Ghetto-Tech - Ethan Brown

Ghetto-Tech - Ethan Brown






he Bras l(ey Club seems Ike the lst place on ealth you d

expect to find a new breed of electronica emerging: The

rundoM stfip club is on an inner-city Detroit. street so

deslate you could imgine tunbleweeds roling by.

But alrnost every night, lhe Brass Key rocks to the beat

of Ahetlo-tech, the latesl srund io eherge from a city that

always seehs to be innovating new musical styles, from

Moto$n io the psychotic punk of lggy Pop to the agit'pop

ofthe MC5 to the 21st century luludsm oftechno, and, most

rccendJ, the absudist sickcnp of Eminem-

Anive too edly al the Brs Ket! dd you could be at any tilty

bd in the Unit€d Slates. Stdpp€F IsUessly perfom theb X-rated

conloftions on a long rDway with flashing lighis, shile a DJ plaJs

twical lap-dece fodder like R. IftIy's "When a Woman's Fed Up."

Well pasl midnight, however, something incredible happens:

DJ Fles, a short, shaved-he3d€d, gaptoothed young nan outfitied

in a FUBU irscksuit, takes over the derka. Inside ne'(x's cra.bped

booth perch€d high above the stdppers, he brings R. Kelly's

snooth gmoves to a halt. "When a DJ'B fed up," Fles announces

cfrer the PA strtem,'1,h@ aint shit you ce do about ii "

Riflinsthroush seveml cmtes ofrecords, Fles pulls out

G@rge KI@'s eely''80s electrc clssjc "Din Du Da," slaF it

on the tuntable, and jack ii u! to an abnormally speedy 45 rpm,

transfonjns the sonds Tbutnnic chant int a Minnie Mouse-fke

squeal. On the other turntable. FIea cLres up a r2-incb froni the

Metalheadzlabel run by drum'n'bass don Ooldie. Then, C

Trl.. lF6 rh. (cr4Lwr- rEE roe biF c.rt

ch.ndr.r.. wu m@Fr rumo .rr.|dh' I,, D, ob@

D on dek hrxnarr ch.hdr.r wtErrh, .nd .r..nn'.


nnl)hbahh Flcspedectll nixesrhrruiT

neck. pfemillcnnial dnrn h,bass trnh rhe

(;cfmanirl[st disco etecrro.

\\h!t's hapFning oh rhe Brass Ke].,s

funwal is e\en nore mind-bloeins.

tJpon hearing the ni\, thc sript4rs bend

orer g.ab ihen.ankles, and *isgle !hcn.

runps into a rlujrerins Iiehzi. sehding

the Brass licJ's patrons scrambling for

Suddenlr a frield of Fles's appeds nt

tlrc booth. imnticrlh {avinga rccord...}b,

! lcxx,lou gorta plal rhis: 'be Iells or.r

thc din. l los ihslrcrs thc rinJt, ptaces it

on tle hrrntablc, and listens tu it on his

headthones. A hnge grin creeps aooss his

lice, and he hdngs the song 18-iear old

gherb tech prodigt l)J Disco Dis iiwherf

ThcI At?" into thc mi\. ..wllere mJ .logs

ali where nv husrlcrs at? Wlere nv plar''

eNatl" intones, deep. henacihs lojce on

tho r€cont. The ho\'ler-har {eannA,

me.lalln)n spofting h,sses at the Bfass

Ket ansNer lh. song's call, raisihs rheir

tluLs ol.hnnpagne in apprclat.

