Blaqstarr is the Baltimore DJ/producer behind M.I.A.’s “XXXO” and some the spaciest, squelchiest beats on her last two albums. He’s been local club titan for years, and his first release on M.I.A.’s label N.E.E.T. presents his bizarre R&B aesthetic undiluted. Blaqstarr comes off like a Prince-style auteur who spends more time in dark alleys than champagne rooms. His gauzily processed production shrouds falsetto come ons and playalistic mumblings in a skeevy haze, perfect for torpid, booming tracks that deploy anything from layered girl-chirps to distorted guitars to a pilfered Cameo beat in service of massaging his psychedelic freak. If they really dance to this stuff in Baltimore, the city’s weirder than The Wire let on.
Listen to “Rider Girl”: