BAAUER and JUST BLAZE at The Hoxton, Friday (February 1).
Baauer is Harry Rodrigues, the rising 23-year-old Brooklyn producer behind last year's inescapable dance anthem Harlem Shake and a string of high-profile remixes. Just Blaze is Justin Smith, one of the most successful rap producers today and the man behind many of your favourite songs by Eminem, Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar.
However you want to look at their current co-headlining tour - promising rookie co-signed by an established producer or seasoned veteran looking to introduce himself to a younger audience - it makes a lot of sense. Their recent collaboration Higher has racked up thousands of SoundCloud plays already, merging Just Blaze's hip-hop sensibilities (sampling Jay-Z's U Don't Know) and Baauer's wobbling bass. On headphones, the song (which drew the nefarious-sounding label "trap rave") is too busy, but at the packed Hoxton on Friday night, over proper speakers, it sounded monstrously large.
While Just Blaze's set was more of a best-of karaoke session than an actual DJ set, the crowd let him get away with it because of his deep discography, singing along at the top of their lungs to tracks including Jay-Z's Public Service Announcement, Kanye West's Touch The Sky and Dead Prez's Hip-Hop.
This set the stage for Baauer, who opened with the Coolio's Gangsta's Paradise, before playing a set that deftly moved between trap staples (Major Lazer, half-Canadian duo TNGHT), current hip-hop, early 2000s pop (at least two Justin Timberlake songs) and back again. It would have been impossible to identify everything he played, but the young producer's greatest strength is his ability to juggle genres without ever losing control. If this performance was any indication, Baauer's full-length release on electronic label LuckyMe later this year should be worth picking up.