I came in for a bit of criticism for my last top 10 here on GB, as some of the acts I included were not ballroom (the list was a mixture of ballroom and house/other stuff I dug at that point). So, this time round, I’ve decided to keep the chart to strictly ballroom acts, and to look back at my favourite tracks in the genre from the last 12 months.
10. BAAUER – Harlem Shake (QWEEN BEAT Remix)
There was no escaping the Harlem Shake this year, but at least some good came of the craze, like this remix by MikeQ and Jay R Neutron for Qween Beat. Qween Beat is a collective of producers, djs, performers, MCs, designers and a lot more besides, featuring some of the hottest names in ballroom, and who are always worth checking out with some of the freshest mixes. You can find Qween Beat on Twitter, FB and Soundcloud.
9. JAY R NEUTRON The Godzilla Ha
Jay R Neutron has some awesome remixes and smash-ups on his Soundcloud page, many of which could have gone in this chart, but this cheeky Godzilla-soundtrack-sampling beat is the one for me. You might recognise the sample from hip-hop classic “Simon Says” by Pharaoh Monch. Let’s hope Godzilla doesn’t hear this, as a vogue dip from her would be bad news for Tokyo.
8. BYRELL the GREAT In GREAT We Tru$t Pt II
The second instalment of Byrell’s mix tape series serves up a tonne of hot dance floor remixes and edits, showcasing his this up-and-coming producer’s unique style, and also shows the influence of hip-hop, pop and R&B (not to mention Jersey Club) on the ever-developing ballroom sound.
7. LULU EBONY ft GREGG EVISU #BangiCunt (DJ Delish Remix)
Two seriously talented ballroom MCs go head to head on a majorly hot beat remixed by Philidelphia’s DJ Delish. Not much more to say here, just let Evisu & Ebony do the talking (though, as the title would suggest of course, this track is NOT safe for work).
6. SUGUR SHANE Outta Sight Cunt Juice
More commonly known for his MCing, this year Sugur Shane took the plunge into production too, turning out a hard-as-nails remix of DJ Fade’s “Outta Sight”, featuring vocal samples from Buddah and Shane himself. If anyone tells you that ballroom is too soft, too minimal or too repetitive, just slap this on and watch them shut the hell up.
5. BEEK Like This (Like That)
Beek is a name to keep an eye on, his work this year has been consistently impressive, and he has managed to push the ballroom envelope while still serving up tracks to thrown down to. The skittery vocal samples of “Like This” also manage to showcase his brilliant MC style, marrying it to an impressive minimal/complex rhythm.
4. MIA Y.A.L.A. (MikeQ Remix)
Nobody touches MIkeQ for stripped-back, dance floor destroying tracks, his remixes and originals use the barest of elements but achieve maximum impact. There’s a reason this guy is the premier ballroom DJ. This mix is a great example of his style, and again showcases ballroom’s ability to absorb practically any other genre. It’s great to see it crossing over into lots of different DJ sets.
3. BRITNEY SPEARS Work Bitch (Divoli S’vere Gaginator Remix)
Like the flip-side of MikeQ’s minimalist M.I.A. remix, fellow Qween Beat don Divoli S’vere transforms Britney’s wannabe pop-house anthem into a maximalist “WTF?!” epic. This is hands down my remix of the year, and I could see it working in both big and underground clubs, if the DJs have the balls to drop a Britney track that is!
2. KEVIN JZ PRODIGY Nasty Poetry (Schwarz Remix)
Kevin Prodigy is probably the best known ballroom MC, but this remix by Baltimore’s Schwarz slows things down just a touch, becoming *almost* a chilled out hybrid of deep house and Bmore beats that will work in many varied DJ sets. But Prodigy’s distinctive growl keeps it firmly in the ballroom ballpark, with Schwarz teasing out the best bits of his vocal performance.
1. VJUAN ALLURE Kid Conga (Rebounced) ft Daniel Haaksman
This is my top track of the year, an absolute dancefloor destroyer, whatever genre you prefer, from ballroom to house to bass to whateverthefuck. This was dropped back near the start of the year on Vjuan Allure’s debut Mad Decent/Jefrees release, the Vjuanage EP. The track is a cut up of Kid Conga by Daniel Haacksman featuring MC MIltihno, which you might already know, and it never fails to set dancefloors on fire. Also, if you ever get a chance to see a Vjuan Allure DJ set, DO NOT miss it, the dude SLAYS.
I wanted to keep this top ten to one entry per producer, but some of these guys have been on fire this year, and their other work deserves mention too. So, here’s a quick round-up: Vjuan Allure “Natives R Restless”, Poisonous Relationship “Nite Birds (MikeQ Remix)”, Sugur Shane “My Night With Peter And Junior” mixtape, Beek “Beek” EP, DeShawn Timothy & Sugur Shane “Ima Read (Divoli’s 2013 Remix), Dawn Richards “Gleaux (Divoli S’vere Version)”, in fact, just follow all/any of the Soundcloud links posted above and you will find a wealth of awesome music, much of it available for free download. And if you’ve got any favourite ballroom tracks from the past 12 months I haven’t mentioned, leave a comment.