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Kenny Dope (US)
Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez is an American dance musician. He is also one-half of the Masters at Work musical production team with Little Louie Vega. Gonzalez started his DJ career in 1985 organizing neighborhood block parties in his home of Brooklyn, New York, with his then musical partner, Mike Delgado. Under the Masters at Work moniker, the parties became quite successful and attracted Todd Terry who later borrowed the group’s name for two record releases. Terry returned the favor when he lent Gonzalez a drum machine, and in 1989 the resourceful rhythm addict recorded a series of powerhouse beat tracks for Frank Mendez’s cutting-edge Nu Groove label.
Gonzalez’s Nu Groove work culminated with “Salsa House,” which received heavy rotation from Heartthrob DJ “Little Louie” Vega. The duo immediately began a prolific relationship with Gonzalez laying down the beats for four tracks on Vega’s album with Marc Anthony, and the new boy established himself as one of New York’s most original rhythm generators when he concocted the swinging syncopated beat for Saint Etienne’s “Only Love Can Break Your Heart.” Gonzalez’s breakthrough as a solo artist came with the recording of the breathtaking Bucketheads album in 1995. A track called “The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall into My Mind)” was the standout track. With its driving drums, screeching sound effects and extended sample from Chicago’s “Street Player,” the song was an instant underground sensation and before long Gonzalez was gate-crashing the European pop charts.
Following the success of the Bucketheads album, Gonzalez took a break from his solo career, focusing on his collaborative work with Vega. The Nuyorican Soul album marked a particularly important moment, and had Kenny Dope’s unerringly creative imprint written all over it. Gonzalez was behind every aspect of the album’s creation, and tracks such as “Nautilus” were handpicked by the man himself. He also laid down the foundation of all the beats for the album, and then worked alongside drummer Vidal Davis in the studio. The album’s release marked the MAW man’s transition into one of America’s most important contemporary producers.
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