I discovered Moodymann's Prince palace in Detroit
“Moodymann’s Private Prince Palace is Detroit’s Best-Kept Secret” (VICE)
Detroit, the city that gave birth to cars and techno, is fueled by a full tank of stories. Etched into dance music's collective memory is the grand narrative of techno's beginnings with the Belleville Three, stitched together with thousands of endless nights half-remembered by those who lived, loved, fucked, and fought to the raw sounds taking shape at parties across town. Then, there are the lost tales of musicians who never made it, and the mythologized legends of the ones who did. But there is one story that evades our every attempt to pin it down—that of Moodymann (born Kenny Dixon Jr.), the second-wave Detroit DJ and producer who infamously doesn't give a fuck about playing the music industry game.
Dixon's debut album in 1997, on Carl Craig's label Planet E Communications, was called Silentintroduction. And he meant it: Moodymann declined to speak with the press for ten years, until he finally gave his first interview to Gilles Peterson on BBC Radio 1, in 2007. During a rare RBMA lecture in 2010, he explained his reclusiveness, saying: "My identity was not important... Fuck the DJ. The talent is on the turntables and that is the truth."
In town for Movement festival in late May, I find myself shooting the shit outside the Submerge record store with Carl Craig (who I am shadowing for a forthcoming story) and Underground Resistance co-founder "Mad" Mike Banks. Mike is telling me where to find underground street races in the city, but our eyes keep drifting to a three-floor brick house across the street. Its windows are thrown open, violently purple curtains billowing in the wind, as Prince's "Take Me With You" plays at full blast, his voice sliding down the baking sidewalk like marmalade.