New York's Dre Skull is the man behind the city's Mixpak Records, which is now into its sixth year releasing artists like dancehall legend Vybz Kartel and FADER cover star Popcaan—both of whom he's also scored production credits for—as well as London producer Palmistry, and NYC party powerhouses Jubilee and Dubbel Dutch. If anyone knows good times, it's Dre, so it's no surprise that his FADER Mix is top-to-toe packed with them: big dancehall names, fresh-faced upstarts, and plenty of production fire from the man himself, including his "Blacklight Riddim" and Kingston artist Konshens' take on it. Dive in below, and scroll down for a catch up with Brooklyn's dancehall king.
Where are you right now? Please describe your surroundings.
I’m on the roof of Mixpak Studios looking at the New York skyline at night. The air is humid but nicely cool.
Tell us a bit about the mix—what do you imagine people doing while listening to it?
This mix is all about summer vibes. I imagine people listening to this as they move through the city. I was taking inspiration from the feeling of summer in New York, as well as drawing from some recent trips to Kingston. I was looking for a balance of percussion and melody to capture what I think makes summer and music such a potent combination.
What's your earliest musical memory?
Must be my parents singing me to sleep as a very young child. Noodling with a finger harp. Listening to new music with my older brother. Watching my neighbor who had a Casio SK-1 sample his voice and play it back on the keys. A different neighbor with a drum set.
What does Mixpak have up its sleeves this summer?
Popcaan’s currently on tour in Europe...Mixpak’s dropping another Mr One Hundred EP...Palmistry’s just signed on to do his first album and will be flying out to work on it in August...more Mixpak parties...heading to the UK to do some shows...sitting on the rooftop at Mixpak HQ drinking out of coconuts while the sun sets.
What's the last book you read that had a big impact on you?
One Man's Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey, a book compiled from the journals and photographs of Richard Proenneke. The writing covers Proenneke's move to a remote area of Alaska while in his early 50s. In going to Alaska, he states his mission is "to do a thing to completion” and it seems like he does. He methodically hand builds a cabin and learns to live off the land in near solitude. He ultimately stays for 30 years. I don’t have a yearning to follow that path, but I find his account of following his intentions, and doing so with such patience and care, deeply inspiring.
What's your favorite dish to cook and how do you make it?
Not sure I have a favorite at the moment. I’ve been keeping the cooking pretty easy. Rice and beans. Fish. Vegetables. Simple vibes. I’d recommend Papelón con limón, a Venezuelan drink made with concentrated sugar cane juice, water and limes. It’s a properly refreshing summer drink.
Kamixlo - Ayo Edit
Wisin Y Yandel / Meek Mill - Rakata Party (Kamixlo Remix)
Cedaa - Drop A Number (Trillvillee vs Douster Remix)
Vybz Kartel - Dancehall
Mavado - Up Like 7
Alkaline - Nice Suh
Chi Ching Ching - Nah Go Home (feat Popcaan)
Popcaan - Rup Rup (Bad Inna Real Life)
Chi Ching Ching & Popcaan - Way Up Stay Up (feat Beenie Man)
Vybz Kartel - Mi Nuh Trust People
Busy Signal - Text Message
Ding Dong - Shampoo
Demarco - Puppy Tail
Vybz Kartel - Credit Alone Done
Spice - Back Bend
Ishawna - Restraining Order
Joey B - Tonga (Feat. Sarkodie)
Vybz Kartel - In Love With You
Alkaline - Hype (Nah Change)
Konshens - Gal Ting
Spice - Rock My Body
Dre Skull - Blacklight Riddim
Piddy Pablo - Si Tu Queire Dembow
El Shick - Predalo
False Witness - Makina (Santa Muerte Edit)
Mr Lexx - We Dun Talk
KEN-U - Doko
Nicki Minaj - Trini Dem Girls
Dre Skull - Love Yuh Bad Instrumental
MM - Charly Tek