Hate him or love him for it, there is no question that UK-born producer Christopher Mercer (a.k.a. Rusko) helped change popular notions of dubstep, making the genre ubiquitous in American dance clubs. In 2009, American tastemaking indie EDM label Mad Decent started pushing Rusko's UK bass stateside. By that time, American DJs like 12th Planet had been producing their own native brand of dubstep for some time. However, none of the Americans to that point had received the exposure that a Mad Decent endorsement brings. After teaming up with Mad Decent and spending considerable time this side of the Atlantic, he changed his music's format, making it more playful and increasing his bass intensity — evident on hits like "Woo Boost." He began to eschew the drum 'n' bass origins and focus on harder, more relentless bass lines and drops. Then he made popular what hadn't really been done before in Europe: He added poppy female vocal samples to tracks like "Hold On." After moving to Los Angeles, he remixed 2Pac's "Going Back to Cali." Now what Americans would associate with dubstep was no longer the consistently dark, gritty half-brother of drum 'n' bass but a slower, heavier format open to pop remixes. The new style — dubbed "bro-step" by detractors due to its wide appeal with nontraditional EDM crowds — found widespread appeal and primed popular youth culture for the tidal wave of dubstep producers and hits to follow. — Chris Piel
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.