Amir Abdullah is part of Hip Hop history as a sample excavator, music historian, compilation curator and DJ who’s already acknowledged alongside some of his childhood heroes. One of the few Hip Hop veterans who is simultaneously an artist and executive, Amir Abdullah continues to expose and celebrate a seemingly inexhaustible back catalogue of music for the benefit of sample-spotters, dancers, music nerds and adventurous music lovers.
Amir’s love of jazz dates back to his childhood through his father’s expansive collection, which now makes up a good part of his own enviable vinyl library. His older brothers and sisters turned him on to Disco, Funk and those irresistible 80s R&B records we now call “Boogie”, which collectively and subconsciously laid the groundwork for his first claim to fame as one half of the legendary mix tape and DJ duo: Kon & Amir. Their half-dozen “On Track” mixes, culled almost exclusively from Amir’s collection and skillfully mixed by Kon, quintessentially captured the spirit of Hip Hop’s Golden Era and its obsession with magical moments buried in forgotten grooves. The duo signed to the U.K.’s BBE records and released three volumes of the “Off Track” series, which dug deeper yet and presented obscure, yet essential tunes and re-edits. This year (2016) finds Amir stepping out on his own with his first solo compilation for BBE, DJ Amir Presents: Buena Musica Y Cultura, a fiery mix of New York City Salsa pulled from his extensive collection of lost local hits and even some unreleased Latin jams from the legendary Strata Records catalogue.
Jazz music continues to guide Amir’s life through his own record label, 180-Proof (founded in 2011), which owns the exclusive rights to release Strata Records’ influential back catalogue and unreleased sessions. While he’s best known as a selector and compiler of choice tunes, Amir’s expertise also extends to the business side of the music industry hustle. Starting off in 1996 as an entry-level Fat Beats employee, he rose to Vice President before moving on to A&R for Rapster/!K7, then managing sales for ABB Records and running Wax Poetics’ record label from 2007-2010. His Strata Records expertise led him to produce an online exhibit for the Scion IQ Museum featuring his interviews with influential Detroit jazz icons, coproduce a Strata photo exhibit in Lille, France featuring the work of Leni Sinclair, produce “Strata In the Mix” for the Tourcoing (France) Jazz Festival, as well as a collaboration with Carhartt Work In Progress. Amir’s stature as an influential selector and historian within the Hip Hop world made him an ideal host for the Adidas Original Vinyl Swap event not mention an in-demand DJ opening for Cut Chemist, Q-Tip and Gilles Peterson for his influential radio show as well as opening sets at Gilles’ Worldwide Festival.
Amir lives for sharing his passion and knowledge about obscure and underappreciated music whether it’s from behind turntables or a lectern. Like the jazz musicians that continue to inspire him, Amir Abdullah keeps pushing the envelope of adventurous music into new and exciting places, shedding light on forgotten artists and sounds while inspiring future musicians and music lovers worldwide.