We here at Crossfade recently got all up in the EDM scene's face about its lack of respect for the ladies. And part of our argument was that women who rave don't get the love they deserve, even though some of the finest talent in the game comes equipped with a vagina.
So in the hope of enlightening the masses and giving credit where credit is due, here is our list of EDM's ten best female DJs. You won't see any models-turned-turntable here. We kind of can't stand that sort of thing.
Instead, you'll find exactly what you should: a bunch of damn good DJs. And that's all she wrote.
Call her the house revival's princess of darkness. Louisahhh!!! released her freshman solo EP through Bromance records in 2013. Of course, she's been a fixture in NYC nightlife for much longer, having started her career as a member of production duo NYCPARTYINFO. Ironically, it's her voice that cut through the noise. A vocal track provided for Miami's own Danny Daze brought her notoriety. You may recognize that voice from Brodinski's smash "Control Movement." Now, she sings on her own tracks and puts those pieces together on the deck like a puzzle of tainted sensuality. A musical journey with Louisahhh!!! takes you to shadowy places. Her edge creeps up until it bites you in the face. She's not the most technically skilled woman on our list, but for her stylish composition and unique depth, we applaud her.
Are you up on this mixin' vixen? We actually just discovered her ourselves, but one listen to her futuristically sexy R&B sets, and we're immediately smitten with Kittens. Based in L.A., the hip-hop record boss may have missed our radar until now, but according to LA taste-makers iheartcomix, she's played stadiums with Kid Cudi and private parties for Usher. As part of the Huh What & Where roster, her peers include Kaytranada, Sweater Beats and Ta-Ku, among others. S/o to the other two ladies on HW&W, Sosupersam and Austronautica. We're about to be all up in your shit, too. Promise.
8. Gina Turner
By the third trimester, most pregnant women are ready to throw their husbands out a window, but not this one. She was 100 percent down to DJ alongside her hubby, Laidback Luke, at 4:45 in the morning on Holy Ship!!! What? Yeah. But she doesn't need to go b2b big belly style to garner applause. Turner is a mogul in her own right, heading the label Turn In Records, with additional releases on Ultra, Ministry of Sound, Pellegrino and more. She's a serious brain in the studio. She's worked with Soulwax, Chromeo, Diplo and Justice, among others. And, because she's a well-rounded individual, she teaches Vinyasa Yoga. She's got her own syndicated radio shows on Scion, iHeartRadio and Underground FG. On the decks, she's versatile, clean and focused. She's pretty much a role model.
7. J. Phlip
This chick flies with the Dirtybird crew, a label that's become synonymous with good-taste. Instead of shaking her ghetto booty, J. Phlip composes anthems that will set an ass on fire. Phllip is fresh-faced and small in stature, especially when standing next to the Claude-father, but don't let her unassuming air fool you. As soon as she touches the decks, her inner thug comes out gunnin'. Don't even bother stepping on her dance floor unless you've got what it takes to bust a move. She's not likely to pull some crazy, fancy, show-offy shit, but J. Phlip can turn a wall flower out in three mixes flat, guaranteed.
If Cassy is on the decks, you best be ready to ride. The lady's groove is perpetual. English-born and Austrian-bred, she gives up the kind of mix you'll get lost in for hours. It's dreamy house with enough of a kick to keep you on your feet. She actually started as a singer but turned her talents to turntables in the early 2000s. She was mentored along the way by the likes of Dave the Hustler and Luciano. She's released tons of original and collaborative tracks on numerous labels, but we still fancy her most when she's doing her live thing - and we're not the only ones. She holds down international residencies including Berghain's Panorama Bar, Rex in Paris, and Trouw in Amsterdam. Soulful, stylish and so easy to love, Cassy is that ish.
5. Maya Jane Coles
Maya has come up in a big way over the course of the last three years. Her smooth approach has made her an international house-head favorite. In 2013, she got her own hour on the Essential Mix, and Pete Tong basically says it better than we ever could: "She was DJ Mag's best producer, mix mag's best breakthrough producer, and the best newcomer at the Ibiza newcomer awards in 2011. Rolling Stone recently named her as one of the 25 DJs to rule the Earth, and she secured her second successive Top 10 spot in the Resident Advisor 100 list at the end of 2012." She released her first album, Comfort, this past summer, which features appearances from Miss Kittin and more. For those keeping score, she's not even 27 years old just yet. Feeling lazy?
Do you know how good you have to be to collaborate with Flying Lotus? Do you know how based you've got to be to get Kool Keith to spit on your track? Tokimonsta is freaking amaze. She's more a live performer than a traditional turntable DJ, but we don't give enough shits. She's going on the list. It's honestly more impressive this way. She's got a few albums out, Midnight Menu and Half Shadow. Any self-respecting beat enthusiast will have those in their library. Sweet in person, raw with the bass, Tokimonsta should be one of your favorite artists - period.
3. Miss Kittin
Before there was "EDM," before there were "hipsters," French DJ Miss Kittin was getting the electro-clash party started. She's a foundational favorite, and we believe that without her underground love (among others) in the mid-2000s, American taste-makers may have never embraced bpms in the first place. The songs "Silver Screen (Shower Scene)" and "Frank Sinatra" turned a lot of heads. Yes, she can produce, but her live sets bring the funky bass to a whole 'nother level. She's got the technical skills to keep a room bouncing without a single misstep. She gets on the mic to create ill vocal samples and simultaneously hits the mark on the filters and fade. She's a bad bitch dressed in feathers, and she'll always be fly.
2. Annie Mac
Annie Mac curates numerous BBC Radio 1 programs and a monthly mix series in collaboration with Jay Z's Life+Times. Her Mini Mix showcase can turn an up-and-comer into the artist of the year in just five minutes, and her brand Annie Mac Presents helps steer the course of modern dance music through international events as well as who's-next compilations. To paraphase Drake's latest, if she was doing this for y'all, she'd have nothing left to prove. But Mac mixes to feed her own need, and surely, this mogul will continue to fan the flames of the world's passion for high-quality dance music for years to come. This is how you lead by example.
1. DJ Shortee
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So it's kind of totally completely unfair to include a turntablist in a list of DJs. Turntablism is a whole 'nother beastly set of skills. But we didn't want to leave the art form out. Some of you are visual learners after all, and must be made aware that yes, women can scratch. Shortee has been one of the best in the game for more than a decade. She can murder a beat by herself, or merge with the homie DJ Faust as the deadly duo Urban Assault. What's even cooler is the way she gives back to the community. YouTube is littered with her handy instructional videos, so all us daughters (and sons, too) can learn to scratch and beat juggle just like her. What are you waiting for?
Follow Kat Bein on Twitter @KatSaysKill.