Your Mix Fix: El Kool Kyle

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The word mixtape has plenty of different interpretations. It used to be that mixtapes were actually DJ sets recorded on cassette tapes, but with the coming of the digital music age, the name remained the same, but the definition expanded. Nowadays, people call mixtapes many different things, some of which are not necessarily mixed and most of which were never taped. Here we try to cover them all. In this column, Juan Data gives you a worthy one every week.

DJ: El Kool Kyle

MIXTAPE: Sonido Baylando – Superritmo 6 Year Anniversary Mix

I thought I had featured each and every ñu-cumbia DJ on this column at some point during the last couple of years. But I was missing one of the main players and pioneers in my own local Bay Area scene. El Kool Kyle was there mashing up cumbia dubplates with rap vocals since before it was “kool” to do so and he definitely deserves a very special mention. But it’s not that we’ve been ignoring him, it’s that well, El Kool Kyle does things his own way and unlike most other DJs of the digital era, he’s not particularly active online sharing stuff. In fact, I had to personally beg him to upload one of his mixtapes to soundcloud.

An avid digger of rare Latin vinyl, El Kool Kyle has traveled through the deepest jungles of Central and South America in search of the most obscure and funkiest cumbia 45s. But he also excels in the arts of the mashup, prominently showcased on this particular mixtape recorded live at his weekly party El Superritmo (where he shares the decks with Roger Más). I know the whole cumbia/hip-hop mashup stopped being a novelty a couple of years ago and nobody gets excited about them anymore, but in Kyle’s case there’s two factors that play in his favor: first, most of these mashups (if not all) are exclusives you’ll only hear on his sets and you won’t find them anywhere online; and second, he does a lot of these mashups live! On top of that you have to add the equally exclusive vocal guest appearances by Nicaraguan MC and Bay Area hip-hop legend Deuce Eclipse of Zion-I and Bang Data who’s a frequent collaborator with Kyle (in fact, Kyle produced the beats for the cumbia tracks on Bang Data’s and Deuce Eclipse’s solo album).

So, yeah, you don’t get a mixtape like this one every week. Unless you live near San Francisco, CA and experience it live. As a bonus track, as if the mixtape itself wasn’t enough reason to celebrate, El Kool Kyle made us a special track with shout-outs for Remezcla! How about that for exclusive?


Cumbia Sonido Baylando mezcla by