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| posted Wednesday, March 14, 2018 12:33:38 AM |
Though he was deliberately not a household name, the music that the producer and DJ Matt Dike created, sampled and spun helped define underground Los Angeles in the 1980s.
Dike, whose death was announced on Tuesday via the label he co-founded, Delicious Vinyl, produced or co-produced some of the biggest rap hits to come out of the West Coast in the late 1980s, including Tone Loc's "Wild Thing" and Young MC's "Bust a Move." Dike was a key figure in the creation of the Beastie Boys' seminal 1989 album, "Paul's Boutique," and helped define the sample-heavy mash-up style that connected rap, punk, arena rock, pop and disco.
Dike's death, which was confirmed by Dike's brother Lane, occurred in mid-January and followed a battle with salivary gland cancer. He was 56.
A singular figure, Dike at various points in his life was artist Jean-Michel Basquiat's roommate, the producer of Beach Boy Brian Wilson's only known rap song, and a record, cassette and VHS collector who documented the early New York and Los Angeles art, hip-hop and post-disco scenes.
Across a whirlwind decade that began when he moved from New York to Los Angeles in 1980, Dike's contributions were as diverse as remixing Aerosmith and collaborating with Public Image Limited guitarist Keith Levene. He co-produced the first-ever track to diss N.W.A (Romeo and Master Rhyme's "Crackerjack") and served as a club DJ to Ice-T as the rapper-turned-actor was trying to bust into the scene.
Then, at the peak of his success after earning millions from Delicious Vinyl, Dike bought a mansion atop a hill in Echo Park and retreated completely from public life. For the next quarter-century, he led a nearly hermitic existence, surrounded by his record, tape and art collections, reaching out to friends via text message and telephone, cruising down the hill in his VW Beetle to Trader Joe's for supplies and returning home.
He remained a virtual recluse until he died, but Dike packed a lot of action into his years on the L.A. scene. While in his early 20s, he co-founded the crucial L.A. club Power Tools, where he deejayed massive gatherings, mixing disco, rock and rap records, injecting his own rhythms into the tracks, in the process becoming a charismatic king of L.A. nightlife.
At its peak in 1986, the weekly event took over the Park Plaza Hotel in Westlake and became a hub that connected revelers including Andy Warhol, David Bowie, Annie Lennox, the Beastie Boys and members of bands including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jane's Addiction and Thelonious Monster.
He and friend and business partner Mike Ross formed Delicious Vinyl in 1987, and by the mid-'80s they'd earned their first national hit through a collaboration with rapper Tone Loc. Called "Wild Thing," it sold 2 million copies and set the stage for the label's quick rise.
Through those hits, Dike hooked up with the Beastie Boys, who were trying to figure out how to follow up their smash debut album, "Licensed to Ill." Dike and his friend the sound engineer Mario Caldato Jr. sent a few demos in the mail, and the band loved them and headed west.
The Beastie Boys holed up with Dike, Caldato and production duo Michael Simpson and John King, a.k.a. the Dust Brothers, in Dike's Larchmont studio and came out with "Paul's Boutique."
The smooth opening sample on the album, of jazz drummer Idris Muhammad's "Loran's Dance," came from Dike's collection.
"It was the perfect point of departure for hip-hop at that juncture -- a moment where sampling styles were changing, and the bombast of the Bomb Squadwas giving way to something more minimal," said music historian, collector and Madlib's manager Eothen Alapatt of Now-Again Records. "Matt was part of that mission statement, and for that alone he'll always be an important member of the hip-hop canon."
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