Carl Craig’s All Black Digital: Detroit Rising
Carl Craig’s All Black Digital: Detroit RisingFebruary 22, 2023
Carl Craig links up with Beatport to celebrate Black History Month with his second edition of All Black Digital. This time, Carl shines the spotlight on some of the freshest talents to emerge from his hometown of Detroit.
Beatport follows up on last year’s February partnership with Detroit dance music icon Carl Craig, entitled All Black Digital — presenting 28 tracks from Black artists worldwide for each day of Black History Month — with a new approach this time around. Focusing on some of the extraordinary talent coming out of his hometown, Carl Craig sat down with Beatportal to highlight five of his favorite Detroit artists representing the narrative and the new school of The Motor City’s timeless house and techno legacy.
I’ve been hearing about Rimarkable for a long time, but I never came across her music until she did something on Waajeed’s Dirt Tech Reck label. Waajeed, and his Detroit School of Music, has really helped mentor her in the same way that AMP Fiddler mentored him, and who in turn was mentored by Marcus Belgrade. So we have that Detroit lineage in that situation, which is beautiful. Waajeed is really a common factor in what the next generation of Detroit music has in store for us.
I was listening to what she did on Honey Dijon’s Black Girl Magic album recently, which was incredible, and we also had her play Detroit Love in Croatia, where she killed it. It’s great to see what she is doing — her music reminds me of a house-oriented continuation of what K-Hand was doing. She’s proven herself to me as someone who needs to be highlighted, and I look forward to seeing more of her solo work.
Check out Rimarkable’s Beatport catalouge here.
Jon Dixon was introduced to me by Mad “Mike” Banks. At the time, he wasn’t a solo artist. He was part of Mike Banks’ jazz ensemble. He’s an incredible musician and, indeed, a musical visionary. To put out records, you have to be a visionary, but his edge is that he’s not only a visionary, but he’s also someone who can actually PLAY. A virtuoso instrumentalist and programmer at the same time. He’s constantly going beyond the bounds of what “amazing” is. Before any of those MPC guys were posting their finger drumming videos to Instagram, this guy was playing badass finger drumming on his keyboard, like 170 BPM jazz stuff, not on an MPC, but on a keyboard. That’s the kind of talent that comes out of Detroit.
His label 4EVR 4WRD has seen some really amazing releases of his own, along with some very noteworthy remixes, collaborations and much more. Jon is not only a good friend, but he’s like my little brother — but a little brother who is teaching me everything I need to know about formal music. He’s also a music teacher over at Michigan State University. We put out a release from him in the past, which was A Tribute To Marcus Belgrave, and I have one loaded in the chamber for Planet E Communications, which I still haven’t released, but it is incredible.
Check out Jon Dixon’s Beatport Catalouge here.
We had Dames Brown in Croatia for Detroit Love as well. AMP Fiddler — who is second to none when it comes to any of this “funk” stuff — is the one who really helped put them on the map and introduced them to me. The sound of Dames Brown really feels like an update of what I used to see in gay clubs in the ’90s — it’s something real that the audience can just enjoy. Anyone who is campy is going to love what Dames Brown does, but it’s churchy too. They put out the type of tracks that someone like Frankie Knuckles would be pounding out at the Paradise Garage.
There is this Floorplan remix of their track “Calling Out” with Sophie Loyd on Classic Music Company. I’ve been consistently hammering that track out because I love it. Not only because of that Detroit connection between Dames Brown and Floorplan, but because it’s just the best mix, and it fits right in with that gospel feel that they have. I also love the track that they did with Andrés and AMP Fiddler, “What Would You Do?” that came out on Defected.
Check out Dames Brown’s Beatport catalouge here.
Darrius Quince is almost like a phantom. I only really know him from the remixes he put out on Jon Dixon’s label. And for someone who only has two remixes up on Beatport… his stuff is really good! I mean, REALLY good. I don’t really know where his mind is. I was first turned on to his music by Kyle Hall.
I just like that underground thing where I don’t know if he plans on being a phantom. I don’t know if plans are to be someone like Gerald Donald (Drexciya) where he exists, but you don’t quite know how he exists. And that’s very much a Detroit thing. If you don’t put a mask on, you find another way to mask yourself. And that’s what it seems like with Darrius. And I like that because it helps with the mystique of Detroit.
I’m looking forward to seeing what his next steps will be because the quality of his productions is incredible. Jon Dixon recently sent me a new track of his that will be coming out later this year, so he’s clearly working on some new fire. For some artists, it takes them a little longer to produce, but it’s all about the quality of the ideas that come out. I like the idea of somebody doing remixes and concentrating on that aspect of music production, but hearing his original music now, too, it’s really something special.
Check out Darrius Quince’s Beatport catalouge here.
I actually came across Javonntte‘s music on Beatport. I was bored and looking for artists from Detroit about three years ago during the COVID lockdown when I stumbled across his music, and I was like, “damn!” One of the things that stood out to me immediately was his track “Remember,” which talks about remembering places like The Music Institute, remembering places like Club 246, and all these history lessons of Detroit clubbing and Detroit music. That’s what really did it for me with him, that this guy was really talking from a Detroit standpoint.
Javonntte’s music also has a real DIY sound to it, meaning it’s not going to sound great on all club systems, but it’s something that I feel definitely needs to be played. And that’s the great thing about Detroit. We take what we have and use it to the best of our abilities to get those creative ideas out there. That’s always been a Detroit thing with the invention of the TB-303 and the TR-707, you know? Detroit has that legacy. It doesn’t matter if we record it to cassette or record them on VHS or record to mp3 or whatever it is. If we’ve got the idea, we’re going to do our best to get it out.
Check out Javonntte’s Beatport catalouge here.
Stay up to date on Carl Craig’s ‘All Black Vinyl’ series throughout the month of February via his Instagram channel here.
Listen to Carl Craig’s full ‘All Black Digital: Detroit Rising’ playlist below, or check it out on Beatport.
Cameron Holbrook is Beatportal’s North American Editor. Find him on Twitter.