Daishon Murrell, cool, calm, and collected with a smile that stretches from ear to ear, strolls into James Nasty’s tiny studio space off of Maryland Avenue like he knows the place. Better known as DJ Dizzy, he is in town from University of Maryland Eastern Shore to play The Crown later on and, right now, to meet Nasty in person for the first time. They’ve corresponded online in a private Facebook group for Baltimore club producers and dancers and have been working on club music remotely together, but this is the first time they’ve met “IRL.”
Dizzy immediately unleashes his uncensored thoughts on the local state of affairs regarding Baltimore club music, and Nasty smiles boldly and claps in praise of Dizzy, giddy at the thought that there is finally somebody here to add a different flavor to the melting pot of club music.
Nasty has recently taken note of Jersey club’s affinity for booty-shaking music and feels it’s time to abandon some of the violent tendencies of Baltimore club music in favor of more palatable party music. “You gotta chill with some of the what-whats and the gunshots. Make some [music] everyone can party to. That shake off shit is not gonna get anywhere,” Nasty urges. And sharing the exact same sentiments, Dizzy’s goal is to keep it light and make club music fun again.
Growing up in Edgewood, Dizzy’s interest in club music was very different than it is today. “I wasn’t always a big club head—I’m not gonna front. I’m from Harford County, where everybody hears club music, but I wasn’t really that much into it as everybody else was,” he confesses.
He heard club music from friends who danced competitively to the sound or just liked to shake off to it listening 92Q, but DJing helped him discover club’s creative potential. He realized how easy it is to mix together the similar tempos of Baltimore club tracks and so, DJ Dizzy, club producer and DJ, was born. At just 18, Dizzy has crafted some of the most engaging club music coming out of the area in quite some time.
Dizzy’s ‘P.O.P. (Hold It Down!),’ a hilariously danceable remix of viral news footage of Donna Goudeau, a “legally blind” Texas woman, who claimed she had nothing to do with a robbery that landed her in the back of a patrol car, has garnered nearly 60,000 plays on Soundcloud. Then there’s his confident club take on Lor Scoota’s ‘Bird Flu,’ and a remix of the theme song from “Rugrats,” a cartoon that aired on Nickelodeon in the ’90s. It’s incredibly melodic and complex, ingeniously chopping up the playful song and rearranging its pieces. His recent remix of ‘Flat Out’ from “Already,” Abdu Ali’s collaborative EP with Baltimore club producer Schwarz, took him from the battlegrounds of Baltimore club dancers to a brand new audience of experimental dance-loving hipsters.
But like so many Baltimore club producers, Dizzy is frustrated by a lack of being heard and has made it his goal to proselytize for club. When he is not studying computer science, he promotes Baltimore club music by DJing weekly events for his college’s Student Government Association and house parties at off-campus apartments. University of Maryland Eastern Shore is home to a large student population from Baltimore, but Dizzy encounters many students from Prince George’s County, and they aren’t quite sold on the Baltimore sound yet.
“Club music gets around, but they think of it as either the old K-Swift stuff from Baltimore or the new stuff from New Jersey,” Dizzy laments. Although Dizzy is inspired by the sounds of yesterday, he imagines a better future for Baltimore club music. “I can’t sit here and make all of this music just for it to be chillin’ in Baltimore,” he says. “I want our music to be recognized. I want it to be a national, ‘we exist’ type thing.”
He is young, optimistic, and hungry for success. “I’m trying to think of an outlet to get my music out there. But it’s not just one person making a move—it’s a collective,” he says, looking to Nasty across the room. Dizzy, like so many others, was deeply inspired by the Boiler Room Baltimore club special in August. James Nasty kicked off the party that night in New York City and back here in Maryland, Dizzy was so moved by his set that he immediately reached out to Nasty on Facebook. And just like that, a musical collaboration was born.
“Bmore Bounce,” their collaborative EP samples commanding, call-and-response vocals from popular New Orleans Bounce tracks and blends them with classic Baltimore club break beats, encouraging even more shaking on the dance floor.
“[The EP] is really vocal and it’s more for the females. And that’s what I think club is missing. It’s not [made] for the females anymore,” Dizzy says. As today’s Baltimore club shake-off tracks gain popularity in the clubs, competitive male dancers take the spotlight on the dance floor while the ladies stay out of the way, relegated to wallflowers. “Bmore Bounce” is an official invitation for the ladies to return to the dance floor.
“A lot of females that twerk listen to this type of music, so if they hear a different spin on it, maybe they’ll start to feel Baltimore club a little more,” Dizzy says. “You wanna go to a party and hear club music and it should be enjoyable for everybody, not just niggas who can dance.”