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AG Presents: Dubstep – Onhell

AG Presents: Dubstep – Onhell

Movements, Memories & Momentum in Music: Onhell Concludes AG Dubstep Series with Masterfully Multilayered Guestmix

By Jimmy O’Hara

Dubstep shows are light-years beyond mere dance parties; they’re multi-sensory, three-dimensional history lessons that celebrate the genre’s roots in Black culture on U.S. soil. One of dubstep’s grandparents is ‘80s house music, which was birthed by ‘70s disco, whose mother was ‘60s soul. This lineage links today’s beloved bass tunes to earlier genres, ranging from ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll and mid- 20th-century rhythm & blues to 1890s boogie-woogie and 18th-century folk spirituals.

Tracing this family tree matters because bass music — and the expansive creativity of its producers — has never existed in a vacuum. Electronic music and social movements are deeply intertwined. Many forms of music originating in Black communities arose as an intentional, liberatory, community-building response to structural oppression. At its core, dubstep is resistance and solidarity working together to decorate spacetime.

The interconnected, transformative nature of soundsystem music is evident in dubstep’s multilayered and versatile range of influences. Through a curious and critical lens, approaching dubstep with nuanced appreciation and delicate care becomes a bold act of deliberate courage. It is this understanding that underpins American Grime (AG) Presents: Dubstep, a podcast mini-series challenging listeners to dive deeper beyond the dubplates, dancefloors and disco balls.

“Dubstep originated from Black music,” says Onhell, a California-based producer. “All the best music originates from Black culture.”

Onhell’s artistic appreciation for music originating within Black communities is evident throughout his growing discography. In addition to creating original tracks, he remixes hidden and lesser-known gems from many of today’s renowned rappers and hip-hop artists, spanning 21 Savage and Yo Gotti to SZA and Gucci Mane. He’s particularly proud to perform for — and stand alongside — an expanding community of dubstep-lovers who reflect the collective beauty of human diversity.

“The community of dubsteppers is funny. It’s diversifying with more women, LGBTQ+ and people of color,” says Onhell.

Marginalized groups have always existed in electronic spaces, but are beginning to gain equitable representation and access to industry opportunities both on-stage and behind the scenes. AG and Background Noise partnered for this podcast project to elevate the movement toward bringing historically excluded talent into the fold.

“This makes me super happy,” says Onhell. “Dubstep is for everyone and full of love.”

Flavoring his bassline-heavy sound designs with low-end wavelengths and west coast wobbles, Onhell’s obtuse range is the optimal choice to conclude AG’s six-part series. His personal creative process is entirely unique, reflecting how he experiences his personality. Onhell describes this workflow as his visions shattering into virtually infinite pieces. Once his ideas split apart, Onhell puzzles his mental and emotional elements back together, giving extraterrestrial form to the externally invisible.

“I feel very split in my personality. Musically, in every way, I feel split — and not just in half, but in a million different pieces. It’s my job to split those differences into one being,” explains Onhell. “It’s not easy. But when it works, it feels amazing.”

The sixth and final installment in AG Presents: Dubstep, this week’s episode feat. Onhell splits listeners’ eardrums into a nebulous array of nutritious bass arrangements. Onhell was invited to participate by the beloved MC Jumanji, a legendary wordsmith and champion of grime known for carefully curating and narrating distinct dubstep functions.

In other words: Onhell — and all artists featured in AG’s garage and dubstep series — were each chosen to represent these genres for a reason. And within ten minutes of tuning in, listeners are bound to uncover why.

“MC Jumanji asked me to make a mix for his dubstep series,” says Onhell. “I respect him and appreciate what he’s doing for grime in the U.S., so naturally I had to do it.”


Onhell’s half-hour journey begins with a raunchy, sewery raucous of sounds. The mix’s fast-paced rhythm finds minimal pause, creating an on-the-go atmosphere that accelerates those along for the ride. Paying tribute to the art of emceeing, Onhell incorporates clever voice-overs that guide the mischievous musical adventure. If mixes could drive, this one would outspeed opponents in high-risk highway races on the regular.

