I Should Start DJing Again

There was a brief time when I DJ’d at a local hookah bar. Life happened and then I stopped.

I’ve gone through a few different DJ controllers, and I almost sold the Reloop Mixon 4 that I’d gotten the other year. On a whim, I decided not to sell it. Maybe it was because the resale value didn’t seem worth it, maybe it was because I figured I didn’t get to really use it to its full potential. In any case, I really want to start DJing again. The more I DJ, the more I’m inspired to write my own music.

So, here we are. I want to DJ again, but I don’t really listen to a lot of radio stuff, and I need to stay somewhat up-to-speed on what the hot new-new is. I’mma do my best to post a handful of new-to-me and generally-new joints every week, okay? Cool.


The Warm-Ups

I’m naturally drawn to hip-hop sounds that hearken back to my childhood. That being said, I wouldn’t expect these late 90s vibes to come out of Nottingham, UK. I’m not much for the trap sound, unless it’s real good, or if I’m in a particular mood for a Migos joint. Juga-Naut is a UK-based rapper and producer, and I’m a sucker for a decent flow over some sweeping strings and a throwback bassline. I’m getting Camp-Lo vibes on this one.

Juga-Naut: Bandcamp | Instagram | Twitter | Spotify | Apple Music

Another one for the warm-up set. I don’t know much about Zock. In fact, I don’t know much about a lot of the artists I’m stumbling upon, except that I’m really into the sound. I like to keep the warm-up parts of a DJ set pretty chill, but the kind of thing that you can have a conversation over while getting your first couple drinks. This song does just that.

Zock: SoundCloud | Spotify | Apple Music

Little Simz made it onto my best of 2018 list. Given that the first joint I featured was from a Nottingham rapper/producer, Zock is from Spain, and Little Simz hails from London, I’m really into some Euro-vibes right now. I can’t sleep on what they’re doing on the other side of the Atlantic.

Little Simz: SoundCloud | Twitter | Spotify | Apple Music


The Bops

2 Chainz is starting 2019 strowng. The Ghost Town DJs into is a bit of a swerve, but it’s refreshing as hell to hear a mainstream rapper like 2 Chainz do something relatively stripped down but is still a banger. The being said, I’m kinda stoked that he sampled this gem from 2009:

I’m really into this. Really, really into this. Also, I can’t help but hear the influence that Outkast’s “Spottieottiedopalicious” had on this, from the bassline to the last little sax riff toward the end of the track. For those not super familiar with the Outkast joint, firstly, shame on you, secondly, maybe you’ll remember it from Beyonce’s “Flawless”. Either way, I wasn’t expecting a couple white kids from Chicago to be reminding me of Outkast.

Wild Belle: SoundCloud | Twitter | Instagram | Spotify | Apple Music

Aminé dropped this one a couple weeks ago, and I’ve steadily been into it. Maybe it’s the casual interpolation of Justin Timberlake’s hook from “Signs”, or that the beat slaps while being super chill? Whatever it is, it makes me hate living in Portland a little less.

Aminé: SoundCloud | Twitter | Instagram | Spotify | Apple Music

I always loved the Godzilla sample on the original iteration of “Simon Says”, but I also really love this drum-n-bass take on it that I can’t help but want to spin this and drop it on a crowded dance floor to see a bunch of people get mad ignorant.

Bryx: SoundCloud | Instagram | Spotify | Apple Music


Dance Flow

Disco/funk vibes are timeless. The thing that seals the deal for me is that disco piano on the low-end of the sonic spectrum. I’mma drive a little deeper into this Los Angeles-based funk band. They kinda remind me of Escort, and well, a lot of classic disco/funk bands like Chic and anything else Nile Rodgers ever touched.

Orgone: SoundCloud | Twitter | Instagram | Spotify | Apple Music

80s-inspired funk? Let’s do this! Swedish pop-disco can’t go wrong. Following in the lineage of Robyn and The Cardigans, Hips is coming strong with fun, dancy, retro-inspired pop and I’m here for it.

Hips: SoundCloud | Instagram | Spotify | Apple Music

Pretty much, I feel like once I start DJing again, I think I’ll hit my stride once I get into the disco portion of my set. In this case, we’ve got some more Euro-dance vibes with Jerry Folk, a young producer from Norway. Seems like this kid is gonna make some waves this year. I’ll be staying tuned to see what he’s bringing to the table.

Jerry Folk: SoundCloud | Instagram | Spotify | Apple Music

Getting Trippy.

I haven't really had the chance to really focus on music--my mind has been focused elsewhere, to be honest. That being said, I've been sitting on this beat for about a month.

When I sat down to make this beat, I didn't have much in mind. I was messing around with different instrument packs and samples, and I ended up fooling around with some 8-bit video game instruments, which is where that weird bouncy melody came from. Given how high-pitched and trippy that stem ended up being, I went with a deep 808 bass-line with some trap hi-hats and a super-reverbed-out bass and snare pattern. The piano really ties the general playfulness of the beat together.

Granted, I don't really partake--but from what I remember from my past weird trips, my mind would enter some sort of fantastic journey...so I hit the sound effects hard with the hook. I wanted those orchestral hits to emulate some sort of mind explosion, while the simple marimba melody keeps all this drug-fueled chaos balanced.

All in all, it felt pretty dope to step out of my normal songwriting genres and put a different spin on something trap-inspired.