Afro-Rican is a popular Miami bass and hip-hop group, most famous for their genre-shaping 1987 hit "Give it All You Got (Doggy Style)", as well as their 1995 hit "All of Puerto Rico". The group is the brainchild of Derrick Rahming, and the remainder of the lineup has changed over the years. Most fans consider the classic lineup to be Rahming, Juan Arroyo (DJ Slice), and Marcus Rice (MD Rock).
From We Down Express to The Afro-Rican Connection:
Afro-Rican grew out of the open air mobile DJ crew, We Down Express. Like other DJ crews of South Florida during the mid-1980s, their local fame eclipsed that of regional recording artists, and labels made an attempt to cash in. As the crew We Down Express, they recorded the song "Bass Attack" for Pandisc Records in 1986, which failed to make much of a mark. Later that year, they rechristened themselves as The Afro-Rican Connection to highlight their bi-racial makeup, possibly as a way to maximize marketability. As The Afro-Rican Connection, they released the single "It's Live" b/w "Ragina" also for Pandisc in 1986, which made a bit more of an impact, but still failed to gain them lasting fame.
Shaping the genre: "Give it All You Got":
By 1987, the Miami bass scene had begun to realize the potential of uptempo club-bass records, so Derrick Rahming began production on his perception of this sound with his brand new E-mu SP-1200 drum sampler. Although this sound was not something he preferred, he knew that labels wouldn't continue to fund records that sold in meager quantities, and with 2 Live Crew and Kooley C's uptempo bass tracks dominating the local clubs, producing a song in this vein was a means to an end. The group shortened their name to Afro-Rican, and the resulting song was their landmark "Give it All You Got (Doggy Style)", which samples Kraftwerk's "It's More Fun to Compute" from the Computer World album. Edward Meriwether snatched up the song for his Suntown Records, putting most other deals on hold during the signing and promotion of this track. The song essentially tied all the elements of the Miami bass sound together, defining the genre for years to come.
Going hip hop:
Now with a firm presence in Miami's music scene, Afro-Rican began Hip-Rock Records and commenced production on their album dominated by a more traditional hip-hop sound. The trail blazed by their hit single opened more doors than expected, scoring a 'manufacturing and distribution' deal with Luke Skyywalker Records in 1989. However, their fanbase was not ready to hear the group's take on straight-ahead hip-hop, and the entire buildup was foiled in one shot. The group failed to move units, and the deal with Skyywalker was squandered.
In 1991, Afro-Rican made a comeback attempt by releasing the album Sex and Fun, tying together their stab at club related bass music and more takes on traditional hip-hop, but the album again failed to find its audience.
Car Audio Bass alias: Power Supply:
These became lean years for Derrick Rahming, recording from his bedroom in an era where bedroom producers were a rarity. However, Techmaster P.E.B.'s and Bass 305's success in the new subgenre of "car audio bass" created a niche that was still in its infancy circa 1991, and Rahming saw an opportunity. Creating an entire album of car audio bass in his bedroom led to the creation of his Car Audio alias, Power Supply. Figuring out the formula to market this music directly at car shows under his Hip-Rock label proved to be highly successful, and this put Afro-Rican/Hip-Rock Records back on top overnight.
Back on top:
In 1995, a new incarnation of Afro-Rican with Derrick Rahming still at the helm and Marcus Rice (MD Rock) doing more rhyming, produced their second biggest hit, "All of Puerto Rico". Throughout the 1990s, they discovered and employed artists such as 6-1 Dog, Get Some Crew, and DJ KOS.
The elder statesman remains productive:
In 2000, a new generation of Florida bass music fans began to place the group on a historical pedestal due to the genre-shaping success of "Give it All You Got (Doggy Style)", and the new-school electro bass group Jackal & Hyde remade the song with Rahming performing a new lead vocal. Afro-Rican also collaborated with Neil Case's Bass Mekanik imprint under the Pandisc Records' umbrella, producing hybrids of Car Audio Bass, Florida breaks and traditional hip hop textures.
"Give it All You Got (Doggy Style)" was sampled in the song "Fergalicious" by pop singer Fergie, taken from her debut solo album, The Dutchess, released in 2006.
Derrick Rahming continues to live and record in South Florida under the alias of "Chameleon".
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license