Nearly five years ago, 21 year old Baltimore native Ryeisha Berrain was doing the Wu-Tang and the Crazy Legs dances in parking lots, gymnasiums and skating rinks and auditioning for DJ Blaqstarr by rapping over a telephone line. Five years later, Baltimore club music powers MTV’s best song of 2010 (Usher’s “OMG”) and Details Magazine refers to Berrain, aka Rye Rye, as “hip hop’s latest it girl.” Today, Rye Rye releases RYEotpowRR, a mixtape mixed by young, perpetually rising and musically iconic Philadelphia wunderkind of club music DJ Sega. Blending club remixes featuring Rye Rye’s vocals of Kesha’s “We R Who We R,” Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the U.S.A.,” Ciara’s “Gimmie Dat,” and Willow Smith’s “Whip My Hair,” the mixtape’s intention is to introduce the mainstream to the unrepentant glee and carefree energy of Baltimore club music.
Rye Rye’s Go! Pop! Bang! was scheduled for a 4th quarter 2010 then 1st quarter 2011 release date, both scheduled times that have been pushed back by her label, Interscope distributed MIA boutique imprint NEET Recordings. The strategy of using the underground, which has been solidly behind Rye Rye for years, alongside the solid influence of the international teen and dance mainstream is an intelligent move that portends well.
Baltimore club music, which was perceived to be dead or starting to be passed by on the underground by other progressive bass heavy sounds of international development like dubstep in 2010, was just being prepared for it’s time in the mainstream sun in 2011 as MIA’s two favorite muses, Blaqstarr and Rye Rye have genre defining and redefining efforts. As the sound progresses internationally, it’s not just an Unruly Records (Scottie B, King Tutt, Say Wut) and KW Griff dominated game back in Baltimore as there’s a crew of local contenders who are ready to maintain the expected boost of energy to the scene.
James Nasty: Owing as much stylistically to Dr. Luke of 2 Live Crew fame as he does KW Griff, Nasty’s work has paid dividends, as in doing remixes with everyone from Maggie Horn of Telephoned to Ninjasonik and Roxy Cottontail, Nasty just did a one week tour based out of Seattle, with tour dates forthcoming in Las Vegas and Los Angeles as well. His latest mix, The Truth About James Nasty featuring 18 of Nasty’s best received productions is an absolute winner as well.
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Jonny Blaze: The twenty plus year club veteran releases a stream of work as brodigious as it is consistently excellent and takes stylistic cues from literally everything, as his work includes the legendary Baltimore Club flip of the Spongebob Squarepants theme and “Peanut Butter Jelly Time” from Family Guy. Having been unfortunately incarcerated for the end of 2010 has opened Blaze up even further to religious themes and classic rock as well, and he has an album forthcoming with more information found on his website.
Murder Mark: The young producer broke onto the scene with instant local classic “Cherry Hill and Down Ya Block.” He’s also the Baltimore City Paper’s 2010 Best Baltimore Club Producer, and now can boast work with Bmore Original Records as well as being the producer of note for next generation Rye Rye TT the Artist. Mark’s remix of Waka Flocka’s “Hard in the Paint” left many club music insiders awestruck and hopeful for the future.
DJ Pierre: The 2008 Baltimore City Paper Best DJ in a club is developing into a top tier DJ and a budding producer. His “Uhh Break” garnered renown, but you probably know him better for his remix of “Steppin’ Up” by MIA that appeared on her January Vicki Leekx mixtape. His club mix CDs are always a vaunted score on Baltimore’s underground and he is perpetually in favor with the top performers and DJs in town.
From Rye Rye and Blaqstarr’s mainstream explosion all the way down to the streets of The Wire, Camden Yards, Fells Point and your favorite Crown Fried Chicken location, Baltimore club never died, it merely evolved. Welcome to club music 3.0.