Before I became the world-renowned internet blogger, curator, tastemaker, (insert fake title here) I am today, I was a nightclub bouncer. In college, I worked at an unbelievably tacky looking club called Egypt on Delaware Ave. in Philly. Faux hieroglyphics, sphinxes, and pyramids littered the dark, dank cavern of rohypnol-fueled hedonism. The music was classic “untz untz” torture treats, played at ungodly volumes. Though I worked with great people, I am a music lover. These were not good times.
After graduation, I entered the highly lucrative field of freelance journalism. Surprisingly, the ten cents a word I was raking in from the several, now defunct, publications you’ve never heard of weren’t quite enough to get the proverbial ends to meet, so I, again, supplemented my meager salary with a job as head-knocker-for-hire at a local club, this time back home in DC.
This job was different. Different not because the club was more upscale, though it most certainly was. I still had to endure vomiting young women that couldn’t hold their liquor, and dueling VIP tables that went from “I ball harder than you” to “I punch harder than you.” I also still had to watch for the grabby hands of cougars trying to remind themselves that they were still sexy (I actually didn’t mind that at all). The one thing that separated this job from all of the others was the music.
Particularly, the music the opening DJ played to start the night. When the owners and regulars dropped in early for a quick dinner before asses began dropping and busting wide open, that DJ created an environment of peace and coolness that gave me a brief solace from the chaos that would ensue in an hour. My favorite track from his set was the breezy extended remix to Dwele’s “Hold On” featuring Kanye West and his former G.O.O.D. Music compatriot Consequence.
Everything about this song puts me in a relaxed state of mind: The way the keys trickled in and out of the track over the stand-up bass line; the intermittent piano fill; Dwele’s clean baritone; Consquence’s consistent flow; Kanye’s GZA-esque verse. The whole vibe was the antithesis to the bass-heavy club bangers that would incite skirmishes I would spend the rest of the night anticipating, diffusing, and sometimes breaking up. Whenever I need to breathe a bit before things get intense, or want to set a comfortable mood, I make sure this lesser known remix is on my playlist.