When Kid Cedek lived in northern Virginia, he immersed himself in D.C. hip-hop culture. But after he moved to Atlanta in June 2009, as he learned to spin himself, Cedek looked to D.C.'s Dave Nada for inspiration. Nada, a Mad Decent signee, had unwittingly created a new strain of electronic dance music at a Maryland basement party, as he screwed down Dutch house music to a more easygoing, reggaeton pace.
Cedek has since embraced moombahton; in fact, one of his own beats cracked the top ten of Beatport's first-ever, year-end moombahton chart. But at 'Buzz' — his own, self-described “cutting edge dance party,” held the first Saturday of every month at Sutra — Cedek is no less responsible for taking the pulse of the crowd, then resuscitating it by any means necessary.
At 12:45 a.m. last Saturday, Cedek announced himself with a beat that buzzed like Pac-Man chomping its way around a maze. By then, new resident DJ and Stankonia engineer Sin Diesel had already churned out a bunch of mostly current cuts, while two groups of friends goofily danced around each other and Heroes x Villains' Daniel Disaster wandered around. Sin Diesel pumped up Run-DMC's “My Adidas” with a more intricate dance beat than the original's straightforward claps before it drifted into the first few measures of Drake's “Take Care” and Foster the People's “Pumped Up Kicks.”
Cedek's approach, for his set's first 20 minutes: cuing up beat after beat after beat, as he sped up the familiar reverberation of dubstep sub-bass so that it matched the natural rhythm of the dancing crowd. The music abruptly stopped in the middle of it all — “technical difficulties,” Cedek said — but less than a minute later, he managed to cue up an entirely new head-bobber, this time with an agile rhythm that bounced like spoons off the knees.
Three leggy girls writhed all over each other to nearly every song, pairing up and regrouping while seemingly demonstrating precisely how they'd act in bed. The rest of the Sutra crowd, however, wandered on and off the dance floor, from underneath its black lights and back to the bar, illuminated by red lights and stocked with Absolut.
As he stared straight ahead, Cedek cast out Panjabi MC's “Beware,” Waka Flocka Flame, and then a familiar, six-word chorus — the start of Montell Jordan's “This is How We Do It.” Sleepy couples leaped off the lounge's couches and straight into a bump-and-sway. People strolled in and flooded the floor, mouthing every lyric as the '90s smash hit played out.
"This is How We Do It" was the start of a long string of rap fodder — Mystikal's “Danger (Been So Long),” DMC's “Party Up (Up In Here),” a reggaeton remix of MIMS' “This is Why I'm Hot,” T.I., Big Boi's “Shutterbug.” And when Sin Diesel took over turntablist duties again, he played Kanye West's “All of the Lights” for the second time that night. This time, his posse's jumping up and down to the song's militaristic fireworks of beats inspired the crowd to bob their heads right along.
Lesson learned: When a crowd isn't ready to hear the future of music, start with a 1995 smash hit and go from there.
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