The year is flying by. Can’t believe it’s already June. Current events are piling up while the insanity of individuals behaving poorly and then being called out is becoming the norm. I try very hard to use this column and mix as a snapshot of where we are musically while giving a little commentary on the state of our world through music.
Let’s get started. There’s nothing like a good cat fight…especially when it is between celebrities. With social media, the “us against them” mentality is the highlight of signing on. So, when I heard that Azealia Banks got SPOTIFY to take down RuPaul’s album because of claims of copyright infringement I was thrilled. Why? Because I’ve had my issues with Ru about the very same thing. Being a recording artist myself (under my drag persona, Jade Elektra), I take issue if someone steals my idea or samples me and doesn’t at least give me credit in the liner notes. And trust me…I’ve been sampled and copied over the years many times. But if you Google my music you’ll find out what was recorded first.
The interesting thing about Azealia’s claim is that her song “The Big Big Beat” contains samples of a track by An Expresso called “I Wish A Muthafucka Would” (which samples by Notorious BIG’s “Can I Get Witcha”). And RuPaul’s “Call Me Mother” may have elements of the An Expresso track in it, but Azealia has a lot of nerve even going there since ALL of her music is compiled of samples from other people’s music. I think she’s a clever writer but her tactics and politics is what is keeping her from crossing over to success…not anyone or anything else.
So, I absolutely loved discovering Bob The Drag Queen’s diss track called “Dear Miss Banks” and decided to start there with this month’s mix. Bob slayed her and called her out on all of her shenanigans.
And then I felt like the Kue mix of Drake’s “Nice For What” was the perfect way to jump in BPMs and also touch upon another feud. It’s funny how history repeats itself. Just like the Remy Ma and Nicki Minaj drama, Pusha T hates Drake and went as far as to find a very embarrassing photo of Drake in blackface after releasing a scathing diss track. Does this sound familiar? It should because this was about the same as the ladies last year. But the end result will be the same. Drake will still come out on top because he has more money behind him and is more marketable and established. Even though Pusha T (like Remy Ma) has been in the game longer than Drake (or Nicki).
So, then I followed Drake up with the two tracks in question…”The Big Big Beat” and then “Call Me Mother.” Listen to both and make your own decision. But in my opinion both need to have several seats. Azealia….you pull stunts like this so often that you only make more people dislike you. And Ru…whoever produces you thinks that hiding behind the popularity of Drag Race will keep you safe from lawsuits and criticism but you haven’t had an original idea since your first album. And Ru’s love affair with Ballroom Culture (when she was never a part of it in the first place) gets older every day. For those who are loving’ her delivery and chants should check out legends like Ms. Jay Revlon, Moi Rene, Roxy, Big Freedia, Harmonica Sunbeam, Jack Mizrahi and even a few would say Jade Elektra. These are the real voices who have contributed to Ballroom Culture.
And speaking of Jade Elektra….it’s time for me to toot my own horn. I have a new track out with DJ/Producer Erik Elias called “I Want Money.” I think the title says it all. Simple and to the point.
Which led me to the new single by Jennifer Lopez, “Dinero.” My introduction to this song was on the Billboard Awards. I loved it…even though it has two of featured artists that I am a little sick of right now. DJ Khaled….not sure what he does besides yelling “another one.” And the ever-so-popular-ghetto-flava-of-da-month, Cardi B. What I love about the song is that it reminds me of summertime in the Bronx. And the video is sublime! I don’t think anyone works the camera like J-Lo. She’s just stunning! I heard the Sinna-G remix of this track but didn’t love it. The vocals were drowned in the production. What this song needs is a hot Latin House remix. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.
And speaking of a Latin House track, “El Jefe” by Mathias D. & Anderva is perfect! Love the energy and I chose it in solidarity with the people who protested Aaron Schlossberg outside of his apartment building with a mariachi band for his racist rant at a midtown Manhattan restaurant. I am so glad that a#$holes like this lawyer and Roseanne are being exposed and called on their sh#%. So whatever Kool-aid that these idiots are drinking has them believing that the Commander & Theif has given them permission to do and say whatever they want without consequences.
Now you know I have a large appetite for all kinds of music. But Country is not usually at the top of my list. But when I saw Sam Hunt win a Billboard Award for his catchy song “Body Like A Back Road,” I wondered if there would be any Club remixes. Well, I was pleasantly surprised that not only was there the Haroxis Remix but there was a Hip Hop remix by Mr. Collipark as well.
I was watching my guilty pleasure, Wendy Williams, a few weeks ago and learned that Latin recording artist and wife of Tommy Motola, Thalia is the executive producer behind the “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical” on Broadway. Then I started seeing remixes for Donna’s classic hit “Hot Stuff” coming through the pools. So, I had to include the Dave Aude Remix for this month’s mixed set. He did a great job of keeping the original feel and energy while updating the track for today’s dance floor. When it’s done right, it’s amazing. Plus I’ve heard great reviews on the musical. So, go see it if you can.
