San Francisco's own DJ Shadow may be a legendary figure among instrumental hip-hop aficionados, but he was much less warmly received during his set at trendy Miami nightclub Mansion last month.
During the performance, club mangers forced him to stop mid-show because the music he was playing wasn't "commercial" enough for their tastes.
Their decision caused outrage among DJ Shadow fans worldwide, so he decided to post the mix in question for listeners to judge for themselves.
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Granted, it's not the standard club mix filled with this week's chart-toppers. But it's vintage Shadow--darkly complex beats, wide-ranging cannibalization of different influences, chopped up vocal samples and obligatory nods to his hometown Bay Area rap scene.
We're curious about exactly what part of the nearly 90-minute mix, entitled "All Basses Covered," was the straw that broke the camel's back. Was it when he sampled the hook from Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain?" The abrupt transition to dub reggae about an hour in? Or playing an extended remix of "The Simpsons" theme?
"I've waited a long time to play here, but they said this sh*t is too future for y'all," Shadow told the crowd as he abruptly cut the music to a chorus of boos. He followed up on Twitter, saying, "I don't care if I get kicked out of every rich kid club on the planet. I will never sacrifice my integrity as a DJ...ever #AllBassesCovered."
Shadow (nee Josh Davis) later added, "I appreciate everyone's support. Obviously I should have never been booked there in the first place. Square peg in a round hole, etc #iDoMe."
Davis is widely known for his intense, nearly monastic, devotion to his craft, spending years searching for just the right samples.
Mansion, meanwhile, which also cut off New York-based DJ Dennis Ferrer for similar reasons earlier this year, has apologized. "We offer our most sincere apologies to DJ Shadow and his fans for his set being cut short at Mansion this past weekend," club management wrote in a statement. "This error should not have happened and will not happen again, especially as we pride ourselves on creating an environment that cultivates and respects innovators such as DJ Shadow."
In a post accompanying the mix, DJ Shadow's team gave the following explanation:
Beginning in the Summer of 2012 with his Low End Theory guest spots, DJ Shadow's "All Basses Covered" set has morphed and evolved to incorporate as many different contemporary genres of urban and electronic music as possible. From hardcore rap to footwork and juke and beyond, Shadow has combed the web to curate seamless and dexterous blends of the most progressive sounds bubbling up from the underground. 'Too hard?' 'Too future?' Or just too raw? As always, DJ Shadow has provoked crucial flashpoints of discussion about the discipline of DJ'ing that have defined our turbulent times.
Take a listen to the mix and decide for yourself: Is it "too future" or not?
Correction: The story initially stated DJ Shadow had made the remix of "The Simpsons" theme himself, it was actually made by an artist named Dexter