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The Club Beat With Scottie B.

May 2, 2007
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“I’m 39 years old, and this shit just started for me two years ago, goin’ all over the place and DJing,” says Scottie B., one of the founding fathers of Baltimore club music. He still DJs in Baltimore on a weekly basis, but before his recent spate of jet-setting to London and Miami to spin club music, Scottie says, “I was 12 years old goin’ to a bar mitzvah reception, that’s the last time I was on a plane.

“When I started playin’ these alternative places, I had to get into a different set of music besides just club music,” Scottie explains during a recent conversation at a Charles Village diner, with fellow club magnate DJ Excel at his side. This summer, Scottie tours Europe with another Baltimore legend, DJ Technics, but he plans on having more in his crate than club. “I know everybody will say club music, Scottie B., and Technics, but we play more than that, you know what I mean,” he says. “And I try to get out of that hole to a point. Of course, I want ‘em to know who the best guy for that job is, but it’s not the only job that I can do.”

Of course, since Scottie B. has been running Unruly Records, the premiere Baltimore club label, with Sean Caesar for over a decade, he has no intention of letting his grip on the club scene loosen. With recent online-only releases like EPs by Say Wut and DJ Tameil, Unruly is placing an increasing focus on its web site, which has nearly doubled its selection since our club music MP3 store roundup. But having locked down the local market with mix CDs by DJ K-Swift and Rod Lee selling like hot cakes at Downtown Locker Room, Scottie has his eye on projects with national appeal, beyond the club die-hards living within 92Q’s broadcasting range.

“We’re doin’ a lot of remix stuff, we got a big project we’re aimin’ for early August, late July,” he says. “It’s gonna be a mixtape, but it’s gonna have, like, all the major players.”

He rattles off a list of eclectic, well-known, and mostly out-of-town artists and DJs such as Diplo and Switch, and others, like Purple Crush and Maggie Horn, whom we had to Google to get to their ugly-ass MySpace pages. Though he hasn’t settled on a title yet, Scottie says the project will be “based on club music, but I told guys that don’t really do a lot of club music, don’t do club music. Do what you do.”

While some possibly misguided purists are wary of the Baltimore club umbrella slowly extending over every hipster who ever looped the Lyn Collins break regardless of their role, or lack thereof, in the genre’s history, Scottie B., more than anyone else, has the right to co-sign the inevitable globalization of club music. “People ask me all the time, ‘What do you feel about the expansion?’ to put it in one word,” he says, noting that any life that Baltimore club takes on beyond its humble beginnings is gravy. “I was there when the shit started. So anything plus one is good to me. I’m happy with anything.”