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Junior Sanchez Breaks Down Live Acts: "Some DJs Are Britney Spears, Some Are Björks"

In a special Super Bowl weekend kickoff performance this Friday (January 31), Junior Sanchez will headline at Highline Ballroom for its weekly 'Cirque Fridays' series. Promising to bring back the old school days of rave, Sanchez sticks to what some may call an ancient art form of DJing (something that hasn't been seen since Limelight was in the spotlight) where music reigns as top priority and the glitz and glamour of LED screens and over-the-top light shows are put in the back corner.

To witness such a performance, get your tickets at theDreamVine.com and check out our exclusive interview with the Jersey native where he talks about his early days of New York clubbing and where the scene has gone today:

VIBE: Starting off with some background about yourself, do you think that being a New Jersey native, and the proximity it has to New York City, has had an impact on your musical style? Where did your interest in electronic dance music come from?
Junior Sanchez: Yes, absolutely. I grew up 20 minutes from NYC and practically grew up in the city just by being there everyday and every night. So yes, it has totally influenced my style. New Jersey has the soulful house sounds of Moving records, Jovann, Kerri Chandler and Tony Humphries, while New York has everything from Moby to Masters at Work, Todd Terry to Armand van Helden, etc.

In your video biography published by Size Records last year, you spoke about how you feel that everything comes full circle. How do you feel the scene has progressed since the days when you were attending clubs like Limelight “back in the day” as a fan and striving artist? Do you think the dance and rave scene has come full circle and back again?
Yes, everything goes in cycles. The wheel never gets reinvented - it just gets spun harder. Ask someone like MK [Marc Kinchen] who literally has a new life in the scene because kids are discovering house music or what they like to call deep house today, without any idea of his body of work in the 90’s where he dominated the remix. Plus, places like EDC and Electric Zoo are basically giant, legal raves that has been going on forever in Europe and the U.S. for decades.

You’ve manage to connect with some great artists very early in your career. Armand van Helden seems to have had a huge impact on your early beginnings. And then later meeting and getting advice from Laidback Luke had some influence on your first release of “Where You Are” on Steve Angello’s Size Records. Do you feel it's important for aspiring DJs to learn from mentor figures and bounce ideas off each other?
Yeah well, Armand was definitely a mentor and a brother to me - I love him dearly. There has been alot of key figures in my life who have guided me and given me their time. Friends like Todd Terry, Kenny Dope, Eric Morillo, Roger Sanchez and Louie Vega have all embraced me early on and were always there for me. [Laidback] Luke, actually us being the same age, we inspired each other and I always gave him creative advice and he returned the favor. When I wanted to just concentrate on making dance records again after some time focusing on producing artists and bands like Katy Perry, Morningwood, Ima Robot, etc, he was the first person I turned to for some guidance because I felt the scene had changed and he was right in the middle of it.

“Where You Are” was released on Size Records in 2010 and was the start of your relationship with Steve Angello. Were you taken back that he has openly confessed that your own label “Cube” influenced him to start the current powerhouse that is Size Records today?
Yes, I had no idea that Cube had any influence on anyone. I just started a label and wanted to release as much diverse electronic music as possible. We had alot of amazing releases by the likes of Rhythm Masters, Felix da Housecat, Stuart Price, Kasmir (Tim Mason) to bands like Moving Units. It was a super fun project.

On the topic of your newest record label endeavour “Brobot,” which is now a division of Size Records, what is your vision for the label? Is this an reincarnation of Cube or will you be taking it in a complete turn of direction?
It has the principle as Cube: if I like it I'll put it out. I just want to release music I enjoy without limits or boundaries, without any fear of any charts. Just put out a producer's art and what they love.

