Kenny Dope

Kenny Dope

Kenny was born in 1970 and grew up in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. In the eighties around the age of 11 or 12 he was absorbing up the hip-hop beats that were being played at local block and house parties. To date Kenny has a collection of over 60,000 records.

In the late 80’s, along with his friend and partner Mike Delgado, Kenny organized a series of neighborhood parties under the alias “Masters at Work”. Brooklyn’s DJ-Producer Todd Terry attended these parties and the two soon became friends. Kenny met King Grand (Russell Cole) and the two formed a group called “KAOS”. In 1987 Kenny and Todd produced the groups album titled “Courts In Session”. In 1988 at the age of 18, Kenny’s first album was released on Greg Fore’s label BadBoy Records. The label was distributed by Idlers/Warlock Records and was home to Jungle Brothers, Royal House and others.

Soon after he started his own independent label Dopewax Records and it wasn’t long before he was recording and releasing numerous underground hits of his own. The Dopewax label is still thriving and releasing all different types of tracks. Dopewax will be releasing its 100th track in September of 2011.

In 1987 Kenny allowed Todd Terry to release a record using the Masters at Work brand that he had built up over time and the huge club hits “Alright Alright” and “Dum Dum Cry” were released.

During the 90s Kenny was traveling back and forth from England a lot. At a MAW gig during the Southport weekender Kenny watched the jazz dancers in the jazz room, seeing the dancers is what gave him the idea for syncopated beat (dubbed broken beat). This is when Kenny developed “the broken beat” style.

In this time frame, not only did Kenny collaborate with Louie on MAW projects. He was also solely producing and remixing tracks in the hip-hop and reggae scene. “Get Up” (Clap Your Hands), and “The Madd Racket” were huge club tracks and still are in the scene today. In the early 90’s Kenny produced the “Unreleased Project” featuring Shaggy on the “Gunshot” track. During this time Kenny also release tracks on Strictly Rhythm, Freeze, Nervous, Henry Street Records, and TNT under different aliases.

Master at Work are currently labeled “The most revolutionary house production team of the 90’s”, so imitated that their innovations are now cliché’s. Latin percussion, joyous vocals, and natural drumbeats are MAW trademarks levitating dance floors with the infectious feeling of ecstasy and energy. If ever there was massive dance floor filler, it was maw’s 1997 record, “Nuyorican Soul”, and in 2002 the album, “Our Time is Coming”, with cameos by Patti Austin, James Ingram, and Stephanie Mills. It simply proves that MAW write and remix great songs that are organic and soulful. Highlights include the afrobeat-tinged MAW expensive “A Tribute to Fela”, Mills’s gospel fire on “Latin Lover,” and Roy Ayers’s glorious vibes solo on the title track. Taking credit for saving a WTC life in “Michelle’s Message” is totally crass; MAW handled even that with style.

While production and touring accounted for most of his time, Kenny also founded Kay-Dee Records in 2003. The label came about when Scottish funk DJ legend Keb Darge came to Kenny with a challenge. After Keb heard MAW’s “The Nervous Track” he promised Kenny that he would come up with a funk version of the track. A short while later he came back to Kenny with “Nervous” by The New Mastersounds. Kay-Dee Record’s was born and the track became the first pressing on the label in 2003.

Another huge project for Ill Friction was the signing of artist Mishal Moore to the label.

The first single “Oh Lord” was released in 2009. The record was a banger but took a little while to catch on. The second single “ It Aint Over” was released in 2010 along with a quirky video. The track was remixed by The WideBoys. The single really took off when a dub-step version of the record was re-mixed by Document One. This version of the single has close to a million views alone. Combined version views of the single “It Aint Over” total close to 2 million. Through Mishal’s talents, voice and melodies along with Kenny’s experience, composing, arrangements and production together they have created an amazing album.

2011 also brought another Grammy nomination. Raheem De Vaughn’s 3rd album “ Love & War Masterpeace”(formerly signed to Jive Records) was nominated for best R&B Album Of The Year. Kenny produced 11 tracks on the album. The musical chemistry that they create together has obviously spoken to the masses this year. Don’t be surprised if you see new stuff this fall that the two have collaborated on. And 2013 will definitely bring a lot more great tracks from the dynamic duo.