Getting their starts in the mid-80's as the mobile DJ crew "We Down Express", Afro-Rican is without question one of the most iconic of all the Miami Bass groups to come out during the genre's height. Though having one of the smaller discographies of the different artists who became very prolific during that time in that region, just one single song would go on to make such an impact, that still today the song remains one of the most talked about tracks of the Miami Bass scene: "Give It all You Got".
While some tracks from that era have been able to surpass the test of time, not as many have been able to cut through the lining and on to other circles like Raves, and the Underground Electro Bass scene, giving the group's most notable song to date a slightly wider appeal than many of the other groups like 2-Live Crew who did not seem to have as much cross-over ability as Afro-Rican.
The group's first song "Bass Attack", came under their original name "We Down Express", and was released on the infamous label Pandisc in 1986. Though the track was hugely popular locally, it failed to become a big hit commercially and so the group continued, and thus later that year re-invented themselves as "The Afro-Rican Connection"; highlighting the group's "Bi-Racial" make-up, and releasing "It's Live/Regina". This record was again a big local success, and seemed to make a bigger impact commercially, but still did not seem to propel them to the level that they were seeking. Here was the moment of truth, but it would take some thinking out of the box to get to where they were going.
With the rising popularity of Up-Tempo Miami Bass music like 2 Live Crew, and Dynamix II, and a need to come back with something that would go above and beyond anyone's expectations and garner wide spread support, Derrick Rahming, though reluctant being that this was not his preferred style of music, began production with his new Emu-SP 1200 sampler of his version of this type of sound; eventually bringing us the seminal hit "Give It All You Got". Powerful beats, scratches, and samples from the hits "It's More Fun To Compute", as well as "Pretty Woman", combined with vocals by the members, created a track that seemed to spread to all corners making Afro-Rican an instant Miami Bass hit. Soon after, the group went on to found "Hip Rock Records", and scored a manufacturing and distribution deal with Luke Skyywalker Records, as the group began a new phase in their journey into a more traditional Hip-Hop approach that had always been more in their line of sight.
Releasing "Against All Odds" on Hip Rock in 1989, the group unfortunately was unable to move many units, and thus the deal with Luke Skyywalker Records was over. Yet again, a new approach was needed. Two years later, the group released the record "Sex and Fun", combining both the uptempo styles of their Miami Bass sound, with that of their more traditional Hip Hop, but again were unable to make a lasting impression with this one as well. The future seemed bleak at this point, perhaps the group would simply be known as a one hit wonder, or perhaps their music was ahead of its time and the people were not ready. Whatever it was, the group needed some time to re-think themselves, and leave things up to fate a little bit.
As some time went by, the Car Audio market began to gain ground, and with it a new style of Miami Bass that though around for some time, had not been as popular as the Booty styles of other groups. Intelligent Miami Bass, or Miami Techno Bass became the sound of choice for enthusiasts and producers alike who were looking for something different; a bit more technical, but also more complex and focused on the music itself, especially the Bass. With groups like Dynamix II, and Techno Bass Crew, as well as solo artists like Bass 305, and Maggotron producing this kind of music and taking it international, a new genre defining era was upon us and would breathe fresh air back not just into the music itself, but Afro-Rican, which at this point consisted of only Derrick Rahming.
Finding a niche to start over again, Derrick Rahming founded his alias "Power Supply", and began focusing Hip-Rock's marketing specifically at Car Audio shows, finding himself back on top literally overnight. As Power Supply, Rahming released 3 full Car Audio albums, one which was released as a collaboration with Afro-Rican, pulling together the support needed to bring Afro-Rican back out of stasis, and unto the scene. In 1995, that's exactly what happened with the release of "Give It All You Got '95", and the single that would in many ways measure up to their early success "Give It All You Got": "All Of Puerto Rico".
At this point only comprised of Rahming, and Marcus Rice ( MD Rock ) who was doing lyrics, the duo went on to share a lot of success during the '90s, though primarily through the label, and the different artists that were signed like 6-1 Dog, Get Some Crew, and DJ KOS. Many of the group's early hits were also released numerous times on countless compilations both nationally and abroad. In the early 2000's, with the resurging interest in Electro/Techno Bass, Rahming found himself doing new lyrics to a "Give It All You Got" reworking by popular Electrocore group Jackal N Hyde, also collaborating with Neil Case under the Bass Mekanik alias; where the two wrote the track "Do It", and had it remixed by iconic artists Burufunk, Trip Theory, and Sharaz. Just recently, Afro-Rican made a return on the newly founded Miami Bass History label, where he assisted with sampling duties on the song "Brazilian Steps"; written in collaboration with DJ Tom Oliver, and James McCauley of Maggotron.
Though nothing is confirmed, it can be expected that Derrick Rahming will continue work as Afro-Rican, and perhaps with some of the early members like Marcus Rice. Nonetheless, the group's triumph over struggle is a tale of courage and hard work that shows the power of will cannot be stopped. Though Afro-Rican could easily be thought of as mostly a "One Hit Wonder", the reality is that Derrick Rahming and the rest of his collaborators were a talented, and determined group that did not stop in the face of hardship and disappointment. They recognized their strengths, their weaknesses, and were not afraid to try things not conceived before if it meant getting to where they were going. A great story for any young aspiring artists that need to understand that a hit record is not the ultimate goal, nor is it a guarantee to long-term success. Only hard work and continuous determination will get you to where you want to be....so get out there everybody, and Give It All You Got!
Written by: Santino Fernandez