‘Shazam’s 5 Minute Guide…’ serves up all you need to know about a given subject in an easy to digest, bite-size chunk. Obscure musical subgenres, flavour of the month singers and leftfield musical buzzwords will all be broken down in this new section. Whether you’re looking to bluff your way through a conversation with a music fanatic or trying to stay on top of the latest trends, ‘Shazam 5 Minute Guide’ is the place to be.
The first ‘5 Minute Guide’ is a whistle stop tour of the world of Dirty South Rap in 2010 – a sub genre that’s been ruling America’s airwaves and clubs with reckless abandon in recent times…
2010 has been a very popular year for the dirty south rappers with names like Gucci Mane, Yo Gotti and Waka Flocka Flame scoring some of the biggest hits in the rap charts. Since A-Trak’s popular mixtape, ‘Dirty South Dance’, it seems as though every hip-hop producer wants a slow paced southern rapper featured on their track.
Although the genre has been big since the late ‘80’s, Gucci Mane’s 2009 album ‘The State Vs. Radric Davis’ can be seen as a tipping point in the genre’s popularity. Before the release of Gucci’s album, there was a surge of dirty south music with artists such as Lil’ Wayne, Bun B and Three Six Mafia making huge waves. Remember the smash hit ‘Ridin’ by Chamillionaire? Well the dirty south phenomenon has hit back harder than ever.
Signed to Konvict / Def Jam, southern rapper Prynce Cyhi is one to look out for. Having featured on tracks with Kanye, Pusha T and YelaWolf (think southern Eminem mixed with Die Antwoord’s rapper – Ninja), his versatile style is fully demonstrated on this track with A-Trak.
The bouncy electro track fits well with the rapper, “I wear ‘em while I’m whippin, I wear ‘em while I’m f*ckin, all my women think I’m trippin’… It’s very catchy too. ‘Ray Ban Vison’ is a well executed collaboration which – given dance mastero A-Trak’s involvement – is sure to produce some interesting remixes.
When it comes to top DJ talent, the USA has always had an embarrassment of riches. Just to real off a few of the country’s most notable jocks reads like a who’s who of DJ’ing: Grandmaster Flash, Jam Master Jay, Frankie Knuckles, Larry Levan, DJ Shadow, Derick May, Jeff Mills, Carl Craig, Francois K … You get the picture!
With this in mind DJ Times have launched a competition to try and find America’s best DJ. Taken from a list of 100 nominees, dance music fans are encouraged to vote for their favourite US vinyl spinner by heading to www.americasbestdj.net. As an added incentive, the folks at DJ Times are offering a trip for two Las Vegas to experience the official closing ceremony of 2010 America’s Best DJ Competition.
Our vote would go to A-Trak (above), but hey, what do we know?
You must be a US resident to be eligible to win the America’s Best DJ trip to Las Vegas.
Back in 2007 A-Trak released ‘Dirty South Dance’: a tub thumping mixtape of southern US hip-hop from the likes of Rick Ross and Lil Wayne mashed with a ton of lairy European electro beats. The mix of dance music and urban vocals pre-empted one of popular music’s biggest trends in recent times with acts such as David Guetta and Black Eyed Peas using the approach to dominate the world’s charts for the last two years. Directly inspiring other dance acts such as Crookers and rappers like KanYe West – who A-Trak used to DJ for – ‘Dirty South Dance’ still remains one of the most exciting hybrids of electronic and urban styles.
The follow up, ‘Dirty South Dance 2’, will be ready for release in the next few weeks – available only to those who buy a deluxe pack bundled with a T-shirt and poster.
To get you in the mood, A-Trak has made a track from the album available to download. Entitled ‘Loonies To Blow’, it takes the unmistakable rhymes of Birdman, Drake and Lil Wayne and offsets them against a skuzzy and bouncing Baltimore beat. The results are pretty fantastic.
Canadian deck manipulator and electro producer A-Trak has had an amazing 2009. Not only has he delivered more than his fair share of mind blowing sets and productions, but he also chipped in a Fabric compilation that has proved one of the most rated in the already highly acclaimed series. Whereas many former DMC champions fail to escape from the secular world of hip-hop turntabilism, A-Trak’s versatile tastes have set him apart from his former peers.
The man who controls the decks for KanYe West also took part in another great collaboration this year with legendary house DJ Armand Van Helden. Their joint venture, Duck Sauce, produced what stands up as one of the feel good tracks of the year. ‘aNYway’ rode high in our Tag Charts throughout the year and is guaranteed to be heard at whatever New Year’s Eve party you end up at this year.
We chat exclusively to A-Trak as he embarks on the first European tour for his Fools Gold label: home to such acts as Kid Sister and Jokers Of The Scene. Read more…
Duck Sauce, the collaboration between A-Trak and Armand Van Helden, has rocketed up to second place on our UK Pre-Release chart. The track has become a firm favourite within Shazam Towers and is sure to continue to win over more fans. Taking its cue from American 70’s talent shows, the video for ‘aNYway’ echoes Outkast’s ‘Hey Ya’ as well as a certain 5 piece called The Jacksons. In a similar fashion to Daft Punk, Duck Sauce have re-imagined a lost disco track and repacked it for modern dance floors – let’s just hope this excellent single isn’t a one off!
It’s been almost 15 years since acts like Daft Punk, Cassius and Alan Braxe came along with the French touch sound, instantly reinvigorating house music with a disco influenced nous. Now, with everyone from Tiesto to Black Eyed Peas using almost identical electro influenced sounds, it would seem dance music could do with another kick up the backside. Thankfully Duck Sauce, AKA Armand Van Helden and A-Trak, provide just such a blow by revisiting the glory days of 90’s filtered house.
As a dance music pairing you would be hard pressed to find a duo with such esteemed credentials as A-Trak and AVH. Van Helden has been behind some of the most important developments in dance music; responsible for defining Speed Garage, early Tribal House, chart topping Disco House and most recently club shattering Electro with Dizzee Rascal’s ‘Bonkers’. Armand Van Helden has been there, done it and bought a whole box of T-shirts. Meanwhile, A-Trak made his name as a 15 year old turntable prodigy; winning every scratch mixing trophy on Earth before he could shave. He went on to become KanYe West’s tour DJ and introduced the rapper to the sounds of Daft Punk – inadvertently spawning the hit ‘Stronger’ and the current electro-rap explosion.
‘aNYway’ has all the hallmarks of Stardust’s ‘Music Sounds Better’. Filtered disco strings, wobbly funk flecked bassline and a chorus that sounds like it’s been ripped direct from a long lost Ashford & Simpson classic (it’s actually sampled from a Final Edition track, but let’s not split hairs). The vocals feel instantly recognisable yet new and the constant groove is nothing short of joyous. In a nutshell it’s completely at odds with minimal/ electro sounds that tend to sound great in clubs but are unlikely to produce memorable cross over hits. If Duck Sauce starts a new vocal house revolution chart music in general could be all the better for it.
Here’s Duck Sauce talking about the inspiration for the record: