TOBi’s “Dollas and Cents” was impressively austere: The beat was distilled to rhythmic elements so bare that they seemed to precede any possible genre distinctions. The bassline, courtesy of the great British-Ghanaian producer Juls, could’ve come from slippery Seventies funk, club-ready Nineties house, or window-shattering West Coast hip-hop. TOBi rapped like he wanted to make the bass look flat-footed, packing lines with knotty syllables.
DJ Tunez — known for his work with the Nigerian star Wizkid, as well as his contributions to essential Afrobeats singles like “Get Up” with Sarz and “Iskaba” with Wande Coal — uses the malleability of the Juls beat to his advantage on a new rework of “Dollas and Cents.” This version nods to amapiano, a style of dance music that emerged from South Africa. (For more DJ Tunez excursions into amapiano, see last year’s Love Language EP.) The genre shares some characteristics with deep house, often relying on luxurious keyboard sounds, narcotic propulsion, and the knowledge that gradual changes accumulate power over the course of six, seven, or better yet, eight-minute tracks. Amapiano is notable for its hyper-developed bass lines, which somehow maintain a slugging, percussive energy without ever cracking the music’s smooth surface.
TOBi is brave enough to largely remove himself from this remix: He is present on the hook, but the rapper mostly cedes the spotlight, leaving extra room for DJ Tunez’s new bass work. Oxlade, whose “Away” was one of 2020’s zippiest singles, also shows up for a brief, skipping verse, in which he sounds like he’s trying to match the rat-a-tat cadence of TOBi’s original raps. His words are delivered mostly in angelic falsetto: “I just want your money.”
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