Not sure if the “Groundhog” saw his shadow or not, but it’s been unseasonably warm for our winter months. And “Award Season” was very busy this year….especially the Grammys. As I am in my 37th year as a DJ I am appreciative of all my experience and teachings through the years. The knowledge and references that I use to write my articles inspire me to continue in the music world. So, thank to you Kinkster MAG for allowing me to share my opinions. Now, let’s get started.
Our first track was an unlikely find. I kept seeing and hearing this commercial for a phone service and the music was so infectious. Now…I had heard the name Kaytranada but only as a remixer best known for taking R&B and Hip Hop hits and transforming them into dance-able downtempo House tracks. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that the infectious track behind the commercial that has been in regular rotation here in Toronto was by Haitian-Canadian born Louis Celestin better known as Kaytranada called “Lite Spot”. I’m really groovin’ on the vibe that Kaytra (his nickname) has created.
Many spoke about Beyonce’s performance at the Grammys. I watched. It was interesting. She looked great. She did what I call “pregnant runway” and a balancing act on a tilting chair. But I knew that there must have been a more upbeat release to follow and most definitely there was. “Shining” by DJ Khaled featuring Beyonce and Jay Z was that track released the day after the Grammys. I like it. It’s cute. I like that it’s 110 BPMs as opposed to a lot of Khaled’s trap tracks that are usually around 75 BPMs.
And happy winner at the Grammys was Chance The Rapper. A couple of months ago I got accosted online for saying that I didn’t care for his live performances. To me…he is a studio performer. His recordings sound better than him live. Kaytranada extended and hyped Chance’s track, “All Night”.
Now, you know I love when downtempo Hip Hop gets remixed into a House or Club Track. A new name on the scene for such work is Party Pupils. Their remix of “Broccoli” by D.R.A.M. is one of the hottest of the season. It’s at a good steppin’ tempo with a little stank on it!
It was interesting to watch Justin Timberlake open the Oscars this year. I guess Jimmy Kimmel realized that he’s not really built for production numbers and didn’t want to get the reviews that Neil Patrick Harris did when he hosted in 2015. Justin’s “Can’t Stop The Feeling” mashed up with Bill Wither’s classic “Lovely Day” was cute, but slowly I feel like Justin is turning into the modern day Pat Boone slash Elvis of Black Music. He’s got the chops but somehow he still rubs me the wrong way in his choices. Safe is the word that comes to mind. He’s talented. No denying that, but I’m not seeing him expand or growing. In my opinion, he is just spinning his wheels. However, I recently found a great remix of one of his earlier hits. The TAISUN remix of “Señorita” updates the song and gives it Club credibility.
You ever hear a hook in a song and think “I know I have heard this somewhere before” but can’t quite put your finger on it. Well, this was the case with “I Would Like” by Zara Larsson. I kept singing along and then finally after a few listens it came to me. This is a rewrite of the Reggae classic, “Dat Sexy Body” by Sasha. Considering that a lot of Reggae music “appropriates” lyrics and themes from Pop music, it seems funny to complain of theft when it’s the other way around. But it has definitely made an interesting impact of Zara’s charting. My favorite version of her single is the Gorgon City Remix.
So, when I was talking about Justin Timberlake not growing as an artist, here is a great example of someone who is…..Ed Sheeran. His Grammys performance of “Shape Of You” shows how he has grown. To stand up there with his samplers and guitar and create all the sounds needed to do the song was brilliant. Definitely taking the acoustic Pop scene to the next level. Even John Mayer had to admit that Sheeran is killin’ it! This track works in Pop, R&B, Moombahton and Club. And the Nathan C club mix suits my floor just fine.
And with the theme of bodies as the subject matter, I decided to reach back in my crates and dig up a Peter Rauhofer classic remix. The Club 69 Future Mix of “Body” by Funky Green Dogs fit quite nicely in this set. In order to see where we are going musically, we must appreciate where we have been.
Some say that Rihanna was robbed at the Grammys. I saw she wasn’t. Every true artist that puts their soul out there risks not being understood. Her 2016 album “Anti” was critically acclaimed, but did not produce major hits like previous Pop monitors she dropped in the past. I personally thought that her material was a great example of growth, but there was no comparison to Adele or Beyonce when it came to packaging, remixes and obviously sales. When history looks back, this will be considered one of Rihanna’s great albums. I just wish “Sex With Me” had been released earlier. The MK remix of this track is hot! And if there had been a music video to match this would have garnered “Anti” a lot more attention. Not sure if it is the labels that are making the decisions of what gets released and in what order but timing is everything in this business.
I keep seeing the name DJ Fresh’s name popping up on remixes and production. Happy to see the Jay Pryor & Digital Farm Animals remix of his latest track, “Bang Bang” with Diplo featuring R. City, Salah Sue & Craig David is doing well on my floor.
Until Donald Glover mentioned “Bad & Boujee” in his acceptance speech at the Emmys I had never heard the track. I had never watched the TV series “Atlanta” (mainly because I really didn’t care for his character on “Community”). Imagine my surprise when I finally did and got a real taste of what he was about and wanted to say. And Migos’ track lent itself to the soundtrack of “Atlanta” so well. And once Migos and Lil Uzi Vert made it to Ellen, I knew that the song was huge! Since anyone who reads my articles regularly knows that I am not a fan of the Trap Hip Hop scene…it’s just too slow for dancing in my opinion. And I’m about the Club versions! So, I was extremely happy to find the Ryan Live Remix in my pool.
Why there was never a great House mix of “In Da Club” by 50 Cent before now is beyond me. I mean…there have been mixes that just used the hook, but not one that served up the full vocal. Thank goodness that DJ Dark & MD DJ came along to breathe some new life into this classic.
Our next selection I chose because I saw it doing something on the charts because it is featured on the “50 Shades Darker” soundtrack. What is surprising to me is that it charted at all. Anything that has Taylor Swift on it right about now is box office poison in my opinion. Between her being a Republican, a liar and flat out mean girl…her best bet is to continue with a low profile. She’s not a Kardashian, so rich white girls are not the feature right now in these times. “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” by Zayn & Taylor Swift is pure fluff! And although Cosmic Dawn did what they could with this track, I have never been able to get anyone to dance to it. I guess I included the track to show that we here at Kinkster MAG recognize what is Pop Culture.
And speaking of Pop Culture, The Chainsmokers have been dropping track after track since the rise of “Closer”. The Marvin Vogel & Blaze U remix of “Paris” is my best offering for this track. This was the only version that got me excited when listening. I think their formula of these 100 BPM Pop songs is getting a little tired. They’ve definitely drifted from their “Selfie” days.
Our last selection is what I imagine would be perfect for an arena circuit party. The Dirty Werk remix of “I Got You” by Bebe Rexha gives me all the energy and crossover that I feel would move the crowd at peak hour.