Why Mainstream DJs are Killing Hip-Hop DJs

I was out over the weekend. Regular party type shit. I rarely go out on weekends. Too tired. A birthday party for a particular Shade45 on-air radio personality drew me out.

Whatever the fuck was going on downstairs in that “urban” part of that club was terrible. So I went where no hip-hopper has gone before. Upstairs. To party with the mainstream white folks. God damn that DJ was killing it so hard. He was blending Rakim with Justin Timberlake. Soulja Boy with Britney. Timbaland shit with some obscure house music. And so on and so forth.

Just traveling between the two levels of a nightclub on a Saturday night can show you the difference between DJs, where some take shit seriously, and others not so much. It’s not that the downstairs DJ didn’t know what he was doing, it’s just that he was playing hip-hop music from the years circa 2003-2005. And that’s cool, cause those years were great, but how many times can you be in a club and hear Usher’s “Yeah” and Jay-Z’s “Give It To Me?” It seemed to me like the DJ (and I didn’t get his name, because it was one of those “off” nights for me) knew he had an older crowd and was reluctant to play some Soulja Boy or Timbaland shit. He had such a generic playlist. Like what, no hip-hop music came out after ’05? People felt it too. Everybody was just standing around, bullshitting.

Meanwhile, upstairs it’s like fucking girls gone wild. And not because the DJ was only playing current shit. But because he was blending new songs with old songs, house with hip-hop, hip-hop with soul, basically had a nice complete set. You could tell he spent time working on it. His Saturday afternoon might have been spent practicing. He was what I expect a DJ to be. I couldn’t classify him, he played everything. And he was able to pull off the Rakim shit in a crowd of white folks who don’t even know who Rakim is because he was doing it in a manner that wasn’t intrusive. Play a couple bars, maybe a whole verse, on to the next song, and he just keeps hitting them. To me though, and this is coming from someone who’s definitely done their fair share of partying over the years, one of the main reasons why I don’t go out so much anymore to “urban” parties is because there’s this total lack of creativity coming from DJs. It’s just the same shit you’re hearing on the radio playing in a club. No blends. No cuts. No remixes. A shout out to some random drug dealer moonlighting as a record label CEO in the building (btw, Shout to Irv Gotti, who was in the building). But nothing that will keep you guessing. It’s like, once you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times.

I feel like the Itunes playlist DJ shit that infected mixtapes has since made its way to the urban clubs. It’s been this way for a while. But is it that bad, that it’s getting to the point where you gotta hang with frat boys and sorority chicks, in clubs with DJs who get wayyyyyy less press and attention than the current crop of hip-hop flunkies (you know what DJs I’m talking about) just to wanna shake a tail feather?

  • http://www.myspace.com/sogentllc these posters are idiots

    A shout out to some random drug dealer moonlighting as a record label CEO in the building (btw, Shout to Irv Gotti, who was in the building).

    Lmao!

    But yeah, nice drop. Some of these DJs need to step their game up, b/c listening to the radio’s top ten countdown again in the club is beyond irritating. Even after consuming a reasonable amount of alcohol.

    • EReal

      Is it me, or is it kinda a WTF that Irv Gotti would be at a Shade 45 party?

  • og bobby j

    Son, them dirty harry tapes back in the day was sick. The High noon shit was fire. Thingn changed now a days, the mixing art is dead.

    • ALBANY4LIFE

      Thats real talk.Nobody does that shit anymore and its sad cause that is a big part of hip hop.I found some dirty harry cds made up of shit from 95-96 a few months back and thought it was my fuckin birthday.

      • og bobby j

        son, you need to email me that shit…i would put it in heavy rotation in the whip

  • BK Cyph

    yeah man… is it me or have hip hop parties turned to sausage fests?!?

    Ay man Im at wherever the ladies are at- i dont care if he playin David Bowie “Let’s Dance” in that bitch!

  • KnokcOut Beats

    Is that the only thing that separates a good DJ from a bad one? Im no DJ at all but it sounds as if DJ’ing is simple as hell.. but this is coming from someone who doesnt care for mainstream music

