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Mashup artists are in a quandary. Like graffiti artists, they spend all their time and energy and creativity on an art form that is often disrespected, and in most cases illegal. So how to go legit? For graffiti artists in some big towns, maybe you get recognized by an art dealer and you start working on canvas. But that doesn't happen too much.
Same with mashup DJs. They don't have rights to the songs they are making creations from, so they can play them, but they can't sell them. Most prominent mashup DJs make their living by playing live dates, and many are working in the hopes getting work in music production, like Grammy-darling Mark Ronson.
But L.A. mashup maestro DJ Z-Trip, one of the founders of the genre, has figured out a new strategy: video games. He has let video-game producer 2K Sports figure out the royalty and rights issues, and he has provided the music for the All Pro 2K8 football game. As part of this deal, he has released a new album, the All Pro Soundtrack - which is a totally legal release.
But Z-Trip made his name in the free-download world of mashups, and one of my favorites is a driving rap/rocker that combines the Nordic-god version of Led Zeppelin, with early and fierce Public Enemy. Check out "Immigrant Noise" and see how well he fits these elements together.
Andy Kline is the program director of KXLL/100.7 FM - Excellent Radio. He can be reached at email@example.com. To hear more from DJ Z-Trip check out http://www.myspace.com/djztrip, or tune into KXLL's "Remix at Six" this Friday at 100.7 to hear the mashup and some other cuts.