Local Wire

R3hab @ Axis/Radius

Fadil El Ghoul — better known to dance floor princes and princesses as R3hab — is relatively new to the EDM game, breaking out in 2008, right as the genre began to experience a seismic shift in popularity. A proponent of "Dutch house" style, there's a distinct menace to R3hab's work, specifically his remix of Bruno Mars' Sting and The Police-indebted "Locked Out of Heaven," which shakes and quivers under the weight of R3hab's massive drop and tight, tinny hip-hop drums. It hardly makes Mars' "the sex takes me to paradise" and "make a sinner change his ways" lines sound any less cheesy, but it does add some bark and bite to the song's pop fluff. It seems to be R3hab's most effective trick. In R3hab's Moroccan hands, even sexy/smarmy singer Enrique Iglesias sounds pretty tough, his vocals pitch-shifted down into a sinister growl before billowing synths and piano surge triumphantly, only to be smashed like an import beer under no-doubt trendy boots when R3hab flips the switches and brings the nasty back. Who's next? The polished Ms. Swift? The chilly Mr. Bolton?

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.