The DJ Is Dead, Says Jermaine Dupri

Spotted over at

In this video, Jermaine Dupri says:

“The DJ is dead at this point and time now. Because the DJ used to be like the person when you’re running track, and you pass the baton, and the person that grab it, they keep running. Now when you running and put the baton out there, the nigga that’s a DJ, he grab the baton and he bump into you, cause he’s trying to run the other direction… When you pass them a CD, they handing you a CD. The attention level ain’t even the same…. the DJs are no longer focused on helping the way that they used to help, so that means the DJ’s dead.”

This guy Jermaine, he may be on to something.

In lieu of what’s been going on the past week or so with this whole Lil Wayne vs. the mixtape DJs fiasco, Jermaine’s saying that DJs are essentially worthless. You’ve got to keep in mind that JD’s an executive, and his goal at that level is to have his artist’s records played, and to sell albums. I think the point he’s making in this video is that people in the music industry, particularly DJs, need to know their role. If you’re a DJ and you interact with the music business, you’re job to is play the records that you’re given, not be trying to solicit your own music back to the label and get your own situation popping. Which is pretty selfish thinking on the part of the labels. I mean, the relationship between the label and DJ back in the day used to be pretty one-sided.

But this is the DIY era we’re living in, and in hip-hop we’ve promoted the entrepreneurial spirit so much that it’s almost insane to think that a DJ should just stand there and play whatever it is you’re giving them without them trying to get their own shit cracking. Add to that the fact that most major label shit just flat out sucks and you’ve got a problem on your hand. You’re asking DJs to play wack shit. And then on top of that you’re not embracing their own little movement, so of course they’re going to run the other way with the baton, because the one you’re handing them is all bent and broken. They got their own baton that is much better, or at least they think so.

Which brings me to this whole Lil Wayne thing. Lil Wayne should be embracing DJs, not shitting on them. They’ve largely made him who he is today, but at the same time, Nah they really haven’t. It’s not like The Empire went in the studio and wrote Lil Wayne’s rhymes. They didn’t make those beats, and they didn’t put those songs together. Sure, they put those mixtapes out, but once a CD is pressed and ready to go, the DJ has as much incentive to sell them shits as anyone else. The quality of Wayne’s material is what drove these mixtapes to become classics. Whether that was The Empire, DJ Drama, or DJ Whatever The Fuck, that material was going to be incredible regardless. It doesn’t matter what DJs name got top billing on the CD cover. Wayne’s music made your product hot, bottom line. Not vice versa. The process of becoming great starts and ends with Wayne himself. No matter what DJ Drama did, he couldn’t make Dedication II hot if Wayne was wack on it. He can sit by the sidelines and play coach, but Phil Jackson is not winning without Kobe Bryant.

And that takes us back to what JD was saying, which is that the DJ is dead. And you can see from the Wayne example that the DJ is clearly not dead at all. The DJ will take the baton and run with it if the talent is actually there. You give the DJ something hot to play and the DJ will play it. Give the DJ some bullshit, and he’s going to drop the baton every time. It’s not because he’s lazy or he doesn’t want to play your records, it’s that you’re insulting him by asking him to play crap. Make great music and it will be embraced.

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  • moresickaMC

    DJ aint dead u dumbass…..oh my bad, he meant Damito Jo


    • Mikestreet


    • Pierzy

      WOW – great call!

    • elgotti

      The DJ is not dead…just evolving. JD is referring to the promotional channel DJs provide…it’s just not the same as it used to be (whaaa!)

      Record companies need to step their game up…go hard or go home.

      DJs are naturally evolving into a producer’s role. Just like many of the famous producers did back-in-the-day. Actually, if you wanna get technical, the DJs WERE the producers back-in-the-day.

      Today’s game puts the power back in the hands of the artists. The technology is stepping up. Time for the record companies to do the same. Maybe start by calling your company something other than a “record” company.

      • Valdez

        It’s called a record company cause when the artist is in the booth they are “recording”

  • ill G

    yes make good music…lets get sum talent out there the prob is EVERYONE and their mother is a rapper now…EVERYONE!! as long as u got a machine that makes the beat…and u got someone to mix it and edit and put it all together with whatever u spit on the mic…then anyone thinks they can rap. but lets start puttin more emphasis on SAYIN SUTTIN in ur raps!! TALK BOUT SUTTIN!! cus im tired of hearin how much money u make on the block, or how u rob niggas, or how much ass u bust…or i guess u can talk about all that but be creative with it. and maybe try new shit…instead of copying every other artist out there,if ur a rapper try incorporating suttin new…a new sound, an instrument sumthing!!! cus hip hop is gettin real redundant right now. aaaaand im spent

  • northern california bay area

    the MC and the DJ are brothers…

  • Don Dodda

    this is coming from the guy that signed dj felli fell. what a dumbass

  • DJs

    There are still DJ’s who well….dj. But I feel what he’s saying to an extent. There are dudes downloading shit off Limewire straight to cd-r callin’ themselves DJ’s. It’s so sad it’s funny. But to each his own. True talent and hard work tend to shine through.

