Contemplating the notion of an artist having a living legacy is difficult. However, when writing about underground music, it’s a notion that must be considered. At present, for the literal thousands of producers making dance music, roughly one pop superstar will emerge from a seemingly endless sea of indie dance nights and Soundcloud pages. That leaves literally thousands more who now only exist as influential artists who eventually vanish into the digital ether without a trace. Thus, before he gets pushed out of our collective memory, it’s probably as good of a time as any to remember Dutch-Dominican Munchi, one of the most influential, non genre-specific producer of the modern age.
After suffering brain injuries and maybe tiring of a world where fame exists in a vacuum where music is free and money is scarce, the floppy-haired superstar–who was at one time just as synonymous with underground-to-mainstream stardom as the likes of Skrillex, Diplo, and others–is now a reticent muse. However, between 2010-2013, by fusing dubstep and reggaeton, trap and hardstyle, R&B and chillwave, and so many other unique pairings, Munchi created his own genre and made sounds that remain forever important and actually still sound as fresh as anything being dropped into the bass bins of your favorite festivals worldwide.
Just leaving five of Munchi’s original tracks and remixes here to play would be one way of honoring Munchi’s ultra-influential living legacy as a producer. However, here are five tracks that either as originals or as remixes bear Munchi’s influence and show just how he opened so many ears, eyes, minds and feet to the future. As an added bonus, also check out the video clip of him playing at the 2011 Mad Decent Block Party in Los Angeles. It pretty much sums up his excellence and legacy in video form.
Skrillex – Reptile Theme
In this 2011 interview for Tittsworth.com Dave Nada tells the story of how Skrillex was so inspired by hearing Munchi’s remix of Datsik’s dubstep anthem Firepower that he decided to use the influence of that sound to create his track for the Mortal Kombat: Songs Inspired By The Warriors compilation. The guttural bassline of Skrillex’ production features a series of chords played against it that have the feel of 8-bit bullets, plus there’s vocal snatches rising through the melody throughout. An obvious inspiration, Munchi being less than a year on the global radar and attracting Skrillex’ ear speaks volumes to the quality of the Dutchman’s productions, even then.
Munchi – Pun Ain’t Dead (Emynd Remix)
Philadelphia’s Emynd was one of the first producers with the temerity to step up to the plate and unofficially remix a Munchi production. Munchi snatching Big Pun saying “who the f**k invited Pun?” in the 2001 classic No Escapin This created the genre’s first true call and response moment with the crowd. Munchi flipped the salsa influence from Wilie Colon and Hector Lavoe’s 1972 Fania hit La Murga of the Puerto Rican emcees’ rap production and blended it with an explosive and sweeping bassline. Emynd instead let the sample from La Murga extend a bit further and added a fatter, classic-rap style break snatched from DJ Kool’s Let Me Clear My Throat. Once the “who the f**k invited Pun” is dropped in, it’s literally the same concept as Munchi’s track, but it uses a completely different theory. Grab this fantastic flip of a flip here.
Azealia Banks – Esta Noche
Moombahsoul’s the innovation of Munchi’s longtime collaborator and current OWSLA producer David Heartbreak. Esta Noche was one of Munchi’s first attempts at diving into the sound as he flipped Montell Jordan’s 1999 hit Get It On Tonite and used the punchy drums and melody to create the swinging sensation for his remix. In 2012, when Azealia Banks released her Lunasea mixtape, the lead single for the then super-buzzworthy emcee’s supposed breakout mixtape was Munchi’s track featuring Banks’ vocals. The issues surrounding Munchi’s crediting for the production as well as clearing the sample caused a stir from which Banks, Munchi, and even the moombahton/pop crossover sound arguably never quite recovered.
Munchi feat. Angel Doze – La Brasilena Ta Montao (Neki Stranac Remix)
Serbian DJ/producer Neki Stranac is the type of producer for whom the title of “Soundcloud legend” was reserved. As sounds including moombahton and zouk bass have crossed into the collective underground consciousness, it’s Neki who has been the one to flip tracks in a manner that’s experimental even by standards expected by progressive-minded underground dance fanatics. Munchi’s La Brasilena Ta Montao was released via Mad Decent Records for Munchi’s 2012 Moombahtonista EP. However, when zouk bass became popular one year later, Neki crafted this masterpiece of a bootleg. Feeling like some sort of reggaeton meets dembow meets drum and bass production, the track one has the ability smash a crowd’s collective head open as if it were wielding a sledgehammer. This stupendous bootleg can be grabbed here.
Munchi – Gracias (Morrison’s Gabbahton Remix)
Netherlands-born house producer Morrison is so respected by Munchi that he’s released tracks on Munchi’s Selegna Records imprint. Morrison shows that the appreciation is mutual with his remix of Munchi’s samba/moombahton track Gracias. Munchi’s version is a seductive bass assault, the kind of track that packs a knockout blow in the bottom end but Beth Carvalho’s voice is so smooth at the top of the mix that not calling it a banger could feel appropriate. Morrison goes break-crazy here, as the tempo switches but somehow doesn’t remotely alter the groove in any way. When an original production is so great that to push it to another level almost feels magical, that means both the original producer and the remixer are truly incredible talents. This one demands a listen and can be downloaded here.