DJ Relentless: Pursuing Diversity – New Voices, New Faces, New Sounds

There is no time for despair. That's what the Republicans are counting on. It's not enough to be outraged. It's not enough to post about it online. Turn that anger into action.
Music News, DJ Relentless, Pride, Diversity

Well, well, well…I can remember everyone complaining about the cold. Then spring seemed like it was never gonna get here. Well, summer is officially here and it’s hotter than two sissies in a prison camp on a Friday night! And it’s not just the temperatures that are hot. Tempers are also flaring while the music industry is getting hot with summer releases. So let’s get to it!

For many across North America, it is Pride season. It’s been a time of celebration and many parties. And for many on social media this like every day is time to post selfies. Our first track is called “PSI (Post Snap Instagram)” by PTIZZA. The older I get the more I wonder about how today’s youth enjoy anything fully. They pull their phones out for everything they do. It’s like watching fireworks through the screen on your phone. For what? Are you really going to watch that video again?

But try as I may I just won’t adapt or accept this trend. So, the second selection for my mix is Mister Gray’s Bootleg of “Flash” by Green Velvet. I watched many walking around Pride with their phones aimed at everything and not talking to each other. Posting away to show how much fun they were having online. Seemed pointless to me.

Our third track is “Ya Don’t Stop” by The Scene Kings. Not sure how many remixes there are but this one is called the “Bitch Be Cool” remix. I chose this because I love the fusion of Electro and Future House. And the title says it all when it comes to the shallow and narcissistic habits of this generation.

But the worst thing I witnessed this Pride was the forgotten promises of inclusion. Speaking with friends in New York City and in Los Angeles, I discovered that I wasn’t the only one who felt like it was a “Gay White Man’s Pride.” What should have been a chance for all colors of the rainbow flag to shine actually felt like more exclusion was in place. Some felt “separate but equal” while many felt left out completely.

What am I talking about?

I’m talking about corporate Pride went on with business as usual. Throw some money at the minorities and women to appease but this is a White Gay Male Festival like it always has been and always will remain. Now…I’m sure there are going to be many gay white men who are going to say “Aren’t we done with black folks complaining about inclusion?” Answer… no. Until we admit that there is a problem this discussion is not going away. And I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. And if you want to end this discussion you will have to do something about it rather than ignore it. And I don’t wanna hear that some of your good friends are black (or of color). Stop trying to make others conform to “your gay life” and accept that we all live individual experiences. That is diversity.

Our next track is a dedication to the white gay men who held their Circuit parties or waltzed down to The Eagle (insert any gay bar in any city) on Pride Weekend and never gave a thought about the people of color, lesbians or transgendered people in our community that were uninvited or made to feel like they were not welcome to your little celebration. “Bitch” by Ralphi Rosario & Wayne G featuring Stewart Who may be from 2011 but the idea of a “Circuit Party” is a tired old idea as well. It’s time to keep the promise of diversity in the forefront. It’s always a better party when everyone is invited.

And since I’ve called you a “Bitch” let’s switch gears to a more Pop track. The title “Girls Like You” could be taken as an insult for all the shirtless gym queens screaming to the latest Ariana Grande track, but instead it’s the name of the latest Maroon 5 single featuring Cardi B. It’s an okay Pop song and it allowed me to drop in BPMs to move on to some new releases.

I must be getting in touch with my Latin heritage because my tastes are evolving. I don’t speak a word of Spanish but something about “Karma” by J Balvin featuring Ozuna has struck a chord with me. And my job is to introduce my audience new music and hopefully open your minds to listening to new things. Plus, I’m hoping that “Karma” will come for those who are causing so much destruction to our democracy and way of life. The last gasp of dinosaurs holding on to yesterday’s power has got to die off sometime.

So, remember those brief few months when Jaden Smith was in a dress for H&M and played a gay graffiti artist in “The Get Down” on Netflix? Funny how as soon as they got to that storyline the show suddenly was cancelled. I’m sure Will Smith still hears Denzel Washington’s advice about playing a gay character as he pulled the strings to end that project.

Well, now Jaden is back with a hard Hip Hop set of singles being dropped to squash whatever you thought about him last year. “Ghost” is a very short track but Jaden is trying his hardest to give you a flow and even name drops Jay Z (Hov).

And speaking of Jay Z, he and his wife just dropped an album under “The Carters.” My ex-manager and best friend came to visit for a few days after Pride was over and he got me to listen to several tracks from this project. From what I gathered this is Beyonce saying to “the other woman” that she still has the ring and still has her man. This is a big “fuck you” to the “Becky(s) With The Good Hair.”

Their first release is “Apeshit” which boasts a music video shot in The Louvre. While very impressive, at this point I wonder if the money that was spent on this video would have done more for the world if they had spent it on helping others. I’m just looking at the world differently as hate and racism is being normalized by a sitting U.S. president.

