Grand Royal - Beats, Booty, Bass

Welcome To The Planet Of Bass

I know by now, you are all wondering: Why Bass music? Have the people at Grand Royal lost it for real? Already, the op-ed commentary is probably jumping off: "Isn't this some music that came and went, never departing too far from Miami?" "I don't want to read about no 'come on ride the train' bullshit." "What are these people on?" "What about the exploitation of women in the Bass music scene?" On the other hand, some readers are probably saying, "Finally, they got their freak on in this magazine."

Controversy aside, if you are to ask "why?" in true Grand Royal fashion, we will reply: "why not?"

But to address the issue for real: In this age of mas­sively over-hyped musical trends (electronica, anyone?), and widely publicized scenes, there remains very little that is truly underground, and even less that is truly underground-yet simultaneously very popular in a uniquely regional way. Like its first cousin Hip Hop, Bass music has been around for years now, and will most like­ly continue to be. But unlike hip hop, the movement has not spawned its own world wide culture, broadcast through its own magazines, TV shows, clothing lines, and so on. There is no "Yo! MTV Bass!" There is no Bass equiv­alent of Vibe, or the Source. You do not hear Bass music or Bass music stars in Sprite commercials. To my knowledge, there are no N.B.A. players jump starting their recording careers with Bass music songs and videos. And maybe more to the point, you definitely do not hear Bass music playing in coffee bars as you can the softer forms of the high­ly-lauded "Drum and Bass" movement. We have yet to see a generation of white suburban kids forming Bass/Rock/Reggae-influenced bands, like the hip hop hybrids 311, Korn, etc. So in this way, Bass music remains truly "ghetto" or under­ground, even though it enjoys sales of hundreds of thousands, and in some cases, millions of units. I do however, think it's ironic that perhaps one of the finest ever Bass music videos is actually a clip for the R&B/hip hop crossover hit, "Rump Shaker" by the Teddy Riley-produced Wrecks-in-Effect.

Now for the real quandry: What about the politics of women in Bass music and it's culture? Well, I have no real defense to offer. Only these thoroughly unqualified thoughts: The dances performed by women in Bass music could arguably be traced from ancestral African tribal lineage. The celebrated shape of a "Bass booty" body draws more on a realistic female image than the waif ideals which distort the high fashion pages and runways. Furthermore, many of our field reporters witnessed a variety of women enjoying (and expressing) themselves freely at Bass functions. Other then this, I can only state that we at Grand Royal do not condone or enjoy misogyny or discrimination on any level (And just because a woman chooses to wear a thong, no one has a right to interpret that as an invitation to harassment). But, for the sake of comparison/devil's advocacy, does that mean we should also not cover Hip Hop, which can be equally if not possibly more destructive?

Without further ado, I'd like to encourage you all to enjoy our Bass tribute, as well as the music, and the videos, with a sense of humor. This section is far from being the end-all last word on Bass music, or culture. I'm sure there's plenty we missed. But there is also plenty that we captured. From simple how-to instructional, to history, to Tick's "fear and loathing" for the Bass generation, to one-on-one interviews. From Miami, to Atlanta, to the universe, a dedication to all the rump shakers, the sound quakers: Please, just "Shake your rump"

- Mike Diamond

The Road To Miami Bass: JL historical perspective

Circa 8,000 B.C.: The Tequesta Indians rule South Florida. The are reportedly par­tial to drinking wood alcohol, ritualistic dancing and thong briefs. Bass culture is bom.

1513: Spanish explorer Juan Ponce De Leon, the first European on the peninsula, claims Florida for Spain. Rumored to take "da dip" in the fountain of youth. 157ft Things get juicy. Citrus fruits, Florida's most important [edible] products, are introduced by Spanish settlers.

1783: Florida's first newspaper, The East Florida gazette, is established in Saint Augustine (already the continent's oldest European settlement). Larry King is featured columnist.

1821: Spain cedes Florida to the United States,
although the U.S. Government designates it "a home or shelter only for beasts or for men little elevated above beasts." Yeah, and what of it?

1835: Seminole Indians defeated. Indians devise long-term plan to soak the white man dry economically through regu­lated gambling.

1853: University of Florida established in Gainesville. First Spring Break follows eight months later. June 24,

1898: The first of 7,000 U.S. troops arrive in Miami at the start of the Spanish-American war. They are so impressed with the non­stop partyatmosphere that one soldier claims "If I owned both Miami and Hell, I'd rent out Miami and live in Hell."

1915: Carl G. Fischer opens the Dixie Highway, linking Chicago to Miami and inciting a boom on Fischer's development, Miami Beach.

1920: Florida's first radio station in Miami, Most early radio consoles not equipped to handle booty music.

