• How Bad Bunny Took Over Pop

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    Bad Bunny at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, CA on Aug. 25, 2018. (Credit: Alan Hess)

    Of the Latin artists that have crossed over into mainstream popularity, none have done it quite like Bad Bunny. The Puerto Rican native has taken a progressive, often controversial path to become one of music’s biggest stars. And he’s done it while singing only in Spanish.

    In a new feature story in Billboard, writer Eduardo Cepeda describes how “el conejo malo” managed to take over pop music by taking “risks few young male Latin stars would.” Bad Bunny chimes in with insights into his mindset and discusses why he’s not afraid to paint his nails or call out social issues.

    Bad Bunny released his critically acclaimed debut album X 100PRE in December. The project peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard 200 and currently sits at No. 19. It features the hit singles “MIA” featuring Drake, “Estamos Bien,” and “Solo de Mi.” The latest single is “Si Estuviesemos Juntos,” which the 24-year-old dropped on Thursday along with a music video.

    Read Bad Bunny’s best quotes from the story and watch the video for “Si Estuviesemos Juntos” below.

    Why he takes risks:

    “When I came into this industry, I was never afraid to be myself … There were others who would advise me to tone down a bit, but I just always thought, ‘What’s the worst that could happen?'”

    How calling out social issues comes easy to him:

    “At the end of the day, these are basic messages .. Ultimately, I’m not doing that much. I’m only doing what a human being who feels wants to do — in my way, without stepping out of my flow, while staying in my lane. Without, I guess, boring people.”

    Why he lets fans approach him in the street:

    “That’s the whole point — that’s how it should be … Like, fucking trying to connect with people.”

    Why he keeps his friends close:

    “[It] makes you feel like you’re with family, makes you feel at home, makes you feel normal. It gives me that grounding I need to always stay within orbit and not forget Earth.”

    Why he used the same two producers on X 100PRE:

    “It influences not just the quality of the album, but also the sentimentality of it … That energy translates. You feel like you’re listening to an artist, not just music meant for radio play.”

    Related: Watch Bad Bunny’s ‘Caro’ Video

  • Watch: DJ Jazzy Jeff’s Q&A at Red Bull Music 3Style IX World Finals

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    Styles Davis and DJ Jazzy Jeff
    Styles Davis and DJ Jazzy Jeff at Red Bull Music 3Style IX World Finals (Credit: Julian Melanson)

    During the Red Bull Music 3Style IX World Finals in Taiwan, DJ Jazzy Jeff sat down with DJcity’s Styles Davis for an in-depth Q&A about DJing. The legendary party rocker discussed a variety of topics, sharing his wisdom throughout the talk.

    What 3Style means to him:

    “This became my most inspirational week of the year … You don’t ever get chance to spend a week with your peers that you can kinda talk a complete circle about what you do. And you start to realize that after that week was over, you were more excited to play, you had more weapons in your arsenal …”

    How the scene has shifted from EDM to hip-hop:

    “It’s natural. … If you are fortunate to be around long enough, you realize that everything is in cycles. … Anybody that was around in the ’80s can easily identify that EDM is nothing but [Afrika Bambaataa‘s] “Planet Rock” with a little twist on it. … the Joey Bada$$‘s, the J. Coles, and the Kendrick Lamars, that’s just the rebirth of ’90s hip-hop with a twist on it. …”

    If technology is making DJs less important:

    “I am never afraid of technology replacing me until technology enables you to look around and see how people are vibing and make adjustments … If you want to keep a job, you have to let your employer know how much you’re needed. You gotta go in that club and play like there’s no f#cking machine that will ever be able to play like this. …”

    Watch the convo below and stay tuned for DJcityTV’s mini-documentary about 3Style IX.

    Related: Watch: Inside DJ Jazzy Jeff’s 2018 PLAYLIST Retreat

  • Producer Louis Bell Talks Working With Post Malone and More

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    Chart-topping producer Louis Bell sat down for an interview on the music production show Pensado’s Place. Bell co-wrote and co-produced many of the songs on Post Malone‘s album beerbongs & bentleys, including the hits “rockstar” featuring 21 Savage and “Better Now.” The Boston native also worked with Post on “Wow.” and Preme‘s “Jackie Chan.”

