Kenny Dope Gonzalez is the one who started using the Masters At Work alias first, back in the late 80s when he played hip-hop at Brooklyn block parties with his then-partner Mike Delgado. Todd Terry was one of the many that attended these parties, and it was him who introduced Dope to Little Louis Vega in 1990, a partnership that has lasted until today, and created some of the pivotal house music productions of our time.
rnLarry Heard aka Mr Fingers
In 1995 Dopes work on the Bucketheads album moved him beyond the house scene. The Bomb! These Sounds Fall Into My Mind is still a track stuck in the mind of anyone who remembers the mid 90s, and it was Dopes first brush with more mainstream success. It wouldnt be the last this hip-hop loving house music producer has worked for artists as diverse as R. Kelly, Daft Punk and Barbara Tucker.
After this he and Louis worked on the Nu-Yorican Soul project, a still revered classic album, which is regarded as a masterclass in Latin-influenced soulful house music. With contributions from the likes of George Benson and Roy Ayres, its still as relevant as ever thanks to the work of these two excellent DJs.
But with The Kings Of House we see the two going back to the roots of house music, for the tunes that first inspired them. And much as I hate to split the masters, Louis is the one who does it better.
Dopes CD is good, solid house, theres no doubt about, but it lacks the immediacy of Louis mix. Its more tracks that keep a crowd going, rather than make then start dancing in the first place. Tracks like Mr Fingers’ Can You Feel It will always be classics, as will Strings Of Life, but things are just too dark on the whole. Its 6am house music, and while stalwarts of the scene will like it, theres nothing here that grips the way Louis selection does. Dopes got some great stuff on here The Jungle by Jungle Wonz is another example but the mix doesnt really go anywhere.
Louis, on the other hand, is all about the forward momentum on his CD. Promised Lands club mix throws open the doors of perception, with Bring Down The Walls busting through and Your Love proving as heat-rending as ever. Ok, Face It is a just one long bassline and Brighter Days is a little bit too funky house, but still, this is the mix thatll keep getting played. Ill Be Your Friend closes out beautifully, with the Perfecto mix just what a club crowd would want for one last tune.
The little guys got to take the prize here, sorry Mr Gonzalez, sir.
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