FEATURE: Webstar, Bounce Back
Three years ago, DJ Webstar was on top of the world. His hit record “Chicken Noodle Soup” had spawned a worldwide dance craze and catapulted the Harlemite into the national spotlight. Based on his buzz, Webstar was able to secure a multi-million dollar deal with Universal Records for his Scrilla Hill label. Earlier this year the 22-year-old joined forces with Jim Jones and began working on their collaborative album, The Rooftop. Although the sophomore effort has sold a dismal 3,800 since its release last month, it still produced a pair of AutoTune-fueled radio hits “Dancin’ on Me” and “She Can Get It.” Unfazed by the poor retail showing, Webstar remains confident in his ability to bounce back. In the meantime, he’s actually been giving back to the community by treating underprivileged kids to a shopping spree. XXLMag.com caught up with the young mogul to discuss Jay-Z being out of “tune,” working with Capo and being called a one-hit wonder.
XXLMag.com: You’re known for using the AutoTune in a lot of your music. Did you take offense to Jay-Z’s “D.O.A.” movement at all?
DJ Webstar: Well, actually, I only have two AutoTune songs. [But] I feel that being young in the game it’s hard to get respect. The veterans don’t respect the new generation. You got to pay your dues and put your work in, which is so true, but I was just so mad because I had one of the hottest records at the time [and] it was in AutoTune. Jim Jones was apart of it and Dame Dash also helped on my deal, so I was just feeling like maybe he was throwing at shot at me and [Ron] Browz just to get to them. But at the end of the day, Jay-Z did so much for hip-hop, man. You can’t take anything away from him, man. He’s talented. He makes the best music. He’s a phenomenon.
XXLMag.com: What did you think of Blueprint 3?
DJ Webstar: I’m not going to lie. I got the album. I like it. The album’s great. I’m not a hater. I’m not going to sit up there and say, “Oh, AutoTune is wack [or] Jeezy’s music is wack,” because there’s music for everybody. My grandmother and my little baby cousin likes music, but they don’t like the same kind of music. We’re in a whole different generation bracket. So, I can’t expect some 45-year-old man to relate to a 21- or 22-year-old boy like me [who’s] just making good club music for the kids.
XXLMag.com: So you’re saying that Jay just doesn’t understand your style of music?
DJ Webstar: When [Jay] was coming up doing his music and he was rappin’ fast and stuff like that, that wasn’t his time. He had to make people like him. You have to grow on people. If AutoTune was wack and my music wasn’t good, it wouldn’t be requested. It wouldn’t be added to 45 different markets in the country. It wouldn’t happen. It won’t be a top 40 record because nobody would like it and nobody would want to hear it. So my whole outlook on that is one person can’t dictate or determined what the rest of the world wants to hear. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion.
XXLMag.com: How do you react to people who call you a one-hit wonder?
DJ Webstar: I got a few records out. I don’t think I’m a one-hit wonder anymore. “Chicken Noodle Soup” was like three years ago. To everybody who says that, I got four, five records out right now. I got three videos out. I don’t get how I can be a one-hit wonder. Anytime you do something good or positive or something moving forward you always going to get some haters. I just want to shout the haters out because sometimes they could motivate you to do much more than what you normally do. They give you that extra push even though they’re trying to push you back. I got the Napoleon complex. I’m little, so I always feel that I got extra hard anyway.
XXLMag.com: What did you learn from Jim Jones working on The Rooftop?
DJ Webstar: I already know music, so I really didn’t learn anything musically from him, but businesswise I learned a lot. He’s just a very smart businessman. I just learned how to save money when I’m doing an album or how to keep my relationships better with people at the label so you could always go back and how to get more money out of people at the labels. That’s pretty much what I learned from him.
XXLMag.com: Is that how you were able to secure a multi-million dollar deal with Universal for Scrilla Hill?
DJ Webstar: That’s another thing Jim taught me. [He and I] decided to do The Rooftop together because it would give more leverage to get more money from a label. A lot of artists just want to go to a label, but when you go [to one] trying to get a deal with no songs on the radio and no leverage, they could give you a slave deal. When you’re No. 1 on New York radio for a while and you’re working your own records and you’re traveling, they can’t come to you like you’re a new jack. You get to go to the label and tell them what you want.
XXLMag.com: Are you the only artist on Scrilla Hill or do you have a full roster already?
DJ Webstar: I have a crew called Pocket Full of Money [which] consists of me, Young B, T-Rex and Young Deon. Besides them, I signed a kid from Jersey named DJ Frosty. He got the No. 1 record in Jersey right now called “Ride That Wave.” It’s all over Hot 97 and Power 105. I got the Swag Kids as a young group. I’m doing a deal with Disney with them. It’s already done. The lawyers are just finalizing everything we set up. That’s pretty much it. I’m looking to sign new artists, anybody with talent [who’s] willing to work hard to make money of course, but right now that’s what I’m focused right now.
XXLMag.com: You actually did a contest with Hot 97 to give back to underprivileged kids in your neighborhood, right?
DJ Webstar: I’m taking 10 underprivileged kids on a $5,000 shopping spree because I know how it is when it’s school time. Growing up, I didn’t have anybody to say, “You know what? Here, take this. Go get [some clothes and school supplies].” I grew up very poor… In a drug-infested neighborhood. Some of the kids I grew up with are dead, in jail or on drugs. I didn’t have anybody coming back to the hood to help. I went to one of the worst schools at the time. I always avoided the punches because I knew how to maneuver in the streets. We didn’t have a lot of money. I always made sure me and my brothers were good. My mother, father and grandmother always made sure we were good too. We didn’t have much, but we had each other.
XXLMag.com: It’s rare that a hip-hop artist actually gives back—or at least makes it public.
DJ Webstar: It’s important for us to give a good message in our community because these kids have no one to look up to. Their favorite rappers on every record is shooting somebody or doing drugs. They got to have somebody who’s for them. I’m for the youth. I want to be a role model. I want to lead by example. I don’t want to just say don’t smoke weed and then have a blunt sitting in my hand like an asshole. I want to tell them you don’t have to be negative, you don’t have to sell drug and kill people to make good music and to have good results. —Danny Tejada