Masters at Work

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Masters at Work
Masters at Work in 2013
Masters at Work in 2013
Background information
Also known as
  • MAW
  • KenLou
  • Sole Fusion
  • Nuyorican Soul
  • River Ocean
OriginNew York City, U.S.
DiscographyMasters at Work discography
Years active1990–present
Past membersTodd Terry

Masters at Work is the American garage house production and remix team of "Little" Louie Vega and Kenny "Dope" Gonzalez. The duo has produced music together under the names MAW, KenLou, Sole Fusion, Hardrive, and Nuyorican Soul.[1] They have been referred to as one of the most influential artists in the history of house music.[2]


The moniker was loaned to Todd Terry (pictured) for his 1987 singles, edited by Mike Delgado, and Franklin Martinez.[3]

In the late 1980s, Kenny "Dope" Gonzalez organized a series of block parties with his friend Mike Delgado under the name "Masters at Work". Gonzalez loaned the name to Todd Terry for his 1987 singles "Alright Alright" and "Dum Dum Cry", with editing by Mike Delgado and Franklin Martinez. Terry had attended Gonzalez's parties and became influential to him.[4] When Vega was hired to mix one of Terry's freestyles, this eventually led him to meeting Gonzalez.[3] Gonzalez and Vega then started using the name Masters at Work in 1990.[5]

In 1993, the duo also created the Nuyorican Soul moniker, blending their residence in New York City, Puerto Rican heritage, and affinity for soul music.[6] Their Nuyorican Soul project had the duo working extensively with real (as opposed to sampled or synthesized) musicians, in a variety of styles including Latin, disco, jazz, and more. Musicians who took part in this project included Vincent Montana Jr., Roy Ayers, George Benson, Jocelyn Brown, Tito Puente, and members of the Salsoul Orchestra.[1]

The self-titled album released under the name Nuyorican Soul in 1996, included original tracks as well as cover versions of songs by the performers with which the duo was working, such as "Sweet Tears" (Roy Ayers), and "Runaway", originally sung by Loleatta Holloway with the Salsoul Orchestra, here sung by India and featuring musicians from the original 1977 recording.[7]

They have been nominated three times for the Grammy Award for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical.[4]

In 2021, they relaunched MAW Records, with their first new track release in 20 years.[2]


Remixing of their tracks by UK DJs in the '90s helped to create the speed garage genre.[2] They have been credited with generating the "Golden Age" of Latin house.[8] Resident Advisor referred to the duo as potentially "the most influential pairing in the history of house".[2]

MAW has a history as remixers, having reproduced tracks for various acts both inside and outside the world of dance music. Some of the artists remixed by the two producers include Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Madonna, Donna Summer, Aaliyah, Gus Gus, Jody Watley, Jamiroquai, Earth Wind & Fire, Stephanie Mills, Spice Girls, Daft Punk and Los Amigos Invisibles.[1]

Their 1991 single "The Ha Dance" became highly influential in the black and Latino LGBT ballroom scene. The beat has been sampled and remixed so many times that it has become almost synonymous with ballroom music.[9] The song's "Ha" on the four-beat "intertwines with ballroom's ‘dip’ element of basically falling to the ground in a dramatic or soft way."[10]


DJ Magazine top 100 DJs list[edit]

Year Position Notes Ref.
1997 15 New entry [11]
1998 14 Up 1
1999 12 Up 2
2000 23 Down 11
2001 34 Down 11
2002 34 No change
2003 38 Down 4


  1. ^ a b c Colin Larkin, ed. (2000). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Nineties Music (First ed.). Virgin Books. p. 252. ISBN 0-7535-0427-8.
  2. ^ a b c d "Masters At Work relaunch MAW Records with first new track in 20 years · News ⟋ RA". Resident Advisor. Retrieved 2022-11-04.
  3. ^ a b ""God" Terry". 4 June 2013. Retrieved 2022-11-04.
  4. ^ a b "Kenny Dope - Nervous Records and Risky Business ADE at W Hotel Amsterdam, Amsterdam (2016) ⟋ RA". Resident Advisor. Retrieved 2022-11-04.
  5. ^ "Masters At Work (2)". Discogs. Retrieved 2022-11-04.
  6. ^ "RA: Masters At Workt". Resident Advisor. Retrieved 2017-08-23.
  7. ^ Bush, John. "Nuyorican Soul - Nuyorican Soul". AllMusic. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  8. ^ "How Latin and Afro Sounds Conquered House Music". Beatportal. 2021-02-17. Retrieved 2022-11-04.
  9. ^ Lhooq, Michelle (2018-07-24). "20 Tracks That Defined the Sound of Ballroom, New York's Fierce Queer Subculture". Vulture. Retrieved 2022-10-29.
  10. ^ "Key Tracks: "The Ha Dance"". Retrieved 2022-10-29.
  11. ^ "Top 100 (250) DJ MAG 1997 - 2018 | Top 100 DJ MAG DJS VK Music Музыка 2019 2020". Retrieved December 15, 2019.

External links[edit]