Kenny Dixon Jr, widely known as Moodymann, is a Detroit-based producer, artist, and CEO of Mahogani Music. He entered the prominent Detroit music scene in the early 1990s, creating hip-hop beats and producing for local artists like K-Stone. He navigated himself throughout Detroit, working at several record stores with techno legend Blake Baxter.
Moodymann’s intro to hip-hop production transformed to that of techno, and towards the mid-90s, moved to a distinctive type of house music. That signature sound caught the eye of techno artist and Planet E label head, Carl Craig, and led the way for Moodymann’s career.
Click on the player above to hear “5 on 5: Moodymann” and get a feel for Moodymann’s distinctive style with these five essential tracks:
The Progressive Underground’s 5 on 5: Moodymann
1. “In Loving Memory”
“In Loving Memory” is featured on Moodymann’s album, “Silentintroducution”, which helped establish Moodymann’s sound — a hybrid form of techno/house music that utilizes reworked riffs, samples, and grooves. Moodyman deliberately moved to more innovative sounds rather than the mid-90s polished sounds of house-music.
Dixon’s signature sound is on display in “Sunshine,” which is off his seminal album “Mahogany Brown.” In this track, Moodymann juxtaposed a half dozen different loops all at once with sublime results, in anyone else’s hands it wouldn’t work. You can hear his established sound in this track, the different tracks that could only be crafted by Moodymann.
3. “I’m Doing Fine”
Moodyman has enjoyed many collaborations and featured many Detroit artists throughout his music. Amp Fidler, a Mahogani artist, is featured on “I’m Doing Fine,” from the album “Black Mohagani.”
4. “Lyk U Use 2”
From Moodyman’s 2014 self-titled album, “Lyk U Use 2” ventures outside of his typical house sounds into a more of pop, hip-hop, and R&B influence. As with a number of Moodymann’s previous tracks, the Prince influence is strong here – from the styling of the text in the title to the tongue-in-cheek, seductive vibe of the lyrics.
5. “Let Me Show You Love”
Moodymann lets his music do the talking, and his refusal to do interviews fuels the mystique behind his artistry. Regardless of his tendency to avoid the press, he consistently aims to uplift Detroit, its culture, and its music in the most intimate and cinematic way. His iconic style has grown beyond Detroit by using his label and leverage to showcase a number of Detroit’s top talent such as DJ Andres, Monica Blaire, Amp Fiddler, Sheefy McFly, Rick Wilhite, Dan Shake and many more. He is one of Detroit’s cultural ambassadors, and though biographical details may be scarce, he is renowned for his philanthropic work and musical ingenuity.
Haleemah Aqel contributed to this web story.