Track 1: “Lick It” by Kaskade & Skrillex. Genre: Dubstep
This is a brand new track from Kaskade's Fire & Ice album. It is house mixed with dubstep provided by Skrillex (Sonny Moore). Kaskade (Ryan Raddon) has a number of good house tracks on this album but this track is my favorite because of the intense dubstep components mixed in with just the right frequency so that it has melody and isn’t overwhelmed by the dubstep. DJ Times poll voted Kaskade "America's Best DJ 2011”. Although Kaskade’s work is excellent and I love listening to it, I don’t know if I agree with the title as best DJ since that’s interpreted in many ways. A hip-hop DJ with sick scratch skills is very different from a house DJ who uses different tracks, techniques and effects. What makes a DJ great is his/her ability to rock the floor and Kaskade certainly has those skills.
Track 2: “Coming Up” by Lupe Fiasco featuring MDMA. Genre: Hip-Hop
Lupe Fiasco is #2 next to Kanye West in Chicago rapper popularity. I love Lupe's lyrics with many tracks having a positive spin even if dealing with negative topics. This track is inclusive and upbeat with a really solid dance beat.
Track 3: “Strange Clouds” by B.o.B. with Lil Wayne. Genre: Hip-Hop
"Strange Clouds" is the latest from B.o.B. with Lil Wayne. What makes this track different is its inclusion of dubstep elements-incredibly intense bass stabs and bass wobble. As electro house began finding its way into pop and hip-hop a couple of years ago, Dubstep is making its way into house, hip-hop and other genres.
Track 4: “Good Feeling” by Flo Rida. Genre: Hip-Hop
The latest hip-hop track from Flo Rida features vocals from the Etta James track “Something's Got a Hold On Me". It includes samples from Swedish dance producer Avicii’s track “Levels”. Avicii (Tim Bergling or Tim Berg) is famous in the dance world for the 2010 track “Seek Bromance”. It also includes some minor dubstep accents that add intensity to the track. Although the song was released only 3 months ago, there have been a lot of remixes of this track, often a good sign in the dance world that at least some version of the track might be worth playing.
Track 5: 2People (2011 Rework) feat. Tara Busch - DCUP Remix by Jean Jacques Smoothie. Genre: Indie Dance
This is an indie dance track from Jean Jacques Smoothie with Tara Busch on vocals. It is remixed by DCUP who is famous for the “We No Speak Americano” track done with Yolanda Be Cool. It is based on the song “Inside My Love” by Minnie Riperton. The Jean Jacques Smoothie version was done a few years ago but the DCUP remix is new. It is a romantic song that can be used as a warmup or cool down song in a dance set. It has a strong enough beat to get the dance floor going or keep it going and enough vocal elements and romantic content to keep the interest. It is set in a unique arrangement that provides variety, especially in dance sets that might be a bit too similar or too repetitive.
Track 6: Dancin (JJ Flores and Steve Smooth Accapella Remix) [Featuring Luvli] by Aaron Smith. Genre: House
This is a classic house track by Aaron Smith featuring Luvli on vocals. JJ Flores and Steve Smooth are great Chicago house artists and this remix is a dance classic that can be used to fill and rock the floor.
Track 7: “White Lies” by Paul Van Dyk featuring Jessica Sutta. Genre: Trance
This is a vocal trance track from Paul Van Dyk featuring Jessica Sutta (former Pussycat Dolls member) on vocals. Trance is a dance sub-genre that typically has a fast beat (135-145 beats per minutes), with melodic synthesizers elements. It also will have builds and breaks, often with at least one prominent break with little or no percussion for 30 seconds or more. During the break there may be vocals, more subdued instruments and sometimes atmospheric music or effects. Vocal trance typically features a female vocalist over a trance instrumental. There are both clubs and internet radio stations devoted to nothing but trance and Paul Van Dyk is one of the more prominent artists. Other famous trance artists are Tiesto (probably the most popular), Armin Van Buuren, Ferry Corsten, ATB and Paul Oakenfold. These artists also produce house and other genres of dance music.
Video Bonus Track:
This issue’s Video bonus track features amazing dubstep dancer, Marquese NONSTOP Scott dancing to Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” remixed by Butch Clancy. Not all dubstep dancing is this slow but Marquese has mad skills. It was uploaded a couple of months ago and hit 5 million views in just a week on YouTube. It’s currently up to nearly 18 million views. For someone unknown that is massively viral! He appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show after the first week and probably kicked up the views substantially.
This Issue's DJ Tip - Looping
Looping can be used to repeat track segments to add emphasis or to repeat a killer section of the track. I use looping a lot for mixing where I throw Deck A into a loop when mixing out or I throw Deck B into a loop when mixing in. Sometimes both decks are looping in the mix. Loops are especially valuable when trying to mix songs that have a lot of vocals or other elements that make them hard to mix. When mixing in, I find at least 1 bar (4 beats) where there are no vocals and when looped it sounds like a continuous song without a lot of variation. Usually I avoid loops that have some drastic variation that is not repeated like a sudden high volume kick. If you run such a loop for a few repeats it usually doesn't sound good and the sudden change will distract from the mix with the other track. It's always important to hear your loops by themselves for a few repetitions. You should also listen to the loop when mixed with other tracks (preferably with the track you plan to mix it with). I do sometimes use loops with vocals, often because there are no good vocal-less loops to be had. I will either mix these with non-vocal segments of tracks or I will downplay the vocals a bit by lowering the mid range on the equalizer.