This Compilation Is a Chrome-Plated Snapshot of Mexico’s Vibrant Juke Scene

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Cue Sonido Berzerk’s “Bahiana Juke” to hear the expanding outer limits of Chicago-born juke in Mexico. Nocturnal tropical notes form the base of the track, a sped and sampled homage to São Paulo body music troupe Barbatuques that rests lightly on juke’s smoothed-out sound. Such a collage is typical of the Veracruz producer; Sonido Berzerk is well-known for his years dropping bass music, but is also a member of JukeMX, a collective of Mexican beatmakers that evolved from a Facebook group of like-minded fans that just dropped its second compilation.

On Traxmex Vol. 2, “Bahiana Juke” is just one tentacle of the evolving genre. The new compilation weighs in at 16 tracks, each made by a different Mexican producer who has been drawn by the call of juke. Some of the country’s heaviest collectives have representation among the tracks; Finesse Records, Futurable,, and Raccoonin Records. Accordingly, sound diversity is the name of the release’s game. Beastie C’s lullaby-hushed “Ártico” is punched through with Earl Sweatshirt samples, a far cry from Vinil Motion’s heavy, metallic “Disasterd Qu@lity” or MONVCO’s fist-pumping “Unkind.” Here, juke is used as a canvas for the sonic explorations taking place in the associated producers’ far-flung studios.

The group was enthused by the response to Traxmex Vol. 1, which was dubbed as Mexico’s first juke compilation. “It was cute to see Mexican folks supporting the material,” says Berzerk of JukeMX’s last group release, which sold out of its cassette copies. (Expect cassettes of this compilation too, available for future purchase on the JukeMX’s Bandcamp once they come back from production). “I think that the footwork movement in Mexico will be stronger thanks to the union of ideas in this project,” Berzerk says. Certainly, it gives the casual listener a good idea of the genre’s global rise.