February 18, 2011
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A chat with New York’s hottest DJs

for The Brooklyn Paper

DJ SELF

Where did you grow up and at what age did you start DJ’ing?

When I was 16 I started doing local mix tapes for people in my neighborhood in Brooklyn. When people started liking them I felt good, so I started spinning at local parties.

Tell us how you broke into the industry.

My first break was when I met a woman who started promoting my mix tapes and then she hooked me up with DJing for Mic Geronimo, Cam Ron and Lil’ Kim from my Neighborhood. Many hot people in the music industry lived in Brooklyn, Foxy Brown and Biggie to name a few. Then I did the street team thing to build up a clientele.

What were some of the first places you DJ’d?

I played at many teen parties which helped build up my popularity.

Who are some of your musical inspirations?

I really loved Kid Capri, Flex, Red Alert and Clue. I used to listen to them hard body, they were and are still the best!!!

Is there any other area in the entertainment arena you would pursue?

I would LOVE to do TV - like VJ or something along those lines, but I guess we will see.

Do you have any tips for aspiring DJs?

Watch, Listen, Study and Practice.

What is your advice to those attending Prom this year?

Your prom is an event that the memories will last a long time and Promoceans Ltd. is a great place to celebrate this event. So when I’m there putting it on for you just remember To Throw Ya Handz in the Sky!!!

DJ ROB DINERO

Who inspired you initially?

Well, my cousin was a DJ, but he used to spin house music back then. I really didn’t like house music too much, but he was the one that introduced me to DJing with 2 turntables & a mixer. I was more into hip hop, so I would listen to the DJ’s on the radio at the time like Kid Capri, DJ Red Alert, Stretch Armstrong & Clark Kent, to name a few. Then I would record their mixes and make my own “mix tapes” out of that, before I ever had any kind of DJ equipment myself.

I know you are big in the mix tape business. Was that how you broke into the business?

I used to just do little mix tapes here & there for my friends and people that I knew, but one day I was walking out of school with one of my friends and a car passed by blasting one of my mix tapes. That was the first time I ever heard somebody I didn’t know playing something that I made!! From then on I decided that I wanted more people to play my mix tapes, so I started to concentrate on that a lot more.

Name some of the artists you’ve done mixes for?

I’ve recently have done remixes & projects for artists such as T-Pain, AKON, Chris Brown, Sean Kingston, Damien “Jr Gong” Marley, The Notorious B.I.G., 50 Cent, Sean Paul and Ciara, just to name a few.

What high school did you go to and when you were in school were you looking forward to the Prom?

I went to Adlai E Stevenson High School in the Bronx. When the Prom was coming around I was looking forward to it. Unfortunately, I never made it to my school’s Prom because I was DJing a Prom from another school.

What has been your most exciting DJ experience?

Just really traveling the world and seeing all the different countries and meeting people that I don’t know, but know who I am and they don’t even speak the same language as me!!!

As far as success, what would be the one thing you think is important to remember along the way?

I always just think to myself, that I’m blessed to be getting all these opportunities & getting all these experiences from doing what I love to do.

What advice would you give up-and-coming DJs?

Just to have a genuine love for the music that you play and to really know about it. The more you understand and respect the music that you are playing, the better you actually become as a DJ. It will really come across to the people who you are DJing in front of.

DJ HOLLYWOOD

Where did you grow up and at what age did you start DJ’ing?

I grew up in Newark, New Jersey and at the age of ten I started listening to a variety of more mature music such as Merengue, Bachata, Salsa, Hip Hop, Reggae, R&B, Reggaeton,Techno and House. I started DJing by the age of 12.

Where did you get the name HOLLYWOOD?

I got my name from my favorite movie at the time - “Shaft”. My older brother Jordy started it, I liked it and so I stuck with it.

What high school did you go to and when you were in school were you looking forward to the Prom?

I went to Barringer High School in Newark, New Jersey and Prom Night was amazing. A friend who was hired to DJ the Prom asked me to bring some of my music just in case I wanted to DJ. I ended up DJing and it was a dream come true to DJ at my own Prom! Teachers and staff members were amazed – they didn’t know I had such a talent!

Who are some of your musical inspirations?

Jay-Z, The Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac, Swizz Beats

What has been your most exciting DJ experience?

I was DJing on a beach in the Dominican Republic at a Reggaeton concert. There were thousands of people and it was live on TV in 23 countries.

What advice would you give up-and-coming DJs?

Stay humble, stay focused and keep going. It’s never too late to get to the top!!!

What is your advice to those attending Prom this year?

My advice would be to make it a night to remember and party like rock stars with ME of course!! But – for a date - try to take someone who you can trust and have fun with. Enjoy your Prom night, don’t drink and drive AND check out the AfterProm.com events - I’ll be there!

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