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Dj Is My Life

When your work day (or night) doesn’t start till 10 PM, it’s easy to go mad during the day. I’ll admit that I’m a late riser on the weekends. I like to tell people that I live on West Coast

time. Still that leaves a good 10 to 12 hours before I clock in for the night. How do I fill that time? Here’s an outline of a typical Saturday in the life of this working DJ.

After eating some lox and toast, I jump into emails and admin work. I like to bang this stuff out early to clear my headspace for more creative endeavors later in the day. Emails sometimes are the bane of my existence, but they are an essential tool to keep the business operating. More on that another day. The good news is that on a Saturday, the admin tasks are always light. That leaves plenty of time for music and exploration.

I prefer to practice earlier in the day. Things seem to flow a lot more freely and with less distraction. Practicing as a DJ has always been a strange concept to me, but it’s been essential to get through the inevitable plateaus. Since much of what you do depends on the energy of a crowd, when you’re spinning records while staring at a wall, things just don’t make the same amount of sense as they would when you play out. But still, you can get a general idea if something’s working. That’s why I tend to work more on fundamentals at home. I’ll freestyle scratch different samples over the same instrumental beat for an hour, trying to mime the lyrics. I still hardly scratch at gigs, but my goal is only to keep getting better. After all, it was the scratch sound that got me into this in the first place.

I try to have fun with my practice sessions because it’s a rare opportunity to play completely for myself. I’ll work on word-play tricks and ideas that’ve crept into my head over the week. Sometimes this stuff happens spontaneously at a gig, but it’s time spent in the lab working on a feeling or concept that’ll increase the chances of it happening live. Lately I’ve been working on different ways to make quick BPM changes. There’s always that time when you’re stuck at a certain speed and need to get somewhere in a hurry without losing the floor (or you have to go there in order to not lose the floor).

Before I hit play, I have to set up my mixer as I had it out the night before. It takes only a couple minutes to plug in my Pioneer S9 to my permanent home setup (2 x Technic 1200 MK2s) plus a powered QSC K8 speaker. My 2018 wishlist is to grab another S9. It’s a huge advantage to have a second set of decks. My practice time has gone up considerably. Having to burn time on either end to set up and break down your gear is a HUGE hinderance to creativity. By the time I’d have everything out of the cases something would inevitably pull my attention in another direction.

I have three identical sets of the basic cables (XLR, USB, power adapter). There’s a set that stays in my gig bag, another set in a backup bag, and a set always plugged in at home. This ensures I will never forget anything without even having to think about it. Systems like this are everything when you gig four to five times a week with different equipment needs for each. They keep me from going crazy. I don’t do checklists. I’d rather just know everything is where it needs to be.

The night’s gig is at Good Life upstairs. I am slated to spin solo for four hours, which is a first for me in this venue as usually I am paired with another DJ doing 30 minute back-to-back sets. The B2B thing is great because you feed off your partner, and I think you can get a away with going a bit harder as you get a chance to recharge every 30 mins.

The prospect of four hours at the controls for a packed floor is both exciting and a little bit stressful. I know I’ll need to pace myself wisely. Go too hard too early and I’ll leave myself nowhere to go, except off a cliff. Knowing my tracks and their energy levels is everything.

I’ll go on to spend a majority of my day in Serato organizing tracks and improving the crate structure I’ve been building on for the past few years. I’ll also check the charts for anything fresh that I know I’ll need to play. “God’s Plan” by Drake is an example.

I’ve done a lot of work in Serato over the past year to organize my dance crates by energy level. My system is basic (LO, MID, HIGH) and it helps a lot to set the tone for the night. Once I get a feel for how the floor reacts to certain tracks I then get into more genre specific crates, mostly genre or era related.

I recently built a crate called D.A.N.C.E which is specifically designed for sets at Good Life. After a couple of years of regular gigs there I’ve gotten a feel for what works and what doesn’t. For one, the 2000s to early 2010s are pure gold. That stuff works with multiple generations, and when things get played out, it’s a decent jumping off point into the newer trap and turn up stuff.

Then there’s reggae and dancehall, some of the best dance music ever recorded.

The floor fills up fast on this particular night. Good Life has built a reputation for offering some legendary hip hop nights (PVRPLE, Fresh Produce) but they also do great house nights, too. Downstairs happens to be one of those house nights. If anything, that makes my job easier. I know there will be absolutely zero crossover, and hip hop heads will only have one option … me. (On a side note, I’d LOVE to spin more house nights).

