Master at Work: Kenny Dope's Best Solo Tracks | Features | MN2S

Ahead of his set at MN2S Presents: DJ Jazzy Jeff & Kenny Dope at ADE later this month, we look back at some of Kenny “Dope” Gonazalez’s best productions away from his Masters at Work material.

Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez is well known for his highly influential work with “Little” Louie Vega in the classic duo Masters at Work, but his solo productions and remixes are equally groundbreaking. We look at five of Kenny Dope’s best solo productions.

1. The Bucketheads – The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall into My Mind) [Henry Street Music, 1995]

Released under the moniker of The Bucketheads, ‘The Bomb!’ is one of Kenny Dope’s most successful solo productions. The track features samples from Chicago’s 1979 track ‘Street Player’ and The Bar-Kays’ 1978 track ‘Holy Ghost’, with the sampled vocals in fact saying ‘swirl into my mind’ not ‘fall into my mind’, despite what the song’s title would suggest.

‘The Bomb!’ charted internationally, reaching number one on the Billboard dance chart, and the Top 10 in most European countries. The track includes many Kenny Dope signatures, such as a fast-paced beat and a catchy horn section, though it is distinct from his Masters at Work output for its relative lack of Latin elements and lead vocals.

2. House Syndicate – Jam the Mace [Dopewax, 1990]

An early track, released under the name House Syndicate, ‘Jam the Mace’ features a sample of ‘Pump Up the Jam’ by fellow MN2S artist Technotronic. The pulsating bass drum, criss-crossing hi-hats and modelled synth bass create a dark, deep house sound. Serious and sophisticated, ‘Jam the Mace’ shows Kenny Dope’s inventiveness and versatility even so early in his career.

3. Johnny ‘D’ & Nicky P Present All Star Madness – Magic (Kenny Dope Mix) [Atlantic/Henry Street Music, 1996]

In 1996 the duo known as Johnick handed their single ‘Magic’ over to twelve master producers and compiled the results into a remix EP. Among those producers were Armand Van Helden, That Kid Chris, DJ Sneak and of course Kenny Dope.

Kenny’s mix is a standout. A six minute track with peaks and troughs of volume, reaching near silence around the middle and building back up towards the end, Kenny Dope’s ‘Magic’ is truly a mystical experience.

4. Soul Fuzion feat. Vee – I Got Rhythm [Dopewax, 2004]

In his live sets, Kenny Dope is known for his ‘anything goes’ attitude, switching genres at the drop of a hat and playing tracks from all over the musical spectrum. ‘I Got Rhythm’ is not a huge departure from the other tracks on this list, but it is certainly different.

Released under the Soul Fuzion alias, only ever used for this track, ‘I Got Rhythm’ is a sublime neo soul number with a latin-flavoured beat played on the lower end of a punchy drum machine.

The hard-edged drums combine with soft piano chords and Vee’s sensitive vocals to create a captivating atmosphere worth revisiting. And Kenny did revisit it ten years later with Raheem DeVaughn for an anniversary remix.

5. Todd Terry All Stars feat. Kenny Dope, DJ Sneak, Terry Hunter, Tara McDonald – ‘Get Down (Kenny Dope Original Mix)’ [D:Vision, 2008]

Another all star release, this time with All Star in the title. Kenny Dope provided the main mix of this dance classic, with fellow MN2S artist Tara McDonald providing the vocals for the catchy melody. Close to his Masters at Work output, ‘Get Down’ has latin-influenced percussion, a piano riff and horn section flourishes. The track is a real crowd-pleaser, with lyrics singing the praises of the kind of uninhibited dancing listeners will no doubt be doing when this song plays in the club.

Kenny Dope will be playing one of his trademark ‘anything goes’ sets at this year’s MN2S ADE party. Make sure you’re there by booking your tickets now.

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