Qu’est c’qu’il a (d’plus que moi ce négro là?)
Hot Voodoo Dub
Philippe Krootchey was a musician, DJ, radio and television host born in Versailles, France in 1954. In the early 1970s he joined political gay liberation movement Revolutionary Homosexual Action Front (Front Homosexuel d’Action Révolutionnaire) that gave radical visibility to homosexuals. Turning to the decadent nightclub scene of Paris, Philippe became one of the most important disc jockeys of the late 70s and early 80s holding residencies at les Bains-Douches and the Privilège. Philippe’s look was striking and his elegance and charisma massive. In 1981 he formed the band Love International with Philippe Chany and Fred Versailles and released the hit disco single “Dance On The Groove (And Do The Funk)”. He also sang back up on both “Jungle Hurt” by Mathematiques Modernes and “ Les Baisers D’amants” by Lizzy Mercier Descloux in 1981. Between 1984 and 1988 he released three maxi 12” singles under his surname ‘Whatazzy’ (1984), ‘I Hear My Ears’ (1986), ‘Cruel Justifier’ (1988).
In 1984 Krootchey released his debut single “Qu’est c’qu’il a (d’plus que moi ce négro là?)” on disco label Casablanca Records. Subsequently the single was re-released the same year but sung in English as “Whatazzy”. For this release he teamed up with former Love International bandmate Fred Versailles, who shared his love for Kraftwerk and Yellow Magic Orchestra as well as glam rock and 70’s black American soul music. Fred remembers, “The idea was to send a message about racism against black people with a humorous tone. The French title translates to “What has this nigger got, that I do not have?” Reversing the racial scales, Philippe (who is black) would get the girls and the fame, making white people jealous. It was Philippe’s tactful way to joke about racism he had experienced and overcame.” The result is a slick synthetic funk and electro boogie reminiscent of Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambata. Philippe rap and subverting racism at the same time. On the B-side is “Voodoo” a slowed down instrumental dub version that stretches out the original to over 7-minutes. Sadly on September 2, 2004 Philippe Krootchey died of a cerebral aneurysm, just short of celebrating his 50th birthday.
All songs have been remastered for vinyl by George Horn at Fantasy Studios. For the jacket Philippe asked his friends Pierre et Gilles to do the cover artwork. They made a portrait of Philippe as chocolate powder mascot “Banania” inspired advertisement with a wide grin and red fez cap. This was a radical criticism on the embodiment of racism still present in the 1980s from the colonial Era in France. Each copy includes two postcards with lyrics, photos and liner notes by Fred Versailles. “He belonged to nothing, no clan, he was light in the good sense of the word and his supple resistance persisted.” – Jean-Baptiste Mondino