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Ken-ske

by Mike Sunda

Special To The Japan Times

DJ Ken-ske (real name Kensuke Sato) is a DJ’s DJ — he eschews celebrity club culture in favor of a purists’ approach to the medium, which allows him to play more than 100 gigs a year. Although primarily mixing hip-hop in a B-boy style, he’s hugely knowledgeable in a variety of styles, as proven by his residency at the weekly “Royal Flush” party at Tokyo’s Club Harlem where he explores old-school rap, disco and house. This month, he gave The Japan Times a peek into his record bag:

Opening Number: Tears For Fears — “Head Over Heels” [Mercury]: Obviously it’s a famous track that was a massive hit in the 1980s, but lately when I’ve been DJing at smaller clubs and lounges I’ve taken to mixing this sort of ’80s new wave and funk into hip-hop. It was also sampled in DJ Cash Money and Marvelous’ classic track “Ugly People Be Quiet” so it brings back plenty of memories for the B-boys and B-girls.

Golden Oldie: The Notorious B.I.G. — “Hypnotize” [Bad Boy]: Ever since this was released I don’t think it has left my record bag … or should I say my laptop, these days. I love the way the loud drums ring out over a dance floor. It’s a track that never gets stale.

New Classic: Kendrick Lamar feat. Drake — “Poetic Justice” [Top Dog, Aftermath, Interscope]: It has come to the point where it’s hardly even fair to sample Janet Jackson! It will definitely bring out a reaction from people in my generation — good or bad — and I think the younger generation will hear it as a fresh sound.

Floor Filler: Juicy J feat. Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz — “Bandz a Make Her Dance (Remix)” [Columbia]: This remix, featuring Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz — who are at their absolute peak right now, is even more impressive than the original. It gets played out a lot at hip-hop parties in Tokyo.

Must-Listen: My mix for InterFM — Moichi Kuwahara’s Pirate Radio #142: As well as hip-hop I also love deep house, techno, all sorts of serious dance music, and I play at those sorts of parties, too. This mix, which I recorded for a radio show, is proof of that. It’s another side to me that I’d like people to check out.

Set Closer: Shuggie Otis — “Happy House” [Luaka Bop]: Prince is one of my favorite artists, so I couldn’t believe that someone was putting out songs as cool as this even before him in 1974! Yeah it’s pretty old, and it’s a short track, but it’s one song that’s perfect for the end of parties.

DJ Ken-ske spins every Tuesday night at Royal Flush at Club Harlem/BX Cafe in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo. He will also play Girls Festival at Sound Museum Vision in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, on Nov. 23 (10 p.m.; ¥3,500); and Golden Gate at Axxcis in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, on Nov. 24 (10 p.m.; ¥2,000 for women, ¥3,000 for men [discount entry is ¥1,000 for those who arrive between 10 p.m. and 12 a.m.]). For more information, visit www.djkenske.blogspot.jp .