  • D. Link

    This coming from the president of the body spray label. “They passin batons, doin what hey wanna do what they see you do…attention level, teachers aint doing what they doin you focused on what you supposed to be doin”- this fool makes less sense than Wayne and I don’t even see a white styrofoam cup around…

  • wood grain grippa

    No the dj aint dead he is just smarter now. he figured out that “why am i making money for these mtf’s. i make my own.

    It seems rap was about the now. never about the after.

    Downloading just made m life simpler.

  • Rizob

    the “mixtape” dj is worthless. in today’s game, you record a track, and upload it to the website of your choice,and bam, its all over the place! DJ “WhatTheFuck” is not needed in this process. the listeners find this music for themselves without the interference of “DJ ButtPlug”

  • MrPresident916

    not all djs.. its tha one cumin out wit all tha fuckin mixtapes!!! that got tha same fuckin songs on them.. shits weak.. fuckin limewire and all these sites where u can get these songs for free cuts tha dj out or tha quality djs out.. no middle man no more and thats wat a dj is basically.. artist ta dj ta listener.. no need for tha dj nemore jus bootleg that shit.. o and tha carter 3 is fucken weak..

  • Big Jay

    The DJs made Lil Wayne who he is. I can be as dope as I wanna be, but if I don’t get my music out there somehow, then nobody’s gonna know, and I’ll continue flippin’ burgers at the local fast food joint.

    My mom’s got the hottest mixtape out there, but I’ve got the only copy. Who cares then?

    The point is, without the DJs exposing Wayne’s “music”, he wouldn’t be as hot as he apparently is.

    • Rizob

      so you are saying the djs made Wayne Hot. No, Wayne made Wayne hot and mixtape djs just profited off of him. For examply, DJ Drama has put out a ton of Willie the Kid mixtapes, and dude is still not hot. DJ Drama(or any other DJ) can’t make you hot, they just basically jump on the bandwagon…

      • WANG

        i kinda feel where Big Jay comin from but then again Rizob got a point

        Wayne does work hard and keeps comin out wit shit errday….these fake ass DJs just makin ca$h of da ni99a Wayne

        Anybody cud do wat dem fake DJs do…shit i cud make a cd rite now but alot of ni99as cant do wat wayne do in terms of hustle…..i give wayne dat much

  • Mr. Rogers

    Radio DJ’s, Mixtape Dj’s….”Play shit cuz u like it, not cuz ya boss like it or it sells”

  • Mas

    amen! great post.

  • paychexx

    man dont blame the djs, nigga stop puttin out wack ass shit!!! it simple as that. first it was the internet, now it the djs, STOP PUTTIN OUT WACK SHIT!!! you niggas is mircowaving the music. niggas is mad becuz the mixtape be better than the bullshit they put in stores!!! i mean really who really checkin for anything that on so so def, hot dolla? naw dfb? naw nigga your breadwinner is usher and mariah carey. i hear there all kind talent coming out the atl, but its seem like you scared to sign a hardcore artists. STOP MAKING POP RECORDS!!!

  • http://xxLMAG jb-da b.stuy reppa

    Dj’s are not killen the bizness! Wack ass records are!!!!!!!! If these Jermaine Dupri signed better rappers instead of cats like j-kwon the music bizness would be very much alive.

  • Looms

    Tell that shit to the Space Travelers & Beat Junkies. Real DJ’s can make shit nice WITHOUT exclusives.
    I’m glad to see all the MP3 “DJ’s” eat each other alive. Good fucking riddance.

  • Lyrik the General Soldier

    Sorry buddy, but this blog is actually bullshit and guess whut? JD iz right.. 2 a certain extent. Deejayz are gettin’ paid theze dayz and wether ur muzik iz hot or not, if u ain’t sliding theze major deejayz some bread, ur gonna have stay on they muhfuccin’ azz to get ur muzik out there. Yes, payola exist, on a major level, i know personally. But i currently refuse 2 participate. There’z nothing wrong with the deejay multi-taskin’ but hip-hop has become so political now-a-dayz that unless ur passin’ some money with that baton, or u go out there and get ur muzik scorchin’ hot in the streetz, then it ain’t happenin’ captain. Hip-Hop iz takin’ a beatin’ right now folk, one-hunned – L-Y, NawfWestSide – Screwston, Tejas – 4ThaLuvRecordz

  • Fixda

    Okay but he problem is Dj’s aint playing good shit, they just play what people want point blank. They should show the way to go.

