A Piece Of New Orleans Bounce Music Is Lost With The Passing Of Legendary DJ Cameron Paul
The music world lost a true legend with the passing of Legendary Bay Area DJ Cameron Paul.
Known to many as "the godfather of mixing," Cameron Paul died of cancer on Monday (March 26). While Paul made a huge name for himself in the Bay Area during the 80s and 90s his influence went far beyond Northern California.
Paul is credited as "the first person to really start doing quick mixing, power mixing"—a style that many DJs still exhibit today. People would come from all over the world to see Cameron Paul mix at his nightclub residencies in the Bay Area.
Not only did he pull off these incredible mixes, he was eager to educate and share his skills. New Orleans DJ Tony Skratchere says his impact on DJng and the culture that surrounds it is "immeasurable."
Cameron Paul was the first DJ's DJ. He, like the Invisibl Skratch Piklz, stripped the secrecy away from DJing.
One of my favorite videos online is "Cameron Paul Tells All"—a digitized version of a VHS tape that Paul put out to teach others the basics of DJ mixing. Bay Area DJs say that EVERY DJ had this tape, and would play it over and over again to learn and perfect the art of DJing.
In addition to his skills behind the turntables, Cameron Paul also made a pretty big name for himself as a remixer and producer. He had his own record label, as well as a very popular remix subscription service called Mixx-It that started in the mid-80s and provided "DJ friendly" remixes and edits to popular songs.
His remix of Salt-N-Pepa's 'Push It' is the version that everyone heard on the radio, turning the dancefloor filler into a platinum classic. He also did the same for George Michael on "I Want Your Sex" and countless other hot dance records.
There was also a Mixx-It series known as "Cameron's Beats" or "Beats and Pieces" which were short but remixed bridges that combined club friendly beats that were put together by Cameron Paul.
In 1987 the first issue of "Beats and Pieces" featured a cut called "Brown Beats" that, along with the Showboys - Drag Rap (Triggerman), would help spawn the infectious dance subgenre known as New Orleans Bounce Music.
Cameron's "Brown Beats" features the same bars from Derek B's "Rock The Beat" which came out the same year.
I would have to believe that Paul was the one who sampled the UK rapper and not the other way around—but because of Cameron Pauls clever re-programming, New Orleans hottest DJs found it to be the perfect backing track for the call-and-response chants of the rappers who rocked the mic during their sets.
There may be no firmer confirmation of this than lyrics from another legendary pioneer by the name of Mannie Fresh. In the Big Tymer's classic "Big Ballin" Mannie's lyrics at the 2:53 mark literally gave us the blueprint of how it all started.
'Bought two Triggermans, and Brown Beats—so you can pop yo' p***** in the middle of the street.'
Mannie was right. Those two records were all you needed to bounce any song out and rock a New Orleans party until the break of dawn.
This Bay Area DJ probably had no idea that one of the wildest genres of party music ever created had his beats at the center of it all—but he did know that New Orleans was really into that particular record. New Orleans DJ Brice Nice explains:
DJs ruled New Orleans when Cameron Paul released Brown Beats in 1987. DJs decided what the streets needed and for some cosmic reason two of the tracks that tapped into the raw energy of this city were Drag Rap (Triggerman) by the Showboys and Brown Beats by Cameron Paul. Neither song made much noise anywhere else, but in New Orleans they are the backbone of bounce music, the soundtrack of p-poppers and hustlers, the beat of the street. Supposedly, in the early 90s they had to press additional copies of Beats and Pieces for just the local market. That’s love. Respect.
There is no way I would ever have enough time to list ALL of the New Orleans Bounce records that sampled "Brown Beats"—but legend has it that a live DJ mix that was recorded to cassette by New Orleans legend, DJ Irv mashed up the acapella from Timex Social Club's - "Thinkin' About Ya" with Cameron's classic DJ tool to create an instant New Orleans Bounce classic.
According to numerous NOLA DJs, that mix was allegedly redone by DJ Money Fresh and recorded to CD as the popular version we know today and will still turn ANY New Orleans party upside down.
Talking to a few DJ friends, they all agree that without Cameron Paul, New Orleans Bounce music wouldn't have one of it's most unique sounds. Grammy Award-winning New Orleans DJ Spin credits the tool that Cameron Paul created for molding the NOLA sound and "perfect for blending countless acapellas."
Big Freedia's official DJ, Juane Jordan, says Paul's "Brown Beats" has been a staple of New Orleans Bounce for as long as he can remember.
I remember when I was like 7 or 8 years old, I was in a mix session with my brother DJ Louie Lou. It was my turn to go and I mixed Cameron Paul's "Brown Beats" for like 45 minutes straight. Some songs were nowhere near the BPM of the track. The beat was so intriguing and basically became the base sound of all of our upcoming songs you hear today.
DJ EF Cuttin took to Twitter suggesting a New Orleans Style second line to pay respect to Paul, adding that it would be the perfect way to say "thank you for helping to design such a cultural phenomenon for the city."
According to his Facebook page, Cameron Paul was in hospice before passing away. His sister updated his page, keeping fans informed during his final days as fans paid homage to the legendary DJ.
From one DJ to another, "thank you" Cameron Paul. We may have lost you, but you will forever be immortalized in New Orleans Bounce music and DJ culture.
May you rest in beats.