My favorite thing Mad Decent ever did was also one of the first things they ever did: release Blaqstarr’s Supastarr EP, in 2007. The Baltimore producer’s “Feel It in the Air” had entered circulation a few years earlier, in 2002, and was always a steady presence on K-Swift’s radio show and in Baltimore club mixes in general. (Funny enough, “Feel It in the Air” was actually released on 7-inch by FADER in 2007.) Long story short: I’ve heard this song a million times, but the sands of time have long buried my early iTunes collection, and the MP3 is nowhere to be found. Thankfully Mad Decent are back doing my second favorite thing they ever did: releasing a new Blaqstarr EP of his harder-to-find hits, including one of the most unforgettable Baltimore club tracks in history, “Hands Up Thumbs Down,” featuring Rye Rye on the hook. (Pretty sure that’s also Rye Rye dancing in the old footage in the “Feel It in the Air” video). Stream the whole EP below, followed by a statement by Mad Decent’s founder, Diplo.
Stream: Blaqstarr’s The Blaq Files EP
Blaqstarr was the first US artist I released on Mad Decent. He might have been one of the reasons I started the label. Bmore club was this faceless, crazy, frenetic and scary dance music, not unlike the city itself. I thought Blaqstarr was the real star of this world. Almost a decade ago, many times I traveled down to Baltimore and sat in Blaqstarr and his brother’s house, guns peeking out under the mattresses, blunt wrappers everywhere, computer guts laid out on what might have been a shelf turned into a desk, loose weights and blank cds all over the carpet. Blaqstarr would make his music with no chorus or verses, just chants, curses, girls screaming “Blaqstarr” and other random ideas thrown on the track – sounding the same way his brother’s house looked. There’s no rhyme or reason, it’s like the ghetto spontaneously combusted into music. If Bmore was a full fledged music scene, then Blaqstarr was Hunter S Thompson. While most producers were making records for the radio, Blaqstarr was making a soundtrack to murder people with by using a screaming Lil Jon sample played like a piano. Oh and did I mention he could sing and in a crazy falsetto like Al Green. These are some of the records that got lost from that era before Hype Machine. We want to document what the real Bmore sound was about.