How would you describe what you do? Because it’s definitely more than just playing music.
My job is to uplift the energy of the people.
I’ve got plenty of jobs, but, it comes back to that. As a DJ, it’s about that. Beyond that, I’ve got my company, The Feature Presentation Studios, where I’m finding talent and producing movies. That, too, is about different energies and elevating people—finding artists and their music. At the end of the day, it’s about me always being creative.
When did you realize that elevating people’s energy was something you were able to do?
From the time I was a teenager, I knew that I wanted to be a DJ. I was watching Kid Capri at the end of Def Comedy Jam, listening to Kool DJ Red Alert and Funkmaster Flex on the radio, DJ Clue and Ron G, too—they were the big reasons why I wanted to start DJing.
So, I knew I wanted to do it, but the first time when I realized that there was something more there, was when my boy was DJing at a party at my high school. He let me throw on, like, four records and I got on the mic. Now, mind you, I wasn’t a super popular kid in high school, right? But people went wild. That’s when I knew that I liked that feeling.
Until I finish all my goals,I have to keep going.
Until I finish all my goals, I have to keep going.
Do you think you not being the most popular kid played a role in that reaction and you liking it so much? People didn’t expect you to be the kid DJing, but there you were, proving them wrong.
That’s exactly what it was. My whole life, I’ve been proving people wrong. I’ve always been the underdog—and, to tell you the truth, I still feel like I’m the underdog.
Is there something that stands out from those early days—a mix you made, even just two songs—that kind of clicked?
I’ve got a terrible memory [laughs] and, on top of that, it’s so hard to pick just one, right? But, there’s a blend that I did when I was living with my dad, years ago. I still have a recording of it; I put it out and some people have it. It was Janet Jackson’s “Nasty” with Notorious B.I.G.’s vocals on “Nasty Boy”—I mixed Janet and Biggie going back and forth.
Do you remember what your first full mix was?
There was an official mixtape that I dropped in the industry, and somewhat in the streets, that I consider my first mixtape—but that wasn’t really the first, because I made some in high school that I’d give to people.
I was just doing mixes in my friend’s basement—he was a producer back then and he still is—and then in my basement. I was making them and giving them out at school. This is when DJ Clue was really big in the mixtape scene, so I would use the echo chamber, trying to mimic those kinds of things. I’d scratch, too, but it was more about blends, then. That would’ve been in the mid-‘90s.