Most of you probably know Oro11 as the creative, red-headed half of Bersa Discos and the successful Tormenta Tropical parties in San Francisco and LA. He’s arguably one of the most influential players in the crossover of cumbia and its adoption by the gringo hipster scene during the last couple of years (remember a time before that, when cumbia was exclusively a Latino thing?).

Nowadays the Bay Area-born DJ/producer lives in Los Angeles, but back in 2008, when Tormenta Tropical was barely taking off, he lived in the Lake Merritt part of Oakland and along with another Oakland DJ/producer/blogger named Chief Boima, he started a side project that would be called Banana Clipz. Stepping out (but not too far) from the cumbia format for a bit, Banana Clipz focuses more on the African side of Afro-Latin music and things get hot when African guests join them on the mic.

Problem is both former neighbors moved out of Oakland last year–Boima ended up in New York. So the project that started in 2008 was delayed until now, when it finally sees the light as a free-to-dowload EP, courtesy of Bersa Discos and Ghetto Bassquake.

There are seven tracks with many interesting guests, including Panamanians by way of Oakland Los Rakas, who steal the spotlight, as usual. But what I found the most interesting were the instrumental pieces, especially the down-tempo ones, like the beautiful “Talking Drum.” It was a nice surprise, because as a frequent attendee of the Tormenta Tropical parties, I was expecting more of that crazy heavy bass/Baltimore/MadDecent-style beats that they play a lot. And honestly, I’m getting a little tired of it.

Download the Banana Clipz EP HERE.

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