• Meet Globalization’s Program Director, Edwin Paredes (DJ Phenom)

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    Edwin "DJ Phenom" Paredes
    Edwin ‘DJ Phenom’ Paredes at SiriusXM’s headquarters in New York City.

    Last week, DJcity launched a contest with SiriusXM and Pitbull to find a new U.S. mixer on the network’s Globalization channel. The winner of the competition will receive their own year-long mixshow, along with a Pioneer DJ DJM-S9 mixer and Serato license pack.

    Launched on SiriusXM by Pitbull in May 2015, Pitbull’s Globalization takes listeners on a “musical journey of rhythm around the world.” Its daily mixers include Big Syphe (Pitbull’s former DJ), DJ Rawn (former Power 106 mixer), and DJcity’s Kidd Spin and DJ Santarosa. Other mixers include BBC 1Xtra’s MistaJam, Mad Decent’s SpydaT.E.K, and KIIS FM’s DJ Drew.

    We spoke with Edwin “DJ Phenom” Paredes, president of DJcity and program director of Globalization, to learn more about how the channel operates.

    How does Globalization differ from other stations/channels?

    It’s like we took every hot song from every popular radio station and jumbled it into one 24/7 channel. Not only that, but Globalization is bi-lingual, and sometimes we add music with languages other than English and Spanish. But the biggest difference is our DJ roster and mixshow style. Big Syphe and I have handpicked everyone on air. When I was given the green light to mold the station’s sound, I knew what I had to do: pick the best-skilled DJs across the world, pick the right daily time slots for fans across the nation, and give everyone a one-hour show to bring their A-game. Four of our mixers are on Monday to Friday. Those DJs are Big Syphe, Rawn, Santarosa, and Kidd Spin. The rest of our DJs have special weekday and weekend slots. We even have an all-female Monday to Friday mixshow called the “Diva Mix Hour.” Those ladies are better than a lot of the male DJs I know. But overall, we came up with our own fresh programming, and the fans are loving it. It’s a new age in radio and music discovery, and I want to cater to that audience but also give fans the Pitbull party and old school style they love.

    How does your background as a DJ guide you as a PD?

    Growing up in Los Angeles I listened to two main stations: Power 106 and KIIS FM. They helped mold my ear into the open-format style. The DJs on air were incredible, and I always wanted to practice and learn to be just like them. I used to stay up late or wake early to record DJs E-Man, Rawn, and Richard Vission (Powertools) from Power 106, and Drew from KIIS FM. I would use my two-deck tape recorder to edit out the commercials. I would then take the mixes to school and share them with friends. Eventually, I picked up some DJ gear and some club residencies in LA. One, in particular, lasted four years. I was there Thursday to Saturday opening up the night for a predominately Latin American crowd. That’s where I really trained my ear to play everything from hip-hop and house to ‘80s and Spanish rock to old school and new music without losing the crowd. Any DJ that really knows how to hold it down has mastered how to keep the early crowd engaged without burning the headliner. Sometimes I would do the whole night on my own and on those nights I really learned how to stretch the open-format sound for the four hours I was on. I use that model to help me pick the music and program how it airs on the station. I imagine the same club fan and program the station to what they might like. The difference is now it’s millions of listeners across the U.S. and Canada.

    What is your process for adding new tracks to the channel’s playlist?

    The management at the station votes on submissions. That team includes Big Syphe, Disko Drew, Kidd Spin, Santarosa, and myself. I also talk to many DJs from the radio and club world on a daily basis. I have the luxury of having my worldwide peers pitch me good music all the time. DJcity’s charts are a key part of what I look at on a daily basis to discover new tunes. I also look at the U.S. radio bible know as Mediabase, the Billboard charts, the iTunes charts, the Spotify charts, and I listen to new music I get from labels and artists directly. I watch how the music is moving in all of those areas regularly. If it’s doing well, I share it with my team and give it more shine on air. If it doesn’t seem to be moving anywhere else, I have a quick discussion with my team and either remove it or give it another chance. I also take notes from other PDs at Sirius XM. Geronimo, who runs BPM, is incredible at picking new music. His partner Dre, who runs Electric Area and a few other stations, is also on the cutting edge of dance music. Ron Mills is the hip-hop bossman that runs Shade 45, Hip Hop Nation, and a few other legendary channels. My main boss and contact is Kid Kelly, who heads up all the pop stations, hosts the Hits 1 radio show, and programs multiple stations across Sirius XM. I have the benefit of his guidance, and he always makes time to show me the tricks of the trade using our programming software. If you ever get a minute to chat with Kid Kelly, please make sure to use it wisely and soak up as much knowledge as possible. Learning from him and all of the other PDs has been a true honor.

