Reel 2 Real
The producer of one of the biggest dance hits of the '90s, "I Like to Move It" -- plus a half-dozen other Top 20 hits in Great Britain -- Reel 2 Real is masterminded by Erick Morillo, a New York DJ who sought to combine the energy of Latin-house music with reggae rhythms and textures. Morillo, who is of Columbian and Dominican heritage, began DJing in his early teens and studied production at New York's Center of Media Arts. After working on remixes for several reggae singles, he teamed up with a toaster, the General, for "Muevelo," a platinum-selling single popular in Latin communities. Another big mover on the dancefloors, "The New Anthem/Funk Buddha," brought him the attention of the Strictly Rhythm label. Signed to the label and introduced to the Trinidad-born vocalist Mad Stuntman (aka Mark Quashie), Morillo formed Reel 2 Real and released the group's first single, "I Like to Move It," in 1993.
By the following year, the single had exploded on the world's dancefloors, spawning the Move It! album. The LP did well on the charts, and produced four British hit singles. Morillo continued to DJ and released the mix compilation Live & More in early 1996. Before the end of the year, Reel 2 Real had released its second album, Are You Ready for Some More?, with vocal contributions from Michael Watford, Barbara Tucker and Althea McQueen, among others. Morillo gained a higher profile that year after providing DJ duties for MTV's Singled Out. He also hooked up with Latin American heart-throbs Proyecto Uno for the Cuban barnstormer, "Mueve la Cadera." ~ John Bush