Out of the gate, 2000s R&B seems like a logical choice. The room is filling up. I want people to get comfortable with the space. Maybe they’ll grab a drink or two before really dancing. At the end of the day, I know my main role is to keep people drinking. I lean on familiar tracks from Ashanti, Mary J, Aaliyah, The Fugees, Rihanna … you get it. Once a critical mass is reached, I see the need to ramp it up and get people grooving. J Lo “Get Right” lines up nicely for this. Then it’s all systems go.

A couple of requests come in right off the bat. The first one is Mark Morrison’s “Return of the Mack.” 1,000 % unexpected, but I fucking love it. Anytime I get this request, I will absolutely play it. That song at the right moment always bangs, and this was the right moment. It then launches me into a whole mix of similar era tracks. Shaggy “It Wasn’t Me,” Skee-Lo “I Wish,” and Ice Cube “You Can Do It.” All hit nicely, but I don’t want to overstay my welcome. The key is keeping people from pigeonholing you into one specific theme.

I had already gotten a request for “Toxic” by Britney Spears. I nicely shrugged it off but there’s no way Good Life would be the venue for that … or at least I thought. 15 minutes later the group sends someone else up to ask for it (a common tactic to make it seem like more people want to hear it than actually do). I realize this is a pretty large group and their energy is really what’s building the early dance floor. But still, Britney at Good Life? I texted my buddy who does sound for approval. He said to go for it. So I hard echo out of whatever 95 BPM cut I was on. Let it mellow for a second, and drop “Toxic” on the one. The crowd eats it up. Nice.

The change was perfectly timed. I was peaking in the 95-105 BPM world and needed to wash things clean. At 72 BPM and a shuffle “Toxic” was a great jumping off point to new things. “Rehab” next hit so flat that I cut out after 8 Bars to something a little more on brand. It’s funny how fickle a crowd can be with a novelty. Stay there too long and you’re toast.

The “Toxic” move launched me back up the BPM latter. As I was building it back up MIA “Paper Planes” was the highlight. 10 years later this track still combines the perfect level of indie clout with pop sensibility. Also I got tremendous satisfaction from dropping Queen’s “We Will Rock You” to lead into “Tipsy,” and not going down in flames.

Then I got some love from industry folks. Crews from the Milky Way and City Tap, both places I’m fortunate enough to spin at regularly, came by to say hi. Anytime you see a familiar face in a room full of a few hundred strangers really levels you out and makes you feel human again. This is what carried me through the rest of the night.

Four hours barely existed. Before I knew it I was playing “Welcome to Jamrock” at 1:53AM and the lights were up. Just another day in the life.

Here’s the full track list (including the edits I use) from my Good Life set on 2/17/2018. All 149 tracks in total.

I Wanna Be Down (Clean / Aca Out) Brandy 88

If Your Girl Only Knew Aaliyah 88

Passin by Me Pharcyde 90

Be Happy (Durkin Edit) Mary J. Blige 91

Rock The Boat (DJ Dynamite edit) Aaliyah 93

I Feel It Coming (Dirty) The Weeknd ft. Daft Punk 93

Fu-Gee-La (SHORT EDIT /ACAPELLA OUT) The Fugees 90

Ain’t That Funny (Short Edit) Jennifer Lopez ft Ja Rule 94

Why You Wanna (Clean Intro) T.I. 96

How We Do – DJcity Throwback Edit (Dirty) The Game ft. 50 Cent 98

Wild Thoughts (Scooter Remix / Maria Intro / Clean) DJ Khaled ft Rihanna & Bryson Tiller x Santana 98

Juicy Booty (Audio1 Edit) (Dirty) Chris Brown feat. Jhene Aiko & R Kelly 96

Dance With Me (DJ Tanner PL3 EDIT) 112 98

Girls Wanna Have Fun (Intro – Clean) Usher ft. Young Thug 94

Stay Winning (Nick Styles Intro Refix-Dirty) Wale 97

You Be Killin Em (DIRTY-SSM Edit) Fabolous 94

Get Right – DJcity Throwback Edit (Intro) Jennifer Lopez 97

Rich Girl Eve/Gwen Stefani 98

Rock Your Body (Menegaux Quick Mix/ Beatbox Outro) Justin Timberlake 101

Too Close Next 100

Return of the Mack (C & J Street Mix) Mark Morrison 95

It Wasn’t Me (Clean Intro) Shaggy 94

Disco Inferno (Clean Intro) 50 Cent 97

Shake Ya Ass [Explicit] Mystikal 98

Senorita (Super Short Edit) Justin Timberlake 98

Beware Of The Boys (Remix) (Cyber Intro) Punjabi MC feat Jay Z 98

I Wish (Intro) Skee Lo 98

Heavenly Break DJ ELI ESCOBAR 102

Watch Out Now (DJ A-L Big Pun Blend-Clean) The Beatnuts & Big Pun 100

Jenny From The Block Jennifer Lopez 100

You Can Do It – DJcity Thorwback Edit (Dirty) Ice Cube ft. Mack 10 & Ms. Toi 100

Talk Dirty To Me (Melo D EDIT) Jason Derulo 100

Work It into Worth It (Segue / Clean) Missy Elliot / Fifth Harmony ft Kid Ink 100