    What do you look for when adding a new mixer to the team?

    I look for people who think outside the box but also follow the rules. I look for people who keep the same energy at minute 45 as they do when they kick off their sets at the beginning. I also look for people who know how to jump between different cultures, specifically English and Spanish. I get surprised when DJs only focus on one or two genres. I like clean mixers that can jump between them all seamlessly.

    How much freedom do the mixers have?

    A lot. They have a list that we curate and have a few tracks that they need to hit during their one-hour sets. But for the most part, they have a lot of creative freedom. I tell them to keep it funky and energetic. I ask them to play on air as if it was a major club. I think it creates a healthy competitive vibe among our team which brings out the best in everyone. But we all support each other. I make sure the energy among the crew stays positive.

    Enter DJcity, SiriusXM, and Pitbull’s Globalization contest here.

    Related: Pitbull and DJcity Launch Contest to Find ‘Globalization’ Mixer

  • Should DJs Use Sync?

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    Syncing is one of the most controversial topics in the DJ community. People have made passionate arguments for both sides, and now it’s DJ TLM‘s time to chime in. Watch above on this episode of Share the Knowledge.

    Related: How DJs Should Use Microphones

  • The Samples Behind Souls of Mischief’s ’93 ‘Til Infinity’

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    The mid-90s saw the release of many influential hip-hop albums — Souls of Mischief’s debut 93 ‘Til Infinity was one of them.

    Released on Sept. 3, 1993, the album featured the following singles: “That’s When Ya Lost,” “Never No More,” and its title track. The latter, which peaked at No. 72 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, remains a staple in classic hip-hop sets.

    The album was produced by four members of the Oakland, California crew Hieroglyphics, including Del Funky Homosapien.

    Power 106’s Wax Only series has examined the samples used on the project in honor of its 24-year anniversary.

    Watch above.

    Related: The Samples Behind Raekwon’s ‘Only Built 4 Cuban Linx’

  • Watch DJ Premier’s Tiny Desk Performance and Genius Interview

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    DJ Premier
    DJ Premier performs on NPR’s Tiny Desk series. (Photo source: NPR)

    After close to 30 years in the game, the legendary DJ Premier is still going strong. This year alone, he started a new record label, dropped his Miguel-assisted single “2 Lovin U,” and completed a 16-city tour.

    Despite his many projects, Premo recently took the time to perform on NPR and speak with Genius. Both his set and interview are available to watch below.

    On Monday, the Houston-native became the first DJ ever to perform on NPR’s Tiny Desk series. Accompanied by his touring band, The Badder Band, Premo delivered a nine-song medley of some of his classic productions. He and the five-piece ensemble gave the tracks new energy.

    Premo also sat down with Genius for their conversation series, Genius Level. The insightful hour-long interview covered most of his illustrious career. The former Gang Starr member reflected on his early days with the group and working with Nas, JAY-Z, and The Notorious B.I.G. He also discussed his new label, TTT (To The Top), as well as his production process.

    Watch his Tiny Desk performance:

    Tracklist:

    KRS-One — KRS-One Attacks
    KRS-One – MC’s Act Like They Don’t Know
    Das EFX — Real Hip-Hop
    Nas — Nas Is Like
    Jeru The Damaja — Da Bichez
    Gang Starr — Step in the Arena
    Gang Starr ft. M.O.P. — 1/2 & 1/2
    Royce Da 5’9″ — Boom
    Gang Starr — Moment of Truth

    Watch his interview with Genius:

    Topics covered:

