 1990

They hadn't planned on it. Sure, they were having some fun dabbling in productions and all, but Michael Münzing already had a tidy career running clubs out of Frankfurt, all the while doing a little DJing on the side. And while he had some synth-pop success with Papa Sven and Luca Anzilotti as OFF, most of Münzing's productions were in service for the clubs he played at, even using sampling gear in his shows.

Still, any European DJ worth their salt at the turn of the decade couldn't help but notice the sounds coming out of clubs from Italy and Belgium (not to mention how sample-happy everything had gotten), American styled hip-hop and house music the new hotness. Never mind that such genres had never charted in Germany. Misters Münzing and Anzilotti figured they'd adopt an American-sounding alias, make a record or two for their own clubs and leave it at that. Only trouble is the resulting record became an international smash, a tune rinsed out at clubs, on radio, at sporting events, during high-school dances... and still does to this day. To imagine a world without The Power is to imagine a darkest timeline indeed.

There's more to the story surrounding that single of course (oh is there ever more!), but I've an album to get through here. Point is Münzing and Anzilotti had to follow that sudden anthem up with an LP, the duo and their newly minted 'Snap!' moniker going from strength to strength in the singles department. Ooops Up turned into another winner (though not quite as big in The US), and Cult Of Snap! showed they weren't afraid of injecting a little Afro-funk into their jams. And while “Benito Benites” and “John 'Virgo' Garrett III” had undoubtedly tapped into a nascent european-fusion of hip-house few others could replicate, it was rapper Turbo B who gave them their unmistakable charisma, Darren Butler's deep, aggressive American inflection often coming off like a Chuck D clone. Yeah yeah, he'd never be as politically charged as the Public Enemy frontman, but between his tone and Snap!'s wilful incorporation of Afrocentric music (in Germany!), it was enough to get Mr. Butler inducted into Afrika Bambaataa's Zulu Nation. Yes, really.

We all know the big hits off here, not to mention the charming house hit Mary Had A Little Boy (oh God, the high-school memories with this one!). The rest of World Power amounts to a little better than filler, and is probably quite wonderful if you dig those early '90s hip-house jams. Most of the tracks are just excuses for to Turbo B drop a bunch of brag raps (Believe The Hype, Witness The Strength), with Blasé Blasé the most charming with its strict Funky-Drummer throwback vibe and off-ball asides from a faux Flavor Flav (plus, that bassline!). The mid-album ballad I'm Gonna Get You probably sounds all kinds of corny on the surface, but I've no doubt 'friend-zoned' dudes everywhere play this as their anthem.


ACE TRACKS:
The Power
Mary Had A Little Boy
Cult Of Snap!

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