nce onlJ.'the soundrrack il) a nighi ol

boolx ogling in clubs like rhe Bfnss

Iie$ eheti&Lech lus bcco e the soun.t

oi Drhlit, hi{d nos at rbe dtJ-\ r?Ios

and nish.cluhs, and even on oainsrrcan

It& B,tip holr sations like ihe highl). rate.l

ur.ILB 1r?.1,.lhough it ofr.n incor.I)orares

druh n' bass, hjp hop. and Miami b!ss,

Ahetto tech is essehrialtJ a fusjon.frhe

rrunchy \rics and sped up bealc ofgbetro

h0use pr.duc€rs like DJ t\nk ahd rhe

techno bass ofDetfoit artisrs tike scotr

(;rooyes, rvhose femix of parliaocnts

''Mothehhip Connecrion" sf,q a sortdq,jde

Ghettolech enersed in lhe earlX,90s

when Dethit radio nixjocks tike WJLB,S

Gafl'' Chandier trking a cue froh sr.ip

dub D,ls like Flexx began nrixihssnch

techno reco s as Juan ArkinJ classic

(rr''botron track Clear" trith Miahi bass

rccords like the hison Cla.'s ,,Shake What

Ya MlDa cavc Ya" !t absufdh high

speeds, Like ganesta |at, gheurrtech


[00ty Aill ffi [tAt A film0ffflt $Aitpttfl

ol Assaulr Lfl&rh.rarft. €r.ctro,

funk/Ass.u I n b t prcb'bty rh. !h.to_

r*h .rbum out tlerc, rrdarr.Fur:/Q bingr

ro!€h.r th. huric s ncr t.scMou. cuc (ik€

'as3.n-Iihi.t" "Ho.: G.t r{skod," .nd ,&r.,

lislin") int Ep.u.i *ith .n uninl.,nina ny hit.r

skrl rrch lh. €€rti5py Ass'lt



( oul a Rc.t Nr.$z p.Ep..riE,, in $tch


sr 6nd a arc.k tsnn. h .t.o rs.luE I mn_

dcrtur. 6nry.ii.D.rEir dd .rh! tu.. Arkins rrop_

D' D|SCO o C.nd ltr.r rrrr 12 {co.r.-

hin,rod) rnd rh. oaoD EP (it!n: D,5

pdu.rjon .rdk h.6 r m.rlErr Ft and rh.

ttoa" rcieisc.d "|Nn r€ Th€yar?".€m,

lke .i 6byio6 6 ot|X blr rh. 18-F.rord

Dl a€ knft h@ 'ifi

ro nrit . etcny h6k lnd

th. srun..$n6 or .Fuk rh.t r.jck Dff.

3h6 fEt oi. ro.n h* pl€.ty 6t F.!ni*.

o, GoDFATHER t Lr.r rl.t.E [r rn

no@, rdhrri.c co txddy (D.i.b.3r): codtdn./.

try.r pe'sr is mn. r@ ir .Ertn!,

rnd h. cdld @. pFducdon*i4'd nk ||l D€'

or. rid€ hrE . eihish. qo.rit dDt ooer

p€@durt homy*h r'.ck....t iolch.



n.rr.r ol Funk p.Ed lh. *!y tor*h,5

.rr.incrustE $n.ib riy wior tr.e. b,ini..t clrrr

whi.h bre I rrit trb.h ehpr€. ot D.n hlnk,

ln. c.p 6.nd, Am..d lAn H.tds, $d s. .

$und birc ot John B.bsni r .horhi.c ir oEr


fioE inlfution .bolt k * tu ods c.h h.

fo!"d .r wsuhnuo.ffi, ot th.r.,n b.

@Ed t@n R..otd fttu, .t (a1o) 77r155O

is ruled bI a handirlol thducef. rr(l

rccod'label oqrefs. ihdr,ln,s IrJ l-sd'h

tnd DJ c(llfrthei innfr orr c fftte

neurs \hose nri\ oll,rsinfrs ra\r1 rnd

slrcf! sm,.ts hrs.un.rLlhfD l,i{ 11{,1

rel)s rs \fllrs lhrl\rng srrxll rIsin.:s.s.

r).J .\riulr \f!r,,l,lliaig \.h,ns)


is pefh!r'i rherr' ft'dr'i rDrr \isibl€ iiree.