    In the interview, Bell talks about his studio sessions with Post before discussing his creative process, favorite plug-ins and more.

    On creativity:

    “I think that’s what creativity is, is taking something so small and being able to manipulate it and bend it and stretch it out, and, without watering it down. That’s the key.”

    On what he looks for in his artists’ vocals:

    “Feel, energy, vibe, and emotion. There’s no app yet that can fix that stuff, so that’s why I demand that.”

    On what makes Post Malone unique:

    “He sounds like he has so much soul and pain… and just hearing him sing, I just felt everything he was saying… There’s not one line that he sings, that he’s just singing to sing it.”

    Watch the full interview above (it begins at the 7:56 mark).

    Related: Chart-Topping Engineer Manny Marroquin Talks Working With Post Malone and More

  • Chart-Topping Engineer Manny Marroquin Talks Working With Post Malone and More

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    Manny Marroquin
    Manny Marroquin (Credit: Ryan Hunter)

    Born in Guatemala and raised in the US, Manny Marroquin started at the bottom and has become one of the most successful mixing engineers. He has worked with stars like Kanye West, Bruno Mars, and Post Malone, surpassing cumulative sales of 250 million records and 14 No. 1’s on the Billboard Hot 100.

    Marroquin has also won eight GRAMMY awards and has been nominated for five this year. Two of the nominations are for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical (Charlie Puth‘s Voicenotes and Chromeo‘s Head Over Heels). Marroquin’s work is also up for Record of the Year (Post Malone’s “rockstar“), Album of the Year (Post Malone’s beerbongs & bentleys), and Best Rap Album (Mac Miller‘s Swimming).

    Billboard recently spoke with the chart-topping engineer.

    On his approach to working with artists:

    “I do not think about Grammys, obviously. I do not think about the charts. I honestly take it from a very basic approach. The artist or producer comes to me to work on their baby. That is what I always say. I am an expensive babysitter. [Laughs] … Whenever they come, I try getting into their mind, whether that means talking to them, or even the music [will] speak for itself. I try to understand what their vision is. It is never about me. [The process] is never about my sound or what I can bring to the table. It is always about how I can [create a moment,] whether it is a song that makes you cry, dance, sing-along, or whatever that true emotion is …”

    On Post Malone:

    “… he has a great team around him. He has Louis Bell which is his engineer/producer. Post has Frank Dukes. That is another amazing producer. He has a tremendous A&R team. … In today’s world, I don’t even know what genre he is. He is one of the only artists where you can not pin him down. I call it genreless music. You know? Nowadays, [people question,] ‘Is it hip-hop? Yes. Is it alternative? Yes. Is it kind of rock? Yes. Is it pop? Yes.’”

    On Mac Miller:

    “People who did not know Mac had no idea, he was a very artistic guy. Even before I worked with him, I did not realize he was that musical. His musical journey really shows. [The Swimming] album proves that. I hope that this album got nominated because of its’ quality. I remember working on it thinking, ‘Wow! This is such an amazing hip-hop album.’ The fact that it got nominated is great, but I hope people listen to what it really is.”

    On opening a venue:

    “I am working on a restaurant venue concert that is right next to [my studio] Larrabee Studios. Now, not only will we be able to create from beginning to end. They will be able to perform. We can capture the live performance and put it on vinyl.”

    Related: Watch: Scott Storch Reflects on Career, Talks Today’s Rappers

  • Yo Yolie Talks Breaking Into Radio and Las Vegas Scene, Gives Advice to Female DJs

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    Yo Yolie is a club and radio DJ from the Bay Area who’s now based in Las Vegas. She’s a mixer on San Francisco’s WiLD 94.9 and SiriusXM’s Globalization channel, and rocks crowds from the Bay to Vegas on a regular basis.

    DJcity’s MISS DJ BLISS sat down with Yolie to discuss how she broke into radio and the Vegas scene. Yolie also gave advice to female DJs.

