True, artists like DJ Z-Trip, Mike Realm and Danger Mouse (who mainly hit the hip-hop crowd) paved the way, but Girl Talk was the first to make geeky hipsters swoon for the mashup. “Holy shit!” they’d exclaim. “He’s cutting Neutral Milk Hotel into a rap song!”
But Girl Talk’s about far more than ironic kick (the hallmark of mashups). Gillis makes his mixes work in a way no one has before: The man freestyles—exhibiting manic energy and seamless flow—with a vocabulary comprised of three decades’ worth of pop music. Behold.