Because I like to tell a story when I program mixes, my narrative moves forward with a track that states “I must’ve been high when I took you home.” This hot new track remixed by CID is called “Must’ve Been” by Chromeo and features vocals by Hip Hop / Trap artist D.R.A.M.
And our next selection tells you how she got him. “Slut Drop” is a catchy fun track by KIVAH. There’s a Cutmore Remix but I was more drawn to the Westfunk Remix for this set.
I was talking to a DJ friend the other day and we were talking about artists we hadn’t heard anything from in a while. The name Nelly Furtado came up. Remember when she was killing it on the charts in the early 2000s. Well, she was the featured artist on the new track by Metro called “Sticks & Stones.” The F9 Remix worked for me and my narrative.
I keep watching Ariana Grande and thinking “When is she gonna really break free of this little girl act?” I’m tired of the ponytail. She needs a drastic makeover. I mean she looks good on the cover the July 2018 British Vogue, but that’s only because Anna Wintour banned her from wearing a ponytail. And it’s reported that she’s dating SNL cast member Pete Davidson. Sounds like another teenaged decision. She opened the Billboard Awards this year with “No Tears Left To Cry.” It’s a catchy Pop song. So, I decided to use the Handbag House Mix for this set.
And I can’t forget that’s it’s Pride Month. And what better Gay Anthem to use for such an occasion than the Barry Harris 2018 House Remix for the Diana Ross classic “I’m Coming Out.” There also an Eric Kupper mashup with her other classic “Upside Down”…wasn’t that impressed with this one. I love that Eric is keeping up where Frankie Knuckles left off but this mashup was very unnecessary. Honestly, I wish that if they were gonna dig up old Ross tracks that they would do something with “Muscles” or “Swept Away” or any of those 80s album tracks like “Work That Body” to tinker with. The real Diana Ross fans would appreciate that more than rehashing the most popular dance hits. Hell…I’d even settle for a House mix of “It’s My Turn” at this point!
If you haven’t seen the “This Is America” music video by Childish Gambino, where have you been? Donald Glover continues to amaze and impress me. Not only does he do a dead on impersonation of Billy Dee Williams for his role in “Solo” but he also is a great writer. I loved it when he debuted this song on SNL. I was blown away at his political and social message in the video. So, I was thrilled when I finally found the Lefthand Bootleg Remix of the song. The original version may have African roots but this remix makes the song more accessible to DJs and dance floors.
And with such a powerful commentary on the world today, I felt like I needed to send out a message of hope. The U.S. seems to be spiraling out of control with all the school shootings and government appointments of people who are definitely not qualified but hellbent on dismantling anything that Obama put in place. And here in Canada they just elected their own Conservative Leader to run Ontario, Doug Ford (brother of the crack-smoking Toronto Mayor Rob Ford). And people are asking how is this happening? What made people vote these idiots into office? Have they gone mad? Why would people vote against their own interest?
The answer is simple….hate.
Since the 2016 election in the United States there has been an uprising of people believing that they have to “take back their country.” That they are being “pushed out of the way or forgotten.” The hate of change and of people that they feel are less than them is what is driving this idealism around the world. It’s happening on every continent.
And I wrote back in 2015, that sometimes you have to hit rock-bottom in order to get back up swinging. Perhaps this is the kick in the ass that the world needs to get back on track. I call it “The Last Gasp Of The Dinosaurs.” These are the people who are stuck in yesterday. They believe that they have to stay in power and stop “change” because “change” will mean they don’t have power any longer. And that’s a scary concept to allow a new thing to happen with new people in charge. So, Republicans and Conservatives are playing on that fear to manipulate elections.
And although I know it’s gonna be a long road to fix all the damage that these scared people do to our democracy and progress, this is what is needed to motivate tomorrow’s leaders. The next generation who will have grown up in the era of all these people who are on the wrong side of history. Those who are lusting for money instead of thinking about distributing the wealth to make sure we all are taken care of.
So, I felt the Vintage Culture & Dubdogz Remix of “World Hold On” by Bob Sinclair featuring Steve Edwards was appropriate.
And to close out this month’s mix I chose a House track that says it all in the title. “Love Is Deep” by Finest Wear featuring Anita. Don’t let the hate fool you into despair. I know it’s hard to focus on tomorrow when so much is happening today. But we are going to live through this and do better tomorrow. Our love for life and our hope for a better future can be buried deep sometimes. But it’s still in there. Hold your head up and keep moving forward. You are the change that is needed.