Not since the days of Bobby Konders’ and Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez’s ragga-hip-hop hybrids of the early to mid-’90s has the US-Jamaica bashment connection seemed so energized as it does with Brooklyn producer Dre Skull’s Mixpak label.
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 Melé, Andy Petr and Jubilee.
2011 was a massive for Mixpak, seeing the release of 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. The LP’s second single, “Half On A Baby,” was remixed by underground’s best and graced by a verse from rapper Pusha T. The year ended with the exclusive signing of Texas’ Dubbel Dutch and the release of his first Mixpak EP, Hymn.
In 2012 Mixpak launched its first compilation series, Mixpak Pressure, teamed up with VICE to release Kingston Story: Deluxe Edition on vinyl, landed two more Dre Skull riddims and accompanying videos, and also added Poirier, Jubilee and Famous Eno to the artist roster. Committed to bringing you the freshest collaborations and sounds, Mixpak is pushing things forward in 2013, with releases from Popcaan, Douster, Dubbel Dutch and more… Listen up!