During Game 5 of the NBA Finals in June, my refrigerator commercial break trip came to a halt when a deep voice I had heard previously sounded from the television. In an advertisement for the new video game Grand Theft Auto Online: Los Santos Tuners, a mechanic looked inside the window of a muscle car, apparently recognizing the man in the passenger seat sporting diamond-encrusted sunglasses under an impeccably animated Afro.

“You sound familiar, do I know you from somewhere?” Asked the mechanic.

“I just had one of them, don’t even worry about that,” replied the mysterious stranger.

That face, I realized to my amazement, belonged to Moodymann, the most consistently excellent dance music producer of the past quarter century. Fiercely independent and notoriously shy of the media, he’s the last person you’d expect to see as the main character in one of the best-selling video game series of all time.

It made more sense when I met Kenny Dixon Jr., as his parents called him, at the offices of his Mahogani Music label in Detroit’s North End. After all, Dixon is an avid car enthusiast, an avid admirer of Detroit muscle, and the proud owner of a 1966 Chevrolet Impala. “I play games. [GTA], of course, ”he told me. But “it’s not my usual thing. I don’t need video game shit, we dodge and dodge here all the time. I ride in it every day. Her eyes were hidden behind round sunglasses framed in white, and her hair was puffed and wavy like the cover of Prince’s self-titled 1979 second album; he wore a t-shirt with an illustration of late Los Angeles hip-hop star Nipsey Hussle.

With the 1966 Chevrolet Impala.

Kenny Dixon Jr. has always done things his way, on his own terms. He has released 14 albums since his debut in 1997 Silent presentation (which remains one of the best records of this decade) and a host of dance floor classics like “I Can’t Kick This Feeling When It Hits”, “Shades of Jae” and “Don’t You Want My Love “. His vinyl offerings are hotly sought after by fellow DJs, record collectors and partygoers around the clock around the world.

Not that this research is necessarily successful: many physical versions of Moodymann are being pressed in limited quantities. His 2019 album Sinner, for example, was essentially only available at a barbecue held in Dixon’s backyard, while an untitled 2018 album, featuring contributions from Snoop Dogg and Jill Scott, is never even out of Moodymann’s HQ; to obtain a copy, you must receive one personally from Dixon himself.