You are big on music as an art form and come from a time where DJing was predominantly focused on only the music. You seem be an artist who strives to keep that purity alive. What do you feel about the so-called gimmicks in dance music these days? (And by gimmicks I mean anything from floating rafts to over-the-top LED screens and productions).
Well there’s entertainment and there’s artists, and there’s a place for both. I wouldn’t necessarily call a Britney Spears show art or her an actual “Artist” as she is more to me an entertainer. She sings songs that were written for her, she dances to choreographed dances that were made for her; everything about that is compiled and made up. The only time she had a true artist moment is when she had a mental breakdown and shaved her head. There’s a difference between her and lets say a Bjork, someone who marches by the beat of her own drum and makes music she believes in regardless of influence of a scene or media charts. She’s a person who even her videos tell a tale and are art pieces in of itself. In dance music, it’s the same. Some DJ’s are Britney Spears, some are Bjork.

What is your take on the young emerging artists of today exploding onto the scene and into the mainstream? Do you feel that so much has changed since the days of turntables that the DJ art form is lost?
I feel that most don’t understand music and creativity; most don’t understand that being yourself is the key to art and individuality. There’s too much cloning and following and that’s because of the exponential growth of technology. Also because kids lose their identity to social media and want to follow the heard, and want to be liked and followed by shit that doesn’t exist and create these ghostly personae and be famous on Facebook. So yes, in essence the art is dying, but I’m confident that it will survive and thrive in the kids who learn, and want true art and music to prevail!.

Your upcoming gig at Highline Ballroom is this Friday. Not only has the venue played host to some of the biggest names in music, are you excited to play for the city that started it all for you?
Totally. I love New York City, and playing here is always fun. I’m interested to see the type of crowd that this event will bring out - Super Bowl and underground beats! That’s a recipe if you ask me.

For both your long time fans and those who are just now getting into the music, what can they expect from your set this Friday?
Expect realness, great music and to have fun! It is the Super Bowl you know.

Photo credit: Getty Images

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Buju Banton Explains Why He Removed Controversial Song "Boom Bye Bye" From Catalog

Reggae icon Buju Banton is urging fans to lead with love by permanently banning the breakout hit "Boom Bye Bye" from his catalog.

News of the move recirculated after his Long Walk To Freedom comeback concert earlier this month when fans noticed the artist didn't perform his 1992 classic. Banton was released from prison earlier this year after serving a seven-year sentence related to drug charges.

The song, which includes a sample of Cobra's "Flex," includes anti-gay lyrics like "Boom bye bye inna batty bwoy head/Rude bwoy nah promote no nasty man, dem haffi dead," which in patios means shooting a gay man in the head. In the past, Banton has pointed out that he was 15-years-old when he wrote the song, which was originally about a pedophile who was caught molesting young boys in Banton's neighborhood in Jamaica.

“In recent days there has been a great deal of press coverage about the song "Boom Bye Bye" from my past which I long ago stopped performing and removed from any platform that I control or have influence over,” Banton told Urban Islandz. Banton hasn't performed the song since 2007 but decided to speak out once again about the track.

“I recognize that the song has caused much pain to listeners, as well as to my fans, my family and myself. After all the adversity we’ve been through I am determined to put this song in the past and continue moving forward as an artist and as a man. I affirm once and for all that everyone has the right to live as they so choose. In the words of the great Dennis Brown, ‘Love and hate can never be friends.’ I welcome everyone to my shows in a spirit of peace and love. Please come join me in that same spirit.”

In the past week, the song has been removed from streaming services like Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music. The video, which reached nearly 30 million views on YouTube, was also removed from his account.

Banton's move to mute the song in 2007 was in solidarity with the Reggae Compassionate Act under the Stop Murder Music Campaign. The legislation introduced by the Black Gay Men's Advisory Group was also supported by other reggae icons like Beanie Man, Bounty Killer and Capleton in an effort to bring an end to homophobic lyrics and attacks against the LGBTQ community in Carribean islands. At the time, artists faced backlash for not performing the songs since other tracks like "Boom Bye Bye" became crossover hits.

Jamrock Sound principal Hugh ‘Redman’ James also defended Banton's decision to axe the song from his catalog. "I go to all the rehearsals and he don’t do that song, he don’t rehearse that song,” James said. “That is the song that kinda shoot him a bit, so him bury up that.”

