Mixpak Records began in early 2009 as a sonic powerhouse where house music, dancehall, rap and punk could not only co-exist, but be combined in new and exciting ways. The imprint is the vision of Brooklyn-based DJ/producer Dre Skull, whose resume includes an impressive list of collaborations with the likes of Vybz Kartel, Diplo, Snoop Dogg, Lil Scrappy, and Sizzla. “I wanted to build something that could bridge many different worlds,” Dre explains of the Mixpak ethos. “With the music industry undergoing cataclysmic shifts, it created interesting opportunities for creativity and we’re playing in that space.”
Dre predicted a future where categories would matter less than content and context – now that reality has come to pass, and the Mixpak imprint and blog have become a “go-to” portal for music tastemakers and the global DJ cognoscenti. Meanwhile, Mixpak’s roster of artists and remixers reads like a line-up of the best dance party ever: Poirier, Toddla T, Nadastrom, Machel Montano, Justin Martin, Dam-Funk, Schlachthofbronx, Ceephax Acid Crew.
In a time where it’s all too easy to slap some tracks up digitally and call it a day, Dre Skull has gone through great lengths to put out the music he loves. Repeated trips to Jamaica have resulted in collaborations with dancehall’s finest, including Beenie Man, Sizzla and rising star Popcaan. Travels South to record brought New Orleans bounce rapper Sissy Nobby and Atlanta legend Lil’ Scrappy aboard. Mixpak has also nurtured the careers of a set of up-and-coming young house producers, including Dubbel Dutch, Melé, Andy Petr and Jubilee.
In 2011, Mixpak released the much-anticipated Vybz Kartel full-length, Kingston Story (produced entirely by Dre Skull), which reached the cover of The Fader, the pages of the New York Times, the airwaves of Hot 97 and the Billboard charts. In 2012, a collaboration with VICE Records saw the re-release of the record on Deluxe edition vinyl & CD. That same year, the label launched its first compilation series, Mixpak Pressure, as well as airing releases from Poirier, Jubilee, Douster and Koyote and riddim releases from Dre Skull.
Alongside label staples, 2013 brought a new collaboration with Kartel protege Popcaan, as well as introducing UK vocalist & producer Palmistry. In June 2014, Mixpak released the debut album of Jamaican star Popcaan. Executive-produced by Dre Skull, the record has received praise across the board, with Pitchfork declaring it ‘one of the best pop albums of the year’.
As Popcaan says, ‘Everything nice’. Stay watching.