  • maxamill


  • The Spaniard

    “DJ aint dead u dumbass…..oh my bad, he meant Damito Jo



  • AZ

    Online Technology runs this joint period.On-demand music streaming sites (including all the regular sites that usually include a section with the latest music) has largely replaced the relevance of the mixtape DJ. The websites simply do a better job of aggregation. As far as the radio DJ (mixshow in specific), he’s been replaced by the PD’s for years now. Back to the mixtape DJ’s, the vital void this part of the game played was breaking new artists but what NEW artist has been broken by the mixtape market in the last few years?

  • SOUTH_19

    The DJ as we once knewn him is dead. JD is right. The “DJs” that called themselves mad at Wayne and leaked his cds are the ones he was talking about. If you a DJ then you DJ parties, clubs, etc. All these fake DJs just burn make music to cd sell cd. That ain’t a DJ. KaySlay that’s a DJ, Drama that’s a DJ. Half the mixtape DJ’s don’t even know how to cut on a mixer.

  • d moni

    djing aint dead its just some niggaz who be fucking it up for artist when you leak all they shit out on a mixtape….. it fucks them up in a long run with the album sales

  • http://www.HipHopSince1976.Com HipHopSince1976

    He did not explain why the Dj is dead. He was just rambling some bullshit.
    No rapper out ur camp should be played.

  • dark kent

    the games a changin’ folks…

  • Worley

    JD you need to play your damn role. Executives don’t have the foggiest idea what is hot in the street. The suits only put money behind what’s hot. Let the DJ tell you what’s hot in the street/club and then the executives put some money behind that. Play your f*cking role sucka.

  • DJ DaveLee

    Hey i agree with the comments. I see it all the time. I as a DJ help the talented local artist and DJs make a name for themselfs. I don’t make mixtapes at all, you come to my shows and you’ll know whatup.

  • DJ Daddy Mack

    “You give the DJ something hot to play and the DJ will play it. Give the DJ some bullshit, and he’s going to drop the baton every time. It’s not because he’s lazy or he doesn’t want to play your records, it’s that you’re insulting him by asking him to play crap. Make great music and it will be embraced.”

    and i’m an example of that

  • Max-Jerome

    95% of these so called mix tape djs have no talent yet they have all the power, he has an excellent point.

    As a DJ myself, the real cats stopped making heat years ago because it was supposed to be giving power to the powerless, now we got the government kicking in Mixtape DJ’s door. (how soon we forget dj drama, the FBI made you a star, congratulations).

    Years ago record labels would send joints to Mixtape DJ’s like we were peasants, now look.

    Hell yeah the DJ is dead.

    The balance of power has flipped.

    For example, Young Buck played himself for smacking that DJ for playing Games records. Little Wayne talked reckless and his album got downloaded 1.4 million times for free. You have Koch making mixtape cds with Bar Codes. I’m talking million dollar niggas like whoo kid who reap the benefits of having a cache

  • da troof

    Yall, dont get it. The DJ is the show! We were the the show,in the hip-hop show, b4 there was a show. I have yet to meet the M.C. that shows up to the park jam, with his own mic, ready to rap, excuse me, m.c. The m.c. was an accessory.. Sorta like, Flav’s clock. DJ’s searched far and wide for the most obscure and hottest music. This could be a break from a rock track, or a soul song, or
    a west indian dub ect. M.C.s didnt come into prominince until the biz men came in. With the advent of video, the most visual guy became the most important. Its a matter of who owns the mic. In the parks, the DJs did, when the record labels stepped in, the MC became the front. DJin and making recordings of jams, parties, ect, began from these beginnings, so DJs were always handing out “tapes” We were the original tastemakers to the biz side. The problem manifested when promoters move into the biz side, and hand us, things, of lesser quality. As mentioned earlier, if you are hot, true DJs will find you and your stuff. Lets be frank here, there were DJ’s and hip-hop prior to the A&R. So to be blunt, no DJs want a CD, dripping with wack juice, every time they see an A&R either. We are not a tool of the industry, we are the industry. When the labels, pack up, because they cant make a buck off of us anymore, we will still own the speakers, the turntables, serato nowadays, and last but not least, the mic

  • jcityhustla617

    dj is jd backwardz

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  • An undead DJ

    These erroneous and clearly self-serving comments were made by the same guy who now “DJs” across the country and doesnt even rock his own labels classics. Basically all this says to me is that DJs arent doing the airplay/street level distribution of music so now the record companies have to. Thats money & work theyd rather get for free.

    No DJ makes an artist himself hot or not, but the influence of respected DJs give attn to artists that goes further than mag ads or in-store posters. Just as a producer doesnt make an artist hot….BUT they all work together (in theory) to put out and expose the best product possible.

    The role of DJs has changed but I aint dead, the dj culture aint dead…..respect to DJs that are truly dead

    RIP Jam Master Jay…DJ AM…Roc Raida…and many others.