DJ Magic Mike, the breakthrough bass producer after 2 Live Crew, was the music's most crucial recording artist. An underground label impresario on the order of Master P, Mike's productions were much rougher than the slick Miami bass sound and pursued a gritty old-school vibe -- more akin to Ultramagnetic MC's than Luther Campbell -- long after most hip-hop producers had gone pop in the late '90s.
The former Michael Hampton began his mixing career before he was even a teenager, spinning at a roller rink and selling mixtapes. By the age of 14, he was hosting a drive-time radio show in his native Orlando. He began concentrating on club work after finishing high school, and debuted on wax with 1987's "Boot the Booty" for Vision Records.
One year later, local promoter Tom Reich offered DJ Magic Mike a chance at a half-share in his own Cheetah Records if Mike's releases sold well. His first singles under the agreement, "Magic Mike Cutz the Record" and "Drop the Bass," both became big regional hits, sparking the release of his debut album, DJ Magic Mike and the Royal Posse in 1989. He took more of a guiding hand over his own instrumental productions for the follow-up, 1990's Bass Is the Name of the Game, and the album went gold despite its low vocal content. Mike's breakthrough LP, Ain't No Doubt About It, appeared in 1992, followed by the release of two LPs on the same day in late March; both Bass: The Final Frontier and This Is How It Should Be Done charted, and the former went gold. Although his recording schedule continued apace during the mid-'90s (and the number of his full-length releases climbed into the double digits), fewer of his LPs charted. Mike picked up the commercial slack with advertising appearances for Coca-Cola and Pioneer, and has also worked with Sir Mix-a-Lot, 2 Live Crew, MC Shy D, and Poison Clan. The new millennium saw Mike issue Magic's Kingdom and continue his output of mix albums. ~ John Bush