Black Rave Culture, “BRC Vol. 2”
By James Gui · June 09, 2022

Black Rave Culture: if you’ve been paying attention, the phrase should be redundant. Rave culture is Black culture. House, techno, jungle, baile funk, Jersey club, dancehall—the panoply of sounds that boom from sound systems in clubs, warehouses, and basements across the world are indebted to Black sonic innovation. But the contributions of Black artists to electronic music don’t just belong in the annals of history, and this D.C. supergroup consisting of Amal, DJ Nativesun, and James Bangura are here as a reminder. In fact, Black rave culture is thriving: this year’s edition of Dweller, at which the trio performed alongside New York’s Escaflowne and L.A.’s DJ Noir, was a testament to the legacy and future of Black electronic artistry. While the outpouring of op-eds, podcasts, and panel discussions in recent years has begun to undo the whitewashing of the rave, BRC does so by showing, not telling. A distillation of the diversity of diasporic sounds that they spin in the club, Black Rave Culture Vol. 2 is a landmark in electronic music and the shape of dance music to come.

“Never Left” is as good a manifesto as any. A sonic superimposition of subgenre signifiers—breakbeats, baile funk beatboxing, Jersey club kicks—the track flits across the Black Atlantic, gathering bits of secret technology along the way. The rest of the album is in the same vein, displaying in full force their understanding of dance music styles across the globe. And despite the variety of references they make, BRC’s production has a razor-sharp precision that unifies their sound. They use just enough to induce frisson: the needle-thin backspin in “Activate,” the meditative bass weight in “Something Else,” the warbling Ha dance synth in “Sub Poppin’”—each application of sound is just so. From the uplifting house of “In My Bizzness feat. Dreamcastmoe” to the breathless 160bpm “Deep Breathing,” there’s something here for any club environment. Most of all, it bangs. To simply describe this record won’t do it justice—words cannot encapsulate the experience of listening to “Pace Plan” for the first time. Nineties rave stabs, trap subs so thick you can hear them two rooms over, all drenched in Drecxiyan aquatics—why are you still reading? Put it on and dance. 

BRC attribute their all-encompassing musical appetite to their upbringing in D.C. “The thing that makes D.C. special is the fact that we just allow all kinds of music,” they told Paper Jam. Home of go-go and Bad Brains, Black artistry in D.C. has yielded many breakthroughs in music. It only makes sense that BRC has followed suit in their chosen field.

Read more in Electronic →

Top Stories

Latest see all stories

On Bandcamp Radio see all

Listen to the latest episode of Bandcamp Radio. Listen now →