It’s not just another Friday for me. Today is the first day in months that I feel like my old self. I have been doing a bunch fo DJ related activities since the beginning of quarantine. I did a Savage Hype Edit, and a Get Me Bodied Reggaeton/ Dancehall party edit, and a few Live Streams. But, realistically my energy has been off when it comes to this DJ thing. Energy is everything in this game.
See, I’m from the club people… I am a product of my environment. I love making club music, and remixing things, and seeing people’s reaction to it LIVE. Key phrase here being; LIVE. Seeing someone’s happy face when you play a certain song, or group of songs, is probably what a hit of heroin feels like.
One blanket statement I can say about DJs is that we love control. Control is that the thing that a DJ has or doesn’t have. Now it’s 2020, you mix a global PANDEMIC into the equation, and now you have DJs that are no longer in control. MENTAL CHAOS! THE WORLD IS UPSIDE DOWN!
It’s been months since I’ve experienced the joy of physically seeing someone pleased with my performance. I know that sounds like such a first world problem to have, but it’s a problem none-the-less. My whole adult life I’ve been chasing a feeling. An intangible force, that you can only quantify with smiles and grins across a sea of human bodies.
But today was different. I woke up knowing today was going to bedifferent.
I was selected as the top finalist in the new IG TV Show, “Turn The Tables” Hosted by Pretty Lou (Hot 97, Terror Squad, Heavyhitters). Jazzy Joyce was the judge of the battle, so she got to pick our sets. Now keep in mind, a big part of this DJ contest is THE MONKEY WRENCH. This is a song that is randomly pre-selcted by the producers of the show, and the DJ must play that song FROM HIS LAPTOP in 2 minutes. This song could range from Old McDonald to Janet Jackson, Eminem to Wayne Newton.
NOW THIS FEELS LIKE A TINY BIT OR NORMALCY COMING BACK INTO MY LIFE.
I prep my DJ area, run a sound check, and I get ready for the competition. I login to Pretty Lou’s IG LIVE and we start the show. Jazzy Joyce chooses 90s Reggae as my set. I feel like the gates of heaven open up for me. I felt like God was just like… here bro, for all your years of hard work… show the world your 90s Reggae set. Reggae/ Dancehall music is the first music I ever played growing up. I got comfortable with that before I even got comfortable with Hip Hop.
Now I go on Auto- Pilot mode, and just do exactly what I’ve always done. RUN THROUGH DEM CHUNES! I was watching the show earlier in the week and Kid Kapri made a really good point. He said, “If you only have 10 minutes to rock out, run through a bunch of records, play the hottest music as quickly as you can.” I took this statement to heart, and I was thinking to myself…. How many dancehall records can you play in 10 minutes? Challenge Accepted Kid Kapri. I played a total of 21 songs in 10 minutes, one of them being the “Monkey Wrench”, GHETTO JAM BY DOMINO.
I thought to myself… Relaxxx, you still have another round to go. That Monkey Wrench could be rough bro! Next Jazzy Joyce picks EDM as the next set. My first thought, I have to play Avicii. First song out the gate was Levels. This in my brain is the biggest EDM song of all time. I was there to see the impact of the record when it was released at the 2010 Winter Music Conference in Miami. I was actually one of the DJs who was playing on the Avicii promotional ice cream trucks during his LEVELS campaign. So, I had to do that for him. It’s mostly an instrumental track with a lot of bass synth. One thing Avicii did was leave a clean vocal sample of the late great Etta James in the middle of the song. I used the mainly instrumental track as the backdrop to the acapella vocals that were left on the original track. Cut, Scratch, Mix and Throw FX on that sexy ass Etta James. DONE.
This now sounded like … a mashup. Something that is not allowed in the competition. People inside the chatroom were pointing out that I broke a rule, and that mashups were not allowed. HOWEVER, THIS WAS NOT A MASHUP, IT WAS MY TWO HANDS AND DREAM. By design, I have to play these records out a little more, way more, because you can’t really chop up EDM that quickly without losing the energy of the record. Maybe some turntablists do it well, but swiping through EDM songs that fast sounds a bit unfocused and un entertaining to me. I made sure that I played Jazzy Joyce’s Sound of the Beat Ft. Betty Boom. I figured if I get one judge on my side from the beginning, it’ll work in my favor. I play the record, and the Monkey Wrench came.
Not having this record would cost me the entire competition. I did my motherfuckin thing tho… so, i chalk it up to the whole thing being an amazing promotional experience. A bunch of people were following me and DMing me with such great feedback on my DJ sets. I didn’t win the competition, but I truly do feel that letting all these people see me DJ, was the real prize. I really did my thing… and tomorrow I DJ my first Digital Event on this website. I’ll let you know how that worked out later.