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.
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.
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