Every few years since the mid-Eighties, the true revival of "electro" has been heralded. The depth charge 808 drum machine and scratchy freestyle funk of Miami bass can be felt in everything from dirty South crunk to Detroit ghetto-tech to Orlando-based DJ Icey's Florida breaks to the output of European labels such as International Deejay Gigolo. Afrika Bambaataa took the frigid funk from Kraftwerk, and then the Germans and a generation of technophiles took it back. Few, however, have gotten the sound quite as round, big-bottomed, and jiggly as those in Miami.
The Magic City has spawned artists such as Dynamix II, Maggotron, and Lazaro Mendez, better known as DJ Laz. Laz, the afternoon DJ at Power 96 (WPOW-FM 96.5), has been involved in producing and promoting the city's cross-pollinated pump since the age of fifteen. In the early Nineties he introduced merengue to bass music with the hit single "Mami El Negro," released on Pandisc Records. Working in a format that many listeners derided as a cartoon or a car-show curio, he navigated between music and studio equipment mechanics, testing people's ability to look past the (admittedly talented) 2 Live Crew and the base (rather than bass) aspects of the genre. Cutting and scratching over bass line pulse and kick drum pummel, Laz invested for the long haul into making music good for a beachfront and club crawl. Call it booty music only if you live by the old adage, "The beauty is in the booty."
DJ Laz performs on Friday, March 5, and Sunday, March 7, at Club Deep. See listings for more info.
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