OPINION: 500 words on the resurgence of Baltimore club music

by Marcus K. Dowling

The short term memory of the average American hipster or hipster sympathizing partier was a fickle friend to Baltimore club music. As the genre soared into the mainstream on the backs of the Black Eyed Peas and Usher, local producers who heated up under the spotlight are now largely toiling away back in Baltimore’s local scene. Cooled off in the public consciousness, but now once again torching the underground, the sound is once again starting a slow ascension back to the surface. If a bandwagon jumping scenester, this story isn’t for you. However, if a true music appreciator, hold on to your ass, because there are some folks aspiring to blow it off your body.

L to R - James Nasty, DJ Sega, Murder Mark Promo Mix (November) by Murder Mark

Murder Mark is the Baltimore City Paper’s 2010 Best Club Producer. Alongside now stalwart producer DJ Pierre, the under 21 mastermind has turned up the big room electro elements on his club productions, and, alongside the assistance of manipulating some powerful samples, has risen to the top of the game. His latest promo mix for site A heart-stopping multitude of bangers – kicks, breaks, hoopin’ and hollerin’ guaranteed to take one’s afternoon or evening to the next level. Waka Flocka and Weezy F. Baby replace Lil Jon, and kitschy top 40 remains at the forefront as Mark, alongside a multitude of names you need to know, dominate.

DJ Sega Sixer Series Trilogy by DJ Sega

DJ Sega’s a living legend of club music. Andy Warhol spirit with Rube Goldberg’s brain, the Philadelphia native is back on a herculean tear. Sega’s at his best when he’s at a frenetic creative pace. Slowed by the crossover of club music passing him by, he’s re-invigorated, more reckless and emboldened than ever. A master creator remembering that creating to meet his own high expectations is his best motivation, his “Sixer Series Trilogy represents his best work of the year to date.  With just over 40 days remaining in 2011, at this clip, Sega could honestly quite easily eclipse his own top standard within the next 24 hours.

If Ya Freaky feat. Dj Pierre by James Nasty

James Nasty is the most inherently quotable and uproariously hilarious producer in club music today. His musical motivations include “making people get drunk, and watching white girls shake their asses.” Mixing lowbrow expectations with highbrow production standards, Nasty is slowly compiling a body of work that is a memory of club music’s halcyon eras of yore with a foot on the pedal of the future. His Friday night Physical Education party at Baltimore’s Ottobar is the city’s latest, greatest bastion of club music’s most recent legacy. Art obsessed hipsters mix with local fanatics and a wild,  professional crowd for a party that explodes into a mess of “freak trains” and tweets that, though true, are  so wild that if seen by an uninformed observer, would be deemed of dubious authenticity.

Baltimore club is arguably more powerful than ever.

  • Marc Glasser

    baltimore club music is so damn fun to dance to that it will always survive despite trends. I think it’s resurgence in the public eye (or just outside of baltimore) will have a lot to do with the movement of club music all across the east coast. The rise of jersey and the new school of baltimore seem to have a mutualistic effect on each other. Not to mention the many different styles and evolutions of the original template even within baltimore. People outside of baltimore might still think of club music as that breakbeat and particular kick drum pattern, but it’s mutating, and that’s what will turn the spotlight back on.

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