By: Robert Martin
If you have an internet connection, you were likely exposed to Baauer in the last eight months. Nearly a year after the release of his debut single “Harlem Shake,” four Australian teens singlehandedly launched the song to the top of the “Billboard Hot 100” with a video craze that would spawn roughly 40,000 spinoffs and millions of YouTube views. Baauer, the Brookyln producer whose addictive banger had already made its rounds through the DJ community was an overnight sensation. A product of the internet and its ability to craft a lucrative meme out of anything. The song was everywhere. Well, the first 30-seconds at least. The opening line, a frantic voice screaming “Con los terroristas,” became a staple. A queue for everyone from tweens at the mall to college students on quads across the country to start going crazy and film it for the rest of the world. It was as magnificent as it was stupid.
Like all YouTube sensations, the Harlem Shake was soon cast out, replaced by a new legion of teenage girls dropping “that thun thun”. Baauer on the other hand was not. The producer, who stayed relatively quiet throughout his rise seems to have only used the momentum to further launch himself artistically, not commercially. In the months following the plague of Harlem Shake, Baauer has toured with the likes of Just Blaze, Danny Brown, R.L. Grime, and will soon set out again with AraabMuzik.
Sonically, Baauer is aiming his sights far beyond the scope of “one hit wonder.” There will never be another “Harlem Shake”, or anything that sounds like it, and this is clearly something the 24-year-old strives for in his work. Great variation and original sounds in every release are a major part of what made Baauer so appealing in the first place. Those kids danced so hard to Harlem Shake because nothing else was making them move that way.
Whether it be major remixes for the likes of Disclosure and AlunaGeorge or original work like the Just Blaze collaboration “Higher,” Baauer is carefully distancing himself from the meme and the hysteria. This is even apparent in the live sets, where the producer gives his most famous track only a brief sampling before moving on to the next part of his wild mix.
Baauer’s career move should be commended. Many overnight celebrities find themselves pulled into a whirlwind of fame and commercial deals, but Baauer has stayed true to the fans and most importantly himself. That’s saying a lot considering the amount of money there is to be made in the industry right now.
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