Although his raw material is the music of others, the remix’s of American DJ Child, 25, are by no means a mere rip-off. His creativity is obviously at play when he sets Dancehall vocals by Capleton, Sean Paul or Elephant Man against celebrated Hip-Hop beats, or conversely places Hip-Hop vocals by Nas, Busta Rhymes or Jay-Z on up to 3 Dancehall riddims. The remix’s of his label, Project groundation Massive are known as “underground cousins” of the “strictly for the masses” series, because Child’s remix’s are unlicensed as regarded by record companies. Still, Child was able find distributors who are flushing his productions, crafted in the “lab” of his yard in East Oakland, California, not just to the East Coast of the States, but also on to Europe and Japan. There’s been no hassles so far. He knows many of the Dancehall artists personally, who knows that their music gets heard by a much larger Hip-Hop audience. Not all Child’s remix’s are produced soley for the clubs. PGM vol. 7 is a 59 track conscious mix featuring among others Luciano, Jr. Reid and Tanya Stephens, including Malcolm X samples and Jamaica’s Lutan Fyah as host. The diversity of the remix’s reflect his life in a way, says Child. Having grown up between an organic farm with his hippie parents in Pennsylvania and the harsher inner-city realities of Boston and New York in his teens, he witnessed the difference between culture and slackness first-hand. “The cultural aspect is why i follow Dancehall so strictly, the message thats in it is a higher strength and a higher guiding force in my life—God knows. But guns, sex and murder are a part of life in the cities of the North-East, they are aspects that can’t be denied, and my remix’s reflect both.

For his latest release, Child has remixed 7 tracks of Jay-Z’s “Black Album” with different Dancehall riddims. Similar to Danger Mouse, who created his celebrated “Grey Album” by mixing Jay-Z’s “Black Album” with the Beatles “White Album” and thus sparked loud discussions around copyright vs. artistic freedom, Child hopes to create enough attention and finances with his remix’s for his actual goal: original productions with Jamaican Dancehall and American Hip-Hop artists.

Article by: Ulrike Krahnert (Riddim Magazine May/June 2004)