And to delve further into the Pop/Hip Hop news, it has been confirmed that Cardi B. and Offset of The Migos were married last September. And speaking of The Migos I came across a mashup of their hit “Walk It Like I Talk It” with Unk’s “Walk It Out.” I have to admit that I am not really a fan of The Migos. Anyone who has read my column in the past knows that I don’t care too much for Hip Hop at Trap speed. But this mashup featuring a guest rap by Drake is catchy.

And speaking of Drake…I’m guessing if Pusha T hadn’t spilled the tea on his child with a French pornstar and embarrassed him with posting his that long-lost photo of Drake in blackface, we would have never known that he now has a son who was born last October. I’ve checked out a few tracks from his newly dropped album, “Scorpion” and again…not impressed with the slow downtempo tracks. He also has a track that features some vocals by the late Michael Jackson. Still not impressed. But I picked one track and it was “In My Feelings” featuring Zazie Beetz & City Girls (who I believe you should look out for cuz they are hot).

Enough with all these 85 BPM tracks! Let’s jump up to a good Pop speed. When I first saw “Solo” as a title I immediately thought it was associated with the movie in the “Star Wars” franchise. But turns out it’s the latest single by Clean Bandit featuring Demi Lovato is about handing business alone without a partner. I’m sure we can all relate during some point in our lives.

This next track is actually my new favorite! Chaka Khan returns with a funky R&B song called “Like Sugar.” Although her vocals are not as prevalent as I’d like, the music video is brilliant! Sadly, Chaka is not in the video. It has that 70s retro meets South Africa look. And when I premiered it on my new Saturday night residency at The Drink here in Toronto, it definitely got them on the floor. The visuals make you wanna dance!

I’m also loving the new Jessie J, “Play”! Not sure what the original version sounds like but the Club Breakerz Hype Edit samples Cheryl Lynn’s “Got To Be Real” samples of Zhane’s “Hey, Mr. DJ.” Always loved her vocals and glad she is back.

Like I said earlier, I’m really identifying with my Puerto Rican heritage. And Kent Jones’ “Merengue” is definitely what I called an “N & R” track. Nightly and regardless…that’s how I will be playing this one! The production really taps into a groove that makes you want to dance. I love it!

Our next selection is “Scooby Do Pa Pa” by DJ Kass & Pitbull. Another Latin Banga! Don’t know what the title means but it gets me bouncing around in my booth.

And I have been trying really hard not to like Cardi B. I guess my objection is that she reinforces the stereotype of women of color as being ghetto. Don’t we have enough of that already on TV shows like “The Housewives Of Atlanta” and “Love & Hip Hop?” But I have to admit…she is mackin’ da game. She filmed a lot of videos over the past few months before she got to obviously pregnant. And the Kue remix of her latest single “I Like It” featuring Bad Bunny & J Balvin struck a chord with me since it samples “I Like It Like That” by Pete Rodriguez. “Thanks to “I Like It,” she is the first female rapper with two songs to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, the music magazine reported Monday.”

And now I want to get back to a political message. This track was chosen because it chants “all the ladies bring it to the front”…”The Front” by Styline x Wolsh x Back2Black. In the last Senate election, Roy Moore was defeated in his run mainly by black female voters. I believe to regain seats in the Senate we are going to need all the ladies to come to the front and vote against this administration that has set up the United States to be dismantled…right by right. With Justice Kennedy leaving the Supreme Court at the end of this month, our only hope of stopping the Commander & Thief is to win the mid-term elections. We have to listen to Bill Maher and Michael Moore. There is no time for despair. That’s what the Republicans are counting on. It’s not enough to be outraged. It’s not enough to post about it online. Turn that anger into action. Get off the computer and start making a difference in real time and real life. A post is not gonna fix what is happening to our world right now!

And to close out this month’s mix is “Until We All” by Jade Elektra & Erik Elias. Yes…I am Jade Elektra. The words to this track came to me last fall. I was feeling lost because of all the backward events that have become normal in our news cycles. It is easy to feel like all hope is gone when the cards are stacked against you (and trust me….all the things that idiot is doing is a set up). He’s the perfect fall guy because his ego is out of control. Mike Pence is the brains behind what is happening and he plans to roll back all kinds of rights. Women, the LGBT Community, People of Color and undocumented individuals will be part of “The Purge.” And when you read something that makes you angry….remember that is exactly what they want. Divide and conquer is how they are succeeding. Russia did it in the 2016 election and this administration is using that tactic to continue to chip away at what’s left of the fabric of decency. Take that anger to the polls. Take that anger to your local elections. Take that anger to City Hall. Take that anger and turn it into action to BETTER YOUR IMMEDIATE WORLD. We all need each other in this fight. I hope that this track inspires you.

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Music

Sr. Music Contributing Writer - A disc jockey since 1980, DJ Relentless has a career that has spanned from local dive bars to major club venues all over the United States, Amsterdam, the Dominican Republic and Toronto.

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