Pin It
Photography Evan Zott & Justin Kearn

Dazed Mix: Waajeed

The legendary Detroit producer takes us on a journey through disco, gospel and Afro house

Listening to Waajeed’s latest album Memoirs of Hi-Tech Jazz takes the exact length of time as it does to drive from the Underground Music Academy in the North End to Detroit’s island park Belle Isle. The former is located on a street widely associated with Black history (the Submerge record shop is next door, the Motown museum is up the block), while the latter is a destination where Black Detroiters cookout, park their boats, play spades and listen to local music.

Similarly, Memoirs of Hi-Tech Jazz is meant as a celebration of Black leisure and play. Led by horn sounds that evoke the virility of Black Southern college bands, and chants of “no justice, no peace” set against helicopter and police sirens, the album is imbued with the sounds of resistance, though it’s also meant as a celebration of Black joy that exists outside the gaze of oppression.

As a former member of the legendary hip-hop crew Slum Village alongside J Dilla, Waajeed is a prolific artist within Detroit’s musical landscape, having pivoted towards house and techno in the 2010s, most notably on Theo Parrish’s Warrior Code. In 2020, he connected with Mad Mike and Underground Resistance to co-found the Underground Music Academy to help raise a new generation of Detroit musicians.

For his exclusive Dazed mix, the legendary producer takes us on a journey through disco, deep cuts, gospel and Afro-house. “My mix is similar to my point of view towards my music creation process and DJ sets,” he tells us, ”an eclectic mix of music that normally wouldn't fit together”. 

Tell me about your latest album. What are some of the main inspirations?

Waajeed: Memoirs of Hi-Tech Jazz is an assortment of all the genres I’ve experimented with during my career. I’m inspired by many things... Art, life, good conversation. Primarily this project was driven by the celebration of leisure. 

You run Detroit’s Underground Music Academy. How did the idea come about?

Waajeed: I’m a co-founder at UMA. This idea started about six or seven years ago. It’s based on the acknowledgment and celebration of Black founders in the electronic music space. Our mission is to create a more inclusive global dance music community that’s more aware of its roots, and that benefits the communities that came before it.

What are the next steps for the academy?

Waajeed: Building structure, in terms of curriculum and awareness.

What are some of your earliest memories of music? Have they influenced your sound at all?

Waajeed: Very early. I recall my dad playing jazz when everyone was sleeping. I used to sneak in and sit behind him quietly. 

What are you listening to at the moment?

Waajeed: Myself mostly, I’m totally focused on developing my sound. Besides that, I’m listening to my recent signee to my label Dirt Tech Reck Michelle Manzo. 

Do you have any fun projects or shows lined up?

Waajeed: Very much looking forward to touring for this album in 2023. It’s been some time since I’ve been outside. Excited to share tunes!

Tell us about your Dazed mix.

Waajeed: My mix is similar to my point of view towards my music creation process and DJ sets: an eclectic mix of music that normally wouldn’t fit together. 

Home Work - “I’m Into This” (Andre From & Martin Dawson Remix)
Julian Sanza & Andre Espeut - “Feelings”
Nhan Solo & Daniel Dexter - “The Thrill” (Spencer Parker and Ian Pooley Remix)
Ralph Rosario & Linda Clifford - “Wanna Give It Up” (Jamie 3:26 Disco Party Version)
Dwanye Jensen - “My People”
Oliver S - “Doin’ Ya Thang”
The Bucketheads - “The Bomb” (These Sounds Fall Into My Mind Remix)
Richard Burton feat. Tasha LaRae - “Let God Work” (Sahib Muhammad & DJ Spen’s Afro Infusion)
The Angels & Idd Aziz - “Chama Cha” Trumpeta (Extended Mix)
Waajeed - “Motor City Madness” (12” Version)
Teflon Dons - “Gonna Tell Me” (Original Mix)
Soul Vision - “Don’t Stop” (Dario A’Attis Remix)
Tom Trago - “Use Me Again” (Carl Craig Remix)
Scan 7 - “The Resistance” (Terrance Parker Mix)
DJ Fudge - “Mechoga” (K2 Remix)
LB aka LABAT - “Feel the Beat” (Original Mix)
Mele - “Scouse Afrika”
Waajeed - “Shango” (Edit 2)
Pablo Fierro - “Tembo” (Original Mix)
Rampa & Chuala - “Les Gout” (Original Mix)