    Watch above.

    Follow Yo Yolie on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

    Related: NOODLES Talks Being Kehlani’s DJ and Gives Advice to Female DJs

  • Former DMC Champ Kypski Discusses New Technique, ‘Syntablism’

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    Kypski

    Thomas Elbers a.k.a. Kypski started out as a turntablist, becoming a three-time DMC Netherlands champion. Eventually, he followed his heart and entered the realm of sound design, music composition, and production, where he has collaborated with artists in almost every genre.

    Now, Kypski is experimenting with “syntablism,” a new technique that enables turntablists to create and manipulate sounds on the fly using a turntable, mixer, and modular synthesizer. It was introduced by Luigi SirCut Comito in 2016.

    DJcity’s DJ TLM recently spoke with Kypski to learn more about the technique. The Q&A coincides with the release of Kypski’s new routine, which is a syntablism flip of his remix of Fatima Yamaha’s “What’s a Girl to Do.” The video was praised by his fellow Dutchman, Laidback Luke, who tweeted that it “mesmerized” him.

    Watch the routine and read the interview below.

    How did you get involved with syntablism?

    Luigi SirCut introduced it to me. It was so inspiring! When I realized the potential it opens up for turntablists, I was hooked and dived in right away. It also came at a time when I was kind of bored with manipulating samples and pre-producing my own sounds to scratch with later, which is something so many people do. Syntablism is all about creating sounds in the moment, and scratching and playing them at the same time.

    The system I have now is far from finished. I doubt I will ever really finish it. I have many more features I want to add to it and then release a full syntablism album. Until that time comes, I will be releasing a lot of singles and videos. Luigi and I have just finished another syntablism live video in which we will be playing and scratching our systems together in a more Q&A fashion.

    If Luigi hadn’t introduced it, someone else might have, because the concept is so brilliant yet simple. It’s great to see more and more people trying out syntablism all over the world now.

    What equipment do you need to start experimenting with syntablism?

    A modular synthesizer is ideal because it’s not prewired like a regular synth. However, a semi-modular like the Korg MS-20 will do the job. Also, I consider an envelope follower, comparator, and pitch to be key modules. You can build the rest around them. My system is set up so that my Traktor control signal plays a sine wave, which is converted to pitch control voltage. I send that voltage to many different destinations. For example, at the beginning of my new video, I scratch the tail of the reverb. It can be anything! Also, the crossfader is set up so that it produces gate signals, another signal which the modular synth is happy to receive. Together, it gives one the possibility to scratch the core elements of the synth in real time.

    You’ve done turntablism collaborations with DJs such as D-Styles and musicians like the Matangi Quartet. Do you have any syntablism collaborations planned?

    Yes, this year I will be collaborating with the Amstel Saxophone Quartet from Amsterdam, with whom I will be playing a live show honoring Kraftwerk. I will also be bringing my syntablism live set to the Eurosonic festival in Groningen, Netherlands, and to the Superbooth festival in Berlin, which I’m really looking forward to. For collabs and shows that need a more traditional DJ approach, I use my Native Instruments Maschine setup which still works like a charm for that purpose.

    Related: Watch: Turntablist and Singer Asian Hawk Performs His Track ‘Fire’

  • Watch: Bass Music Artist Figure on How DJing Helped Him Learn How to Produce

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    Bass music DJ/producer Figure has gone from the fringes of Indiana to stages worldwide. He started out as a hip-hop DJ in the rave scene before becoming a household name in dubstep.

    Figure’s production skills brought him to Skrillex‘s OWSLA label, where he released his Horns of the Apocalypse EP in 2013. He went on to create his own label, DOOM MUSIC, as an outlet to release heavy bass music from himself and other up-and-coming producers.

    On this episode of A Moment With, Figure talks about how DJing helped him learn how to produce, how hip-hop and horror movies have influenced his sound, and more.

    Watch above.

    Follow Figure on Facebook, Instagram, Soundcloud, and Twitter.

    Follow DJs Are Not Jukeboxes on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube.

