The Unknown DJ, one of the most legendary Electro Funk producers in the history of the sound, is really not quite so unknown. Born Andre Pierre Manuel, Unknown DJ pioneered the West Coast Sound of the mid 80's that influenced artists like Egyptian Lover and The World Class Wreckin' Cru.
Unknown DJ did not release many records during his time spent as a producer in the Electro Funk scene, only putting out material on his two West Coast labels called Techno Hop, and Techno Kut ( partnered w/ Grandmaster Lonzo ). However, these releases still became very important in the development of the sound of Electro Funk and would also prove highly influential to the Techno Bass movement that would later emerge out of the 1990's. His two labels also released many artists like Ice-T, King Tee, Jazzy D, and Professor X ( Arabian Prince ), who would also go on to become icons in the music industry, some of them attaining major commercial success.
In 1989, during the decline of the Electro Funk movement, Unknown DJ moved on and became very involved in the Gangsta Rap sound that was beginning to emerge in the Compton area of California. Joining the group, "Compton's Most Wanted" with DJ Slip/Terry Allen, they went on to record such hits as "It's a Compton Thang ( 1990 ), "Straight Checkn 'Em ( 1991 ), and "Music To Driveby ( 1992 )", all which became commercial successes.
Unknown DJ continued to be involved in the recording of many different rap artists throughout the 90's, as well as having many of his Electro Funk hits re-released on various compilations. Finally, Techno Hop Records is back in full force having released the new single "This Is Electro/Mini Mois" in late 2009, proving once again that just because an Electro artist disappears for some time, it doesn't mean that they have given up completely. Sometimes stepping away from things or allowing everything to catch up to what you had envisioned is the best form of inspiration to one day finish what you started.
Unknown DJ's releases included:
- Beatronic - 1984 | Techno Hop Records
- 808 Beats - 1985 | Techno Hop Records
- Let's Jam - 1985 | Techno Hop Records
- Basstronic - 1988 | Techno Kut Records
- Breakdown - 1988 | Techno Kut Records
- X-Men - 1988 ( also produced by DJ Slip/Terry Allen ) | Techno Kut Records
- Revenge of the X-Men - 1988 ( also produced by DJ Slip/Terry Allen ) | Techno Kut Records
Written By: Santino Fernandez