He lx- ferdr|terl l,)!rl tr Aherto re.h s

:rfil) rl!r, ! ,ri: ir: Irrr. he mafkers his

Ele|lf ;r.rL \.sirlt Ri11,, r,lfrn,s likc


1;fi \rl.rl rn(l -l)nk bJ $c

Puri t:r' triLh rhr n'il, (lLrl)s

''Il i { r lniz C.nrC tbrd fecord, {e'11

fr !. .r rhnf libels l.lemo pt€ssinss ibr

lr.l. !:i i rake them .lo$r t.r the st|it

.r:l -. e\t)Lir. Aslult. r chunkl B lror

r l' , JDik: snh rhr s,na, sibihn! list) rh,t

r,rke: his ftlis on songs likc'Ass n lil

lh€ i{k{ olnud llstinghis Druhass label

(lcuses incldins thr ehetto tech classic

''Plaver Hate.s in l)is House in suil

lrs sr(h t{rlcrse l)k'asurcs. "StriDchrLrs clubs. -Sone ghetio tech DJs(ant lo iest

rrf rr rnrtiflrnt because iheJ-\i11take a ihen reco|ds witl' soippers, hesals, hut


'!, r,nder|4ound I think the grls should t€st their r/r,16- t{)

''Trr. !tfl. l,^e our rnusic. igrees D,I nJ Fcorls.'Putling theif diitcring nrr

l; ,liir::'f rLa Bfirn .lelfries, 2;l). F,!- kf tins strutrsies usiile. Assault and Godtil

rlieri. :r. rIf fr.r.r thr be(tcr Anrlour ther reccnrll untcd to lbrm Gheito Tek

rhn n ,r./ liLrt l;.{lhth€rchuckl€s at Distribution. a companv thel hope will

bringltteniion (ahd re.otd sale, to ghett!

lech fron l)e\old the Nltn0f ( itr

Ii l(! d sales arc anr i.dn rt,)h. (;dlfalhfi

Assrult, and olher ghcrtrrbch aiisls

could rcplacc bNs tlves likc 9t South and

the 69 tlolz belond the cit\"s bo ers.

"Ghetto iech sells tuster than house.

t€.hDrpreitl rDuch anl1hing $e stock,

erlhins Mikf Huck,br nanrgef oitbe

dance room al lcgendar) I)ciroi! rc(ord

shop ttecord Time. Klar Ap!leberr), a

bul?r {ho speciilizes in ghetto iech atthe

Detroii recor.l shop Danon\, concuN:

''We can l ever$bins fron R&B to claasic

soul, and ghetto-rech anages to consti

luteaholl?0 l)er.ent of oursales.'

ln othcr cities,lhc hir!hori, R&tl, and

rave scen€s tcnd to be



mcialll) stratified. nakins ghetto tech\

all encon'passins lesthetic seem rerolu

lionarl, lDrticuladl in a cit) {ith such a

t(,1ufous his!).J ol face rehtions. \'e 1l

ncak anllhinc," oJTcrs Ar)r)leb.q,

\\'f ll

speed up an Ii&lJ traek..the latlst tunc

bv Master P \\ hat€vef \orks. {e-11 do it. '

AJn then, rs if to prore gheito iech s C

vaRrous, tils ttF.ohr

i.r) IrD! ft Mdq 3nrr..,

rdAr.t lL ra^|G sp.do6..d

.r.ilqIr.. ta Evid|ith.mrr

l@r. FtOn 3mu& Ao.c d[t

ron A*ii..nd r(!|tl snnd.|$,

TEian r [b.t dfi' D.dqk r.r b

d oror. HotTn'dt or Dddr

b.lhs fl ririgYoui.rnc'|De

LnE'Yq I h.ri $d Drrd( f.t't

@b.olStnil.olLt'6E lt


FAn soNrc. | (r!r.) IIDC rr

tuilqHnr.hdr rGs e,

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llts \tb.... fli.r {udc6

r{th ddD ihr . r.Nl



ihm. tlaftrn. mn, dldcl


o, KHAN, r.'@att{ot x

(x.r&) firD€ r. Nd\t |( crt

mrrcBarMt iln rsrch.rd.*$r6|rkt.trind!d!|||'|l'

..doi ot th. boottch Dnoon\

Crn Or.l,.,k . Dl (h.n, ATlm

lla..d Blz2 O,O., h.r dr. hud6d

Eld$. Fdr hi. b.h.

fiFirStYoun.RErDs ure

'l$& nn cl !t'4.H.d. q hi.



