(Image source: Solrobayo on Flickr)
For the inaugural entry to our ‘City Shoutouts’ list series, we start with a town steeped in music. Brooklyn, long known as Manhattan’s nearby and more affordable cousin, has become a place so rich in music venues, nightclubs, studios, and musicians that many bands and DJs will swing through without ever even playing Manhattan. Brooklyn’s been home to John Travolta’s white-suited disco nut Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever (Bay Ridge), the site of a bodega where a 17-year-old Christopher Wallace freestyled years before becoming The Notorious B.I.G. (Bed Stuy), the site of the recent indie rock boom starring bands such as MGMT, Animal Collective, and TV On The Radio (Williamsburg), and (full disclosure) also happens to be where this writer was born and currently resides. It’s also a place that could use some love right about now, after large swathes of it were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.
The rules are simple: The title of the track or remix must reference the city name either directly, or in some accepted abbreviation or clear reference. It’s nice if the artist is from there or the lyrics reference it, but just the title will do.
The late 1980s was an interesting (read: dangerous) time for New York City. But Brooklynites Tim Xavier and Camea remember it more idyllically in the beautiful title track to their very solid release from earlier this year on Upon You Records.
Mysterious Edit Murphy dropped the superb Motown Edits Vol. I last year which featured three loopy tracks, which were more like new sample-heavy songs than straight-up edits (free DL here). This recent original, released on Smoke & Mirrors, features great remixes from Australia’s Fantastic Man as well as this jam from Chicago’s Savile. Oh, and he’s currently rocking the best name in the edit game.
Jacques Renault and Marcos Cabral of Runaway are Brooklyn through and through. The duo live, produce, and play in BK and run the label On The Prowl (Renault is also part of Brooklyn party/label Let’s Play House). The 2009 original on Rekids and its remixes showcased Brooklyn’s renewed disco scene. The UK’s M.G.F added this beefy refix to the already good list of remixes just two weeks ago.
Brooklyn Bounce – it’s not just a Satanic happy hardcore act anymore! In lieu of distracting you with too many words, I implore you to watch one of Brooklyn Bounce’s videos in all of its WTF glory. While the excellent track above has absolutely nothing to do with the band Brooklyn Bounce, this video came up in my search, and its power is undeniable: Imagine “Gangnam Style” if Psy was into Glenn Danzig and satanic lesbians in lingerie. It’s that good.
Loco Dice, a very well-respected German house and minimal DJ, started out doing support slots for Snoop and Usher. Spinning R&B and hip hop he also, believe it or not, rapped under the name Dice’C (short for Dice Corleone, of course). If you’re not in the mood for heavily accented G(erman)-Funk, watch him in Detroit earlier this year being introduced by Ice-T. Marco Carola’s excellent deep house remix would have also been a fine choice, but it’s hard to deny the titular subway sample of the original. A rare chill-out track from a big name in dance with a not-so-secret past.
Double-word score for managing to squeeze two references out of one title on this one, guys. Ghostly International artist and Brooklyn native Michna even fits in some handclaps and repeated chants of ”Go Brooklyn!” into his version of Joy Orbison’s original. Free DL here.
Maybe it’s just the alliteration, but there’s always been a bounce associated with Brooklyn (see above). It could also come from the borough’s favorite son, The Notorious B.I.G. and his ‘Biggie bounce’. He has some of the most iconic and oft-sampled lines about the BK, one of which is sampled in and gives the name to this track, and another of which is the basis for more bounce in Dave Nada’s “Where Brooklyn At?”
Can’t do a Brooklyn list without some hip hop. Let’s say you’re a rapper and you’re looking for someone to endorse your mixtape; there are few better (living) people to do it for you than Nas. He tweeted about the Cape-Town-by-way-of-Brooklyn emcee Whosane last year and, of course, people sat up and paid attention. This bouncy lil ditty, produced by LA beatmaker Oh No, is the title track off his album from earlier this year.
Three boroughs in one title… and there’s that bounce again. Featuring a sample from Queens natives A Tribe Called Quest, this crunchy electro grinder is pure peak-time, main-room madness.
And now, the #10 Old-School Entry:
Definitely one of the most famous shouts of any city, The Beastie Boys 1987 original has been described as “joyful ranting” about the boys’ home city – which they did quite a lot of throughout their career. In later years, they performed the song with slightly amended lyrics; instead of ”skeezin’ with a whore,” MCA was now in the back “with the mahjong board.” The guitar parts in producer Rick Rubin’s original were played by Kerry King, who claimed in the Beastie biography The Skills To Pay The Bills that it took about “five minutes” to do and only happened because he was down the hall working on his own Rubin record with metal demigods Slayer.
Frenchman Leon Carwell trims the ’80s metal and gets all jazzy with it in this fitting tribute to hip hop, filmmaking, and human rights pioneer MCA, who succumbed to cancer earlier this year. Check out fellow Brooklynite and Rick Rubin-collaborator Jay-Z do his own live version of it in NY, or just swing by Brooklyn’s brand-new Barclay Center sometime. Jigga recently christened it by playing eight sold-out shows in a row, and it’s also the place his Brooklyn Nets call home (and where the Nets bested the Knicks on Monday night).
If you would like to submit a theme, style, or word for us to consider for a future top 10 list, send us a message at email@example.com.
The DJZ/10 is a collection of ten DJs that we think you should know about now. Some of them are already familiar to you, others you may have never heard of. The list is not based on (1) a secret computer algorithm, (2) social media popularity, or (3) payola. Every month or so we get together to decide if somebody from the broader A…Z directory is about to break out and should be included in the DJZ/10, or if somebody already on the list, for that matter, is “phoning it in” and deserved to be replaced by another DJ who is more worthy.×