If you're familiar with the who's who in the Detroit music scene, no one is more Detroit than Kenny Dixon Jr., or as many people know him, Moodymann. As one of the legends of Detroit dance music, Dixon is unapologetic about every ounce of his being, from the shit that he says to the music he makes, he personifies "keepin' it 100". If there is one person that embodies the soul of Detroit, it's Kenny Dixon Jr.
In these times of Detroit's vitalization, there is a new Detroit happening. The downtown area is getting a big facelift where new businesses and opportunities are sprouting up everyday. Moodymann represents the other Detroit. The Detroit that has long been here for countless generations, and he still stays in the neighborhoods and he looks after his community. In the time of change, where does it leave these people?
With this Moodymann edition in the long line of DJ Kicks mixes, he crafts the soundtrack to that other Detroit. It's so perfectly Detroit without actually having a lot of Detroit records on it, even though Dixon does put his re-edit touch on a bunch of tracks. The important thing about it is that runs back and forth between the music Detroit created and the artists outside of the city that were influenced by it. Detroit is an important cog in the wheel of the global music community and the synergy that our artists have with other musicians throughout the world is what is encompassed on this mix.
The story of this mix sounds much like the day in the life of a real Detroit resident. The first couple of songs Yaw's "Where Will You Be" and Cody ChesnuTT's "Serve This Royalty" act like those early morning vibes just waking up, seeing the sunrise, being thankful for another day on this planet, and finding the strength to get the day moving. Onto Dopehead's "Guttah Guttah", that's the chatter of the streets, the kids trying to have fun outside, and all the cars feverish driving by. Throughout the rest of the first half or so of the mix are songs from the likes of Flying Lotus, Shawn Lee, Jai Paul, and Little Dragon that represent the beautiful ugly and the hope and the strength of the people in the streets of the city. This could be any urban city really, but its definitely a modern vibe of Detroit.
As the mix hits its stride in the mix with tracks from Andres, Big Muff, and Les Sins, its that late afternoon onto the evening vibe where you are getting ready for the night time, however way you spend it. Its that time when you are almost out from under the struggles of the day, whether it be at work or just hustin' in whatever way you do, and ready to let it all out at night.
With tracks including Kings Of Tomorrow, Soulful Sessions, and Marcellus Pittman, the mixed comes to its climax with a taste of Detroit nightlife. The soulful up-tempo sounds are a great way to end the mix because that's the perfect way for any of us in Detroit to end the night, getting a few drinks and dancing the night away. Music is the greatest drug in the world and its high will make you move your feet until you can't move anymore. That's what the last part of Moodymann's mix represents.
In what some call a gentrification of our city and our culture, we really don't know what how the native Detroiters will fit in these plans and there needs to be a healthy balance. There was no way for Detroit to go but up, but I hope we can hold on to the parts of our culture that always made out city great, no matter how dismal it was economically, and Moodymann's DJ Kicks is a small reminder of that other Detroit, that old Detroit, that is actually quite open-minded and wants to unified the people under one nation, but will definitely kick your fuckin' ass if you try to play us. Thank you Kenny Dixon Jr. for the reminder of what Detroit is.
Moodymann's DJ Kicks mix out now via K7 Records. For more information and to stream it in its entirety, visit dj-kicks.com/moodymann.