Random thoughts from a random mind…

Posts tagged “MI

Origins of a DJ – Part 5 (Final Chapter?)

At the time I was working with inner-city youth in Pontiac, MI.  I began to figure out ways to reach these youth, and one way was through music.  My favorite genre has always been hip-hop/rap, and I thought maybe this would be one way I could connect with some of the kids.  I began working with some of the projects (yes, projects, as in housing projects) that were part of a United Way funded collaboration.  I met with some of the community leaders, and asked them what they had wanted for the youth.  The leaders wanted programs that would appeal to the youth, but would bring a positive outlook.  I offered a number of programs, but my favorite was one where my DJ background would come into play.  In this program the kids would learn about music history, and move up to the music of today, seeing how computers are used to create music.  I would show them the beginning steps of how to “spin,” and how to record and edit on a computer.  Thanks to Keith “Bubby” Webb, even had the opportunity to take them to a studio in Pontiac to show them the process of recording an artist.  In this, I made some very good friends in the music industry coming out of the Pontiac area.  This was my sign to get back into DJ’ing.

I got the opportunity to do some shows with a couple of the artists in Pontiac.  I did some work as the house DJ for a couple of studios.  One of the guys I worked with, Uncle-P, gave me the chance of a lifetime.  I got to do a show on the stage of St. Andrews Hall in Detroit.  If you know anything about the Detroit music scene, you know what St. Andrews Hall is.  If you’re a fan of Eminem, you should know, or at least recall the mention of St. Andrews Hall.  It was surreal.  I was on spinning on the very same stage that had seen the likes of Bob Dylan, the Chili Peppers, Iggy Pop, Nirvana, and even Eminem.  In fact, Eminem did one of his first shows here (well, his show was in the Shelter, which is in the basement, but it was the same building).  St. Andrews Hall is mentioned in many of Eminem’s songs, as well as the Shelter being mentioned in his movie, 8-mile.  If you haven’t noticed, I was pretty stoked about this opportunity.

After doing various shows at other venues in the area, my last stop was this little bar in Lake Orion.  It was like so many other places I had DJ’d at before, but again, I had some opportunities arise that I never could have dreamed of.

We would have “rap-artists” do shows there almost every week.  I say “rap-artists” because these were guys just trying to get their foot in the door.  Some of them were good, some not so good, but we gave them a stage to perform on.  Then one day I got the word that a bigger act would be coming in to perform.  Some of you may have heard of him, and some may not (I have dated myself with this one).  This was a local guy, from Flint, MI, who had had a couple of big hits in the ’90’s: “Ain’t No Future in Yo Frontin” and “Gotta Get Mine” featuring the one and only 2Pac.  I’m referring to Eric Breed, aka MC Breed.  I had the opportunity to do many shows with MC Breed.  In fact, this was my first taste of sipping Hpnotiq and Hennessy in the VIP area.

The summer of 2003, I had moved with my son to Indiana.  I would still come back though, about once a month, to do a show, usually with MC Breed.  The largest show came on September 12th, 2003 when I did a show with MC Breed and none other than Proof of D12.  To me, this was probably the biggest thing I’ve ever done as a DJ.  The last show I did in the Detroit area was a New Year’s Eve party with MC Breed on December 31st, 2004.

While living in Indiana, I again put DJ’ing off, and would only spin in my house on occasion.  Shortly after moving there though, I did begin working as a radio DJ for 103.9 the Bear, a rock station in South Bend, IN.  As I said in my first chapter, my father has been in radio all my life, and this was something I had always dreamed of doing.  There is just something about being that voice coming from radio, it is a pretty cool feeling.  I also go the chance to be a PA announcer for the Elkhart Express, a semi-pro basketball team.  Again, something that I’ve always dreamed of doing.  This, I have to say, was one of the coolest experiences ever.  I did begin spinning in Indiana eventually, but nothing major ever came of it.

People always asked me why I didn’t DJ as a “full-time” gig, and my answer was always the same: because of my son.  My priority was always to put him first, and my interests second.  Even though this interest brought extra income, it just wasn’t a lifestyle that worked while being a single dad.  I do have to thank those that helped support me while DJ’ing though.  Without all of your help, I never could have made it work, thank you!

I got to do some pretty amazing things as a DJ.  If anyone had ever asked me 13 years ago if I thought I’d get to work with even one of the amazing artists that I’ve had the pleasure of working with, I would have said “no way.”  I was blessed, and was given opportunities that I never could have dreamed possible.  In a way, I owe it all to my buddy, DJ Marcus McBride, for helping me get started with something that is so important to me.

Will I ever DJ again? I’m sure I will, I just have no idea when or to what capacity.  I just can’t let go of something that I enjoy so very much.