As the nostalgic-yet-modern sequence unfolds, Onhell opts for the notably witty and peculiar sounds of mid-2000s dubstep, channeling the likes of Mala, Benga and early Skream. Around the mix’s midpoint, Onhell unleashes a hypnotic soundsystem circus, steadily firing a coordinated slew of low-end ammunition in a ravishing, progressively robotic fashion. This thirty-one minute masterpiece showcases a thoughtfully eclectic assembly-line of mechanically-sound, boiling-hot tunes, all while hinting at dubstep’s legacy of roots in Black communities and lived experiences. 

The result: An instant favorite, reliable for kickbacks and afters, suitable for new students of soundsystem tunes, and flexible enough for campsites and solo nights in.

Infographic source:Dr. Portia K. Maultsby, Professor Emerita in the Department of Ethnomusicology at the Indiana University Bloomginton College of Arts + Sciences; infographic revised 2005.

AG Presents: Dubstep – Poklypz

AG Presents: Dubstep – Poklypz

Influence, Intention & Inspiration: Dubstep Producer Poklypz Delivers A Distinctive American Grime Mix

By Merissa Underwood

“It’s my thing…Dubstep. And if it’s not yours, that’s cool.”

For Poklypz, the AmericanGrime (AG) Dubstep series reflects the re-emergence of dubstep. It’s not dead, and never was. It just stepped out of the limelight for a little while. Those who are truly connected to the bass world have long held onto the genre’s roots. 

“I’ve been creating dubstep and other forms of underground music for over a decade.” Poklypz 

Poklypz’s natural ability to experiment with audio, draw from multiple genres, and surprise listeners with new sound designs are what sets his artistry apart. 

“UK Grime really inspires me, as well as rock and folk genres, artists like Bon Iver and James Blake.” He goes on to share. 

Poklypz intentionally deviates from the norm and finds creative sparks in places many would never consider. Preceding his producing days he was a classically trained violinist touring England. This experience inspired him to produce dark-bass oriented electronic music. 

“I love the underground soundclash culture style of UK Grime. It developed and influenced Dubstep so deeply. I’m really intrigued by the atmospheric feels, I just love how it doesn’t necessarily fall into what many people classify as ‘music’ as a generic term.” 

Although the electronic scene is expanding into mainstream spaces with collaborations between producers and pop stars, Dubstep remains highly misunderstood. Electronic music, and specifically dubstep are not just ‘pots, pans, car engine sounds, with a huge drop.’ It’s interpreted in an infinite amount of ways, and that understanding is part of what underpins AG’s ongoing dubstep series.

Much like the way cuisines differ across cultures, dubstep morphs into different beasts depending on where you find it bumping. Poklypz has more than a decade of experience producing UK Dubstep. Throughout his time creating new sounds, he discovered his own unique person. He also found solace in his community; oftentimes, he and his peers didn’t have access to mainstream support. Poklypz is grateful to have found a community (change to family or support so we don’t say community twice?) in AG, a collective that seeks to elevate his sound design and personal growth.

AG’s series is determined to bring their love of underground sounds to the surface. The sounds that AG wanted to dance & groove to weren’t playing on the radio or in clubs, so they created a space for it themselves. 

If it doesn’t exist, create it for yourself. 

In Poklypz’s AG mix, your ears will vibrate with low-end frequencies designed to lead you straight down the warehouse rabbit hole. His sound has a pervasive sense of sinister spookiness reminiscent of 4 am with no sunlight in sight. Rebellious and angsty, you’ll find yourself ready to scrunch up your nose and turn your bass face on for a sweet and savory half-hour of 140 bpm. Poklypz’s rule-bending approach strays from sound design norms infusing hip-hop grooves with ruinous OR ruthless experimental rhythms to arrive at a thrilling thirty minutes of dirty UK-inspired dubstep guaranteed to quench your weekly sound-system thirst. 


Stay tuned for the sixth & final guest-mix in American Grime’s podcast scheduled for release Friday, July 30 feat. Onhell

Each Friday, be sure to travel back to the Background Noise newsroom for coverage, commentary and more. Throughout this six-week journey, our editorial team will cover each episode, tracing the rich history and groundbreaking evolution of dubstep right along with you.

AG Presents: Dubstep – Karnage

AG Presents: Dubstep – Karnage

Japanese-American Producer Karnage Keeps the Dubstep Genre Above Ground

By Drew Zwilling

“I want to show the sound of Japanese dubstep to the world,” says Karnage, an up-and-coming dubstep producer from Nagoya, Japan.

