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While doing research for a review of M.I.A.‘s Kala, I was struck by all of the references to “Baltimore hip hop” and “Baltimore club beats” as influences on the new record. (Don’t believe me? Just Google “Kala” and “Baltimore.”)

Well, as it turns out, the only connection I could find is Baltimore’s Blaqstarr, who produces “The Turn” and whose “Hands Up, Thumbs Down” was reappropriated for “World Town”.

I’m going to chalk this up to the popularity of The Wire, and provide all of those who aren’t experts in Baltimore hip-hop with a link to a user-friendly Baltimore City Paper blog post on Baltimore hip-hop. Download this stuff and you’ll probably know more about the characteristics of Charm city’s native funk than most of the critics namechecking the stuff.