Since her debut album back in 2005, M.I.A has made a career out of being the bad girl rockstar. Her creative mix of street fashion and high couture combine with her genre bending rap-pop songs to make her a trendsetter in the best sense of the word. She brought this compelling energy to the brand new Knockdown Center, located deep into Queens. The converted glass factory-turned-venue is in a wholly industrial district, nestled among autobody shops and Chinese importing warehouses. There was no alcohol available at the venue due to a permitting issue, but this did not stop the raving dance party that M.I.A. inspires.
Danny Brown made an impact on the rap world with his album Old, released late last year. The innovative, grime influenced beats mixed with a lyricism and an attitude true to his Detroit roots struck a chord with both hipsters and hip hop heads.
Bodega Bamz has similar blend of creative production and locally influenced lyrics, but instead of Detroit, Bamz showcases Spanish Harlem to the world. He found his own niche among fans of New York hip hop ever since his 2012 mixtape Strictly 4 My Papis blended trap with Latino culture. Cosigns from A$AP Mob and Peter Rosenberg helped cement him as part of the new New York.
Both Danny and Bamz have created their own branded cliques – Bruiser Brigade for Danny, and Tan Boys for Bamz. These reference specific lifestyles while allowing fans worldwide to connect to each artist on a deeper level. Both Brusiers and Tan Boys were in the building for the Bowery Ballroom show in NYC, creating a blend of cultures that is totally NYC. Zeelopers opened the show by spitting nerd-rap verses over trap beats. The crowd responded graciously to his nostalgic references and constant energy.
Words by Chelsea Whitaker
Winter Music Conference (WMC) has become the official Spring Break of the EDM community, bringing together DJ’s, artists, and music industry professionals together in sunny South Beach, Florida. Workshops, album premieres, and of course parties, were all on the agenda. There was not a quiet spot in Miami all week, and various EDM beats constantly filled the air along Ocean Drive.
One of the highlights was an exclusive listening party for Afrojack‘s anticipated new album, “Forget the World”. This will be the first full length studio album for the Dutch DJ, who has made his mark by remixing the likes of Madonna and Beyonce while also co-producing and writing hits such as “Titanium”. The album is a musical journey across genres, touching on deep house and even trap with a song featuring Snoop Dogg. The album will no doubt connect to core EDM fans, as well as gain radio traction across the country.
Along with listening events, club takeovers acted as live showcases for top label talent. The Brooklyn based Fool’s Gold – headed by DJ A-Trak, threw some of the wildest and most talent-packed events. Top DJs including Loudpvck, Gladiator, High Klassified and Nick Catchdubs, hit various stages over 2 nights of parties, all hosted by A-Trak. The label set itself a part from the EDM madness with a Rap Party featuring Just Blaze. The packed event mixed songs by A$AP Ferg with classic Duck Sauce tracks, blending two worlds which are destined to collide in a big way this year.
Smaller parties acted as showcases for upcoming talent. Fresh from his Ultra set, DJ Max Gold, set himself apart from the mix by not only being the youngest guy at the Shore Club Red Room (he’s 16), but by bringing a unique sound of tribal-meets-trap to the turntables.
Overall, WMC is a talent showcase and a networking party, rolled into one. Every mic, and every party was a chance to become the next club star. A random rapper hopped on the mic, spitting over EDM beats on the top of the Cleavelander at 2am while the ocean wind blew the entire crowd into frenzy. This epitomized WMC 2014 in one moment – genres mixing, random talent and, of course, Miami.