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With his Fool’s Gold Day Off festival kicking off in New York on Labor Day, legendary DJ/producer/tastemaker A-Trak recently stopped by Hot 97’s morning show to discuss his career’s evolution from the DMC days and working with Kanye West to launching Fool’s Gold Records and performing at EDM festivals. The extensive interview covers a lot of ground and is packed with insights on the current state of music, or more specifically, hip-hop.
On bridging hip-hop and EDM:
“In 2014, I don’t think we should be separating genres anymore . . . If you go back to the [Afrika] Bambaatta days, Soul Sonic Force were making electro beats and it was hip-hop and to me the way we’re all mixing these genres [is] going back to the same idea of looking for the break. It doesn’t have to be within the confines of certain sounds or whatever . . . A big part of the vision for [the] Fool’s Gold events is to bring the energy of an EDM kind of festival to a venue where there’s also rappers performing. It’s like you’re watching French Montana but it’s got the energy of an EDM Festival . . . I jump back and forth between those worlds.”
On why more rappers haven’t released EDM-influenced tracks: “Kanye had Daft Punk producing on his last album and people didn’t really raise eyebrows. I think there’s certain people that are able to jump those lines a little bit more effortlessly than others but at the same time the general audience’s ears are getting trained and it’s opening up. Pitbull’s been on dance records for years too. He deserves props for that because he’s been adventurous. And one of the first people that really had big records in the last couple years in North America that bridged those gaps is David Guetta. It’s obviously cool and artistic to give props to the Kanyes and even Swizz Beatz and all these guys that use electronic sounds — people don’t necessarily wanna give props to the bigger commercial guys — but Guetta had a lot of these rappers on his songs.”
On how the barriers to make music are lower than ever before: “I love the fact that a kid can download a cracked version of Fruity Loops and make a beat that sounds as good as what’s on the radio and put the stuff on SoundCloud and have a following . . . [but] you have to know the history too.”
Watch the interview:
Related: A-Trak: ‘DJing is About Taking Risks’