1926: One of the first mansions in Miami Beach, Casa Casuarina, is built. It will eventually be purchased fay rock n' roll fashion maven Gianni Versace. 20s/30s: Deco style architecture builds up twenty blocks of the original Miami Beach, now known as South Beach.

1929: First Marx Brothers film The Cocoanuts lampoons Florida land boom.

1949: Florida's first TV station in Miami. Desi Amaz's Peep Show airs briefly, replaced by Larry King Live when FCC visits. 50s: Golden era of the bombastic Fountainbleu Hotel, a refugee center for Jews following the horrors of WWII.

1959: Caslro takes over Cuba. Monied Cubans start to take over Miami. 1960: Kennedy-Khruschev beef incites Bay Of Pigs, but brings home no bacon.

1961: First US. manned space flights launched irom Cape Canaveral. Astronaut Roger Healy, trapped in jeannie bottle, misses flight.

1964: Cassius Clay defeats Sonny Listen in Miami Beach. Beatles meet Clay the week before. Neither has any influence on the coming Bass music boom. ALSO: South Beach's Bass Museum opens to the public. Unfortunately, it just sports a bunch of moldy old oil paintings, with not one photo of an oversized booty in a thong biki­ni.

1969: First spacecraft to land men on
Canaveral on July 16. Astronaut Tony Nelson misses flight because he is dressed like a chicken.

1971: Walt Disney World opens. It's already A Small World, but it gets smaller when half the wetlands in the slate are paved over to create Orlando, home ot Theme.

1977: State capital moves to Tallahassee to avoid Auto sound lobby-ists.1980: Rioting erupts in Miami's black community due to tensions from Cubar. immigration and the acquittal of four white cops accused of beating to death a black businessman- First documented use of the phrase "The cars that go boom."

1981: Gianni Versace opens first U.S. boutique in tony Miami suburb Coconut Grove.

1982: Afrika Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force drop "Planet Rock" on the new [orange] Tommy Boy label. Revolution starts here. Early-Mid 80s: Euro/Brazilian thong bikinis make first widespread appearances on Miami Beach. Outrage fuels their popularity and ensures permanence.

1984: Miami Vice debuts on national TV, reminding

share of sleaze—if only on Don Johnson's beard. Guests stars will include Pam Grier md the Fat Boys.

1985: Year One of the Bass era brings arguably the iirst Bass records, MC ADE's "Bass Mechanic" and "Bass Rock Express." Almost immediately, 2 Live Crew drop "Throw The 'D'" (recorded in Riverside, CA), on new partner Luther Campbell's Luke Skyywalkerr Records,

1988: Unofficially, the iirst year fluorescent colors overtake popularity of pastels in the Florida retail garment industry. 1389: 2 Live Crew drop double-vinyl As Nasty As They Wanna Be. Despite meaningless "clean" version, the controversy gets even hotter. Quartet thanks every member of their fan club by name on back cover. Strangely, Geraldo Riviera and the talk show brigade are not acknowldeged ior their part. June,

1989: Danny D & D.J. Whiz release "Boom! I Got Your Girlfriend" as a response to MC Luscious' "Boom! I got your boyrfriend,"innaugurating one of the best he said/she said rap wars since "Roxanne Roxanne."

1990: Tabloid furor over 2 Live alerts George Lucas, who slams cease'n'desist suit on Skyywalker records, additional 'y' be damned. 2 Live gives in, but cries not as new Luke Records signs deal with Atlantic. Springsteen gives group his blessing to release "Banned In The U.S.A."

1990: Island Records owner Chris Blackwell buys the Marlin Hotel in South Beach and has it redesigned (adding a recording studio) by Barbara Hulanicki, The second MBeach boom is on. 1991: Madonna is photographed (especially when she lets Vanilla Ice touch
her na-nas) in her Sex book. Thong sizes introduces the amazing breakthrough of level of style.

1992: Versace moves into his South Beach villa, joining neighbors Madonna and Sly Stallone. Versace couture

1993: Bass music hits a booty-bumping high as 95 South and their immediate imrmta-tors, Tag Team release "Whoot! There It Is" and "Whoomp! There It Is" respectively. Media attempts to incite a feud, but no one gripes—they're all getting paid. Duice also drops the poorly-spelled but otherwise exemplary "Dazzy Duks." May,

1994: The Artist Formerly Known as Popular buys the
defunct gay nightclub Paragon and turns it into one of his patented purple-chintz-covered Glam Slams. Less than three years later, he closes it down and tries to sell it off, without much luck.

1996: Quad City DJs offer to "Come On Ride It (The Train)." Millions chmb aboard.

1997: The Year Bass Broke! Tony Braxton, Luciano Pavarotti, and other chart topping artists release Miami Bass influenced tracks to widespread rump-shaking acceptance.




Disclamer - this article was jacked lock stock and barrel from Grand Royal issue Live 5.

© 2005