Elvis Crespo – Suavemente (Kennedy Jones Trap Remix)

Kennedy Jones Came to Party
Year :
Baauer / Flosstradamus / Diplo

The Harlem Shake came and went and now here we are. Trap music (its EDM off-shoot, anyway) now seems to be hovering at the periphery of popular music. Trap EDM is basically the electronic equivalent of the southern rap genre of the same name. The raps’ slow percussive beats and repetitive, cut up vocals are probably most famously associated with Three Six Mafia. The EDM variant throws in a layer or two of irony but more or less approximates that sound.

When an entire genre is foisted into the cultural consciousness on the back of an internet meme, I suppose it’s fair to expect that the genre will only be able to be taken half-seriously at best. Having said that, I don’t mind many of the nameless trap songs I’m hearing. I guess I’m just happy that we’ve moved on from dubstep, so I tolerate it. But this song is so bizarre, such an aggressive inversion of the song it’s remixing, that it makes me wonder if it’s meant to be taken seriously or if it’s all just a troll.

“Suavemente” by Elvis Crespo was a Puerto Rican merengue song from the late 90’s. It’s still something of a standby in Latin clubs—the song seems to be the showcase song for the merengue dance. The trap remix plays the original straight, even giving it a speedier beat, before completely gutting the tempo and the vocals for its trap segments. And this goes on for the whole song—alternating between the vibrant merengue and minimal, slow trap every minute or so.

Merengue and trap are both meant for dancing. I’m comically unable to dance—the most I can muster is a rhythmic head nod, maybe some finger snapping at best, with feet planted firmly on the ground—so I’m not speaking here with any sort of experience, never mind authority. In my opinion, though, it takes legitimate work and skill to dance merengue well. Seemingly the only prerequisites for being able to dance to trap are molly and a shroud of irony. Also having arms to flail around.

I suppose merengue is too traditional to meld with trap. This remix, though, only retains the original’s vocals for its trap parts, and makes no attempt to fuse the two genres into something cohesive. I’ve listened to it a lot, and by that metric I have to admit that I like it quite a bit. But the pendulum swings in tempo and style from one minute to the next completely throw off both the listener and the dancer, to the point where the whole thing seems like a troll. A remix fit for an internet meme.

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Jeff Bennet (@JeffBennet) goes with Drake any time someone asks him who his favorite band or artist is, because he has this personality flaw where he needs to be all things to all people.

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