Just a couple of miles south of Roseville, Mich., Record Time resides upon a pretty famous strip of real estate. As you may have gathered from the Eminem film that bears its name, Detroit's 8 Mile Road is dotted with industrial buildings, auto-repair shops, vacant lots and plenty of strip clubs — a neighborhood blight for some but an inviting source of inspiration for 22-year-old Disco D.
Although young, Disco D (born David Shayman) is already quite the nudie-bar connoisseur. “The difference between a strip club in Detroit and a regular strip club is, it's not about being sultry or sexy; it's about the size of your ass and how fast you can shake it,” he says. Truth be told, Shayman saw his fair share of booty far before the law would allow, as he would stop in to service the strip-club DJs with his own records when he was still in high school.
Thanks to people like Shayman, the patrons of joints such as Chocolate City and Hot Tamales don't have to sit through sets of dancers gyrating to “Hot in Herre” or “You Shook Me All Night Long.” Instead, the girls grind to ghetto tech, a pitched-up-to-plus-8 hybrid of Miami bass, hip-hop, electro and techno that remains largely indigenous to Detroit and Chicago and is often characterized by the genre's biggest breakout track, DJ Assault's “Ass 'n' Titties.”
“For me, ghetto tech is a production style; it's a Disco D or a Godfather record,” Shayman says. “But I could also take a Basic Channel record and play it at 45 rpm and play a Jay-Z a cappella over it, and that's ghetto tech, too. It's always a hunt for tracks that wouldn't necessarily work and just makin' them work.”
Whatever the formula, he's doing something right. Along with running his own label, Booty Bar, and scads of remixes and collaborations in the works, Shayman recently signed to pioneering hip-hop imprint Tommy Boy, which just released his mix CD A Night at the Booty Bar, as well as the EP by the same name. That EP marked Shayman's initial collaborations with urban artists. “The first single, ‘Keys to the Whip,’ which features Lola Damone, is the first song that I actually used live instrumentation on,” Shayman says. “I had my boy Mocean Worker play live bass, and I chopped it up and sampled it. There are some classic lines in there: ‘I get more head than a fitted hat.’”
Anyone looking for those Disco D releases can find them at the rear of Record Time in the dance room, which is far enough from the indie-rock and jazz records that cover most of the store yet not so far that the monitors are at all forgiving to the average shopper. “This is where I did most of my shopping when I was living here and when I was getting into [ghetto tech],” Shayman says. “For this style of music, as you can see, they've got the Top 10 for you hanging on the wall right here. They've always supported the music, and in terms of sales, I blow more records out of here than any other store probably in the world. You come here, and the shit's on the wall. Nowhere else would you have that.”
Last night, Shayman made his triumphant return to his hometown of Ann Arbor, Mich. — he currently lives in New York — and, today, he seems a bit reminiscent. Perhaps a trip back in time, then? Here, he sketches out an anatomy of ghetto tech, from early electro to 8 Mile Road.
AttenCHUN! (So So Def)
He's an Atlanta MC that was actually the first signing to So So Def. To be honest, this is really hard for something that Jermaine Dupri would put out. This is a good example of the real darty, darty South. For a record like this, it's slow; it's half-time. I'll take the a cappella, jack it up and play it over some double-time stuff and remix it on the fly and make it really hot.
This is Juan Atkins and this other guy [Rick Davis] who no one knows about 'cause he didn't do anything afterward. One of the hottest early electro records, this not only influenced techno music and what I do, ghetto tech, but also freestyle. This is sampled in every early freestyle record. And not only that, in terms of scratching and doing tricks, this is probably one of the ultimate records to battle with. You've got that “1-2-3-4” in the beginning, and you can go “1-1-2-2-3-3-4-4.”
DISCO D & PRINCESS SUPERSTAR
“Fuck Me on the Dancefloor” (Rapster/K7)
This is a collaboration I did with Princess Superstar from New York. She had this single called “Bad Babysitter.” This was all about: “She makes some dirty-ass music. I make some dirty-ass music. Why don't we make some dirty-ass music together?” This is what we came up with. To get her inspired to do this record, I took her to Chocolate City and got her a lap dance. She liked it.
“Gimme Head” (Booty Bar)
Deeon is one of the best-known ghetto producers in Chicago, but as the style evolved in Detroit, he kind of evolved into doing more records in the style that we are doing. Deeon's known for throwing his own little raps in. This is definitely not something you play on the radio. It's got more the Detroit flavor. That's the jam, right there. We throw the instrumental on and the a cappella on for people who want to cut it up. I like to remix my own stuff on the fly, so it's important to have the a cappella and the instrumental, too.
“Throw That Thang” (Databass)
In terms of instrumentals, this is one of my favorite tracks he's ever done. What characterizes a record like this is usually slammin' beats — sometimes they're 4/4; sometimes they're more electro-techno-oriented — hot bass lines and, you know, catchy-ass hooks. Something that you hear and you can instantly sing along with or remember. The bass line is fuckin' ridiculous. I used to rock this instrumental all the time and play hip-hop a cappellas over it. Fuckin' hot! Something about it makes me just wanna uh, uh.
“No UFOs”/“Future” (Metroplex)
Some more Juan Atkins stuff. Came out in 1985. What was I doing in 1985? I was in kindergarten, actually. [Laughs.] This is the classic Model 500 12-inch. You've got “No UFOs” on the A and “Future” on the B. Let's speed it up. It totally changes the feel of the record when you put it up that fast. I could drop this in a set anywhere, and in Detroit, people are gonna know what it is. But for someone who doesn't know this, I'll play it back-to-back with a ghetto record, and they're gonna get down to it.
TRINA FEAT. LUDACRIS
“B R Right” (Slip 'n' Slide)
It's dirty as fuck. It's a raw, dirty record. It definitely works taking this a cappella over some ghetto tech because this song is all about some dirty sex. Let me play you what it would sound like when I'm doing a remix on the fly. [Plays Trina a cappella over Godfather “Throw That Thang” instrumental.] With this style of music, you gotta pitch-modify the turntables and torque them up.