Karnage is grateful for the opportunity to showcase his new sounds that have long been locked away in his music arsenal amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

With heavyweight releases on renowned labels like Youngtsa’s Sentry Records, Goth-Trad’s Back To Chill, plus both VomitSpit and Infernal Sounds under his belt, Karnage is paving his path in the dubstep world.

“I hope people enjoy my sound during this particularly hard time. My approach has been slowly changing and I hope people can feel that in this mix,” says Karnage.

Having lived in the U.S. for more than a decade, Karnage began producing dubstep as early as 2011.

“Music has been my passion ever since. The dubstep community is so important to me because I’ve established so many friendships all over the world through it,” says Karnage. “It’s all about the sound, as long as people enjoy and respect the music that’s fine by me.”

Karnage draws influence from many artists and genres. He hopes that his American Grime (AG) Presents: Dubstep mix will encourage listeners to better understand and appreciate the unique history and ongoing evolution of dubstep.

“For death metal, artists like World End Man, Endon, and Full of Hell Cephalic Carnage are my favorites at the moment. For phonk, I really like drift-phonk artists like Dominous Soul and Xteage,” says Karnage.

Karnage also looks to his friends for inspiration and motivation: “Shout-out to Dayzero, Distinct Motive, Rider Shafique, and Infernal Sounds Family.”.

Dubstep’s influence is evident as it’s helped people cultivate a worldwide community. Fans from around the globe come together over a shared passion for the ominous sounds that fans have grown to know and love. A new wave of producers is spawning from the woodwork, drawing inspiration from the forefathers of the dubstep genre. Collectively, up-and-coming producers are bringing the background sounds of dubstep into the fold and paving the way for a new generation to move the genre forward.

In this week’s episode of AG Presents: Dubstep, Karnage creates a half-hour soundsystem experience for you to explore.

Throughout this half-hour gem, Karnage flawlessly executes his unique flare, honing his take on the evolving sounds stirring within soundsystem spaces in recent years. The mix immerses listeners on a sonic journey fluctuating between playful and abrasive basslines. Shifting between shadowy troughs and glimmering crests, listeners will ride the wave of Karnage’s mind coming to full fruition.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Each Friday, be sure to travel back to the Background Noise newsroom for coverage, commentary and more. Throughout this six-week journey, our editorial team will cover each episode, tracing the rich history and groundbreaking evolution of dubstep right along with you.

AG Presents: Dubstep – Mrshl

AG Presents: Dubstep – Mrshl

AG Presents: Dubstep with Mrshl

With roots spanning far and wide, the dubstep family tree resembles a Redwood. From garage and jungle to reggae and grime, the genre of dubstep pulls from a variety of musical elements.

More artists are arriving on the scene than ever before, and it’s clear that dubstep has planted itself among other electronic music genres with a rich history. New talent brings new ideas and an ever-changing landscape of sounds.

American Grime (AG) highlights this process by showcasing a multitude of talent throughout this series. In the early years of dubstep, when the genre was taking root, artists were focused on heavy basslines and hard-hitting drum patterns. Nowadays, artists in the dubstep realm are providing us with eclectic synth-work and beautiful melodies while still paying homage to the original pioneer sounds.

With dubstep gaining traction and becoming a highlight for clubs in the U.K., the U.S. wanted a taste of this rising music phenomenon. Some of the earliest adopters of dubstep in America were the likes of Joe Nice, Dave Q, and Matty G. There was a long road ahead but these pioneers were ready to show the U.S. something never seen or heard before.

Throughout the years, dubstep has become a very vast genre taking on many forms. And one thing is certain: dubstep is here to stay. AG Presents: Dubstep is embracing this idea with a six-part series which features California native, mrshl, in its second installment.

“I’m extremely passionate about art, and when I love a medium, I feel deeply compelled to create within it,” says mrshl. “I was a guitarist for years, and I felt pent up creatively, so I started experimenting with making beats. Dubstep was the first thing I tried making that really clicked.”

Mrshl is hoping that his mix — and this series — will inspire future artists as well as encourage listeners to better understand the genre.

“The fact that dubstep became an almost dirty, uncool word makes my job more about changing minds rather than turning heads. The number one thing I want people to appreciate is just how misunderstood dubstep is in so many corners of the world,” says mrshl.

