Electronic dance music wunderkind MANIK (AKA Chris Manik) takes music very seriously. For one thing, he's a prolific producer with over a dozen records released on top labels like Ovum, Poker Flat, Hot Creations, and Culprit in just a few years.
But Manik is also a scholar of music. Literally. The music department of his alma mater, the State University of New York at Oneonta, even named him as a 2012-2013 Hall Of Fame inductee.
And MANIK's special area of musical study is the melting pot of diverse sounds he soaked up as a kid in his native New York City.
His 2011 long-player Armies of the Night on Ovum was a tribute to '70s cult classic film The Warriors, as well as an homage to the eclectic music styles that inform his own funked-out electronic fusion -- a blend of disco, house, electro and hip-hop influences.
So when Crossfade asked Manik to name the classic jams that most influenced him, it's no surprise he came back to us with a list including hip-hop legends like J Dilla and Notorious B.I.G., along with dance and electronica pioneers like Larry Levan and Tangerine Dream.
1. Gwen Guthrie's "Seventh Heaven" (Larry Levan 12-Inch Mix)
Hands-down my favorite disco track ever. Period. No excuses. Play like a champion. This has such an amazing Paradise Garage vibe to it -- I feel like I am actually there in 1983, with a room full of "members" in downtown Manhattan, while Larry is doing his thing.
2. Notorious B.I.G.'s "Juicy"
I know Biggie originally didn't even want to rhyme over this beat, but it became, in my opinion, the greatest hip-hop track of all time. The lyrics for sure inspired me to want to make it. And growing up in Queens, NYC, I was able to relate more than most people.
3. Tangerine Dream's "Love On A Real Train"
Amazing piece of art from these legends. That ARP, which I think is a Mono/Poly, is so filled with movement and emotion at the same time -- it fit the scene of this fantastic '80s flick perfectly on the dot.
4. Matthew Dear's "Deserter"
This is my top song from Matt. This is such a great song. Perfect songwriting, atmosphere, and it hits the listener with all the emotion he had when he wrote this song. This is the first song I heard from him a few years back and I've always been a fan.
5. J Dilla's "Won't Do"
Probably my favorite hip-hop producer of all time, besides Primo. Another classic from here right below. Just listen.
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6. Nas's "Nas Is Like"
Produced by Primo and DJ Premiere. This song reminds me of being 12-13 years old and playing basketball in the city. I used to pop this into the CD player or tape player and just ball. Such a classic right here. People say Nas wasn't as good after Illmatic. I disagree.
Manik, presented by Link Miami and Miami Rebels. Friday, May 13. Treehouse, 323 23rd St., Miami Beach. The party starts at 11 p.m. and tickets cost $10 plus fees via residentadvisor.com. Call 305-674-7447 or visit treehousemiami.com.