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BEST CLUB DJ Minneapolis 2002 -

Readers' Choice: Corey Valentine

Utter his name around 17-year-old raver chicks and watch them beam brighter than their glowsticks. This frenzied, bleach-blond bombshell really only detonated amid the congested clique of Minneapolis club DJs a year ago. But he's almost instantly turned the city's head. And while some of the veterans on the scene stick to the tables at a single club, 23-year-old James has freaked feet on dance floors at the Gay 90's and the Quest, and in Warehouse District garages and a Columbia Heights basement bowling alley, too. Beloved for deriving his house sets from quirky acid tracks, fresh vocal cuts, and vintage favorites, James mixes them together almost undetectably in live sets. The same goes for his several mix CDs sold at Vital Vinyl (Minneapolis's dance-music specialty store, with which James is closely affiliated). Of course, half the DJ battle is won through charisma (see: Donald Glaude, Carl Cox), and James has a natural affinity for his role as an entertainer. "I eat, sleep, and shit house music, because that's all I know how to do," James declared one night last year after a set. Now if that's not dedication, we don't know what is.

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