"Honestly, I've found a lot more talent in San Jose than I have up here in the city." Plug Label boss, MC, and producer Kero One (né Mike Kim) isn't afraid to call it as he sees it from his San Francisco studio. At the top of the list of South Bay talent sits kindred SF transplant King Most, a producer and DJ otherwise known as Patrick Diaz, whose palette ranges from this year's Genius Music mixtape, built from rare tracks by mainstream producers like Kanye West, Timbaland, and the Neptunes, to his upcoming Kingstrumentals album, which promises to honor influences as diverse as Alex Attias' broken beats and Donald Byrd's jazz fusion.
Kero sees the foundation for King Most's talent in the knowledge gleaned from a ridiculously large record collection. "I remember going to his house and he'd have records in the bathroom, in the hallway, in the garage. You'd open the fridge and a record would fall down from the top. Production-wise, he has all the chops, the samples, and he knows how to work it."
Party people regularly get a chance to hear selections at Uptempo's How We Keeps It, a monthly gig that finds King Most and Kero One rocking electro, disco, and a little hip-hop at the Madrone Lounge. Some fans of Kero's debut, Windmills of the Soul (Plug, 2006), which mined a solidly jazzy hip-hop vein, might be surprised to hear a house set when he's behind the decks. But the sprightlier pace and broader range of genres reflect the direction Plug Label is heading with its upcoming releases.
This year will see albums from Greentea, Kero, and King Most, all designed to cause consternation among record store clerks who have to decide where to file music that swerves between hip-hop, disco, Latin, and electro. Reflecting the listening journey that he and King Most have made over the years, Kero says he wants to blur the lines. "One of my biggest goals is to turn heads and open eyes for people who are not just into hip-hop. I wanted to make an album for someone who used to be into hip-hop and now is into something else to go back and say, "Oh, I can listen to this."
KING MOST AND KERO ONE
Fri/25, 10 p.m., $10
2925 16th St., SF