rfrlo PLAxEr. fr-.'i!tt

or..i r..ti(to w.r, rrDC

rit $o.ridn, s*d.n InE

Ctob+dld.rcrollk .C.ddy

wiih . ndn.r lorDi

!|olls: hld Pl.i.t'. Slmn I l|.n

hl{ h Ht

..dr 1..6, utiltlYOrrF

ffxo{turE'H.d.r6 .


s!$nr upr hUl(i..h6F{d6




tr--- q




eclecticism, Appleberry answers a question about the sound's

mots by grvirg props to strip-club DJs, 2 Liv€ Crew hstermind

Luke, and U.K. el€ctronica prcducer SqDarepNher'

Can ghetto-tech transcend Detroii's ciF limits? Gabriel

Shuldirer, an A&R and sheet represeniai'le of Ashalwerks

Records in New York Clt]:, thinks so Astnlwerks is ttte label

respoBibl€ for breaking The Chemical Brodlen dd Fatbov Slin

stateside. 'Sbettctech i6 a brilidt challeng€ to a lot of nualc out

ther€," Shuldiner contends. "Like bi8 beat or trance, it will become

an important subgenre of electronic mNic." And unlik€ t€chno

tufore it, gherto-tech benefits from massive honeio*n support.

Ircnical\t the Metmplet lhop that Atkins opened to much fanfN

in 199? clo*d just a few nonths aJt€r it was crt€d in the national

lress as a srmbol of Delraitk techno renarsmce. "Thev didn t

carn ehough ghettGtech," Dis@ D surmises. DJ tufather C!€s

eren tunner '"@ple think Detrcit is techno ctty," h€ sals dismre

sirel!:'but it's actDally ghetto-iech oty"



rime being, ghelLo tp.h rehains. well_kcpt Dcrroir


sFL ldsply b.euse gherlGl,ech records ha\ e yet lo @pr


tlp ${d sryle pDergy or a live DJ se(. Gherl,o tFch fnFbe&

I Garv Chandl.r's f.eneric.ur and-mix sryle and ability lo

brea} new nusic on his *eekend mix show on WJLB have earned

hnn the l.ind ofsiatus that DJs like liuhnasbr rbx eDjov in New

York Citt4 But outside Detrcii, his nane escapes recognitiot ft'on

even the most discerninq electmnica hesds Chandler hopes to

Eise his prcile wilh a series of DJ dat€s abrcad. (Stranse\l botit

ghetto-t€cb ed ghetto-house @ hugely popdd in Berlin. In fact,

Atari Teenage Riot frontman Alec Empire rccently brougbt DJ

Fhnk over to Gmany to spin with him.)

Chandler invites ne to wilness an inpmmptu nix s$sion h€'s

arnng€d wiih his ten prctage, prcducer DJ Ds.o D, who* tracks

m in heaw rctation on the citys popdar ghettet€ch weekend mix

shom. WlE I arrive at his tiny brick house in the sleepy Detrcit

subu* of Southffeld, Chandle4 a hulhtg 31_ye3{ld man wit} t}e

toarDe ofa club bouex $€€ts me at tlre door with m impGing b€ar

hug. After dEctinane to r€move my sh@s, he ush6 ne inio hjs living

Inon. Its waDs re overcd wilh Sold ed platinm lwrds (pr€snt€d

to ChanUer by Death R )w and Bad BoS among other labels),

in thanks for supporting va.rious artists'rcleases on his WJLB

shN. I follow O)andler to the ba^senent, wherc he intrcdu@s me

i, D, a lsky*hit€ hd whos hmds s€em io b€ perp€Urally DJ ing.

After e8aing eacl other on with lla}{ln insults (Chandler cals

his pmtege "Cdso D"), Chan.Uer takes over ille tmtables in irue

gheito-tech f$hion. nirdng Motricat syrupy ballad'Angel of

Min€" erth the spstic blips and bleeps of the lat6t release on

Atkins'iecbno lab€l, Meiroplex. The pair discuss a ghetto-t€ch

remixtheyhaveinmindforbluesmancla€nceCarier'sclsic C


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