    – His favorite beat (1:20)
    – Producing Nas’ “N.Y. State of Mind” (2:30)
    – His beginnings (5:30)
    – How he started with Gang Starr (8:50)
    – Working with Guru (15:30)
    – Rumors of a posthumous Gang Starr album (18:50)
    – What it’s like being an in-demand producer (21:00)
    – Working with Biggie (22:40)
    – Working with JAY-Z (26:45)
    – Rumors of working with Kendrick Lamar (29:18)
    – Working with D’Angelo (31:30)
    – Working with Christina Aguilera (35:00)
    – His current production process (37:20)
    – His current projects and plans for the future (50:00)

    Related: Watch DJ Premier and Miguel’s ‘2 Lovin U’ Video

  • An Inside Look at DJ Jazzy Jeff’s ‘Playlist Retreat’

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    DJ Jazzy Jeff
    DJ Jazzy Jeff takes a group selfie at his Playlist Retreat in Delaware. (Photo credit: Julian Melanson)

    Last week, DJ Jazzy Jeff hosted his third annual Playlist Retreat at his estate in Delaware. The invite-only event brought together like-minded DJs, producers, and songwriters to collaborate and network.

    This year’s retreat was the biggest yet and featured acclaimed names such as J. Cole, DJ Dahi, Mr. Carmack, Lord Finesse, Young Guru, Z-Trip, Peanut Butter Wolf, and Skratch Bastid.

    There were a variety activities, including a producer challenge in which artists were randomly grouped into teams and tasked with making a track.

    DJcity was invited to the event and captured it on video. Watch below.

    Related: Watch DJ Jazzy Jeff’s ‘Boiler Room’ Set

  • Viral Video Star DJ Misbehaviour Interviewed by Hot 97

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    If you follow DJs on social media, chances are you’ve come across a viral video of DJ Misbehaviour in the past couple of weeks. The four-minute video, which shows the 28-year veteran DJ rocking a crowd in New York City, has amassed 21 million views on Facebook since it was uploaded. Now, the London native has recently stopped by Hot 97’s Ebro in the Morning show for an extensive chat.

    In addition to discussing going viral, Misbehaviour shared how she got started as a DJ, her thoughts on female DJs, what it’s like to be stereotyped, and the differences between the U.K. and U.S. club scene and culture.

    Watch the full convo above.

    Related: Watch Vice’s Mini-Documentary on 10-Year-Old Dextrous One

  • Diplo Talks DJing in Africa, Collaborating With African Artists

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    Diplo

    In April, an estimated 125,000 fans flocked to Indio, California to attend the biggest festival in the U.S.: Coachella. Diplo didn’t perform, though, in fact, he wasn’t even there to party. The global music ambassador was instead in Africa, where he was touring and building relationships with artists across the continent.

    GQ Magazine caught up with him while he was in Uganda and spoke with him on the phone afterward. The interview, which was only recently published, focuses on his experience in Africa and the continent’s thriving music scene.

    On being warned about performing in Nigeria:

    “Everybody always warned me not to go to Nigeria to do shows. All the reggae artists—I remember having a conversation years ago with Sean Paul and Shaggy about Nigeria. Sean Paul’s like, I was going through Nigeria and they put these cactuses up in front of the stage. People just stood on the cactuses trying to get onstage until guys with guns batted them in the head to get ’em off. And Shaggy’s like, I got a better story. My first tour in Nigeria, they had a fence up around the venue, and the crowd was so crazy, they were shaking the fence. The police were afraid, so they sent the dogs out on the people to break up the crowd. And then one dog came back over the fence dead. They killed the dog and threw it back over the fence. So that was what I knew. I’d never been to Africa, besides South Africa, and everybody in South Africa calls it fake Africa.”

    On Nigeria’s influence on the global scene music:

    “Nigeria has this huge diaspora, like Jamaica. Nigerians live everywhere: England, L.A., New York. Nigerians have had a huge impact on music in the last ten years. Like the UK funky stuff that ended up becoming ‘One Dance’ by Drake. And then, over the last three or four years, Nigerians have been taking over with this new Afro-pop movement.”

