Kaskade is probably one of the most popular and sought-after American producers of electronic and house music. Chances are, if you watch TV, play video games or went to the movies you’ve heard one of his songs. His music is featured in many different forms of media, much akin to fellow EDM producers and DJs, like BT and Paul Oakenfold.
Our feature is one of Kaskade’s signature songs from the early 2000s, the completely chilled-out, smooth house single “Steppin’ Out”
Kaskade is largely known for growing the house music scene in his hometown of Chicago in the early 2000s. Though Kaskade has varied in musical styles during his growth, as a whole, his music can be said to be fulfilling for the soul, or music to put you at ease. Much of his house music includes sultry female vocals alongside soft, harmonic melodies that become instantly recognizable, simply from their uniqueness. Take the song that introduced many, including myself to Kaskade, his absolutely astonishing remix of David Morales & Tamra Keenan’s “Here I Am” featured in the 2006 film The Devil Wears Prada.
Next up was a random song that my iPod shuffled to today. An EDM/progressive-house tune I bought and downloaded back when I was a senior in high school (2007). This one comes from Alternative Electronic band Kosheen, one of their bigger breakout singles, “Same Ground Again“. In fact, their whole 2007 EP, Damage is chock-full of good alternative-sounding electro music that still holds up today. Check it out above and see more from Kosheen at the links below:
For this honorary first “Hip-Hop Origins” we highlight “Do It With No Hands.” My Atlanta folk may remember this well-known local trap banger, born out of the “snap music” crazed era of the mid 2000s in Georgia. This song, and many others like it [See Maceo: Nextel Chirp, remember Crime Mob?] released around 2002 through 2008 were the forefathers of the Trap EDM genre. The trap-style beats and the lyrics that usually talk about…well, trapping and the hood highlighted a time when ATL and Southern Hip-Hop were on fire and highly sought after to produce the next hit. Don’t get me wrong, Atlanta is still the premiere ground for hip-hop, rap music and breakout music artists (and now actors as well), however the magic that surrounded the city and rap’s mentality here has changed since those days.
Our second is a rare remix of Outkast’s “Jazzybelle” originally released in 2006. Outkast is well-known as one of the groups that put Atlanta on the map in terms of music as a whole. As such they are widely acknowledged and celebrated by Atlantans and worldwide. Fans of the group were overjoyed when Outkast returned to the stage and began touring in 2014.
Other artists and groups born of the mid-2000 era of Atlanta hip-hop:
Lil’ Jon & The Eastside Boys
T.I. (was on the scene prior to then)
The progressive house throwbacks “Da Hype” and “Stupidisco (Dare Me)” from Italian house DJ, Junior Jack, withstand the test of time and are shining examples that foreshadow EDM’s launch into mainstream America. The building progressive rhythm of both songs are characteristic of house at its core and capture the spirit of many “early” EDM songs.
Electronic and dance music released in the early to mid-2000s catalyzed the evolution of the genre and certainly were ancestors of the soon-to-be popularized “dubstep.” Released back in 2004, “Da Hype” is forever a favorite of mine; it was part of the first real collection of EDM and house music I had acquired…back then would’ve been about 9th grade. Several years after I was introduced to the genre (when I was 10 or 11) but about two years since I’d really gotten into the scene (mainly from video games soundtracks w/EDM: Need For Speed Underground, SSX 3 come to mind).
I am forever grateful for my exposure to artists such as Junkie XL, LCD Soundsystem, BT, Deep Dish, DJ Tiësto, Röyksopp and many more that solidified my interest in EDM. Artists like these were pioneers of the genre and helped drive it to what we know today. We musn’t forget however, that quality is always over quantity. The ubiquity of electronic music today is refreshingly satisfying, but we should all take note of the sheer originality and creativity expressed during those years and even earlier before.