You Know You Like It (DJ Snake RMX / Intro) AlunaGeorge 98

Me & U (Short Edit) Cassie 100

Toxic-intro-clean Britney Spears 72

Rehab (DJ Dynamite edit) Amy Winehouse 73

GDFR (Intro – Clean) Flo Rida ft. Sage The Gemini 73

Look At Me Now (feat. Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes) Chris Brown 73

Make It Rain (Dirty / Super Short Edit) Fat Joe ft. Lil Wayne 75


Collard Greens (feat. Kendrick Lamar) ScHoolboy Q 77


Beamer Benz Or Bentley (Dirty Intro) Lloyd Banks feat Juelz Santana 80

Live Your Life (Dirty) TI ft. Rihanna 80

Rubberband Man (DIRTY-Isaac Jordan Quick Edit) T.I. 78

Krippy Kush (Remix / Spanglish / Dirty) Farruko, Nicki Minaj, Bad Bunny, 21 Savage & Rvssian 82

Plain Jane (Dirty / Intro) A$AP Ferg 85

Get Back (Dirty / Donk Hook Only) Ludacris 86

Teach Me How To Dougie (DIRTY-Jason Bee Intro) California Swag District 85

I Think They Like Me (RMX / Clean / Short Edit) Dem Franchize Boyz ft Jermaine Dupri, Da Brat & Bow Wow 83

Slow Motion (Dirty Cyber Intro) Juvenile 86

Paper Planes Dirty M.I.A 86

My Drink N My 2 Step (Dirty Intro) Cassidy feat Swizz Beatz 87

Blame It (Dirty Cyber Intro) Jaime Foxx feat T Pain 88

Flashing Lights Kanye West Featuring Dwele 90

Umbrella (Feat. Jay-Z) Rihanna 87

Jumpin Jumpin [Drew Pierce Edit] Destiny’s Child 89

Let Me Blow Ya Mind ft. Gwen S Eve 90

In Da Club 50 Cent 90

Drop It Like It’s Hot Snoop Dogg Featuring Pharrell 92

We Will Rock You (Deejay Irie Tipsy Edit) Queen 88

Tipsy J-Kwon 93

Murder She Wrote (PLUV Intro EDIT) Chaka Demus & Pliers 95

Heads High (Kill Dem Wit it RMX / Diggz 2017 Short Edit) – 5A Mr. Vegas 93

GASOLINA Daddy Yankee 96

Like Glue Sean Paul 98

Freaks (DIRTY) French Montana ft Nicki Minaj 96

Ayy Ladies (DIRTY-Donk-“Hook First” Short Edit) Travis Porter ft Tyga 96

Choppa Style (Dirty) Choppa 100

Back That Azz Up (Dirty Intro) Juvenile 96

Nolia Clap (Alternate Intro / Twerk / Super Short Edit) TWRK 100

Blow the Whistle (Original Mix) Too $hort 100

Love Like This – DJcity Throwback Edit (Intro) Faith Evans 101

Be Faithful (Original Mix) Fatman Scoop 101

Wait (The Whisper Song) (DJ AM Intro) (Dirty) Ying Yang Twins 102

Whistle Song-clean-intro Juelz Santana 100

Touch It (DJ Organic Edit) Busta Rhymes 102

Salt Shaker (Clean) Ying Yang Twins ft. Lil Jon 102

Got Your Money Ol’ Dirty Bastard 103

Bend Ova (Dirty) Lil Jon ft Tyga 103

Yeah! Usher Featuring Lil Jon & Ludacris 105

This Is How We Finesse (Audio1 Throwback Blend / Acapella Out) Montell Jordan vs Bruno Mars 105

Finesse (Remix / Dirty / Intro) Bruno Mars ft Cardi B 105

Suit & Tie (Dirty-Short Edit – Aca Out) – 9A/10A Justin Timberlake ft Jay-Z 102

The Motto (CLEAN-Nacho Vega Edit) Drake ft Lil Wayne 101

Im Rollin (Fresh Den A Muthafucka) (Beat Junkie Sound edit) (Dirty intro) Meek Mill 103

