Members: Kurtis Khaleel & Touré Embden

Mantronix, one of the most innovative hip-hop acts of all time, was founded by Kurtis el Khaleel, who was born in Jamaica, though his family soon moved to Canada and ended up in New York by the late 1970s. During high school, Khaleel wanted to be in a band but couldn't find anyone who wanted to be in a band with him, so he bought a Roland TR-606 drum machine and a Roland TB-303 bass machine, and mastered them quickly. Taking the stage name Mantronik (although some sources claim he was born with that name), he soon began DJing around the city and was working behind the decks at Manhattan's Downtown Records when he met Haitian-born MC Tee, né Touré Embden. After the duo had assembled a demo tape, they gave it to William Socolov, president of Sleeping Bag Records. He signed Mantronix soon after hearing it, and released its debut single, "Fresh is the Word." The track lit up New York's streets and clubs during 1985.

In 1986, Mantronix's debut full-length The Album was released. Two new singles, "Needle to the Groove" and "Bassline," became big street hits in New York and, amazingly, even crossed over to join the first wave of hip-hop chart-makers in Britain. By that time, Mantronik had also begun working as an A&R representative at Sleeping Bag, where he signed EPMD, produced KRS-One's first credit ("Success Is the Word" by 12:41), and helmed other intense tracks by Tricky Tee, Just-Ice, and T La Rock.

The second Mantronix LP, Music Madness, continued to keep the duo fresh in the clubs. The increasing popularity of hip-hop gave Mantronix a chance at a major-label contract, and by 1987, the duo signed with Capitol/EMI, which created a legal battle between Sleeping Bag and the group—their old label claimed that they were owed two more albums.

In Full Effect was released in 1988, and it portrayed Mantronik jettisoning many his more hardcore inclinations in favor of a fusion of dance and R&B. The production excursion "Do You Like...Mantronik?" proved that Mantronik's ear for clever beats remained, however, and Mantronix's success in Britain prompted several of the first sampladelic hits, such "Pump up the Volume" by M/A/R/R/S and "Theme from S'Express" by S'Express.

Soon after its third album, MC Tee left to join the Air Force. Mantronik replaced him with Bryce Luvah (a cousin of LL Cool J) and DJ Dee (Mantronik's own cousin). With 1990's This Should Move Ya, Mantronik made the move from hip-hop into more straight-ahead dance music. With vocalist Wondress in tow, a pair of Mantronix singles stormed the British Top 20, including the top-five "Got to Have Your Love." Mantronik still used the MCs, he but continued to work in dance music with the group's last album, 1991's The Incredible Sound Machine. As a group entity, Mantronix disappeared at that point. Mantronik began producing other acts—mostly female vocalists or latin freestyle acts—and later exited music altogether, getting married and raising a family, eventually having a son nicknamed Boytronik.

Mantronik returned in the mid-1990s as a breakbeat elder statesman, recording as Kurtis Mantronik and providing remixes for EPMD, the Future Sound of London, and Violet. A Mantronix respective and several album reissues began filtering out in 1999, and Mantronik began recording a new solo album later that year.

Mantronix Discography


TLX-6 Mantronix The Album (Album) Sleeping Bag Records TLX-6 US 1985 Sell This Version
TLX 8 Mantronix Music Madness (Album) Sleeping Bag Records TLX 8 US 1986 Sell This Version
OVEDC 359 Mantronix In Full Effect (Album) Capitol Records OVEDC 359 UK 1988 Sell This Version
064-7 91119 1, 1C 064 7 91119 1 Mantronix This Should Move Ya (Album) Capitol Records 064-7 91119 1, 1C 064 7 91119 1 Europe 1989 Sell This Version
C2-94570 Mantronix The Incredible Sound Machine (Album) Capitol Records, Capitol Records C2-94570 US 1991 Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

SLX-00014 Mantronix Fresh Is The Word (Single, Maxi) Sleeping Bag Records, Sleeping Bag Records SLX-00014 US 1985 Sell This Version
SLX-015 Mantronix Needle To The Groove (Single) Sleeping Bag Records, Sleeping Bag Records SLX-015 US 1985 Sell This Version
TEN 116-12 Mantronix Ladies (Single) Sleeping Bag Records TEN 116-12 UK 1986 Sell This Version
TEN T 118 Mantronix Bassline (Single) Sleeping Bag Records, Sleeping Bag Records TEN T 118 UK 1986 Sell This Version
SLX-27 Mantronix Scream (Single) Sleeping Bag Records, Sleeping Bag Records SLX-27 US 1987 Sell This Version
none Mantronix Who Is It? (Single, Maxi) Sleeping Bag Records, Sleeping Bag Records, Sleeping Bag Records none UK 1986 Sell This Version
V-15353 Mantronix Sing A Song (Break It Down) (Single) Capitol Records V-15353 US 1987 Sell This Version
TEN X 217 DJ Mantronix Simple Simon (You Gotta Regard) (Single) Capitol Records TEN X 217 DJ UK 1988 Sell This Version
B-44175 Mantronix Join Me Please... (Home Boys - Make Some Noise) Capitol Records B-44175 US 1988 Sell This Version
14 2036546 Mantronix Got To Have Your Love (Single, Maxi) Capitol Records 14 2036546 Italy 1989 Sell This Version
12CLXDJ 573 Mantronix Take Your Time (Maxi, Single) Capitol Records 12CLXDJ 573 UK 1990 Sell This Version
DIXDJ 91 Mantronix The Best Of (1986-88) Sampler(12", Promo) 10 Records DIXDJ 91 UK 1990 Sell This Version
20 4504 2 Mantronix Flower Child (Maxi, Single) Capitol Records 20 4504 2 Netherlands 1991 Sell This Version
4V-15670 Mantronix Step To Me [Do Me] (Single, Maxi) Capitol Records 4V-15670 US 1991 Sell This Version
300023 4 Mantronix Don't Go Messin' With My Heart (Maxi, Single) Capitol Records 300023 4 Netherlands 1991 Sell This Version
OG 4237 Mantronix Got To Have Your Love / Take Your Time(12") Old Gold (2) OG 4237 UK 1992 Sell This Version
50093-12 Mantronix Featuring Althea McQueen Mantronix Featuring Althea McQueen - It's Time To Party (Single) Freeze Dance 50093-12 US 1996 Sell This Version
12RHYDJ25 Mantronix - Traylude Mantronix - Traylude - One Time, Feel Fine(CDr, Single, Promo) Rhythm Series, Parlophone, OMW (Oxygen Music Works) 12RHYDJ25 UK 1999 Sell This Version
PIASB 021 T Mantronix We Can Do This(12", W/Lbl, Promo) Play It Again Sam [PIAS] PIASB 021 T 2000 Sell This Version
S12DJ-011 Mantronix Got To Have Your Love / King Of The Beats(12") Simply Vinyl (S12) S12DJ-011 UK 2001 Sell This Version

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June 11, 2013
Mantronix also did the complete soundtrack for the videogame Trickstyle ( Sega Dreamcast ) Very nice, echoes of Aphex Twin somehow!


November 4, 2002
Mantronix is one of the rawest hip-hop acts ever.

Even now if I hear mantronix, it takes me back to body popping and dancing on my knees.... ahhhhh! Those days gone by.

I have a couple of 7" singles that aren't included on the list. But I also have a gatefold edition of Music madness with killer remixes of Scream, Who is it....etc which was on ten records. But i'm not sure of the tracklisting or the cat#no.

Definately one of my favourite and most influential producers........

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