Artists such as Taiko, Sir Hiss, Saule, Sepia, and Commodo have helped mrshl along his personal journey in finding his own sound.

“There are so many I draw inspiration from and appreciate that it would be impossible to list everyone, but those are just a few whose technical skills and song-writing processes I revere and see as a benchmark for improving my own abilities,” mrshl says.The second episode of AG Presents: Dubstep is sure to give listeners a history lesson in dubstep as well as inspire aspiring producers to create their own sounds.

Stay tuned for the third guest-mix in American Grime’s podcast scheduled for release Friday, June 25 feat. Sepia.

Each Friday, be sure to travel back to the Background Noise newsroom for coverage, commentary and more. Throughout this six-week journey, our editorial team will cover each episode, tracing the rich history and groundbreaking evolution of dubstep right along with you.

AG Presents: Dubstep – Serious Jorge

AG Presents: Dubstep – Serious Jorge

AG Presents: Dubstep with Serious Jorge

By Jimmy O’Hara

It’s London, 1997. You’re grooving with close friends in a dimly-lit function beneath the bustling streets of U.K. life. Like any lover of early electronic music, you soak up the burly, eccentric basslines of 2-step and U.K. garage — two beloved genres in their prime at the time. Before long, an MC announces Groove Chronicles to the stage. A legendary pioneer of low-end sound design, this don plays a few familiar tunes before rinsing a gem that shakes you to your core. Halfway through his now-classic, then-groundbreaking track Stone Cold — amidst an ingenious ensemble of Aaliyah samples — you’re immersed in a three-dimensional way of experiencing music never heard or felt before.

You’re watching the birth of a genre unfold in real-time. And that genre is dubstep.

Many bass music historians trace dubstep’s moment of inception back to the midway point in Stone Cold. What begins as a jazzy, funk-infused nod to soundsystem culture & the late princess of R&B rapidly transforms into a dark, mystifyingly deep bassline capable of throttling your body from knee to spine.

Before long, such sizzling sounds became a staple of late ‘90s and early ‘00s U.K. club culture, coloring basement dance-floors with darkside dubstep detail. For more than two decades, dubstep has shaken the world by storm, extending its branches into a family tree of subgenres while influencing entire worlds of endlessly creative sound. It is a pivotal genre that grew outward from garage music and has graced the lives of so many people across musical time and place.

Modern labels like American Grime (AG) are committed to preserving dubstep’s rich and multilayered history. AG is launching another six-week podcast series — AG Presents: Dubstep — featuring prominent and forthcoming dubstep stars. Throughout the first episode, industry favorite Serious Jorge flexes his bassline abilities in fine style. Native to New Jersey, raised in Miami and residing in Colorado, Serious Jorge delivers a range of techniques accumulated across his time spent in many music scenes.

“Being associated with AG for so many years, I support anything they do,” says Serious Jorge, founder of DUBDAY. “With this podcast series, it’s nice to jump on and support while showcasing great music across the dubstep realm.”

He hopes this series will enlighten fans newer to electronic music, encouraging folks to dive deeper into dubstep’s niche origins.

“I hope the podcast will impact up-and-coming artists, including new generations of listeners, so they can get a better feel for what’s going on in the underground space,” says Serious Jorge.

A champion of 140bpm, Serious Jorge cites the acclaimed Mala as a major influence in his work. He also admires Pretty Lights, paying tribute to Derek’s unique artistic process.

“I draw a lot of inspiration from Mala and Pretty Lights. With Mala, it’s his tribal, island touch,” explains Serious Jorge. “With Pretty Lights, I admire his creative production workflow.”

Prepare to hear hints from both of these influential powerhouses in this initial AG Presents: Dubstep series installment.

Stay tuned for the second guest-mix in American Grime’s podcast scheduled for release Friday, June 11 feat. Sepia.

Each Friday, be sure to travel back to the Background Noise newsroom for coverage, commentary and more. Throughout this six-week journey, our editorial team will cover each episode, tracing the rich history and groundbreaking evolution of dubstep right along with you.

AG Presents: Garage – Kenny99

AG Presents: Garage – Kenny99

A Genre’s DNA Drives Inner & Global Discovery: KENNY99 Communicates the Interconnected Creativity & International Community Cultivated by Garage

By Jimmy O’Hara

Spending much of his youth in Pocomoke City by the beaches of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Kenny Fisher aka KENNY99 is no stranger to plentiful melting pots of music.

