Notice how Young Jeezy’s live shows have only gotten better during this year alone? Well, DJ Baby Yu is a big reason for it. When the Snowman was looking for a DJ back in March, Baby Yu from Atlanta’s V-103 radio station presented himself, and Jeezy took a chance.
“I been knowing the homie and hearing good things about him from the radio station and people knew I was in need of a DJ and he was brought to my attention, so I was like let’s do it and it’s been history since then! It’s da world!” Jeezy says.
Here, XXLMag.com talks to Baby Yu about DJ’ing for the Snowman and the steps he took to improve Jeezy’s live show.—Mark Lelinwalla
XXLMag.com: How long have you been Jeezy’s DJ?
DJ Baby Yu: I been DJ’ing for him since the top of March and it’s been going on ever since. We did a tour consecutively for three months at the start for his TM-103 album and because I’m a working DJ and also mix show coordinator for Atlanta’s V-103, I kind of had to do that while I was on tour. It was pretty tough. His original tour DJ wasn’t working with him anymore and because my management was already working with him, it was good timing. They weren’t sure if I was able to get out of the station because I was so busy with it, but I just took the opportunity. In a day, I was in a different state with him.
What’s a memorable tour story with Jeezy?
I don’t know, he’d go out and pop 20 bottles some times. One time we went to this crazy-ass club—a house club—and he doesn’t act up when he’s here [in Atlanta], but that time, when we were out, he went in. Good times.
What did you bring to Jeezy’s live show that’s different from his performance in the past?
The reaction from industry people and people who’ve been with him for 10 years and they’re actually saying that they could see the difference in his shows by adding me. When I first talked to him, I told him that, ‘I’m not a typical tour DJ, where he’s just gonna hire me and I’m gonna listen to what he wants. I’m here to work with you, create a story and create a good show, not just random songs here, random gunshots there. There’s no element to that.’ To hear his colleagues like Kanye and Jay say that they’ve noticed a huge difference in his show. Even Kevin Liles. To hear those people come up to me and tell me that I’ve done a great job, is amazing.
Would you describe Hot 97′s Summer Jam this year as a landmark performance for the Snowman?
The highlight of Summer Jam is it’s a rotating stage, so while one artist is performing, another is getting ready on stage. When we faced that crowd, it was crazy! I told him that, ‘I consider you to be beside Jay and Kanye and if you look at their shows, they’re so organized. That’s how you should be. I know you represent the hood and keep it real, but if you want to take it to the next level, you gotta do it like this.’ He understood that. I gave him a storyboard with what I could do with a show and he loved it. His management, his crew, they were going crazy, when we were trying to put the show together.
How did you know what strings to pull to improve his show?
I opened up for a lot of people in Canada from Snoop Dogg, Game, 112, Juelz Santana, Black Eyed Peas, so I got the feeling on how a live stage show was different from a commercial act to a pure hip-hop act. It seems like it’s so disorganized sometimes. So, when I came in, I wanted to make sure everything was flowing. So, when I first started with his tour, we made it like an actual story line, making sure he said the right thing and the right time. It flowed so perfectly because we went from his original Thug Motivation 101 all the way to Recession and Inspiration. We just went down the timeline and it just worked out. There’s some dude that booked him over 40 times in the last 10 years and said it was the best show he ever seen Jeezy do. It’s so good to hear that because that’s what I’m here for and I know Jeezy appreciates that. We work well together. Before every show, we talk and he expects something better. I create an intro for him—because I produce as well—and it works well. I think the connection is what it is with me and Jeezy. I’m here to make his brand better. I’m not here to push my own thing. He helps me do that, but at the end of the day, I’m here to push his brand.