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  • Bird

    Interesting, but rather specious (and a bit naive) take on the whole upstairs/downstairs club dynamic. “traveling between the two levels of a nyc nightclub” (one of the most overtly racist scenes in northeast american nightlife) will never show you the difference between DJ’s… and it is a kind of laughable, kind of suspicious, and at the very least oversimplified claim (so much so that an eyebrow is raised, and i suspect alterior motives for your griping). I happened to be at that party saturday night too (14th btwn 7th and 8th, right?).
    i can tell i’m not as old as you, but it doesn’t take too many nights out to know that the girlsgonewild theme can be found at your local white/eurotrashedout nightclub, disco, or tavern across america. the DJ can put on his favorite itunes playlist (which i can promise you was the source of your touted Dj’s collection) or he can fart into the speakers… the titties come out with the euros, not the music selection. believe me- no one upstairs was responding to how unobtrusive rakim w/ justin timberlake was…i’ve been having this conversation since starting in the predominately white middle-highschools i’ve attended most of my life: play our music! the white people dance and go crazy either way! (yikes! terrible memories.)
    i have to attribute what you’re describing to the racist ass nyc bouncers/promoters/club owners/scene in general that keeps
    a predominately black line outside of a predominately white club (sheesh. reminds me of our prison system).
    when i arrived, i expected that whatever section the urbanites had been quarantined to would be fuking packed cause the line was really long and the entryway was chaotic. it was pretty typical: some white bitch with a list, gigantic bouncers cursing and screaming about respect, and a couple of white guys looking perplexed as they glanced from their guestlist to the urban crowd that may have kept you in the basement. inside: the upstairs you described and a downstairs that desperately needed the lines waiting for it outside.
    After all, it would be one thing if the urban crowd had been displaced, if you’d found fellow basement-emigrants upstairs with you driven out by the music. but it was just you, right?
    I only feel so compelled to respond because the downstairs dj was precisely what made the night for some of us. “No blends. No cuts. No remixes.” ???!!! You left too quickly! I don’t know what genre hiphopper you are, but no one I complains about hearing give it to me one time a night (in fact, i’m a little disgruntled when i dont hear a little 90′s JZ) and after all, isn’t it part of the DJ’s craft to choose selections according to his crowd (did you know it was a musically-themed party?).
    The bad news is he didn’t have what you were looking for. the good news is you can find your upstairs timberlake/britney mixed w/ hiphop songs (and can you get more rudimentary than timbaland w/ bmore techno??) every night of the week on the upstairs level of any nyc nightclub. perhaps until saturday, you just hadn’t come across your preferred nighlife social niche??
    i’ll be in the basement.

  • Bird

    Interesting, but rather specious (and a bit naive) take on the whole upstairs/downstairs club dynamic. “traveling between the two levels of a nyc nightclub” (one of the most overtly racist scenes in northeast american nightlife) will never show you the difference between DJ’s… and it is a kind of laughable, kind of suspicious, and at the very least oversimplified claim (so much so that an eyebrow is raised, and i suspect alterior motives for your griping). I happened to be at that party saturday night too (14th btwn 7th and 8th, right?).
    i can tell i’m not as old as you, but it doesn’t take too many nights out to know that the girlsgonewild theme can be found at your local white/eurotrashedout nightclub, disco, or tavern across america. the DJ can put on his favorite itunes playlist (which i can promise you was the source of your touted Dj’s collection) or he can fart into the speakers… the titties come out with the euros, not the music selection. believe me- no one upstairs was responding to how unobtrusive rakim w/ justin timberlake was…i’ve been having this conversation since starting in the predominately white middle-highschools i’ve attended most of my life: play our music! the white people dance and go crazy either way! (yikes! terrible memories.)
    i have to attribute what you’re describing to the racist ass nyc bouncers/promoters/club owners/scene in general that keeps
    a predominately black line outside of a predominately white club (sheesh. reminds me of our prison system).
    when i arrived, i expected that whatever section the urbanites had been quarantined to would be fuking packed cause the line was really long and the entryway was chaotic. it was pretty typical: some white girl with a list, gigantic bouncers cursing and screaming about respect, and a couple of white guys looking perplexed as they glanced from their guestlist to the urban crowd that may have kept you in the basement. inside: the upstairs you described and a downstairs that desperately needed the lines waiting for it outside.
    After all, it would be one thing if the urban crowd had been displaced, if you’d found fellow basement-emigrants upstairs with you driven out by the music. but it was just you, right?
    I only feel so compelled to respond because the downstairs dj was precisely what made the night for some of us. “No blends. No cuts. No remixes.” ???!!! You left too quickly! I don’t know what genre hiphopper you are, but no one I complains about hearing give it to me one time a night (in fact, i’m a little disgruntled when i dont hear a little 90′s JZ) and after all, isn’t it part of the DJ’s craft to choose selections according to his crowd (did you know it was a musically-themed party?).
    The bad news is he didn’t have what you were looking for. the good news is you can find your upstairs timberlake/britney mixed w/ hiphop songs (and can you get more rudimentary than timbaland w/ bmore techno??) every night of the week on the upstairs level of any nyc nightclub. perhaps until saturday, you just hadn’t come across your preferred nighlife social niche??
    i’ll be in the basement.

  • http://www.djwonder.com DJ Wonder

    That was me on Saturday. Come holler at me at Manor on Friday Nights or at Gspa or anywhere else where I can play what I want to play. I play to the crowd, and THAT crowd was all about BULLSHI**ing.
    You obviously weren’t there when I was playing Classic House, Prince album cuts, or the “Soulja Boy” that you seem to desire.
    Although I got several compliments that night, I can understand someone thinking I might be “off.” I invite you to any other party I do and would ask that you rate me then.

