Like most DJs around my age, when I first started spinning, it was nothing but urban music. Lots of Bad Boy, Jigga, and Luda with some Rnb and Reggae mixed in between. When I did play house music (I called it “techno”), it was usually a three song set, with the three most commercial songs of the moment — “Sandstorm”, “Zombie Nation”, etc. I really just looked at that mini-set as something the owner wanted me to do. I pretty much thought anything besides hip-hop at the club was wack, so the dance music set was just an after-thought to me. Isn’t it funny how things can change?
Back then, I didn’t know BPMs like I do today. But I did know that house music was waaaaaay faster than everything else I was playing, and maybe this is why I somewhat despised playing it. It ruined my mix!! Plus, it was guaranteed that when you played any electronic stuff back then, at least one-third of the crowd would be making that cut-throat motion, telling you to “take that wack shit off!!” While you still may get that reaction occasionally, it’s definitely been reduced from what it was 8-10 years ago. Just about everyone likes house music now, whether they know it or not. (I still get a kick out of people telling me to “turn off the techno and play ‘Krazy’ by Pitbull.”)
However, It still isn’t easy for me to explain why exactly I’ve warmed up to electronic music. Most likely, it’s because I’m not as into the new hip-hop that’s coming out, and it’s given me a chance to open my eyes to other stuff. These days, most rhythmic tunes are either 75-85 bpm or 120+. I’m a 90-100bpm REAL HIP-HOP dude at heart. This means half the stuff I play nowadays seems way too slow to me. It got to the point where I started appreciating the 130 bpm remixes of the down-south tunes, because it made it much more danceable in my eyes. And as for the faster songs that were coming out, I guess some of those started to grow on me as well.
In addition to that, the whole mash-up movement made me think of house music differently. As someone who mainly listened to and played hip-hop, I obviously knew and respected Crooklyn Clan (DJ Sizzahandz and DJ Riz). They made the dopest party breaks, that although may have crossed over into commercial clubs, were still very “street” and incorporated the real Hip-Hop that I loved. When I first heard about their new website CrooklynClan.net, my first thought was “Dope! I can find some new party breaks!” Instead, what I found on there really blew my mind. Now, obviously I had heard mash-ups before I checked the site. I had even experimented with some of my own from time to time. But now to see two DJs who I really respected in the Hip-Hop community, now using all genres of music — it really opened my eyes to a whole new world. It also made me think of house music in a different way. Riz’s mash of “Let Me Clear My Throat” over Benassi’s “Satisfaction” put my brain in overdrive. 1) Wow. 2) I wish I thought of that. 3) It’s time for me to start doing stuff like that! I guess I had never considered the possibilities.
Taking dance music, and mixing it with other genres, also helped to change the public’s perception of electronic music. While there still are a few people in the crowd making sad faces as the bpms go upward, they are now few and far between. The can connect with the Crooker’s remix of Day and Night, because it sounds enough like the hip-hop hit they know, just more danceable. They love hearing the older techno songs they recognize, with some Lil Jon hype on top, such as DJ Nova’s mix which we covered yesterday. Plus, whatever barriers the mash-up game didnt kick down in terms of people’s outlook on house, Pitbull then came by and SMASHED them down!! It’s kind of amazing when you think about it. Pitbull isn’t the best rapper out, nor the worst, yet he is as responsible for the way music has changed in the last few years as anyone else in the game. As I hinted earlier, some of these 22 year old girls don’t even realize it. They love The Nightcrawlers and HEART Federico Franchi!!
So now that I had finally convinced myself that I was into house music, it was time to start playing it in the club. THAT was definitely not as simple and easy as I had thought it would be, and JD and I will discuss that subject with our friend Richard Fraioli in a special PT. II video of this Editorial. Check back soon!!