If you're not familiar with music producer DJ Mustard, there's a good chance you're already getting down to some of the hits he's credited with producing: Tyga's "Rack City," 2 Chainz' "I'm Different," Kid Ink's "Show Me" -- just to name a few. You might not know it, but he has his hands in more hit Hip-Hop, R&B and rap tracks than anyone else right now.
Signed to Jay Z's Rocnation since 2013, DJ Mustard has been slinging tunes since age 11 -- getting his start DJ'ing a party at his uncle's bar in Westchester and getting his DJ moniker from his given name, Dijon. Since then, the LA-bred DJ and producer has helped create the "ratchet" sound signature of artists like Ryga, 2 Chainz and YG. In 2014, YG's chart-topping My Krazy Life album featured ten DJ Mustard tracks.
But when DJ Mustard's name made an appearance on this year's Outside Lands lineup, there was speculation about what type of show this condiment-named powerhouse might put together. After quietly rising to the top of the Hip-Hop, R&B and rap scenes as a producer, this year's performances, including that at Outside Lands, have represented a departure from his behind-the-scenes strategy -- this was one of the most "mainstream" shows he has played in recent history, if not the most. As thousands got down to DJ Mustard's hard-hitting, wildly popular tracks during his Saturday Outside Lands set, it was clear that he's equipped to win over the mainstream public as he already has with the Hip-Hop, R&B and rap scenes. Since then, he's continued to play killer sets at shows across the country, including at Philly's Made in America festival.
In reality, we can't turn on the radio without hearing the signature DJ Mustard-style beats that have become synonymous with modern Hip-Hop, R&B and rap tracks. As Pitchfork said in their 2014 article, "it's almost impossible to decipher where DJ Mustard ends and contemporary rap and R&B begins." It's not just that he has had an influence on the "ratchet" beats that have become the signature sound of these genres -- he is that sound.
In 2014, DJ Mustard released his debut album 10 Summers, a collection of tracks that featured artists including Lil Wayne, Big Sean, Rick Ross and Wiz Khalifa. Since he started working on major tracks in 2011, DJ Mustard has not only developed a signature sound -- he's developed an arsenal of highly popular and powerful artists.
DJ Mustard's rise to fame may have been a quiet one, but it was undeniably one of the most powerful of modern Hip-Hop, R&B and rap. Opposed to artists that have earned the respect of the industry by creating a dedicated public following, DJ Mustard flipped this model on its head -- earning the respect of the industry before tackling the public. Now, there's nothing stopping him. And it's time for us to take notice.
In terms of the Hip-Hop, R&B and rap scene, DJ Mustard is a standout among an abundance of West Coast DJs and producers. His unique sound, quick rise to the top and inside-out approach to recognition has created a new standard for what we can expect to see -- especially for artists who straddle the line between behind-the-scenes and front-and-center.