- Ballroom club music from one of the genre's most important artists.
Sometime around five years ago, ballroom music seemed to invade any and all spaces for subversive club music. But with origins that can be traced back to the Harlem Renaissance, the genre is the furthest thing from novel. Historically, the style had been insulated within the New York clubs where queer Black and Latino youth representing various houses dipped, posed and duckwalked in theatrical ensembles. Then in 2005, MikeQ founded a ballroom label called Qween Beat.
Disillusioned by years-long white mainstream artists' appropriation of the style, (cue: Madonna's hit single "Vogue") the New Jersey artist, real name Michael Cox, was eager to put the dedicated producers at the forefront of the genre on the map. The imprint was unabashedly Black and queer and pridefully ballroom focused, with some clear influences from UK club music. It was responsible for kickstarting the careers of various prominent queer artists, including early members LSDXOXO, quest?onmarq, Byrell The Great and Skyshaker, many of whom have since expanded out of producing strictly ballroom music.
In these environments where ballroom culture comes alive, the DJ, the dancers and the MC share a deeply symbiotic relationship. This connection was recently captured in the mainstream on the US vogueing reality TV show, Legendary, where MikeQ was the DJ. If his sprawling catalog hadn't done so already, that position solidified his stature as one of modern ballroom music's key pioneers. His RA Podcast is illustrative of his continued significance in the East Coast ballroom scene, blending ballroom music with UK funky, Jersey club and anthemic hip-hop edits, including a rousing ballroom rendition of Megan Thee Stallion and Beyoncé's iconic "Savage" remix.
What are you grateful for these days?
I am grateful for my life, my family and that we are all alright, waking up each day having the ability to be who I am and do what I do and just be OK.
How and where was the mix recorded, and can you tell us the idea behind it?
This mix was recorded in my current home in East Orange, New Jersey, where everything I've ever done has been conjured up. The idea behind my mix is me, how I play so you hear lots of ballroom and house, those two are my mains not to forget Jersey club which deserves to be noted but none of that is here for this one. It has lots of new track people will be hearing for the first time listening to this mix so this is me, 2021, ending off the year.
Last year, you experienced a landmark achievement in your career: DJing for the HBO ballroom competition series, Legendary. Did you find that you had to adjust your mixing style and track selection much to suit the needs of that show?
Well I'll say being a TV DJ is a completely different experience and the music selection does a huge change from Season 1 to Season 2, as well, but thats' not all my deciding.
How do you feel like the state of New York's ballroom scene has evolved since the onset of the pandemic?
If you ask me, ballroom never stopped with the pandemic, it quickly moved to virtual balls which seemed to have went well and then if we are talking Atlanta, balls just kept going there in person throughout the entire thing. "What pandemic," Atlanta said lol.
What are you looking forward to in the near future?
I am in the near future looking forward to getting back into production heavy and dishing out more, I've been at this 17 years now and I still feel like I haven't given myself fully so I"m aiming for that, as well as touching more lands and going back to previous ones, I need to see everybody I ever met all over again. Well most of them.
What's one social or political cause you want the world to pay more attention to?
Whew where do I start? As an all around im going to say I want the world to pay attention to minding their own business about other people's personal lives and let people live. Additionally, BLACK TRANS LIVES MATTER!
Kenny Dope - I Wanna
Georgia Girls - One Two Ha
MikeQ - She’s Feeling (Dance Mix)
2 Live - Hell Yes
MikeQ - Wanna Talk Ft. moi Renee
Kartel Brown - Spend Pon
MikeQ & Ash B. - Legendary
MikeQ - Do Ya Dig
MikeQ - Look At Her Makeup feat Crystal Labeija
Vjuan Allure - Din Acid
Tierra Whack - Walk The Beat (MikeQ Runway Remix)
MikeQ - Buddah's Runway
Duke Dumont - Runway (MikeQ Remix)
Sugur Shane - Runway (Loffe Beatz Remix)
Vjuan Allure - The Picasso Rembrandt
TSVI - Xus Lord Ft. DJ JM
Mike Dunn Ft. Rudd N'Scruff - Strike It Honey (Honey Dijon Remix)
Midnight Society - How Do I Look feat. Jade Elektra (Paulo's Cunty Mix)
Chop Chop & Harmonica Sunbeam - I'm here to work
Fast Eddie - Let's Go (MikeQ LSS Remix)
Capital Kaos - Stop Playin (B!tcH)
Jay R Neutron - Thee Savage
Koppi Mizrahi & Loffe Beatz - Get Down
Vladimir Cauchemar & Alyon - Dancer (Lazy Flow & MikeQ Remix)
Sinjin Hawke - Lost (MikeQ Remix)