Beats & Pieces: May 2020

This downtime from shows has given a lot of DJs, producers and other creatives the time to learn some new techniques, build on some existing ones and just as importantly, catch up on some sleep. While I haven’t stumbled across as many burners as usual the past couple months,  I anticipate a steady stream of exciting new music over the next bit once the log jam of musical content begins to break.  Something tells me there are some real gems waiting to be unearthed. 

Speaking of gems, have your the new one from the Jewels?  Run The Jewels are keeping that real shit live through their top-shelf revolutionary wordplay and dystopian beats once again.  RTJ 4 is on the way and they recently gave us a taste with Ooh La La featuring Greg Nice and DJ Premier.  Put on your hazmat suit and peep game. 

Run The Jewels

You can check Primo on this next cut,  as well, delivering his signature sound with a solid trio of MC’s in the form of Ras Kass, El Gant and Slug doing their bidding over production by J57.  Ras Kass has been on a storm lately making the rounds with some of the best in the game experiencing a bit of a renaissance for the LA legend.   Something I like to see for an MC who deserves a little more shine.  Keep em coming.

Jamo Gang

This recent hiatus gave me time to focus on production and improving on my caveman like skills on the piano. There is something very zen about dissolving into an instrument and getting creative without having to stare at a screen.  Don’t get me wrong, my screen-time is approaching ridiculous daily numbers, but when I unplug and escape into the black and white keys, it nets positive results for me all around.   Between that and working on some some hip hop and house projects. It hasn’t been all that bad.   

Switching gears a bit, Deadmau5 has teamed up with The Neptunes on a downtempo number reminiscent of Calvin Harris’s delve into mid tempo and R&B leaning arrangements a few years back.  Vibe-wise this one reminds me of 2013’s song of the summer, Get Lucky, no doubt due to the unmistakable Pharrell Williams vocals.  For that reason, and with solid production from the mouse man, history could repeat itself.  

Deadmau5 & The Neptunes

Green Tree and Gerald Le Funk come clean on this tech house throbber looking for some peak floor time minutes.  This one could be worth a couple test spins to see how it goes over.  

Green Tree and Gerald Le Funk

Khruanbin, pronounced KRUNG-bin, in case you were wondering because I sure as shit was for a minute there.  These cats are my favourite trio to come out of Houston since the Reverend Horton Heat.  Sure, i’ve only heard this one song and haven’t Googled “Houston’s best trios” to see if I really mean it, but you better believe I’ve had this funky little gem on blast for the past couple weeks.  Still learning the dance moves from the video though, so you’ll have to wait awhile for my Tic Tok clip.  


There aren’t that many acts within the world of dance music that have stayed on top of the game as Armand Van Helden.  From the early days when he was breakin’ the 80s to his legendary million dollar remix streak and then onto his ongoing collaboration with A-Trak in the form of Duck Sauce he has been consistent as a mafa.   His latest team-up with Solardo and Herve doesn’t disappoint either dripping with acid grooves and last century leanings. 

Armand Van Helden, Solardo, Herve 

JT James is a DJ, producer and writer based out of Vancouver, Canada.   A veteran of the DJ and recording worlds. he has produced several projects in the genres of hip hop and electronic music under various aliases such as James Divine, Track Nicholson and Sandy Villanova.  Be on the lookout for his upcoming single with underground hip hop legend Ras Kass and his electronic music collaboration with Comfortron, in 2020.  

Cover Photo by Paul Murphy







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