The classic sound of 2000’s Pop music is making a triumphant mainstream return
Words by Brinsley Chidavaenzi
There’s a certain rhythm that’s had a unanimous resurgence in Pop music again. It was there before, in the 2000’s, with the dancehall and reggae ton crossovers but was dimmed at the latter half of the decade. But now the curtain’s been unveiled again. This rhythm is called the tresilio. That little gap before 2 giving it a jagged jumpy feel from the downbeat runs through the charts like a bulldozer. A certain distinct pulse. A triplet rhythm that changes people’s moods. And blood flow. From fun filled dancing to slow and suggesting. Listen to the first few seconds of Cheap Thrills by Sia, We Found Love by Rihanna and Calvin Harris, the drum pattern of Lean On by Major Lazer or Justin Bieber’s Sorry. The tresilio rhythm has a long history rooted in Sub-Saharan and Western Africa and introduced to Caribbean Islands and Americas via the Altlanic Slave Trade during colonial role. This is before the rhythm filters itself through generations of mento, calypso, ska, reggae, before mutating into the most recents of dancehall and submerged into reggaeton.
Latin Pop has been increasingly popular and hitting a critical point in his appearance across North American and European charts [thanks to increase in internet across Latin America and broadband prices lowered] plus the influence of streaming and the playlist phenomena. The video for Nicky Jam and J Balvin’s reggaeton opus ‘X’ has 2 billion views (and is very known in the clubs and that’s without me hearing it in the radio or on TV.) Shifting from the Latin seas to the British seas – Steel Banglez (producer of Nines – I See You Shining and frequent MIST collaborator) stated the normal rap drum patterns weren’t working in the clubs and re-shifted to include the off-beat snare (hitting on the 3rd beat similar to reggaeton and dancehall.) Furthermore the afrobeats/dancehall/UK rap hybrid entitled ‘Afro-Swing’ or ‘Afro-Bashment’ being spearheaded by artists such as J Hus, Kojo Funds and breakout hits such as Ramz’s Barking and B Young’s Jumanji all have accented offbeats in their drum programming which root from the tresilio rhythm. So the rhythm spans far and wide both in geography (in origins and current location) and also in the time the rhythm’s been around for. What was once in the shadows has now been in the spotlight. Even if it’s not in the charts someday, the tresilio stays in our hearts always.