Band of the Day

2012.09.12

DJ Raff

A former hip hop DJ adds his beat-smithing-background to ambient electronic
DJ Raff's 2011 album Latino & Proud is still somewhat grounded in hip hop, but it's clear that the producer has progressed to something uniquely his own.
quote from Band of the Day Review

DJ Raff is an experimental turntablist from Chile-by-way-of Spain. His debut album Latino and Proud is a fusion of bass-heavy electronica and futuristic hip hop. His song "Latino & Proud" appears in EA’s FIFA 2012. For over 10 years he has been at the forefront of a new generation of artists who have introduced new styles and forms of music into the Latin market. Raff's vast experience and upfront production skills have made him one of the most sought after producers in Chile, where he has made beats for many different artists and released his own solo material. It's no surprise that DJ Raff's reputation has crossed frontiers and spread across to the rest of the continent. His blend of creative sampling, phat beats, keyboard arrangements and scratching have already earned him a place amongst Latin America's most highly regarded and groundbreaking DJs and music producers.

Barcelona by way of Chile electronic producer DJ Raff has had quite a journey to get where he is today. DJ Raff began his musical career deep into hip hop at a time when the art form was nearly unknown in Chile. Making loops and beats out of classic old-school artists like NWA and the Beastie Boys, DJ Raff helped foster one of Latin America's most vibrant hip hop scenes in Santiago, Chile, eventually emerging as that country's premier DJ. But by the mid 2000s, his interests were starting to wander. Relocating to Barcelona, Spain, DJ Raff began experimenting with electronic music, molding ambient electronic sounds into the hip hop base he'd played for so long.

DJ Raff's 2011 album Latino & Proud is still somewhat grounded in hip hop, but it's clear that the producer has progressed to something uniquely his own. Mixing samples, heavy bass wobble, minimalist, yet hard hitting beats, and some truly gorgeous ambient melodies, Latino & Proud is packed with memorable moments.

One such moment is certainly “Battle Life.” Beginning with a fuzzed out bass synth oozing over an off kilter hip hop beat, Raff brings in hypnotic synths that sound like they're pulling you along, playfully guiding you through some blissful dream. “B-Boy Stance” features a suitably old-school hip hop beat, but there's no MC in sight. Instead you get a fat, rhythmic synth and ghostly crystal-like synth pads. It's a little eerie, and at the same time makes you want to move or throw on a pair of headphones and lose yourself in it. One of the strongest on the album, title track “Latino & Proud” is suitably latin with its samples of looped salsa piano and latin percussion liberally popping in around the heavy hip hop beat. Still a DJ at heart even as he grows as an electronic music producer, the track shows DJ Raff's impressive command over rhythm as the chopped pieces samples come together flawlessly.