DJ of the Month for January 2021
Few who listen to the top 40 smash hits he’s produced may recognize his name, but chances are anyone who’s listened to the radio over the past twenty years has hummed along to one of Jellybean Benitez’s melodies. Benitez’s list of credits include Sheena Easton, Debbie Harry and Whitney Houston, among others, and in a world as fickle as the dancefloor, Benitez has not just survived, but thrived over the past twenty years. Born in the Bronx, Benitez was a student of the disco sound, studying the records released by Casablanca and other labels that released lushly orchestrated dance music. After being intrigued by a local DJ spinning two turntables, Benitez himself decided to try it out and soon was an in demand DJ known for his masterful manipulation of break beats. His reputation led him to be paired with a young singer from Detroit named Madonna and it was Benitez who orchestrated the sound of the Material Girl’s earliest hits such as “Borderline” and “Lucky Star.” After his name was bandied about the industry, Benitez used the renound to launch his own recording career, beginning with his debut Whatupski? He has since gone on to score Hollywood soundtracks such as Carlito’s Way and Mi Vida Loca.