People in Kenny’s community jammed out to pop, rock, hip hop, R&B and country while swinging in the spring and summer sun. Such proximity to this range of sounds shaped his knack for music knowledge. At age 15, he was disc-jockeying at parties and events. By 1990, Kenny solidified his love for electronic music, drawing inspiration from the diverse genres played in his hometown, as well as film, videogames and MTV.

Despite taking a decade away from DJ-ing to drum in rock bands, Kenny found an indescribable joy in returning to the electronic space. Garage was the force that drove him back home.

“I draw influence from a myriad of genres and that credit will always fall on the shoulders of my close, eclectic and extended garage music family,” says KENNY99.

He cites his admiration for an abundance of artists who have cultivated and carried the genre forward in the ‘90s, ‘00s and beyond: SPOOKY, N-Type, Flava D, KOZEE, Jett Chandon, Brother Pinch, M.C. Twisty, DJ Omnibud, Tarik Evolve, James Nasty, Sean Smallwood, Histo, Ducky Dynamo, MJ Cole, CHAMPION, Roska, Bok-Bok, GHSTGHSTGHST, Mall Grab, S.K. Vibemaker, and Mind of a Dragon.

“From 1981 onward, many of these musicians have provided me and the broader electronic community with access and exposure to various levels of the music and entertainment industry, particularly around garage,” says KENNY99. “These brilliant artists spark my love, creativity and continued curiosity for garage music.”

A noncomforming genre by design, garage interconnects multiple sounds across culture, time and place. Its playful, rhythmic eccentricity sends pulsing, resonating electricity down the spines of all who give garage the chance it deserves. KENNY99 attests to the unique gravity of garage music’s footprint both globally and in his own life.

“Garage is captivating. It matters because of its structure, pace and vibration. There is space in garage music’s DNA for a wealth of discovery,” explains KENNY99. “The rhythmic breaks and hitches walk like a human being, reviving vocals that speak like a Soul and identify with you in the moment. It is luxuriously tribal, African, and inclusive.”

A majority of garage’s ‘80s and early ‘90s pioneers are Black. These legends fused their earlier genres of R&B, house and disco to arrive at funky, soulful garage formulas fitting for expressive community-building and freeform dance movement.

“Throughout its iconic evolution, garage has remained an apex of convergence between and across genres. It is rooted in a sense of nonconformity and resistance to social norms,” says KENNY99. “Garage’s intimate soundscapes provide, for many, both intangible and tangible sources of income. It employs the unemployed.”

While KENNY99 built a professional career in music production, garage was pivotal to the growth of his project. The genre has also served as a driving force in his personal and family life, functioning like a magical glue that helps him find meaning in his various life roles.

“Garage culture has offered KENNY99 a space to exist freely and with unbridled expression,” he says. “In the last 10 years, garage music has become a vehicle for me to better fulfill my duties as a human being, Father, Brother, Nephew, Uncle, Son and Artist.”

As the sixth and final producer featured in American Grime (AG)’s podcast series AG Presents: Garage, KENNY99 aims to communicate the depth and purpose of garage music. He encourages listeners to dig for deeper meanings within the genre’s multilayered landscape.

“This podcast series is an achievement of epic proportions,” says KENNY99. “AG Presents: Garage is the proper platform because its proprietors are consistently uniting folks from all walks of life through a multiculturally defining genre of electronic music.”

He hopes the series will inspire behavioral change in people seeking the betterment and liberation of self, community, and society at large.

“I want folks to feel the goosebumps. Our collective aim through this audio series is for everyone, including us — AG and Background Noise — to experience a radical shift from negative to positive energy,” says KENNY99. “If one person decides to change their life or behavior for the better, then we’ve done our job.”

The guest-mix marks the sixth and final installment in American Grime’s AG Presents: Garage podcast mini-series. However, the weekly Friday fun does not stop here.

On April 30, AG will launch a new six-week podcast series dedicated to the delightful genre we know and love: Dubstep.

Be sure to travel back to our Background Noise newsroom for commentary and more. Throughout this forthcoming six-week journey, our editorial team will cover each installment, exploring the intimate and layered sounds of dubstep music right along with you.