No Lie (Intro) Sean Paul ft. Dua Lipa 102

Never Leave You (Diggz 2017 Short Edit) – 7B Lumidee 100

Get Busy [Menegaux Short Edit] Sean Paul 100

Ting A Ling (Dirty / Super Short Edit) Nicki Minaj ft Shabba Ranks 105

Express Yourself (Short Edit / Aca Out) – 9A Diplo ft Nicky Da B 108

You Remind Me (Clean) Chris Porter 104

Truffle Butter (Intro – Dirty) Nicki Minaj ft. Drake & Lil Wayne 105

Fade – Jordan Crisp Clapapella Intro (Dirty) Kanye West ft. Post Malone & Ty Dolla $ign 106

One Dance (Intro) Drake ft. Wizkid & Kyla 104

Turn Me On Kevin Lyttle 106

Tempted to Touch (Diggz 2017 Cutdown) – 7A Rupee 106

Mercy.1 Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T & 2 Chainz 70

Pony (Extended Mix) Ginuwine 71

Ni**as in Paris Kanye West & JAY Z 70

Formation/Humble (2 bar intro!!) Beyonce vs Kendrick Lamar 75

HUMBLE. (Dirty / Intro) Kendrick Lamar 75

Grove St Party (DIRTY-Jason Bee Intro) Waka Flocka Flame ft Kebo Gotti 70

Homegurl (DIRTY-Intro) Bone 75

Laffy Taffy (Clean Intro) D4L 77

Walk It Out (Clean Intro) UNK feat Outkast & Jim Jones 80

Snap Yo Fingers (Clean CK Intro) Lil Jon feat E 40 x Sean Paul 82

All I Do Is Win (Dirty Intro) DJ Khaled feat Ludacris Rick Ross Snoop Dogg and T Pain 75

Black And Yellow – DJcity Throwback Edit (Dirty) Wiz Khalifa 82

God’s Plan (Dirty / Intro) Drake 77

Rockstar (Dirty / Intro) Post Malone ft. 21 Savage 80

Dance (ASS) Anthem (Risk One Segway) 80-91bpm (DIRTY) Big Sean & Nicki Minaj / DMX 80

Good Life – Reed Streets Remix (Dirty) Kanye West ft. T-Pain 92

Rude Boy Rihanna 87

Make It Clap (CLEAN-Intro) Busta Rhymes 91

Snake (Clean Intro) R Kelly feat Big Tigger 92

Africa Toto 93

No Scrubs TLC 93

Welcome To Atlanta (Dirty) Jermaine Dupri ft Ludacris 96

The Next Episode Dr Dre 95

Lemon (Rihanna First / Clean / Short Edit) N.E.R.D. ft Rihanna 95

Bubba Sparxxx ft.Ying Yang Twins – Ms. New Booty 97

Bubble Butt Remix Major Lazer 97

IDFWU (BJS Dirty Intro EDIT) Big Sean feat E40 98

FDT (Intro – Dirty) YG & Nipsey Hussle 97

R.I.P. (feat. 2 Chainz) Young Jeezy 97

Gas Pedal (Dirty Intro) Sage The Gemini feat iamsu 98

Rack City (Dirty Intro) Tyga 99

Get Low Lil Jon And The East Side Boyz 101

Party Up (Dirty / Short Edit) DMX 101


Doo Wop (That Thing) (Clean Intro) Lauryn Hill 100

Ride Wit Me Nelly 102

Bodak Yellow (Transition 100-63 / Dirty) Cardi B 126

No Problem (Dirty-Intro/Outro) Chance The Rapper feat Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz 136

Big Pimpin’ Jay-Z 138

Ignition (Remix / Clean) R. Kelly 132

My Boo Ghost Town DJ’s 130

Birthday Sex REMIX (CLEAN- Uptempo Remix) ( Jeremih ft Pitbull 129

Calabria (Victor Menegaux Horn outro) Enur feat. Natasja 126

Danza Kuduro (feat. Lucenzo) Don Omar & Lucenzo 130

Love In This Club (Audio1 2017 VIP Mega Blend / Clean) Usher 72

Shawty Is A 10 (Rmx)_3(DMS Intro) Dream ft. Fabolous 73

Swimming Pools (Donk Hooks Only Edit) Kendrick Lamar 74

Young Forever (DIRTY-DJ Fabian Edit) Jay-Z ft Mr. Hudson 70

Welcome To Jamrock (Intro) Damian Jr Gong Marley 77

Thriller Laugh Sample Michael Jackson 118

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