Head Spins: DJ Mednas, Miami's internationalist house man

Miamians take a rightful pride in our reputation as the northernmost capital of South America. But if we're ever going to be truly considered a world-class city, it'll be because of cats like DJ Mednas.

Mednas, who derives his moniker from a mixup of his given name, Mehdi Nassiri, was born in Casablanca and raised in Marrakesh and Tangier. Like many a Moroccan, Mednas crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and ended up in Madrid, where he spent seven years, some of that at American University. To complete his degree (in international business, naturally), he next hit Saint Louis, the so-called Gateway to the West. Unlike those who heeded a certain 19th-century call, however, this young man did not continue westward. He went south, to Caracas, before finally landing in Miami, where he obviously was meant to be all along.

Even from a purely geographical point of view, Mednas has an enviable background. Hell, he's already lived in more countries than many people visit in a lifetime. When you consider the collision of cultures to which he's been privy, it belies a scope few folks can even fathom.

It's that kind of pan-globalism that informs not only Mednas the man but also Mednas the DJ, who first went pro in Spain and now counts just about every hot spot in South Beach on his roster. And if that doesn't convince you he's a committed peripatetic, Mednas has added D.C., where just last Saturday night he held forth at the Spot Lounge in Dupont Circle.

But it's Miami that concerns us, and here is where he takes the decks every Thursday and Friday night at the Bancroft Supper Club. Like his stints at venues such as Mokai, Mansion, Set, and Wall, as well as the Shore Club on one of its infamous Sundays, the Bancroft boasts a bona fide contingent of jet-setting night crawlers hell-bent on never sitting still.

Sure, Mednas might keep his house a little more pure at, say, Mokai or Set. And he might have gotten a little tech-y back when Nocturnal still reigned. But check Mednas now, when he slips deep sounds in at the beginning of an evening and builds upon a framework of happy, sexy beats, breaking into electro around the stroke of midnight. The strains he spins become almost superfluous — this is music to move to, period. It just happens to have "house" written all over it.

That means a Stefan Luke remix can go alongside Sandy Rivera's "Persuasion" without missing a beat. It also means Mednas can house up something from Kings of Leon or Black Eyed Peas, as he has done on countless bootlegs. Mostly, though, it means a man who has made tracks from Morocco to Madrid to the Midwest is now making tracks in the M.I.A. And if that's not world-class, there's no such thing as an atlas.

DJ Mednas's top five:

1. "I Feel Love (Stephan Luke Remix)," Ministers de la Funk

2. "Betcha Wouldn't Hurt Me," Quincy Jones

3. "Ain't Nobody," Chaka Khan

4. "Excuse Me Mister," Ben Harper

5. "Black," Pearl Jam