It’s Spring 2021 and American Grime is officially introducing our newest additions to the label’s merchandise line! We’ve added 2 new hoodie styles, one in black with the AG logo in yellow embroidered over the chest. The other, a grey hoodie with the AG logo in black, embroidered over the chest. We’ve also added Covid friendly facemasks and gaiters, both available in the inversed color schemes of black on white and white on black.   

This is the drop you’ve all been waiting for! Get it now before they sell out #AmericanGrime

AG Presents: Garage – Kozee

AG Presents: Garage – Kozee

Kozee Honors the Role of Black & LGBTQ+ Garage Pioneers through Reflective Guest-Mix

By Jimmy O’Hara

It’s summer 1978. You’re venturing through New York City with friends on a vibrant night filled with LGBTQ+ music festivities. Scuffling between secret queer-friendly safe spaces, your posse passes 84 King Street, intrigued by an electronic event emitting funk-infused vocals paired with soulful R&B sounds. The name of this legendary venue that birthed the name of an iconic genre? Paradise Garage. (And it was, literally, a garage).

“I want people to know and appreciate that garage music was cultivated within LGBTQ+ communities,” says Marina Francesca aka Kozee, the producer featured in this week’s American Grime (AG) Presents: Garage guest-mix. Her episode marks the fifth of the six installments in AG’s six-week podcast series amplifying the historical significance and ongoing evolution of garage.

As early as the late ‘70s and well into the ‘80s, U.S.- and European-based artists laid the groundwork for the likes of early ‘90s UK garage. Many of these pioneers were Black and/or LGBTQ+, drawing from the diverse array of musical influences and lived experiences that shape Black and Queer cultures. Through her garage mix this week, Kozee aims to honor the genre’s bold and daring ancestors, many of whom faced multiple forms of marginalization.

Kozee’s mix is timely amidst the U.S.’s recent – and long overdue – awakening to the stark realities of systemic racism and queerphobia embedded in Western society and beyond. Her 30-minute journey emerges as a meditation on what it means to credit and celebrate Black and LGBTQ+ cultures for creating and sustaining electronic music scenes.

“I’m inspired by artists like EL-B, Para, Duncan Powell, Champion, Conducta, Exit 99, Smokey Bubblin B, Rip Groove, Karl Tuff Enuff, and Todd Edwards,” shares Kozee, a stateside producer & disc jockey actively involved with event promotion. “These dons represent newer and older garage eras. Their craft is truly amazing.”

In Kozee’s episode and throughout AG’s mini-series, you’ll explore six unique guest-mixes carefully curated by an outstanding ensemble of modern-day garage artists.

“Garage matters because it’s a form of electronic music specifically designed to represent happiness and joy,” says Kozee, who steadfastly challenges the status quos of a male-dominated music industry. “I hope my mix will uplift someone’s spirit.”

Stay tuned for the second guest-mix in American Grime’s podcast scheduled for release Friday, March 26 featuring Kenny99.

Each week, be sure to travel back to our Background Noise newsroom for commentary and more. Throughout this six-week journey, our editorial team will cover each installment, exploring the complex and nostalgic sounds of garage music right along with you.

AG Presents: Garage – Jett Chandon

AG Presents: Garage – Jett Chandon

Jett Delivers Empowering Garage Mix, Merging Mental Health Hurdles with Women’s Liberation in Music

By Jimmy O’Hara & Sarah Styles

From childhood to adolescence, Tara Algios aka Jett studied music theory and multiple mediums, cultivating a lifelong passion for mixing and sound design. By early adulthood, however, mental health challenges interrupted Jett’s commitment to music. Stuck in an unhealthy undergraduate environment, she gradually paused her passion for production and live performance.

A new city paired with a vibrant underground community helped rejuvenate Jett’s innate knack for creativity and sound. It wasn’t until this major life transition that Jett truly uncovered garage music, the genre she credits with saving her life.

“While I was living in New York, I eventually found myself lost without creating or performing. I was in such a place of darkness,” recalls Jett, native to the Big Apple.

“So in 2011, I packed my bags and moved to Washington, D.C., where I discovered the city’s devoted underground scene. This transition brought me back to life and inspired me to perform again.”

