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DJ/producer 12th Planet picks five seminal dubstep tunes

November 25, 2011 |  8:24 am

Dubstep pioneer 12th Planet selects five of the songs that converted him to dubstep in the first place.
It's impossible to identify the first DJ to spin dubstep in Southern California, but for all practical purposes, it might as well have been 12th Planet. After being galvanized by the sounds gurgling out of London nightclub FWD and captured by Mary Anne Hobbs' seminal "Dubstep Warz" special, the artist born John Dadzie became an apostle for the nascent sub-genre in early 2006.

Eschewing the drum-&-bass scene that had supported his touring lifestlye for the previous several years, Dadzie embraced the blistering wobble. One of the founders and the most prominent face of venerable bass-music promoters/record label SMOG, the L.A.-raised Dadzie is one of the city's biggest dance-music success stories. He's rocked festivals all over the world, toured with everyone from Daedelus to Skrillex and has officially remixed M.I.A. and John Legend (both will see forthcoming release). His own tunes have been remixed by fellow dubstep star Doctor P, and 12th has seen his videos played on MTV2. Moreover, he's done it all independently.

Yet it's as a live performer when 12th Planet is truly most in his element. He raises his fist and rallies crowds; he dances, raps and drops knowledge. He's a whirlwind of energy capable of making audiences go as wild as Waka Flocka. In advance of SMOG's fifth-year anniversary party in Santa Ana on Friday (headlined by dubstep legend Skream), Pop & Hiss asked 12th to select five of the songs that converted him to dubstep in the first place.

Pinch: "Punisher"

Wow, I remember hearing this song every night from 2006 to about 2008. This was one of the first Dubstep tracks I had heard with some serious attitude on the bass. It reminded me a lot of the late 90's jump-up that Aphrodite was making.

Vex'd: "Bombardment of Saturn"

My friend Tech Itch was one of the first people to ever mention the word dubstep to me. He told me to check out this group Vex'd, and lo and behold this was one of the first songs I had ever grasped the concept of dubstep on.

Rusko: "Hammertime"

This track is the beginning of all "bro-step." Before this song, dubstep was made a certain way, and after "Hammertime," everything changed.

Matty G: "50,000 Watts"

I remember hearing this song for the first time at a [drum-&-bass] show in San Francisco. I thought to myself, this dubstep sounds kind of like hip-hop. It was then I realized my longtime friend Matt from Santa Cruz was the orchestrator behind the sound. This track was pivotal to me, because it was probably the first American-made dubstep that caught U.K. rotation.

Skream: "Rottan"

In my opinion, this track was the platform for modern dubstep. The way the drums are programmed, and the two-note bassline, is basically what set the tone for conventional dubstep.


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-- Jeff Weiss

Photo: 12th Planet at Avalon. Credit: Staticka