The organisers had reservations about choosing such an influential figure within Hip Hop to be a judge for Mr and Miss Black and Beautiful. But like he said even if you get swarmed by wanna be Hip Hop heads looking to join the competition they still have to be saying something special. And for those who think passing us just to enter into the game of Hip Hop, easy? Passing DJ 279 of Choice FM will be even harder, trust me!
Cola: Define Hip Hop?
DJ 279: Hip Hops about expressing yourself, not everyone’s the same but over the last five years the people are rhyming about street life and having to hustle to make money and what not. But it’s not all about that.
Cola: I totally agree but it might be all about street life for the youth out there?
DJ 279: Yeah but it’s about being creative it’s not just about street life. I personally think a lot of new people who come into Hip Hop think that’s what it’s about. For them it’s just about guns and violence, thugs and all the rest of it.
Cola: Isn’t it a cry for help, a reflection of what’s going on now?
DJ 279: Yes it is but at the same time I think people need to make them understand that there was a time when Hip Hop was about dancing and having fun. There was a time when Hip Hop was about Afrocentrincity, knowing yourself and all the rest of it. In the days of Nekin Shabazz, Public Enemy and all kinds of groups. Now it’s drugs, knives because there is a lot more of that about obviously so there’s a lot more records that reflect that in the songs. It doesn’t mean if you wanna be a rapper that’s all you have to rap about, there are many more topics to rap about.
Cola: You sound frustrated?
DJ 279: Because I get bored hearing the people talking about the same shit on a different record with the same beat there’s only so many different ways you can say it. There’s too much of an imbalance and it’s the younger ones. Hip Hop is about originality and people don’t give it the right kind of importance. And because of those kinds of fads one person does something and everyone else is like, let me just see if I can emulate that. A lot of artists go through that and it cool but they usually find themselves at the end of it. Hip Hops about a look, the way you carry yourself its about a performance. I go to see some people and it’s just terrible, no stage presence, stage show, no choreographing, couldn’t work an audience if they tried. Like a youth this very week gave me 22 tracks and in every song he’s talking about violence, how you do this, how you carry this, how your girl/man does this and how this one oh man. You can’t stop people from speaking negative or cut someone off because they do because you can learn from the negative but ooh man?
Cola: It’s become too negative?
DJ 279: Yes and when I said that to him and he said he never thought about it like that. He said, “ But bwoy you know cats have got to do this and do that to maintain” And I appreciate that but it doesn’t mean you have to make a whole album about it.
Cola: then what happened?
DJ 279: Then I asked him who he admired in the rap game and he said 50 Cent and said he don’t even have his album all the same. Then he said Nas’s album and I told him that when you listen to Nas to his album it’s not all about word play, fictional battle rhyming stuff where you talk about all these crazy fictional things you might do. If you listen to “ Get Down” it’s clean and its like a street but when you listen to “I Can” it’s total opposite and his opinion was like, “Bwoy you can’t really rhyme about soft things because people’s gonna think your soft” I said why what people thin
Cola: LL cool J’s first song was “ I Need Love” I guess that’s considered way too soft today?
DJ 279: That song was softer than soft. Rap is about your own message don’t care about what everyone else is saying it’s meant to come from inside you. The mediums people have to listen to is very MTV and its more visual there’s a lot more blinging and cars and jewels. Which means it harder for DJ’s because back in the day’s you played records that not everybody knew and you got credit for that. Now if you go to clubs and do that everyone’s like what are you doing they only want to here the ones they know. The way your source music has totally changed now making it harder for new talent to be heard.
Cola: So as a DJ would you say that you’re being stopped from what you do well?
DJ 279: Nobody stops me from what I’m doing. I won’t just allow myself to be drifted off because someone else says you must do that. I’m fortunate that I don’t have a play list so at Choice FM I can play the records I like and I choose records strictly on their merit.
Cola: How long have you been into Hip Hop?
DJ 279: Since I was fifteen years old 1987 and all that.
Cola: Have you ever been a naughty boy because you grew up listening to the negative albeit fantasy violent rap lyric’s?
DJ 279: No I have never been arrested. I don’t have a gun, I’ve never owned a gun or even wanted to do any of those things. But it doesn’t mean I can’t relate.
Watch this space for rest of interview!!!