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Though five seasons of The Wire exposed the masses to many aspects of Baltimoriana, there are a few things the show failed to properly address—crab chips, Natty Boh, and Baltimore club music among them. Luckily, B-more club doesn’t need David Simon to speak to its ubiquity and versatility when it’s got Tittsworth. The D.C. native, who calls his style “Baltimore-club-inspired,” is best known for blazing DJ sets and remixes. But on his debut album, Twelve Steps, he turns to making original tracks, and the entire production is a dancefloor murderer, mixing hip-hop, R&B, electronic music, and a little bit of pretty much everything else. And Tittsworth does it in a way that erases the “international night” stigma that folks outside of B-more often attach to club music of any kind. “Drunk as F*ck,” featuring Bay Area rappers the Federation, is exactly the sort of ’hood-tested, hipster-approved track that distinguishes club music from white-boy electronica or drag-queen house: Its driving beat and raunchy lyrics make for a smutty good time, tailor-made for after-hours play on 92Q and capable of pulling even the most booze-blistered onto the floor. “Bumpin’” is hilariously built around the House Party (and house party) scenario of some guy knocking his drunk ass up against a DJ setup. But unlike Bad Breath Bilal, Tittsworth makes the most of the situation and works every DJ’s least favorite sound—an unintentional scratch—into the mix. There’s a charm to choppy, mad-scientist splicing, and instrumental tracks such as “4.21” and “Haiku” are dense productions designed to move bodies and induce deep nods of the non-heroin-induced variety. But there’s also a lot to be said for the seamless, collaborative blending of beats and vocal work, and Twelve Steps really soars whenever it pairs Tittsworth’s production with guest singers and rappers. None of the artists on the disc are sampled—they’ve all tailored their work to each track, which elevates the disc above typical DJ mash-ups and remixes. “Here He Comes” features identical-twin duo Nina Sky and Miami rapper Pitbull, who know their way around a dance track. Same goes for the sticky “Almond Joy,” featuring Michelle Bell and Roll Wit Us All-Stars and “WTF,” featuring Kid Sister and Pase Rock. The best guest by far, however, is Tittsworth’s fellow new-school Baltimore DJ-scene standard-bearer Dave Nada, who offers up a mix of the track “B-Rockin’.” It’s a 3-minute shout-out to some of the best dance DJs on the planet. You know, Scottie B, Diplo, Frank Ski—and, of course, Tittsworth.
Tittsworth performs Friday, Aug. 29, at the 9:30 Club.