Dubstep goes pop

As a genre, dubstep has reached a precipice. With successive releases by Rusko and Skream, and the highly-anticipated released by Magnetic Man around the corner, the mainstreaming of dubstep appears to have begun. The beats are still aggressive, the bass is still wobbly, but the music is easier to digest, due in large part to trance-like diva vocals. Unlike the darker, groovier luvstep, this “popstep” is just that – suitable for larger audiences ready to dance. Here are a few of the songs (and videos) you need to know:

Rusko, with a little help from Dirty Projector Amber Coffman, broke the scene wide open with “Hold On.” And if the crowds in the video are any indication, he may be on to something. All of a sudden, his upcoming Britney Spears collaboration makes a lot more sense. Also of note: his remix of Lady Gaga’s “Alejandro.”

Magnetic Man, the dubstep supergroup formed by Brits Skream, Benga and Artwork, has scored a top ten hit in the UK with “I Need Air.” The trio destroyed the crowd at Hard NYC, a performance that certainly converted non-believers.

The next single off Magnetic Man’s October 4 debut is the shifty “Perfect Stranger,” featuring UK funky chanteuse Katy B. The song alternates between downtempo verses and a breakbeating chorus, and it closes out Magnetic Man’s recent Essential Mix on BBC Radio 1.

No mention of Katy B can be made without also dropping her solo single (over a Benga track), the addictive “Katy B on a Mission.”

For fans of electronic music who want to see the scene grow while also maintaining some sense of musical integrity, popstep is a way forward. While it may be anathema to dubstep purists, wouldn’t you rather see the likes of Rusko and Skream headlining three nights at the 9:30 Club?

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