Ohhh that James Nasty! Karaoke superstar, freaktrain advocate, and lover of all things deep fried – the dude lives and breathes Baltimore club music. You’ve probably read his name somewhere in the City Paper or the Baltimore Sun – he’s all over this city. You can find him punishing some tacos at the local Mexican joint, daydrinking on his stoop, or playing maestro at his Friday night party, Physical Education. Hosted by The Ottobar every Friday night, Physical Education, or Phys Ed for short, is one of the most active parties in Baltimore right now. The fun thing about Phys Ed is that you never quite know what to expect week after week. It provides a different experience every single time. Sure – you can always count on James Nasty to play a full hour of Baltimore club at 1AM, but each week there’s a new guest DJ who can play anything from Top 40 to dubstep to moombahton. These different genres draw so many different types of party people to Phys Ed – from art school kids to ghetto mamis, cowboys to hipsters, nerds to bboys. You can literally assemble The Village People every week.
The myriad of people who roll through The Ottobar on Friday night contributes to a specific dynamic that is truly unique to Phys Ed. But one thing that everybody has in common is that they are all WYLIN’ OUT come 1AM. The moment James Nasty steps up to the decks and the Baltimore club starts pouring out the speakers and smackin’ you in the ass, everybody starts to lose their shit and it truly is a beautiful sight to see. I’ve seen girls movin’ their bodies in ways I didn’t even know was physically possible. I’ve seen people gettin’ freaky and eating cupcakes at the same time. I’ve seen a bride gettin’ down in her wedding gown. I once saw a dude stuntin’ in a red cape. But my absolute favorite sight I’ve seen at Phys Ed was four people gettin’ in on a freaktrain all while sharing McDonald’s burgers and fries. That’s love, people. Or maybe just vodka. But seriously, there’s always at least one point during Phys Ed where I rub my eyes and ask, “Is this real life?” Nope. This is Phys Ed. Every fuckin’ Friday.
But you might need a little something to get you through the week. James Nasty is always in the lab and regularly releases brand new tracks over on his SoundCloud, but if you don’t have The Truth About James Nasty, you need to download it immediately and add it to your mixtape collection. Released earlier this year, this mixtape is bound to make you involuntarily bop your head to the beat. You also might get the sudden urge to shake your ass on the next person that walks down the street. That’s just what Baltimore club music does to a person. Listen for favorites like, “Lemme C Wat U Got”, “Them Do It Horns” and especially “We No Speak Bmoreo”, which is consistently featured on Baltimore club hours on 92Q. While The Truth About James Nasty maintains a classic Baltimore club sound, it’s doing a lot to spearhead the newest transitional movement in Baltimore club music, which involves less sampling, more original vocals, and an overall cleaner, more polished feel to the productions.
But Baltimore club music can only be so polished. It’s supposed to have this grimey feel to it and James Nasty keeps it real. He thrives on gettin’ that bass knockin’, lettin’ them horns blow, and keepin’ it all sexual. Rockin’ his tracks will leave you feelin’ some sort of way and hopefully it involves impure thoughts. James Nasty is all about bringing out your inner freak so don’t fight it too much, ya heard?
Take some time to get to know the guy who’s providing the soundtrack to your Friday night:
Cool Breezy: When did you start DJing and producing and who are some of your influences? Also, why Baltimore club?
James Nasty: I started producing in college in 2001 while still in school at UMBC. I used to make beats and go to the recording studio on campus with my homies, get fucked up, and record them. [I] started DJing in 2006 playing house parties in College Park.
Influences are alcohol, watching girls jiggle their asses and titties, The Neptunes, Armand Van Helden, 2 Live Crew, DJ Funk, and Rod Lee.
I can’t think of any other genre of music that has the energy that club music has. Don’t get it twisted – [it’s] not the only genre I am into but at the end of the day, there really is nothing like it and I’m proud to be from the city [where] it comes from. I don’t understand how some folks around here don’t feel that sense of pride and ownership of Baltimore club.
CB: What’s good with Physical Education? How’d the party get started and what makes The Ottobar the place to be on Friday nights?
JN: The party started about two and a half years ago by a group of guys and was called Moustache back then. I was eventually brought in as a resident DJ. Throughout the course of the two and half years, everyone, besides Ponyo and I, has moved on to other opportunities in other cities.
It’s the place to be because the party is just fun – simple as that. [It’s] more fun than any other party in the city, I feel. Diverse crowd [and] diverse music means [there’s] something for everyone. I want to keep things simple. Come drink if you want to drink, dance if you want to dance and meet people to hook up with if you want to hook up. What more do you really need from a night out on the town? Plus, we happen to play some pretty awesome tunes throughout the night.
CB: I’ve seen you spin with so many different DJs at Phys Ed, from Reed Rothchild to DJ Sega. Are there any other artists you’d really like to work with?
JN: [There are] so many people I’d love to work with. I’ve been really feelin’ LMFAO recently and would love to produce a track for them. And Rye Rye. I have beats that I’ve made already that I can imagine them on, don’t think the time is right though.
As far as people I’d love to come play at PHYS ED – there’s a few DC homies that I know would murder the party: Stereo Faith, Jerome Baker III, Trevor Martin, Will Eastman… Other than that, Oh Snap, Tim Dolla, DJ Tamiel, Roxy Cottontail, DJ Pierre, Murder Mark, Starks & Nacey, and somehow get Blaqstarr to come home and play a club set. There’s so many more people. I see a lot of people doin’ big things elsewhere. I want them all to come play Phys Ed and get their life in my house.
CB: Earlier this year, you dropped The Truth About James Nasty. What’d you want to accomplish with that mix and are you working on anything new?
JN: Most of all I wanted to just put out a mix. I hadn’t put out a mix in a while. I wanted to preview some previously unheard and unreleased tracks. And I just wanted to show people my style and the diversity of the tracks I make and that I had that many good tunes.
I’m working on a longer, more official mixtape right now. I’m working with a lot of difference MCs and vocalists on some tunes. I want to get away from remixing and sampling so much and make songs with people while still making authentic club music. I want this next mixtape to be the soundtrack to the best house party ever. Some shit you could put on at home, invite some people over, start drinking and just get wild to.
CB: What do you think about the current state of Baltimore club music and how would you like to see it progress?
JN: It would be nice to see 92Q add more club music mixes to their programming schedule and hire more DJs (points at himself). DJs in clubs around town need to start playing more new club tracks. We need more new mixtapes. Someone has to come with something that defines what is hot and current in club music like the Jump Off tapes. Club producers need to start thinking bigger and making songs that can be copywritten and pushed as singles. It’s no secret that a lot of major label producers have borrowed a lot of our style. There’s no reason to complain about it or whine that ‘they stole our sound’ or ‘[they’re] making fake club.’ At this point we need to compete and give the listening public a polished but authentic product. We have a special sound in this city. Let’s remind the world again of how amazing it is.
CB: What’s your favorite Baltimore club track of all time?
JN: Really? That’s impossible!