Electric Zoo ’13 Artist Spotlight: A-Trak’s concrete jungle; hip-hop stars emerge as Zoo’s urban animals
Electric Zoo; the festival name itself draws imagery of wildlife illuminated neon with its mainstay headliners such as Tiësto and Armin van Buuren as the electronic lions. On day two, however, A-Trak shifts gears and takes the electric zoo into a concrete jungle fitting for its host city. The long-time Kanye West partner will be using his Fool’s Gold brand and its street-friendly aura to bring Electric Zoo the true soul of New York City, ditching the bright blue gorillas and green rabbits for a crew of urban animals.
Last year it was Dillon Francis who stole the spotlight at the same stage and brought the then-fashionable moombahton to the forefront, but A-Trak will be giving hip-hop a home this time around, calling on Just Blaze, Green Lantern, and Araabmuzik; some of the genre’s biggest producers with undisputed pasts, veteran DJ experience, and tested-and-proven success amongst dance music’s festival circuit.
By 2002 he had seen success in the studio with Jay Z, joining production on The Blueprint and its sequel, responsible for hits such as “Girls, Girls, Girls” and “Song Cry.” In the coming year he established himself as one the of strongest hip-hop forces out of New York with work for both Fabulous and The Diplomats. His track record over the past decade comes with number one hits, records for the likes of Kanye West and Snoop Dogg, and explorative collaborations with Maroon 5 and Madonna that set a precedent for his present-day position. Over ten years immersed in the scene and enduring the explosive peaks of hip-hop, that track record has been capped off by his venture into electronic music alongside the man responsible for “Harlem Shake.” We, of course, are talking about Just Blaze.
Having mastered the rap game at a time when the genre was at its strongest, assisting even Busta Rhymes, DMX, and Jadakiss when these artists were considered kings. His latest collaborator goes by the name of Baauer, one of the most recognizable names in trap during its recent accent to the forefront of electronica. Without abandoning his roots entirely, Just Blaze sampled Jay Z’s vocals from “U Don’t Know” (a song he produced himself) for the recently released “Higher.” Now, with a foot in the door, the hip-hop legend makes his way to the live arena with an appearance at Electric Zoo marked on his calendar. Although his initial contribution came in the form of trap, don’t expect Just Blaze to blitz Randall’s Island with just that; hip-hip drops, creative remixes, and provocative tunes will make headway with an outing that will be tough to classify.
Just Blaze & Baauer ft. Jay Z – Higher (Extended Mix)
Another rap force gone dance music spectacle, DJ Green Lantern is giving his surname a meaning with his recent surge into live shows. Appearing at Ultra Music Festival, Spring Awakening, and most recently HARD Summer, the New York native will return home for his slot at Electric Zoo. Considered a mixtape legend, Green Lantern’s hip-hop history is best told from the perspective of last decade’s best selling artist, Eminem. First hosting his Invasion mixtape series for Mr. Mathers in 2003, he eventually became the premier host of SiriusXM’s Shade 45. In between he’s worked with everyone from Nas to Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda.
Translating his mixing skills from tapes to live sets and his DJ skills from the radio airwaves to music festivals, DJ Green Lantern paved a path through the electronic music landscape with his own brand of trap. His most recent outings have included tunes from Carnage, Brillz, Major Lazer, and Zeds Dead spanning the electro spectrum, but selections such as Kanye West’s “Blood on the Leaves,” Dr. Dre’s “Forgot About Dre,” and Chris Brown’s “Strip” have broadened his horizon while covering his roots. Somewhere in the middle comes high-octane trap remixes of Jay Z’s “Dirt Of Your Shoulder,” establishing a middle ground between trap and the genre that inspired its dominance. Looking for the one-two punch of hip-hop and electro? Green Lantern will be delivering a fair medium from A-Trak’s playground.
Migos – Hannah Montana (Green Lantern Remix)
Hailing from Rhode Island but aligned with some of New York’s most elite rap stars, Araabmuzik is one artist that has held down The Empire State since his beginnings. As a producer, he became best known for his work with Dipset stars Jim Jones, Juelz Santana, and Cam’ron, while standing by Fabulous only one borough over. More recently, Abraham has become as submerged into the world of electronic music as one former rap icon could be. He made his mark at Ultra Music Festival, Electric Daisy Carnival, and Bonnarroo, surviving a shooting somewhere in between; a 2013 that crosses both worlds like no one has thus far.
With his launchpad-based live performance on lock, Araabmuzik went as far as scraping the release circuit with a full-length album. Simply and appropriately titled The Remixes Volume 1, the man himself compiled some of the best from titans such as Skrillex and Wolfgang Gartner and offered a taste of his new production edge with remixes of his own. Finding the balance between hip-hop and electronica with respect to both genres, Araabmuzik keeps standards as high as his projected energy. Araabmuzik will embody the attitude of New Yorkers combined with the energy of Electric Zoo attendees for one of the few sets that should come with the warning: expect the unexpected.
Taana Gardner – Heartbeat (Araabmuzik Remix)
Quack, A-Trak, Quack
You can bet on skilled hip-hop technicians putting on a showcase at the Fool’s Gold stage on Saturday. And what happens when A-Trak takes the decks of his own concrete jungle? Taking into consideration that he too reprises his role as one of Zoo’s urban animals, expect drops such as Ace Hood’s “Bugatti,” Roscoe Dash & Soulja Boy’s “All The Way Turnt Up,” and Kendrick Lamar’s “M.A.A.D. City.” What you’ll find in between, however, are the gems that will induce awe and dropped jaws to last the ferry rides back to reality.
Gamble on brand new Duck Sauce music — plenty of it. With a full length album around the corner, the quack is back – just in time for Electric Zoo’s fifth anniversary. Duck Sauce’s “It’s You” will certainly make way… more than once. The album’s lead single will come in its original form and in the form of a remix from any of its six remixers — how about Gregor Salto or DJ Snake? And it should be safe to say that no one would complain if Armand Van Helden were to make a guest appearance, right?
Duck Sauce – It’s You (DJ Snake Remix)