420 on the Block Artist Highlight: Rusko

The Leeds-born DJ/producer who ascended with the original U.K. dubstep movement — and gave it one of its first and most enduring anthems, a bolt of foul-mouthed rave lightening called “Cockney Thug” — is here to tell you that music is not about labels and dance is no fad. And to prove it, he proudly presents “SONGS”: His gutsy, freewheeling, brilliant second album.

“The sound of my early releases was very dub-influenced, and just good, fun, bouncy vibes,” he says. “The majority of dubstep at the moment I think is aggressive, and I don’t like angry music; I don’t want to be angry in a club. So I wanted to make something really happy, but still heavy.”

“Happy and heavy” is a proper way to describe the vibe that has carried Rusko from the first moments of dubstep’s life to the biggest stages in the world; from a single, seminal bass wobble to a swath of sounds that can’t be capped in a few simple syllables. He might be one of the guys who started it all — but he’s sure as hell not going to leave it at that.

A staple of the global electronic underground, Rusko has packed nightclubs, concert venues and festivals across the world, and not only dance-dedicated ones: From Electric Daisy Carnival and Ultra Music Festival, to Coachella and Lollapalooza; from Germany’s Melt! to Australia’s Good Vibrations. He created the majority of “O.M.G.!,” his hard-hitting debut artist album, on the road, cutting tracks by day, and testing them on living, breathing dance floors by night.

So world, if you’re awake, now hear this: Rusko is here to roll the beats, and dance music will never be the same.