The track may have brought Banton public fanfare in the 90s, but other tracks like "Action," "Wanna Be Loved" and "Untold Stories" have solidified his legacy and growth.

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Rico Nasty To Release 'Anger Management' LP In April

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On Sunday (March 24), Rico hopped on Instagram Live to share the news. A date hasn't been put in place but she assured that the project will "probably come out in April." Like many of her projects, Rico will team up with producer extraordinaire Kenny Beats. Rico revealed how she wants fans "to really enjoy it" as she will jump into different sounds and styles.

From what Rico disclosed in her Instagram Live, Anger Management will feature guest spots from Earthgang and "Intro part 2" rapper Splurge.

The "Countin' Up'" artist has always been unique in her style and comfortable in her own skin. Nasty, which was featured on our EOY lists last year, showed how successful Rico is at mixing trap and pop. Seems like fans can expect the same magic this time around.

Rico was most recently at SXSW and will perform at Coachella in April.

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A post shared by TACOBELLA (@riconasty) on Mar 25, 2019 at 9:08am PDT

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Twitter Users Make #SurvivingCardiB Trend After Claims Of Drugging And Robbing Men

What started out as Cardi B addressing critics who believe she doesn't deserve the accolades she's received swiftly turned into a controversial revelation. The "Money" rapper went on Instagram Live to address the detractors but caused a stir for reportedly stating that she used to drug and rob men.

"Ni**as must've forgot, my ni**a, the sh*t that I did to motherf*cking survive. I had to go strip. I had to go, ‘Oh yeah, you wanna f**k me?' Yeah yeah yeah, let’s go back to this hotel," Cardi said. "And I drugged ni**as up and I robbed them. That’s what I used to do. Nothing was motherf**king handed to me, my ni**a. Nothing!”

Rapper #CardiB admits to using sex to DRUG men and ROB them of their money. pic.twitter.com/vIYYP1fMfr

— 24/7 HipHop News (@BenjaminEnfield) March 25, 2019

The mother-of-one's revelation spawned more criticism and resulted in the hashtag #SurvivingCardiB. A few Twitter users claimed that the Bronx native should be regarded in the same light as Bill Cosby and R. Kelly due to her admission, while others even called for the "Bodak Yellow" rapper to be removed from Hustlers, an upcoming film with Jennifer Lopez.

I’m sorry @JLo but if @iamcardib is in your new movie than I will NOT be watching! She admitted to drugging men and robbing them, if you are okay with that than you are part of the problem! #MeToo #SurvivingCardiB https://t.co/eRFQTqEHkX

— CoreyDLikeMe (@GodAmongYouAz1) March 26, 2019

I’m done with my @iamcardib commentary. I’ve been saying this since she came out she represents the worst in popular culture is a horrible example for girls and women and should not be put up on a pedestal. #survivingCardiB

— Kwesi 🇬🇭 (@thejollofking) March 26, 2019

@iamcardib this isn’t about ruining your career. This is about holding you accountable for your actions. You started this, we need to end it. The artist and the art can no longer be separate. #survivingCardi #TimesUp https://t.co/ja5ywWJgpW

— ceara (@cearablue) March 26, 2019

The 26-year-old artist has yet to specifically address the situation, but her recent tweets seemingly speak to the incident in question.


When they try to cancel me on Twitter and instagram 🤪🤪🤪😊😊😊😊😊😊 pic.twitter.com/a19gI006Xk

— iamcardib (@iamcardib) March 24, 2019


— iamcardib (@iamcardib) March 26, 2019

I never claim to be a angel I always been a street bitch Ya be glorifying this street rappers that talk and do that grimmey street shit but they can’t stand a street bitch!

— iamcardib (@iamcardib) March 24, 2019

Don’t come harrasing me on my page and when I reply back ya get upset .GTFOH! If you not BARDIGANG then why the fuck you here ?

— iamcardib (@iamcardib) March 24, 2019

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