Thanks to Nah Right for the two part interview with mix tape innovator DJ Drama. Here are my favorite snippets from the interview, starting with some DJ insights:
“And I was an East Coast type of guy with my taste. When you come to school, particularly in a place like Atlanta, you’ve got so many people from so many places. So I had to relearn how to DJ, and it made me much more of a worldly DJ than I might have been [if I stayed] in Philly. You had people from California, and people from D.C. that wanted hear go-go, and people from the islands. You got your people from Atlanta that want to hear A-Town shit. Then there’s people from New York. So you gotta learn how to please a bunch of people.
I appreciate him noting that it was the absence of mixtape DJs working with southern artists that created his lane.
“There was a store called Tapemasters, my man Marco used to work in there. And I would try to sell my CDs in there, but I would get blown out, because I was making East Coast CDs trying to compete with Whoo Kid and Kay Slay and Clue, and no one was checking for me because I was getting beat to the punch [by them having the exclusives before me]. So my senior year of college, I realized that I needed to make a South tape. And that shit flew like hot cakes. The first song ever on the pre-Gangsta Grillz DJ Drama South tape was ‘Bling Bling.’ That was like ‘99. And Marco was like, ‘You need to focus on your neo-soul tapes, and your South tapes. That’s where you have niches at.’
Part II here.