It's midnight, and sweat is dripping down my balls, pooling in my shoes in testament to the voracious Gods of Funk and ungodly heat. Surrounding me several hundred bodies surge, undulating as a voice rings out like a shotgun. "You keep on fuckin' around, I'm gonna go get muh gun!" it repeatedly blurts from gagging speakers as sirens blare and blood boils. And as the barrel-loaded beats suffocate like a deflated lung, middle fingers fly up defiantly like so many pistols as the crowd completely uncocks itself.
What follows are two unrelenting hours of mauling beats and yelping hooks, delivered to a room collectively heaving like an asthmatic lacking an inhaler. This kind of music makes Lil' Jon say, "YEAH!?!?" No, really, I do hear a track featuring Lil Jon's trademark barks. Except I'm not gittin' crunk in Atlanta, or even buck in Memphis. I'm wilding out in Baltimore, where B'More club music is steady mobbin'.
This is music as raw and street as a hooker's knees on concrete. So why is 99 percent of this event's crowd white? Taking over the top of a six-floor building in downtown Baltimore, this party has brought out every hipster variety for some pussy-popping hawtness -- like what could be if the West End U-Haul Warehouses or the old Eyedrum basement hosted the Ying Yang Twins. Except B'More club music is grounded equally in drrrty house music as it is the 2 Live Crew, laying breaks atop insistent 4/4 beats. And because of club's nightly radio presence -- thanks to Q92's K-Swift, the event's DJ -- this indigenous dance music is no novelty, even among these Yankee diddling dandies.
"If you've got $5 in your pocket, scream!" K-Swift calls out, and the entire room roars. For 120 minutes, she can do no wrong. This isn't dry humping, some slow trickle; this is a finger on the prostate -- a prolonged, shuddering spurt.
Baltimore's last call is 2 a.m., but dry clubs are allowed to stay open till 5, 6, 7 a.m. And they do. Following K-Swift, I end up at Paradox -- a warehouse under a highway -- for a black gay club night. Same songs, such different rhythm. At Paradox people seem coordinated, not just clusterfucked. Some do hit the floor to make like they're getting their fuck on, except they just don't look fucked up.
After four days in Baltimore, I've strengthened my belief that indie kids trying to look different look the same everywhere. You'll see the same clothes riddled with personality holes and equally trend-patching personalities. But at least B'More wasn't dancing to the same fucking iTunes playlist of sanctioned Smiths, Misfits and Bloc Party. It's time Atlanta leaves behind Miami-isms and Euro-tropes, secures a venue and voice, and shows unity from the corner to the club. We got the sweat, but do we have the balls?
RedEye celebrates going out and going off. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, but hand-scrawled hate mail is preferred.
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