    Respectfully,
    Wonder

  • Gooch

    Bird, I agree NYC nightlife is a very racially segregated scene. However, I’ve partied amongst all crowds, from the bridge and tunnel folks (I’m a Staten Islander) to snooty white folks to uppidy industry shit. I’ve been around the block and them some. On a saturday night, I just wanna be where the good vibes are at. Where people are having a good time. I don’t give a shit if them people upstairs were purple. Bottom line was, they were enjoying themselves more, they were the better crowd. You think the DJ had nothing to do with that? Why else do they pay Dave Morales 20 g’s to spin for a half hour? Fuck it, even Grandmaster Flash gets stupid money for a gig. Why? Because he’s an incredible DJ. You think he’s in a club like, “Oh, I got this bullshit crowd tonight, let me just throw this hot97 playlist from 2004.” Fuck that. The underlying theme to what I was saying is, the scene from Saturday repeats itself over and over and over again at so many parties I go to. Same playlists. Same tired ass vibe. Practically the same set. But that’s just the decidedly hip-hop parties. Sure you have guys like DJ Camilo who fucking slaughter every urban party they DJ at. But those cats are few and far between. And for just a regular night on the town, I expect more than hearing Jay-Z followed by the same 12 reggae records cats been playing for the past 15 years, followed by some Prince and blah blah blah. It’s generic to me. Bottom line. A little creativity is needed here and there, this is hip-hop after all is said and done. That applies to DJs too.

  • http://koolkidkulture.blogspot.com/ Koolkidkulture

    peace to all the real dj’s

    Boost Mobile Anthem 2.0
    Behind the scenes with Jeezy, JD and Mickey Avalon
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3er-A6HsW8w

  • Bird

    Gooch, I couldn’t agree more with an emphasis on just having a good time. That’s why I find the over zealous little dicked bouncers and racist ass promoters/owners so violating. i dont think anyone disputes that the better crowd was upstairs. if the downstairs dj is Wonder (above) sounds like he would’ve preferred to be up there too. but the DJs weren’t the crowd makers that night, the doormen/staff were.
    True, the Morales/AM/celebrity guys are decent DJ’s. But that doesn’t mean that if a DJ’s not excessively paid and famous he isn’t decent too (shout out to the LSAT(contrapositives)).
    As in any other industry, things are brand/celebrity/commercially driven. they pay 20 g’s for morales for the same reason people buy purses with certain names for the price of a midsized car: branding. 20 g’s ain’t for the music or feel-good vibe he provides. it’s for the crowd he brings due to the celebrity he has (which no doubt began somewhere down the road with his talent).
    sounds like the DJ agrees with you guys, and if he’d had a different crowd he would’ve felt at liberty to be more creative. maybe people like me and my friends are the problem- cause a lot of people in my earshot were going on and on about how he killed it.

  • BloopMonster

    Need your DJ fix? Check it, check it out…http://djevildee.podomatic.com/

  • http://lvnproof.blogspot.com DJ TREATS

    Ditto Gooch.

  • http://lvnproof.blogspot.com DJ TREATS

    Too much Prince, and Michael Jackson, and typical ’80s rap dick licking to me.

  • http://www.myspace.com/gee_pot Big Steve Gee

    Im a whiteboy, i grew up out side of toronto etc etc same ol’ sob story, I used to compete in the dmc competition, now i hold residency in some night clubs in vancouver canada, and ive spun in l.a and miami and central america . I Dont blend house music i use urban sounds to pound the ground but i take songs from eras… and yrs to pound it out. And The way i do it i notice the difference. There are people that think they Are ” Hip Hop ” and ” gutter ” too be honest lol theres a lot of white folks that do it… TONS!!! but if you can read a crowd … you aint shit…If you cant take it and make it hot you aint shit…Ive seen djs take other djs mixes … throwem down on serato and walk away for 15 minutes. DJS WORK HARDER FOR YOUR MONEY !!!! your makin a bad name for yourself lol but keep doin what you do cause ill take your spot

  • http://myspace.com/djramonworld Ramon A.K.A. Talent A.K.A. DJ Ramon

    Rigtheousness,some cats call their selves dj’s but can’t mix,if they blend it’s all off key. I just mixes the instrumental to Tribe Call Quest’s check the rhyme with a pitch shift keeping the same tempo though mixed with Fatboy Slim’s “Allstar”. Real Dj’s still live,we just don’t get are shine like we should because these posers.

  • Curtis75Black

    I feel what Gooch was saying all the way. Most DJ were I currently reside in MIA, are either too young to truly know music or just stuck in their era’s to care. I hear DJ’s playing the same shit BET and The radio rock with no problem whatsoever, which in my eyes is straight boring. How many times can you play Lil Wayne’s “A Millie” until it get’s played out ? I mean Damn, Look at all the remix Homages of the shit from countless emcee’s and rock those once in a blue ? Rock some shit that will surprise me !! The urban DJ’s are lazy and that’s when peeps leave or just stand around.