DJ Craze

Miami Heat (System Recordings)

There are two types of DJs: Battle DJs and club DJs. Usually, the nimble-fingered scratch junkies who spend months perfecting precise battle routines are either uninterested in working clubs or don't have the ear for matching up tracks. Miami's DJ Craze, a three-time winner at the DMC world DJ championships, is an exception.

Though his latest mix, Miami Heat, would probably do better with a little less of the rapid-fire scratch salvos he fires off, it doesn't suffer much. The transitions between tracks are even smoother than on Craze's debut mixed release, 2000's United DJs of America, Volume 16. By carefully synchronizing the pauses, bass drops, and breakdowns of consecutive tunes in a way he didn't before, Craze slides out of one track and into the next effortlessly. He also keeps things moving along quickly, playing an average of less than two minutes of each track. This efficiency keeps the mix from getting stuck in any stagnant material. It also allows Craze to explore a fairly wide range of styles, starting with hip-hop-flavored jungle, then working from heavy mash-ups into more soulful territory, before ending on a ragga-flavored note.