Essential Mix Review: DJ Snake’s breakthrough mix hits ears with urban flare
Concluding the ‘Future Stars’ series that’s taken over the start of this year’s weekly Essential Mix, Pete Tong has Skream and Benga selecting their own breakthrough star. Calling upon DJ Snake — who’s already been widely considered an artist to watch in 2014 — the Parisian gives the dance world a taste of the sound that should manifest from the hype. As far as what that sound is, however, he makes it nearly impossible to define it by one word or genre.
Early moments of the two-hour outing came heavily influenced by hip-hop, with a bootleg of Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” from Tchami, Felix Da Housecat’s Diddy-assisted “Jack Yo Vogue,” and the Pharrell sampled “Coke Diet” from Scotty Boy Lorenzo. Though spiced with the most urban of flavors, the house grooves roll beneath for a structure fit for nightclubs past.
Rob Base’s “It Takes Two” takes listeners into funky sonic waves of Boysnoize Records with Baskerville’s “Brightfoot,” and Alesia’s take on Dog Blood’s “Middle Finger Pt. 2,” but Diddy’s provocative house humming returns with “I’ll Jack U,” where the rap icon vocally incites groove while frequencies range frenetically. Gears shift slightly towards house while unusual samples continue to keep the mix translatable, until eventually speeding up and warping into Drake’s “Worst Behaviour” as Snake allows a hip-hop record to play in originality for (surprisingly) the first time.
His own remix of Alunageorge’s “You Know You Like It” calms the storm as he puts his production style, finally, at the forefront. But with only a quick flash, respectively. In vein of his concoction thusfar, the beloved, easygoing track flows seamlessly into Aaliyah’s “Rock The Boat.” And suddenly the Essential Mix has gone R&B.
The tempo doesn’t elevate quite yet with Daft Punk’s “Something About Us,” but Tchami’s remix of Janet Jackson’s “Go Keep” has the mood in swing. Now taking a turn for bigger echoes with each track, unique electro-house sweeps through and the next slice is bookmarked by DJ Snake productions from Mercer collaboration “Lunatic” to a mix of 2Chainz’s “Birthday Song,” with a elongated moments of seizure inducing selection in between. (Try not dropping to the ground with The Reef’s “Camel.”)
Snake’s insignia is represented well through the latter half of his Essential Mix, and makes the part worth the wait after building anticipation with his hip-hop-meets-slow-tempo journey. The second hour is another world in comparison to the first (yet both are equally diversified), and there’s no skipping a beat or letting go of energy while moving through efforts from Nom De Strip, GTA, and more originals. Nicky Romero’s “Flash” finds a high-octane modern edge and DJ Snake teases Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” in a home-cooked mashup before trap drums steal spotlight for a moment.
DJ Snake soon offers collaborations with Diplo (which remains untitled), Dillon Francis on “Get Low,” and General Degree on a ‘re-twerk’ of “Traffic Blocking.” Presence of his body of sound is now in full-force as he turns the final corner of his ‘Future Star’ Essential Mix. And, of course, it wouldn’t be his newcomer spotlight without standout hits “Turn Down For What,” “Bird Machine,” or “Pop That,” which came as the exclamation point that had been brewing since the early mellow minutes.
Appealing to urban ears, Snake’s preferences allow his Essential Mix to grow naturally as hip-hop and R&B fit the bill unforced, and even such Notorious B.I.G. samples that occupied his more furious spurts are laced tastefully. His Essential Mix is an abstract shape that won’t fit any puzzle — not that of French house, traditional house, urban sounds, or trap. Not even while all are key components throughout the two hours. On BBC Radio 1’s global stage, tapped for a showcase that could define the year that’s being hailed as his potential big break, DJ Snake denies anyone the right to define the artist as a DJ or producer, leaving all doors open and the chance for 2014 to be as spontaneous of a year that one could possibly have in the today’s dance climate.
Coolio – Gangsta’s Paradise (Tchami Bootleg) (feat. L.V)
Foamo – Running [Rinse]
Work Caller (Tchami Edit)
Diddy – Jack Yo Vogue [Not On Label/Dirtybird Records]
Scotty Boy Lorenzo – Coke Diet [White Label]
Legitimate Scandal – Fu Gee La [Guesthouse Music]
Rob Base – It Takes Two [Profile Records]
Baskerville – Britefoot [Boysnoize Records]
Dog Blood – Middle Finger Part 2 (Alesia Remix)
Diddy – I’ll Jack U [Rude Photo]
Omar Souleyman – Shift Al Mani (CrackBoy Remix) [White Label]
Drake – Worst Behavior [Universal Motown Records]
AlunaGeorge – You Know You Like It (DJ Snake Remix) [Island Records]
Aaliyah – Rock The Boat [Virgin]
Mapei – Don’t Wait [Downtown Records]
Daft Punk – Something About Us [Virign/EMI]
Janet Jackson – Go Deep (Tchami Remix)
Mercer – Lunatic [Spinnin Records]
Snails – Shockwave [White Label]
The Reef – Camel [Ciao Recs]
Alvaro – Ready For Action [Spinnin Records]
DJ Snake – Birthday Song (Parisian Vision) [White Label]
Armand van Helden – You Don’t Know Me vs It’s You
Tony Romera – Damn Cold
Mercer – Russian Roulette
Sebastien Benett – ID
Nom De Strip – Techno Saturday [Mau5Trap]
GTA – Bola Gypsy (Bare Edit) [Fly Eye Records]
Nicky Romero – Pide Flash (GTA Mashup)
DJ Snake – Thriller Parisian Vision [White Label]
NYMZ – Bingbong
Hoodie – Bunyi (Moombahton VIP Transition Swek)
Cesqeaux – Riovolution [Free Download]
Dillon Francis – I Can’t Take It
DJ Snake – ID [Mad Decent]
Tropkillaz – Deixa Eu Dizer
Dillon Francis – Get Low [Mad Decent]
Hoodie – El Mecanico (Corrupted Data Remix)