The artwork for Louie Vega and The Martinez Brothers’ new collaboration “Let It Go” shows a young couple locked in embrace, inches away from an inevitable kiss. An arrow-stricken heart hovers under the white glow of the streetlight as the cityscape behind them comes to life. Bright colors like sky blue, crimson and marigold dominate the color scheme, but it’s more than a design meant simply to catch the eye.
Created by Lee Quiñones, the prolific graffiti artist and Supreme collaborator who rose to fame during the subway art movement, the design — like the track — is a love letter to New York City.
Listen to “Let It Go”
In some ways, Vega and the Martinez Brothers could be the same people. Vega, Chris and Steve were all born in the Bronx, Nuyoricans and proud of it. They had family members who frequented the legendary Paradise Garage, and all were already DJing to hot crowds as teenagers. But whereas Vega helped pioneer New York house music in the ‘90s, both solo and alongside Kenny “Dope” Gonzales as Masters At Work, the Martinezes were its disciples.
“Our roots in dance music are from the deep soulful sound, with people such as Louie and Kenny as our idols,” the Brothers tell Billboard Dance.
Both standout acts in today’s scene, Vega and the Brothers first linked two years ago for a major collaboration spree. Their first joint release, 2018’s “Shut the Door,” bridged not only their respective generations, but added a third with the vocals of salsa legend (and Vega’s uncle) Héctor Lavoe.
Similarly, “Let It Go” represents “what New York is about, past and present,” say the Brothers. “Visually, just being from the inner city and basically living amongst graffiti; it has always been a mega influence on us.” Percussive and soulful house music with just a hint of grit, the track is the perfect composite of both Vega and the Brothers’ styles. At its heart are hypnotic, seductive vocals from San Francisco-based singer Marc E. Bassy. “[He] wrote the tune in, like, ten minutes,” say the Brothers, “and kept it extra New York taking you ‘uptown on Broadway.’”
“This project is so special because we are all Nuyoricans and have contributed to New York City’s music and arts culture,” says Vega of the team effort. “The Martinez Brothers, Louie Vega and Lee Quiñones on one record — [it’s] art, music and generations coming together in a powerful way.”
The Brothers add, “We just always want to big New York up in all aspects of art, paying respect to our heroes while also pushing it forward. It’s super important not only as Nuyoricans, but also just true lovers of the culture.”