Almost since its birth in late 2009, moombahton has belonged to the blogs (and, sure, the occasional scholarly untangling)—and as a microgenre centered on uncleared remixes mostly posted on Soundcloud, that makes sense. With the very official release this week of Blow Your Head Vol. 2: Dave Nada Presents Moombahton, the sound has met the critics. And their take is decidedly mixed: A positive review on Pitchfork praised moombahton's bombastic side—and concludes that the genre is at its best when it's essentially a gimmick, slowing down faster songs. A Washington Post review avoided offering a universal field theory of moombahton, but singled out some highlights. And my City Paper colleague Ally Schweitzer took a skeptical view of the comp and the sound in general, but praised Blow Your Head's mellower, more thoughtful numbers.
This whole thing started, you'll remember, when Nada slowed down Afrojack's remix of "Moombah" by Silvio Ecomo and Chuckie for a crowd of inebriated teenagers in P.G. County. That was November 2009, and four months later, Nada released his moombahton EP—which almost immediately spread the sound to producers worldwide. The Blow Your Head comp features a few songs from veteran DJs who influenced moombahton, but moombahton's original track—that'd be "Moombahton"—is conspicuously absent.
In an email, Nada says that he wanted to include "Moombahton" on Blow Your Head, but he couldn't get clearance from Afrojack's label, Dirty Dutch. In fact, he has no idea what Afrojack thinks about Moombahton, who appears determined to remain silent on the issue. He didn't respond when I sent his handlers a note last December. There is a silver lining, according to Nada: "DJ Chuckie is a full supporter!"