    On his first show in Nigeria:

    “I was headlining this outdoor festival in Lagos that happens every year, but there was a crazy thunderstorm. We didn’t start until 2 A.M. It turns out the sound had blown out, but nobody told me. So I start my set and I was playing records and, like, dancing. I look up and there are all these Nigerian faces just staring at me. It was like that scene where George Michael’s band, Wham!, played Communist China. I had to banter onstage for half an hour [while they fixed the sound]. By then there were probably 500 people left. But I was just like, You know what? It’s 3 A.M. and there’s a thunderstorm in Nigeria. What do I have to lose? It was one of the hardest moments of my career. The next night, I had to do a private party on this rooftop where people were just, like, eating steak. I said to [Major Lazer MC] Walshy Fire, Man, Nigeria is where you either live or die as a DJ. This is like the DJ Olympics.”

    On the work ethic of Nigerian artists:

    “Me and this producer, E-kelly, did a song for Mr Eazi. Before I left, I was like, Hey, this is an idea for a song. I gave him the stems—the music for the beat. Then I land and he’s already sent me three demo versions with new drums. And Skales has already done a new version of ‘Run Up‘ with new guitars. The records were voiced and mixed. I’ve never seen people so hungry and the quality so high. In America, I can’t get Travis Scott to answer my text messages. I gotta go pour water on his face to wake him up and get him to voice a song. I don’t mind doing that, but I also don’t mind being here on the frontier, making music with all the Nigerians.”

    On Ethiopia’s culture and music scene:

    “Ethiopia is something different and special. It didn’t feel as African in the traditional sense, with the tribal culture. Ethiopia has a little taste of Africa, but a lot more taste of the Middle East. They have their own music, all in Amharic. People there like commercial music and dance music, so it was a dance-music crowd, as opposed to the hip-hop and Afro-pop crowd in Uganda.”

    On African music’s potential:

    “Historically, there’s always been so much music in Africa. But there’s never been much of an industry to sell it on a global scale—or even just at home. But now that’s happening. These young Nigerian kids are selling it. They’re selling it in Lagos. They’re flying around Africa performing it. And because of the diaspora, they’re traveling to London, New York, Chicago, Toronto. The diaspora is helping to promote it. And now they’re selling out the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. There’s so much cultural capital in Africa, and that usually comes first. Cultural capital leads to financial capital. And once you have both, it explodes, like gasoline to a flame.”

    Related: Watch Lil Yachty’s ‘Forever Young’ Video Feat. Diplo

  • How DJs Should Use Microphones

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    DJs don’t have to use a microphone, but having some mic skills can be very beneficial. On this episode of Share the Knowledge, DJ TLM discusses why DJs may want to use a mic and how they should use it.

    Related: How to Stay Healthy as a DJ

  • Watch Vice’s Mini-Documentary on 10-Year-Old Dextrous One

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    In 2013, Brandan Duke, a.k.a. Dextrous One, set the Guinness World Record for Youngest Club DJ. He achieved the feat by performing for a crowd of eight thousand at just six years old. Now, the 10-year-old is aiming to be the world’s youngest professional music producer.

    VICE Canada caught up with him at his home in Ontario to learn more about his background as a DJ and foray into producing. Watch above.

    Related: 11-Year-Old DJs Amira & Kayla Featured on Fallon

  • The Samples Behind Raekwon’s ‘Only Built 4 Cuban Linx’

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    In 1993, the Wu-Tang Clan released their influential debut album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). It was followed by successful solo projects from three of its members, one of which was Raekwon‘s highly-anticipated Only Built 4 Cuban Linx.

    The album, which dropped in 1995, was produced by RZA and featured appearances from every Wu-Tang member except Ol’ Dirty Bastard. It followed a cinematic storyline based on the rappers’ lives in New York City.

    Only Built 4 Cuban Linx lived up to the hype, debuting at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and achieving gold certification within two months. It is now widely considered as one of the best hip-hop albums of the ‘90s.

    In celebration of the album’s 22-year anniversary, Power 106 has re-examined the album’s samples on its Wax Only series. Only Built 4 Cuban Linx was first featured on the show back in 2015, but host Vin Rican wanted to revisit it in honor of the series’ two-year anniversary.

    Watch above.

    Related: The Samples Used on Classic Prodigy Tracks