For the 53rd instalment in our exclusive mix series, Brussels-based hip hop and R n B DJ Richie Santos takes to the decks and delivers a sweet and local mix that, as he says it “Is a colorful roller coaster. Very eclectic with no specific structure but a feel good feeling all over. A lot of bass and afrobeats to contrast with the weather. Some laid back tunes to relax a little between the ups. It’s kinda experimental, a lot of mashups, it’s not everyday you’ll see a mix wherein the martinican rappeur Kalash is blended with Jimmy Edgar.” That, and there’s a Damso exclusive thrown in for good measure.

Exclusive mix 53: Bristal by The Word Magazine on Mixcloud

Can you describe yourself in a few words?

I would say that I’m a real music lover and student of this game. I’m very eclectic, I’ll listen to anything that sounds good to my ears. It’s always been like that thanks to my father who had one of the first black/afro nightclub in Brussels during the 90’s. He bought everything that came from USA , the Islands and Africa . At a young age I had Jodeci, Wu-Tang and Koffi Olomide albums on my shelf … When it comes to djing, I play mainly hip hop and r&b with a tropical touch, I don’t really have any barriers. It’s a gift more than a curse. My influences are somewhere between London, Kingston, Atlanta and Kinshasa. Big up to my homie Dj Slow and Dj Ez (the reason why I wear nike hat when I’m djing) who inspire me too.

How did you first start making music?

I’m a music lover so my friends were pushing me to do something with that. I starded putting out mixes on soundcloud just for the love. It was 3-4 years ago. At the same damn time (future voice), I worked as an advisor for This Is Bengal and Mad City parties so, many friends asked me to dj at their night but I refused all the time because I didn’t want to mix for big crowds. I preferred a more underground/ intimate vibe . So my friend Nicolas Lefebure was supposed to do this kind of party but internal complications changed everything few days before the evening. I decided to not let him down and play anyway, it was cool and I guess the people liked it.

“Brussels is to french rap what Toronto is to american rap.”

The perfect places to listen to it?

Maybe in the morning in your room when you dress up, in your car alone, when you do the dishes or the housework and you’re ready to dance like Puff Daddy and The Fresh Prince.

Can you tell us about the exclusive track on the mix?

I’m really involved in the local rap scene, I was one if not the first to play tracks like «Jones Cruipy – Crack and Weed » and «New School – Début du commencement Part 6 » in big clubs. So the exclusive track looks like the icing on the cake, it’s a brand new song from Damso « Jean Reno ». Damso is a Belgian rapper who just inked a deal with the french rapper Booba. It’s a big event in the Belgian rap landscape. I have a close relation with him and his crew OPG because he’s the little brother of one my best friends. I saw him grow and work from the beginning so I’m very proud. You can listen to him on the track « Pinocchio » from the latest Booba album. He also opened  for Booba at Bercy. Jones Cruipy, another belgian rappeur was also an opening act. This is why I choose a Belgian song, like a statement to show that the belgian rap scene is really moving. Hamza, who is in my mix, is buzzin right now. He’s also on the come up. If you really love hip hop you need to keep an eye on guys like Leboy Krisy B, Jones Cruipy, OPG, Nixon, Negatif Clan … the list can go on and on … Brussels is to french rap what Toronto is to american rap.

When and where did you record the mix?

Sunday night in my room, I think it was rainy outside. I have my little home studio section next to my roof window. The weather inspires me a lot. My small dog statue « fewtch » next to scented candles … the ritual . It’s my favourite place to record my mixes.

What’s your favourite track on it ?

Except the Damso one – Jean Reno – I’ll say Johnny Cinco – My swagger or Ruff Sqwad – Together … I can’t choose, haha, sorry

What are your top 3 albums of 2015 and why?

A top 3 for 2015 isn’t serious. 2015 was one of the best years in music since a long time ! I’ll give a top 13 with no particular order :

  • Booba – Nero Nemesis
  • Future – 56 Nights/DS2
  • Young Thug – Barter 6
  • Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly
  • Rae Sremmurd – Sremmlife
  • Jeremih – Late Nights
  • Ty Dolla $ign – Free TC
  • Bryson Tiller – Trapsoul
  • Burna Boy – On A Spaceship
  • Tame Impala – Currents
  • Beach House – Depression Cherry
  • Mozzy – Bladadah
  • PNL – Que la famille/le monde chico

What do you have coming up in the next few weeks ?

I’m planning to release a joint mix with my friend Boa, specially for “les jolies bébés”. Expect that to drop at the top Of 2016 . Watch out for Damso’s first official mixtape “Batterie Faible”.

Next gigs :

22/1 BSMNT with High Klassified @ Bloody Louis

05/2 LaPremice @ Bloody Louis

20/2 Dj Snake @ Bloody Louis 

26/2 ? @ Bloody Louis 

18/3 SCH @ Bloody Louis 

Photography by Sebastien Nagy aka Ssnnas