Three-time Grammy nominated Kenny Dope, one of the most prolific artists of the modern music age, has been entertaining and astounding the masses alike with his fusion of house, hip-hop, Latin, jazz, soul, and broken beats. Known as a living encyclopedia of beats, Kenny Dope is a purveyor of sonic masterpieces. Born in 1970, Kenny Dope grew up in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park and by the early eighties he was absorbing the hip hop beats that were being played at the local street parties. Along with his partner, Mike Delgado, Kenny organized a series of neighborhood parties under the Masters at Work alias, and these were regularly attended by Brooklyn hero Todd Terry. In 1990 after an introduction by Terry, Kenny and DJ “Little Louie” Vega immediately hit it off and began a creative partnership appropriately dubbed Masters At Work. As the MAW sound became more pervasive in clubs, they became more sought after by artists and labels, eventually remixing and producing artists such as R. Kelly, Janet Jackson, Daft Punk, Barbara Tucker, India, Luther Vandross, BeBe Winans, George Benson and many, many more.
Kenny Dope’s breakthrough as a solo artist came with the recording of the breathtaking Bucketheads album in 1995. A track called “The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall Into My Mind)” was the standout track, fulfilling Kenny’s ambition to make “something raw, something that was fun.” With its driving drums, screeching sound effects and extended sample from Chicago’s “Street Player”, the song was an instant sensation on the underground and before long he was gate-crashing the European pop charts with his first major hit.
Following the success of the Bucketheads album, Kenny took a break from his solo career, focusing on his collaborative work with Vega. The Nuyorican Soul album marked a particularly important moment, and had Kenny Dope’s unerringly creative imprint written all over it. Kenny was behind every aspect of the album’s creation, and tracks such as “Nautilus” were handpicked by the man himself. The album’s release marked Kenny Dope’s transition into one of America’s most important contemporary producers.
For the last decade Kenny Dope has had his hands full releasing literally thousands of tracks, remixing hundreds of singles, and globe trotting to DJ all over the world. In his production work, Kenny consistently shows his distinctive ability for programming superior beats while blending a myriad of music styles to deliver the ultimate mix. With his long-established reputation as a DJ extraordinaire, Kenny showcases a melting pot of house, jazz, funk, soul, and hip-hop while keeping the show colorful, energetic and soulful.
While production and touring account for most of his time, Kenny has also established Kay-Dee Records with Scottish funk DJ legend Keb Darge. Kay-Dee will be the imprint for rare reissued classic funk records, “There is so much great music out there that we decided to find it and bring it to the masses”, Kenny said. Kay-Dee will also be the label that Kenny will use to featuring up and coming bands as well.
Whether its sitting behind the control board, playing to his followers, or searching for the next great re-release classic, the beat master will continue to shine as the master at work
Terry, in turn, introduced Gonzalez to Vega and the two found an immediate kinship. Masters At Work productions soon began to take off. Innovative house remixes for the likes of Tito Puente, Saint Etienne and even Debbie Gibson quickly put the duo at the top of the underground dance music heap. And Vega’s influential “Underground Network” party at Sound Factory Bar in New York created the template for many a soulful house party to come including “Body & Soul” and yielded house music anthems like Barbara Tucker’s “Beautiful People” and River Ocean featuring India’s “Love & Happiness”.
Yet Vega and Gonzalez were still restless, so they created a new project called Nuyorican Soul. With its jazzy horn blasts, ambient soundscapes and wildly arrhythmic percussion, Nuyorican Soul’s first single “Nervous Track” pushed the boundaries of dance music even further. The Nuyorican Soul album, released in 1997, was even more innovative, bringing together gospel divas like Jocelyn Brown, latin soulstress India, hip -hop DJ Jazzy Jeff and soul legends like Roy Ayers under one roof. Like Daft Punk’s Homework, Blaze’s Ten Years After, or Roni Size’s New Forms, the album permanently altered the course of dance music.
Louie Vega has now embarked on his most ambitious musical journey yet, with his explosive upcoming full-length solo project, Elements of Life. Featuring such artists as Anané, Raul Midon, Domingo Quinones, Albert ‘Sterling’ Menendez, Dimitri From Paris, and many more, Vega has broken ground, yet again, in this gorgeous musical collage of languages, cultures, and ideas, with no borders or inhibitions.