    Related: Watch: Grandtheft Talks DJing and Producing

  • Watch: Scott Storch Reflects on Career, Talks Today’s Rappers

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    Scott Storch
    Scott Storch at the Red Bull Music Festival in Toronto. (Credit: Maria Jose Govea/Red Bull Music Academy)

    In October, legendary producer Scott Storch sat down for an interview with the Red Bull Music Academy. The conversation took place during the Red Bull Music Festival in Toronto.

    The 44-year-old is experiencing a comeback, having recently produced 6ix9ine‘s single “KIKA” (currently No. 1 on DJcity). He has also worked on tracks for Trippie Redd, Russ, and other buzzing rappers over the past year.

    Storch covered many topics during the interview, including his early days with The Roots, producing Dr. Dre‘s classic “Still D.R.E.,” and today’s rappers. He also shared details about his fall from grace and the lessons he learned from it.

    Joining The Roots:

    “I started cutting school and taking the train from the suburbs of Philly into the city, and I met this guy Richard Nichols, who went on to become the manager of The Roots. And he took me under his wing. Eventually, after my parents found out I wasn’t going to school, they said, ‘You either go to school and you can stay or you’ve got to go.’ And I went. I did odd jobs and did whatever I had to do to support myself at 15, 16 years old. And I got a record deal with The Roots. It’s believing in what you do.”

    Today’s rappers:

    “I don’t want to offend anybody with this answer, but I feel like it’s more melodic today, and people were spitting bars more before. But you know, everybody has their own style. I’m finding a lot of these cats have what they bring to the table. Like Trippie [Redd], he’s almost like a rockstar. He’s very daring in what he does. … He’s an innovator, man, pioneer, which is the most important kind of musician to be.”

    Advice for aspiring producers:

    “Be a pioneer. Listen to what’s in the market but make it your own. And be the guy that creates the new sound, not just copies what’s out there. Break ground. And stay strong and don’t give up.”

    Watch the interview below.

    Related: Watch: Timbaland on Getting His Start as a DJ and Collaborating With Superstars

  • 4KORNERS Talks DJing for Toronto Raptors, Offers Business Advice to DJs

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    4KORNERS
    4KORNERS holds it down during a Toronto Raptors game at Scotiabank Arena

    4KORNERS, the official DJ for the Toronto Raptors and director of DJcity Canada, was recently interviewed by Canadian DJ podcast, THE FIX.

    The Toronto native discussed a number of topics, including what it’s like DJing for the Raptors and the development of his career. 4KORNERS also offered business advice to DJs.

    “Networking is not just shooting out a bunch of DMs on Instagram and expecting the world to bow at your feet. Networking is going out and actually meeting people, humans, and not asking for stuff all the time but making legitimate relationships, building friendships, offering things.”

    Listen to the interview below.

    Related: DJcity Canada’s Top 10 Picks for Nov. 2018

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  • Watch: Timbaland on Getting His Start as a DJ and Collaborating With Superstars

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    Legendary producer Timbaland recently stopped by the Drink Champs podcast for an interview.

    The Grammy award-winner has worked with superstars like Beyonce, Jay Z, and Justin Timberlake, among others. During the interview, Timbaland talked about getting his start as a DJ, the collaborations that defined his career, and more.

    On how he got his start in music:

    “I was beatboxing… [but] my main passion back then was DJing. And how I got into making beats is… let me try to make a beat so I can blend my records too… so I just took what I had, and I was passionate about sounds. I love noises.”

    On first finding success in the industry:

    “We weren’t thinking like, you know, ‘this is a hit,’ we’re thinking ‘we’re getting recognized… our passion is getting looked at, it’s not taken for granted…’ because we put in a lot of work, and our work was accepted.”

    On working with Dr. Dre, and his influence on hip-hop’s sound:

    “Dr. Dre. was the God of rap… he made rap sound clean, he made it sound so clean… I wanted to know like ‘yo how do you mix that drum, how do you get them drums to sound like [that]?’”

    Watch the interview above.

    Related: Watch: Marley Marl Talks Producing Electronic Music, Current State of Hip-Hop