Continuing from where we left off, it’s the crack of the 90s, and Little Louie Vega and Kenny Dope Gonzalez are well on their way to building their reputation as Masters at Work. 1993 saw them release their first album, The Album. A combination of singles released up to that point as well as some new production, it includes some early classics, like Blood Vibes. As remixers, MAW found themselves working with artists like Michael Jackson, Madonna, Ce Ce Peninston, and Donna Summer, but the best was still yet to come.
Nuyorican Soul – Runaway [Talkin’ Loud – 1997] BUY
Once upon a time, way back when DJs were gathering underground popularity by extending and remixing the pop stars of the time, DJ of DJs Larry Levan had a unique concept. He dreamed of creating a studio album in which the DJ is the maestro. This album would consist of DJ-produced tracks featuring the voices and elements of that DJ’s favorite singers and musicians. In the 1997 album titled Nuyorican Soul by Masters at Work fulfilled that dream. On Nuyorican Soul, MAW celebrate both their Puerto Rican and disco roots and summon the talents of musicians George Benson, Vince Montana, Jocelyn Brown, Roy Ayers, and Tito Puente to create an album that pays tribute to the artists they love. Looking back more than 10 years later it’s more clear than ever that rather than sagging with the overburdening stink of excess stardom, Nuyorican Soul has established itself as one of the greatest dance albums of all time.
This track is a redux of the disco classic of the same name by the Salsoul Orchestra and Lolleata Holloway, Runaway is one of the four singles off of the Nuyorican Soul album. With Louie Vega’s ex-wife La India providing the vocals, they do soulful justice to the original. It was the first single to receive the remix treatment, retouched by 90s greats Armand Van Helden and Mousse T. Armand’s mix (Mogoloids in Space) bumps, and Mousse T provides a more direct dancefloor translation.
Masters at Work – La India Con La Voe (Viva Puerto Rico) (MAW Tribin’) [MAW Records – 1997] BUY
In case the parentheses aren’t obvious enough, this tribal tune is an ode to the island of Puerto Rico. Featuring samples of a cheering concert crowd, nationalist & spiritual cries, and La India’s sweet voice all over a set of lively drums, this track has Spanish Harlem Block Party written all over it.
Kenlou – Gimme Groove [MAW Records – 1995] BUY
Gimme Groove is the B-side buddy to Kenlou’s classic The Bounce (which happens to be amongst Cnyce’s favorite tracks- too treasured to post!). Whereas The Bounce is more lively, Gimme Groove is a deeper, nine-minute mood-setter of a track that can really set the tone for a good night out. Definitely maintains the sexy.