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February 16, 2009

Are real DJs jealous?

The answer is probably YES!

Now, before you read any further, I’d like to offer a disclaimer to all my friends in the business. This is not personal to anyone in particular. I apologize in advance if what I describe henceforth, sounds like you. I spent my entire career dedicated to the art of DJing and Hip Hop. I didn’t hustle drugs to make it and didn’t kiss ass either. I just learned how to spin to the best of my ability. I’m writing this because these days all I see around me is blatant disrespect for the DJ culture and I’m compelled everyday to expose this fallacy.

This is for me and every DJ who appreciates the craft and feels what I feel. I do this for Hip Hop!

In every corner of the world, at every radio station and usually standing behind some of the biggest artists in music, there is a “real DJ” who spent long hours learning their craft. Whether that is basic beat matching skills, intricate scratches, or even more intricate tricks such as “beat juggling”. The idea was to be the best so that you would be respected and get work…maybe even get famous like Jazzy Jeff or Grandmaster Flash. Oh….wait….maybe that’s too far back. Maybe I should speak of DJ Drama or DJ Khaled? These popular DJs are well respected for mix tape compilations (Gangsta Grillz) and hit records (We The Best!!). The evolution continues I guess. Maybe actual DJ skills haven’t been necessary in a long time. Maybe I’m just realizing what everyone else already knew. When speaking of DJ skills, I should also mention that every proficient “real party DJ” I know, like DJ Mars (ATL) and DJ Tee-Luv (Greensboro N.C.) also understands the importance of “programming” or playing the right record at the right time to keep the party going (or slow it down depending on what you need to do). Point is…being a crowd controller with the mic and the music is another example of what a “real DJ” actually does.

Mixing live (or prerecorded) on the radio is actually a science as well. To create a seamless, creative mix while “sandwiching” new records with current hits while keeping the listener engaged is not as easy as it seems. If I hear one more DJ “duck mix” on the air (the practice of dropping sound effects and drops with the dj’s name over the transition between two records as to hide the fact that they don’t know how to actually mix) I’m going to slap somebody with a 12inch piece of colored vinyl! (I have plenty to spare)

Anyway, back to the “fake DJs”….

The “fake DJ” comes from all walks of life. He or she could be your favorite celebrity who craves more attention than they’re getting already and just trying to stay in the spotlight a few extra minutes until they catch the next big opportunity to shine brightly once more. I know for a fact that the “fake celebrity DJ” will do a huge event or another celebrity’s party FOR FREE just so they can “stay in the mix”…and no..I do not mean figuratively. Sorry all you “real DJs”…who needs to pay you when they can get an actor to play the part (damn..that was good Nabs..keep

The “fake DJ” could also be your local street promoter who decided a few days ago that he needs to make a few extra bucks and is now “cueing and playing mp3s” from his or her laptop at your local bar or club. Most local club owners/promoters have a low opinion of the DJ anyway, so if they can get someone who will at least keep the music going and save themselves a few hundred dollars…why not hire the “fake DJ”? He’s cheaper and more eager. “Real DJs” suck it up, everybody’s got a right to hustle the game right??

Now this is my favorite, the “fake model DJ”. This person is female and promotes themselves with photos taken in front of the turntables or cdjs which suggests that they are both good looking as well as talented on the mix. The outfits are usually very skimpy and revealing. Ya know…low cut tops or even better..bikinis!! “yeah…that’ll get me work”. There’s nothing cooler than 2 Technic 12’s and 2 fake uhhhh….well… know where this is going. A few exceptions to the ” fake model DJ” are Mami Chula (ATL), Princess Cut (below) and DJ Lady Tribe(Cali). These ladies are beautiful and extremely capable DJs. I know that there are more great female DJs out there but unfortunately, there are even more “fake model DJs” ( I personally know a Playboy playmate who faked it in the actual magazine).

These days, everywhere you turn, there is the “fake DJ”. This is the person who thinks it looks cool
to spin records and be the highlight of the party without the work. Not only is this possible with technology today, It’s happening everywhere. The “real DJ’s” future looks bleak if he or she wants to make a decent living out here in this economy. I’m just speaking out on what many “real DJs” think every time we tune into a special event like the 2009 Allstar game last night and see 2 female “fake DJs” perpetrate on the “wheels of steel”. (btw, does any fake DJ know where this term even comes from?”)

Who am I to say whether or nor these people have the right to call themselves DJs or not? I don’t know. Who are you “fake DJ” to disrespect the art form of DJing and the legacy of greats like JMJ, Capri and so on? Who are you to disrespect me and then ask me for advice, records and my top ten play list??

I was told by some of my DJ peers that i would be considered old and bitter if i spoke out about this current trend in hip hop and called out the names of some of the “fake DJs” that i’m speaking of today.
I don’t think it’s necessary to say names at this time, real recognizes real. However, i will say this…. the truth is I am old (about a year older than Jay-Z to be exact) but I’m far from bitter. My DJ career has been incredible (Google me baby) and as a family man, artist manager, music publisher, veteran DJ and mentor to many….my life is very fulfilling. I also know that because someone else has money, doesn’t mean I’ll get any of it; so why not speak the truth about the concerns of many DJs livelihood, especially in these hard times. The last thing any DJ who makes his living spinning records needs, is his “boss” or worse, his barber taking his gigs.

Hip Hop has survived Marky Mark, cross colours and throwback jerseys. We will survive the “fake DJ”.





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