Big­gie gets big­ger via young Nor­we­gian DJ

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

The No­to­ri­ous B.I.G. would fig­ure at or near the top on any list of hip-hop all-stars, yet the slain rap­per’s top song on Spo­tify comes via a 26-year-old Nor­we­gian. Matoma, a fresh-faced DJ who played to a packed, rau­cous crowd Satur­day at the Panorama fes­ti­val in The No­to­ri­ous B.I.G.’s home­town of New York, grew up ad­mir­ing the rap­per be­fore he ever un­der­stood the lyrics. “His beats were so flaw­less and there was some­thing about his voice and his rhythm that I got re­ally cu­ri­ous about,” Matoma, who af­fa­bly in­tro­duces him­self by his real name of Tom Lager­gren, told AFP be­fore his set.

Study­ing mu­sic pro­duc­tion in Nor­way’s third largest city Trond­heim, Matoma no­ticed that clubs would empty out when hip-hop came on. He tried his hand and mar­ried hip-hop to elec­tron­ica-which en­joys a sig­nif­i­cantly larger base in Europe. To his sur­prise, “Old Thing Back,” his No­to­ri­ous B.I.G. remix, quickly went vi­ral af­ter he posted it on­line in 2014. “Old Thing Back” has since been heard more than 189 mil­lion times on lead­ing stream­ing site Spo­ti­fy­more than any orig­i­nal track by The No­to­ri­ous B.I.G., known to fans as Big­gie, who was shot dead in 1997 just be­fore the rev­o­lu­tion in on­line mu­sic.

Matoma has been signed to a ma­jor la­bel, At­lantic, and re­leased an al­bum. He him­self has more than 12 mil­lion monthly lis­ten­ers on Spo­tify. And in a sign of ac­cep­tance, Matoma in May put out a new Big­gie remix, “Party on the West Coast,” work­ing with both his widow, Faith Evans, and Snoop Dogg, who has spo­ken fondly of Big­gie de­spite com­ing from the ri­val rap camp of Los An­ge­les.

Matoma-his stage name comes from his brother’s drunken bas­tardiza­tion of “Hakuna Matata,” the Swahili phrase pop­u­lar­ized glob­ally by “The Lion King”-notes proudly that The No­to­ri­ous B.I.G.’s over­all streams on Spo­tify have risen sharply since “Old Thing Back.” He won­dered if many young lis­ten­ers, es­pe­cially out­side the United States, would have other­wise en­coun­tered the rap­per born as Christo­pher Wal­lace. “I see com­ments on the in­ter­net like, ‘You should never touch Big­gie’s work, this is dis­re­spect­ful for the artist.’ But I start think­ing-at 10 or 12 years old, the only hip-hop you’re go­ing to get is the new hip-hop on the pop sta­tions,” Matoma said.

“His voice de­serves to reach out to peo­ple who haven’t heard him to­day,” he said. The vi­ral remix took vo­cals from The No­to­ri­ous B.I.G. and col­lab­o­ra­tor Ja Rule on “Want That Old Thing Back,” a rel­a­tively ob­scure track re­leased af­ter Big­gie’s death in which the rap leg­end makes his sex­ual prow­ess ex­plic­itly clear through his fast-tongued rhymes. Matoma said that the orig­i­nal ver­sion-quick-tem­poed with anx­ious syn­the­sized strings-did not do jus­tice to Big­gie’s voice.

For the remix, Matoma brought trop­i­cal house­the Caribbean-ac­cented elec­tronic style that has swept pop mu­sic-and sax­o­phone to give the track a new feel-good en­ergy.

Psy­che­delic show from Tame Im­pala

Panorama, launched last year as a New York out­post by the or­ga­niz­ers of Cal­i­for­nia’s famed Coachella fes­ti­val, opened Fri­day with a rare per­for­mance by Frank Ocean, the sen­si­tive R&B singer whose set, through on-stage video, re­sem­bled a real-time live con­cert film. Kevin Parker, front­man of Aus­tralian psy­che­delic rock­ers Tame Im­pala who head­lined Satur­day, voiced awe at Ocean. “That’s the type of show that makes me think-at least we have lasers,” Parker quipped.

Yet Tame Im­pala put on a vis­ually elab­o­rate set of it own in what Parker said was the Perth band’s largest ever US con­cert. Ac­cen­tu­at­ing the band’s dreamy rock, Tame Im­pala played to swirls of trippy color on the back-screens, with the Sun de­scend­ing like a fly­ing saucer on “Let It Hap­pen.” Among other mem­o­rable per­for­mances, in­die rocker Mit­ski roused the crowd with a hard-charg­ing set of her deeply in­tro­spec­tive tracks of self-iden­tity. Jok­ing that she was liv­ing up to car­i­ca­tures of her as in­tense, Mit­ski closed by shout­ing into her gui­tar’s bridge to cre­ate a loop of feed­back. — AFP

Robert Tru­jillo, left, and James Het­field of Me­tal­lica per­form dur­ing their con­cert at The Rose Bowl on Satur­day in Pasadena, Calif. —AP

Crowd watches Matoma per­form.

Tom Straeke Lager­gren aka Matoma poses dur­ing the 2017 Panorama Mu­sic Fes­ti­val on Ran­dall’s Is­land in New York. — AFP photos

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