I decided to open this « Respect The Deejays » interview. I decided it because of the sincere respect I have for the deejays. A lot of them from all over the world have been supporting me and my grind since day one, and i’ll give them respect back in these posts. I’m very honored to open it with the UK brother DJ Crank, hard working on the radio and mixtapes sides of this Hip Hop game. Crank it up !
And of course, show some love to the man on his Twitter and on his website !
01) Chose one record from your collection to introduce yourself, and let us know why !
Gotta be Dilated Peoples « The Platform ». I’m a massive Dilated fan and this track is the inspiration behind my show. Lines like « The Platform, takes respect to perfect the artform » really sum up my outlook on Hip-Hop. Shouts to Rakaa, EV & Babu, they were all real supportive of the show when it first launched.
02) I personnaly took the time to reach you and build this cool relationship we got, but do you think that deejays got enough respect nowadays ?
Speaking from my own experiences I’d say yes, I get nothing but love and respect from people. Having said that, I consider myself a radio DJ and I know people come to me for air play so of course they’re gonna be respectful with it. As for real DJs I’d probably say no, they don’t always get the respect they deserve. Part of that’s because these days, everyone and their Mother is a « DJ » so the term DJ has lost a lot of weight, but also I think still, people don’t realize just how vital a DJ is when it comes to things like live shows. In that situation, an emcee is the life blood of the show but the DJ is the heart, keeping the whole thing pumping and that needs to be recognized and respected.
03) Precisely, this Internet jungle give y’all a strategic function. What does « breakin record » mean to you in 2015 ?
The internet is an essential tool for the underground (I for one wouldn’t even have a career without it). It’s giving emcees the opportunity to drop records that 10 years ago would never get heard because the decision to drop a track or sign an artist is made by such a small number of people. Nowadays if an emcee wants to drop a track they can, and it’s up to the people to decide if this artist deserves an opportunity to go further. Music lovers are taking the power back, and I love it !
04) What do you expect from an unknown artist when you listen to his / her music for the first time ?
Confidence and Humility. I wanna know who they are and where they’ve come from. This is Hip-Hop so I want that swagger, that bravado but be real, if you’re just starting out you ain’t the G.O.A.T respect those that came before you and (and paved the way). Too often with new emcees I hear arrogance masked as confidence in their tracks.
I originally started in TV, doing a comedy show called « CrankItUp! » but I’ve always loved music, I’ve been a Hip-Hop head since the early 90’s so I think my life was headed that way. Back in 2010 the production company working with us on series 2 happened to be in the same media house as ICR, I went in and introduced myself but didn’t pursue it any further because I knew my show was running for a third series. Fast forward to June of 2013 with series 3 wrapped and an offer for series 4 on the table I was at a cross road, keep on keepin’ on or take my life in a completely new direction, try to build a new career in something I’ve loved since I was a child. A couple months later The Platform was born.
06) Being affiliated with HipNott Records is a great thing, how all that happened and what type of more value a DJ can bring in a music label ?
Man, this whole deal with HiPNOTT is nothing short of amazing. It came completely out of left field and I owe it all to OSI (one half of The Regiment). I’ve been dropping Regiment tracks since day of the show and I guess OSI must have recognized that because he reached out to me wanting the Platform to be a part of the promotional strategy for their (then) new LP « Live From the Coney Island » (check it out if you haven’t already). Naturally I was all over this, who wouldn’t be in that situation. So I promoted the LP, it dropped and life carried on. A couple weeks went by and OSI reached out me again, saying that the head of HiPNOTT records wanted to talk to me about being involved with HiNPOTT. So out of no where I went from trying to get this show off the ground to working with Kevin Nottingham and HiPNOTT Records, it’s crazy! I can’t say thank you enough to OSI for hooking me up, HiPNOTT have taken me in and made me feel like family, the show wouldn’t be growing at the rate it is without them, plain and simple.
07) I’m not in this Serato VS only vinyl debate, but how do you use technology to improve your mix skills ?
Here’s how I see it, Serato is something you can learn, vinyl DJing is an art form. Don’t get me wrong, Serato isn’t just something you can just pick up and do, it requires a certain level of creativity and talent, but I’d say pretty much anyone could learn to DJ (at a certain level) with Serato, in a relatively short amount of time (hence the vast number of digital DJ’s currently in the world) but turntablism is art, and not everybody can be an artist. Me, I’m a radio DJ, a presenter, and I can honestly say outright that without programs like Serato I simply wouldn’t be able to what I do.
My vision for Show and Prove is to make it like XXL’s Freshman List, something emcees strive to be on. I want artists to see S&P as the next step in getting signed (which it is), HiPNOTT founder Kevin Nottingham listens to every volume of S&P, looking for the next addition to his HiPNOTT roster. Straight up, getting your track on a volume of Show & Prove could very well lead to a record deal. My job is get that message to masses, and I gotta believe it’s working because each and every month that list of submissions is getting longer and longer.
09) You’re based in the UK, I wrote this interview in France, and you spin a lot of worldwide music in your shows and mixtapes. Have you ever been a fan of the international thing ?
Totally, good music is good music, no matter where it comes from. Although I do tend to favor the US because I love that authentic American sound I like to think I’m open minded enough that anyone in world would feel comfortable sending me their music, I mean I’ve dropped tracks from Canada, Africa, Italy, Mexico and more. I don’t really drop any UK Hip-Hop, simply because I just don’t like the way the British accent sounds but even so, if someone in the UK sends me a track I’ll spin it, because in my limited experience you just never know where that next classic is coming from.
10) Any last cool words brother ? Last advice for our readers ?
Stay humble, always remember who you are and where you came from.