Rewerk Wednesday/David Morales

Legend, icon, house music pioneer, Frankie Knuckles’ beat partner in crime. Those are just a few of the words and phrases that someone would use to describe the dazzling music work of superstar DJ, David Morales. Known as a go-to remixer for the divas and beyond, in the ’90s, Mr. Morales was one of the pioneers of house music in New York, and also a trailblazer from the ’70s who took on the task of dealing with the change-over from disco to house, leading him to team up with the dearly departed Frankie Knuckles to form the iconic dance music production team, Def Mix. During the beloved ’90s, David’s laid-back yet lightly aggressive style of dance music catered to many of his stylistic trademarks — whirling vocal breaks, pulsating piano riffs, sexy strings — you name it, the iconic DJ thrived in making some of the most delightful dance records to ever grace dance floors and headphones all over the music globe. Today for your Philly Mixtape ‘Rewerk Wednesday,’ we are going to get to know this extraordinary talent, but most importantly, we are going to get a little lost in his disco dream-y music catalog…and that’s the best part when it comes to DJ David Morales…

Born in Brooklyn to Puerto Rican immigrants, Morales lived his early life in a rough section of the Brooklyn projects, and was actually shot once while growing up. After dropping out of high school in the ninth grade, he worked as a cook while making his rough living werk by moonlighting as a DJ. Having been collecting records since he was 14, Morales was turned on to disco at infamous NYC clubs like the Loft and the Paradise Garage. After residing at Garage, David hooked up with an early DJ management firm, For the Record, and soon word of his shimmering music presence spread like disco wild fire during the late ’70s/early ’80s, basically until he had musically owned it at every major club in the New York area. One of  his first underground house hits on the NYC club scene was “Do It Properly,” a production ran by Morales, with Chep Nunez, Ralphi Rosario and legendary C+C Music Factory DJ duo, Robert Clivilles and David Cole. When he eventually moved on to rewerking and rewiring hits in the late ’80s, it was then that he linked up with the dearly departed Godfather of House music, Mr. Frankie Knuckles. Together the two musical masterminds (as well as DJ legend, Satoshi Tomiie), would form Def Mix productions….and the rest is pretty much music history. 

While David was indeed a very powerful collaborator, it was his solo work that truly served up the music heat. His first solo venture came in ’93 with ‘The Program,’ a blazing set of non-stop dance fire, explosive beats and tracks that bump just as fresh as they did more than two decades ago. Each cut is in a dance class of its very own, especially tracks, “Work That Body,” “Sunshine,” “Gimme Luv(Eenie Meenie Miney Mo), the albums title cut, and especially, “In De Ghetto,” which became one of his biggest charting hits after a ’96 re-release featuring the legendary dance floor diva herself, Crystal Waters. 

DJ Morales has also made one hell of a career as being one of the most in-demand remixers of the post-house music era. He’s collaborated with a large assortment of successful music artists including Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Bizarre Inc., Whitney Houston, Pet Shop Boys, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, U2, Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Jocelyn Brown, Sade, the Spice Girls (!), and many, many, many, many others. Most notably, Morales his known for his extensive work in remixing Mariah Carey’s biggest hits. For a better part of a decade of Carey’s singing career, Morales has taken on over a dozen remixes for the window shattering songbird, including his out-of-this-music world classic remix of “Dreamlover,” a thunderous retelling of MC’s Brenda K. Starr redo, “I Still Believe,” and his remix of Carey’s last number one -hit- in -the ’90s, “My All,” which became an absolute force to be reckoned with on the dance floors, and would lead Morales to take home the coveted Grammy award for Best Remixer Non Classical in 1998.

In addition to his nightclub sets and remixing werk, Morales also contributed his midas touch to a beat buffet of radio mix shows throughout the ’90s, most exclusively on Hot 97’s popular segment, All-Night House Party. He’s also produced a large serving of DJ mixes for radio stations all over the music map, including London’s KISS 100, as well as holding down an exclusive residency at famed London hot spot, Ministry of Sound. The dynamic DJ has also contributed his skills to a blooming variety of compilations including Ministry of Sound’s ‘Sessions Seven’, ‘United DJs of America Volume 4’ (which was a collabo with Frankie Knuckles), and most recently with the retrospective collection ‘Mix The Vibe: Past-Present-Future.’ Fun Morales fact-the DJ has also served as a model for Italian clothing design house, Iceberg. Ay dis mio……

Today, the iconic DJ is still very much a funkdafied force to be reckoned with on the scene, churning out hits like “Lovin,” which is under one of his many, many aliases, this time under, ‘The Face.’ (Really, there’s too many to count..). He’s also whipped up an incredible set a few months ago at NYC hot spot, Cielo with famed DJ, Hector Romero, and he’s recently put out a blissful retellings for Sade and Mary J. Blige, which Mixtape has posted below for you guys. To keep up with all things David Morales, you should absolutely check out his website right here. Before you check out for the day, take a moment to get lost in the talent that forever changed the face of house music as we know it, and Philly Mixtape has a feeling that Mr. Morales will continue to do so for a very long time.