Returning to performance encouraged Jett to dig deeper beyond the evolving dubstep sounds popularized at the turn of the decade. During the early 2010s, alongside brostep and other descendents of UKG, an appreciation for future garage emerged in many circles. Jett began exploring this modern version of the legendary 90s genre, captivated by its playful sound and pivotal lineage.

“Garage is an incredibly fascinating sound on its own, pulling from nearly all areas within the music realm. I came across iconic tracks by artists who originated the genre. I was hooked,” says Jett, whose American Grime (AG)Presents: Garage guest-mix marks episode #4 in the collective’s ongoing podcast mini-series.

“My deep connection with garage music encouraged me to share it with everyone I possibly could. It’s an unexplainable love. I owe my life and my career to garage music. Without it, I probably wouldn’t be here today.”

Championing the garage genre opened career opportunities for Jett that may otherwise have been inaccessible. Overt and covert forms of sexism and gender bias are prevalent in and beyond the electronic music industry. Introducing new audiences to the unique sounds of garage brought Jett equally unique chances to challenge gendered status quos.

“Garage opened up so many doors for me and others, especially since so few people were playing it,” says Jett, renowned for hosting D.C. functions focused on reviving garage music and centering female artists.

Many women were central to pioneering garage music and continue to elevate the sound in modern eras. Ms. Dynamite, Sweet Female Attitude, Katy B, Colour Girl, Kele Le Roc and AlunaGeorge reflect a few of many female leaders at the forefront of garage’s rich legacy.

Jett’s AG: Presents guest-mix this week honors the bold women who helped bring garage into the fold. Jett also draws artistic influence from the eclectic sounds of Burial, whose groundbreaking album Untrue (2007 )still helps her manage depression today.
Personal healing and community-building have always been at the core of Jett’s craft. DJ-ing for nearly a decade, her mixes have naturally evolved to blend a broader variety of styles.

However, remaining true to her garage roots keeps her heart grounded and her audiences grooving.
“The local D.C. community has always been a motivation for me to push forward,” says Jett, having worked with Forecast and Spreadlove Project, among other organizations. She’s also gained extensive experience as a resident DJ for the UKG Social in Baltimore.

Jett hopes that AG Presents: Garage will pique broader interest in the genre, especially from current bass music fans.
“The deeper purpose of American Grime’s podcast series is to connect people from all over who share the same passion for music, especially during these unprecedented times when we need it the most,” explains Jett. “Garage is the celebration of life and I’ve always linked it to joy and happiness. This podcast highlights how this genre is exactly what we need to heal together.”

Audio Analysis

The electronic music community has a multitude of strengths. However, one drawback that often arises is our collective memory tends to erase the genesis of genres and the pioneers who led (and are leading) the way. Black and Brown communities, women, and LGBTQ+ people have always been central to creating and contributing to novel sounds and event spaces. Despite this truth, disparities in representation, power, and recognition exist across music scenes, particularly for women at every level.

Jett’s mix effortlessly hints at these industry inequities, especially through a gender lens.
Given the global reach of garage music, it’s important to honor the impact of women who
contributed to its origins, growth and success. While it’s true UK garage wasn’t solely about women vocalists, many listeners are drawn to feminine voices in garage and, more broadly, electronic music.

Jett’s clever inclusion of such voices throughout her mix celebrates women
everywhere. Her soulful variety of samples are sure to have you turning the volume all the way up.

Soothing and inviting yet bold and unapologetic feminine voices sing over a 2-step beat
throughout Jett’s 30-minute mosaic. Her mix portrays a peculiar innocence, intrigued by and invested in love– a liberating kind of soul music with unforgettable flair. Jett features old-school gems that remain in rotation today, accompanied by an undeniable R&B presence, one of garage’s ancestors.

Additionally, she includes a rapid-fire style of MCing derived from dancehall. More often than not, women’s voices enrich Jett’s half-hour mix. She serves up some syrupy vocal overlays, filling your heart with nutritious garage goodness while encouraging women to reclaim space and enjoy a seat at the table.

Next Up

Stay tuned for the fifth guest-mix in American Grime’s podcast scheduled for release Friday, April 9, featuring Kozee.

Each week, be sure to travel back to our Background Noise newsroom for commentary and more. Throughout this six-week journey, our editorial team will cover each installment, exploring the complex and nostalgic sounds of garage music right along with you.

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