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Que Bajo?! Barrioteca: An Introduction

Geko Jones is a New York-based DJ known for his ability to blend older, more folkloric records with the latest dance-floor trends; we featured him a few years back in our episode on accomplished crate-diggers. With Uproot Andy, he’s half of Que Bajo?!, one of New York’s best dance parties and this weekend in Brooklyn, they’ll be joined by a stellar array of DJs and producers from Latin America for “Que Bajo?! Barrioteca,” part of Red Bull Music Academy’s New York Festival. Geko put together this excellent introduction to the artists he’ll be playing with. Use it to get pumped for the show, or, if you can’t make it, to have your own personal dance party.

DJ Playero‘s mixtapes were for me, and many, the foundation for reggaeton. Mashing up hip-hop and dancehall backbeats and working with a very young Daddy Yankee, Hector y Tito, Baby Rasta y Gringo, and pretty much anyone who was worth recording on the island at the time, the work he did there spread quickly from las calles de Puerto Rico to the streets of NYC and became some of the best mixes on the market. The Noise, a nightclub he co-owned in Puerto Rico, was the cradle of the scene. A prolific producer, a pioneer and an inspiration, it’s an honor to host him. Here’s the mix that set it all off: Playero 37.

DJ Laz is one of the most influential Latin artists to have ever risen out of Miami, right up there with Gloria Estefan and Pitbull, whom he deejays for when on tour. Also known as The Pimp with a Limp, he is a radio personality in Miami and kind of a voice of the people out there. He came up during the 2 Live Crew/Miami Bass era and his early “Latin bass” releases would become international hits on a level that is hard to describe to non-Latinos. “Esa Morena” has played at Latin clubs, weddings, house parties, and quinceañeras for so many years, its nostalgia spans probably three generations of party people by now. He was one of the first Latin rappers, a sick turntablist and truly one of the most respected Latino DJs to have rocked the 1’s and 2’s.

Notch was one of my favorite voices growing up. He was part of group called Born Jamericans and it was my first dose of ragga hip-hop. He’s the consummate crooner or what Jamaicans would call a “singjay.” I wondered for a long time if Born Jamericans would release more music, but then all a sudden his name started coming up in the 7″ 45 bins at the dancehall record stores I shopped at and he had some crazy hits in dancehall music like “Nuttin No Go So.” Later, he started connecting on the reggaeton tip too with “Ay Que Bueno” and some guest appearances. We met in Miami back in October and I’m super excited to have him on our stage. This one will always be my favorite, though.

At 21 years young, Erick Rincon and his 3ball MTY project represent the future sound of Mexico. The tribal guarachero sound was something of a teen phenomena but with releases on Mad Decent and later a full length, Erick has become the leading exponent of the genre. A protegé of Toy Selectah, he spent his teen years working seriously hard at production and as a result has become both super prolific and astonishingly successful. “Intentalo” smashed the airwaves and became the first tribal guarachero song to become commercially successful. Lately, he’s been making what he calls future tribal which is much headier than his earlier work and I’m excited to hear what he’s up to. Here’s a recent collaboration with Siete Catorce I’ve been playing:

Happy Colors represents everything I love about young Latinos today. His sound infuses the essence of his Dominican heritage and puts it through modern innovations to arrive at strange intersections like merengue-trap and bachata-grind. Completely irreverent, his work flow has this carefree, long-as-it-sounds-good attitude which means we keep getting more new exciting tracks in our inboxes. He’ll sometimes record his own voice for samples, adding in just the right phrase to assert his tigueraje on the track. He’s been rockin’ out with El Dusty and MLKMN as LOCOS ONLY and I’m excited to see what’s coming out of those sessions. Here’s his latest out on Peligrosa Records.

Pablito Mix was recently featured on Vice for a story on cumbiatón. His sound takes what’s happening and updates it for the teen clubs in Mexico City, fusing dembow and cumbia. Lately, he’s opening for some of the top artists coming to DF, most recently for Nicky Jam and J Balvin. His weekly parties are attended by 1000-plus kids on a Friday night. He’s been reluctant to share many of his edits because he’s still learning as a producer but self-awareness and success go hand-in-hand. When he gets it right, he nails it, like this remix of DJ Snake’s hit “Turn Down for What.”

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