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Skrillex schools dubstep kings in ‘Recess’

Five years ago, dubstep was relatively unknown — reserved for hipsters and underground web chat rooms. Then “King of Dubstep” Skrillex kick-started the dubstep boom with “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” and “Bangarang,” gaining immense popularity for the blossoming genre. Now, on Skrillex’s first full-length LP, Recess, he has, again, innovated his genre and crafted a diverse, complex — albeit imperfect — showcase of his skills.

Like fellow DJ and featured artist Diplo, Skrillex shines when combining his heavy synth beats with reggae verses and instruments. On the first track, “All is Fair in Love and Brostep,” and on later tracks “Dirty Vibe” and “Ragga Bomb,” Skrillex forgoes the cliché, over-produced bass drops for a focus on the reggae voices. But instead of overshadowing the reggae with the electronics, he compliments it. It seems that Skrillex has finally found a balance between his heavy beats, which are omnipresent but not as overpowering as in his past EPs, and the softer melodies that made songs like “Scary Monsters” such hits.

Still, he continues to branch out with the inclusion of genre-definers like Chance The Rapper, who takes control of “Coast is Clear,” and R&B crooner Sam Dew who puts a Motown spin on “Stranger” — one of the album’s best, most eclectic tracks. Another standout is slow, haunting final track “Fire Away.” He even dabbles in trap, a variation on Southern hip-hop, to great effect.

But for all its eccentricity, Recess does rely on many dubstep clichés throughout. Many of the drops are bland; the best tracks are the ones where Skrillex experiments with his drops.

The album isn’t perfect, but it showcases Skrillex’s broad musical knowledge and ear for detail in his melodies. By meshing many different genres with his dubstep expertise, Skrillex has crafted a fantastic, innovative album and has re-legitimized himself as “King of Dubstep.”


  1. “King of dubstep”
    Stop stop stop STOP

    Skrillex is nowhere close to what the genre started as and quite frankly the style of music he makes is dying out. Dubstep is returning back to its true uk sound now that the whole “brostep” thing is fading out.

    Also, to call him the “king of dubstep” is by far the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. One simply has to go to the ukf dubstep channel or take a trip to soundcloud to find thousands of better artists. (who produce true dubstep)

    His basslines suck. Bass is the most important aspect of dubstep.

    I really wish people would stop talking about him as if he invented dubstep. He just makes music in the same bpm that sounds more like electronic screamo than anything.