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Meet the Producer Behind the Obama "Pop Off" Track That Went Viral

The man behind the remix is actually a sick Brooklyn-based DJ and producer named JX Cannon, who co-runs the Sweat Equity label and throws a party called Club Austerity.

by Michelle Lhooq
Nov 19 2015, 6:30pm

JX Cannon (Photo by Antwan Duncan)

Earlier this week on Monday, Obama inadvertently bumped up his street cred when he used the phrase "pop off" to shade people making uninformed claims about US foreign policy in the Middle East. Responding to a CNN reporter who'd asked him why we can't just "take these bastards out" in reference to ISIS, the president's exact response was, "If folks want to pop off and have opinions about what they think they would do, present a specific plan."

Later that night, a club remix of the "Pop Off" comment emerged on SoundCloud and immediately went viral, appearing in NPR, Billboard, Jezebel, Huffington Post, and all over my Facebook feed. The man behind the remix is actually a sick Brooklyn-based producer named JX Cannon, who co-founded a label called Sweat Equity and throws a party called Club Austerity. Cannon is also a regular behind the decks at underground staples like Thotlandia, Ladyfag's Holy Mountain and 11:11, and Tygapaw's Fake Accent. I hit him up to find out more about his viral moment—and what he's up to when he's not remixing the president.

THUMP: Yo JX, what's the story behind the song?
JX Cannon: Monday evening I was just chilling, I was gonna try to flip the new Lotic, then I saw the clip of Obama, grabbed the Divoli S'vere/DuhGreatOne + KatieGotBandz tracks, banged out a really simple club edit in an hour, uploaded it, and then left the house to get pizza.

What kinds of reactions have you gotten so far?
It went viral almost immediately, and I'm super relieved that nearly all the reactions to it have been positive. Of all the press thats picked it up, Telemundo was def the most unexpected.

What is the significance behind Obama's popping off comment? Did you have mixed feelings about making this track when it was in reference to such heavy subject matter?
This past week has been brutal, not only for the attacks in Paris but also the unrest at Mizzou... times are dark and we're facing problems that don't have easy solutions. That being said, I believe Obama using the phrase "pop off" in a speech was exactly what America needed to hear. It was totally presidential.

Tell us about your latest track, "Cowbells and Airhorns."

"Cowbells and Airhorns" kinda has a contrarian jester vibe that matches the vibe of the Obama remix—I thought it would be a fitting follow up. It's essentially a parody of the drum track obsessed "club" music underground, with the most annoying sounds I could think of. I've been playing [this song] in all my sets since this summer, it always gets a good reaction even though its kinda weird. It also is a good example of what to expect from the upcoming Sweat Equity comp (nothing but bangers).

Both your tracks and your DJ sets are pretty influenced by Jersey Club. Who are some of your favorite club producers from New Jersey at the moment?
Right now, my favorite club producers are Ase Manual, Gutta Cartel, and DJ Swisha Sweet.

Sweat Equity Vol. 1: Hot New Tracks is out Dec 7, and will be celebrated at Bossa Nova Civic Club in Brooklyn on Dec 14. More info here.