• New York City Council Repeals ‘No Dancing Law’

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    DJ First Choice
    DJ First Choice at The Anthony in New York City. (Photo source: Facebook)

    New York City Council members voted Tuesday to repeal the city’s controversial Cabaret Law. The bill still has to be signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio, but he has already expressed support for it, according to the New York Times.

    Established in 1926, the “no dancing law” prohibits dancing in public venues that don’t have a license. As DJcity previously reported, fewer than 100 of the city’s 25,000 eligible establishments have one due to how difficult it is to get.

    Critics of the law, like Thump, for example, have argued that it has a racist legacy. Councilman Rafael L. Espinal, Jr., who introduced the proposal in June, called the law “historically racist.” He said it also was being used to target small business owners.

    After the vote, Espinal spoke to a crowd of supporters at City Hall, according to the Times.

    “If you’re Latino, if you’re black, if you’re from the LGBTQ community, you all have been impacted by this law,” he said. “It is time we right this historical wrong and remove New York’s inappropriate and arbitrarily enforced dancing licensing.”

    In September, Mayor de Blasio signed another one of Espinal’s bills into action. It will establish an “Office of Nightlife” and “Nightlife Mayor.” Its purpose will be to promote “a safe and vibrant nightlife scene” for businesses and residents.

    The passing of both bills could transform New York City’s nightlife scene. More venues would be able to host dance parties without fear of getting shut down, which could lead to more gig opportunities for DJs.

    Related: New York City Council Member Introduces Bill to Repeal ‘No Dancing Law’

  • Watch: Dillon Francis Answers DJ Questions From Twitter

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    Dillon Francis recently took part in a Twitter Q&A in which he fielded questions from fans about DJing. The Los Angeles native received some funny inquiries, but he was also asked questions about the art and technical side of DJing.

    Watch the video above via WIRED.

    Related: Watch Dillon Francis Take the Hot Ones Challenge

    Posted in DJ Culture, Videos
  • Meet DJ Severe, the Official DJ for the Dodgers

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    DJ Severe
    DJ Severe at Dogers Stadium in Los Angeles. (Photo source: Instagram)

    Los Angeles’ DJ Severe is proof that hard work and persistence pays off. In 2009, the veteran party rocker began DJing at the Dugout Club at Dodger Stadium. Eventually, he worked his way up to being the team’s in-game DJ. Now, eight years later, Severe is energizing the Dodgers and their fans as they battle the Houston Astros in the World Series. He also serves as the official DJ for the Ontario Reign hockey team.

    We spoke with Severe about his job and asked him to share his World Series playlist with us.

    How did you become the Dodgers’ DJ?

    In 2009, a friend of mine who managed the Dugout Club at Dodger Stadium brought me in to spin during the playoffs. Other venues had heard of me and wanted to use me instead of the DJ they had been using who was becoming a pre-Madonna. At the time the DJ was allowed one parking space, but he wanted two and a raise. I made it happen with one parking space and a trailer for four setups and four DJs. Eventually, this led to me working with the Dodgers at premiere events. Soon after, I was spinning at the Dodgers Christmas party and an individual who later became my boss asked me to email him the typical DJ airhorn sound. When I shot him the email, I asked if there were any openings. He said: “As a matter of fact, we’re looking for a DJ for all the home games. Are you interested?” I said “no doubt.” I interviewed and beat out all the other applicants because I was familiar with the Dodgers fans, having spun at all the events from the Dugout Club to the upper deck. And I was a real DJ, not just someone who plays music. They wanted a non-stadium sound, and eight years later I’m still here and in the World Series.

    How does DJing at a sporting event differ from DJing at a club or bar?

    The biggest difference is knowing your sport and your freedoms from management. You need to know how to walk the line safely and slowly work your sound in. All your music content has to be squeaky clean and fit the flow of the game. There’s probably just as many requests, but they’re based on the weather and what people think are the most simplistic tracks as possible. When the team sucks, you can’t always keep the energy or heads nodding. I believe you need intelligible lyrics, horns, and a bottom beat that forces you to nod no matter what type of music it is.

    Do you change your approach during the playoffs?

    Only to freshen things up with new tracks. I try to not overuse songs from artists like Bruno Mars. Sometimes I have 10 games in a row so it can get pretty repetitive if I’m not careful. But if it works, it works.

    What are some of your go-to tracks?

    This year they’ve been Kendrick Lamar‘s “Humble.” and “DNA“, DJ Khaled, Rihanna, and Bryson Tiller‘s “Wild Thoughts,” all the Calvin Harris tracks (“Feels” is my favorite track of the year), and a few hidden tracks like Big Daddy’sBooty Sweat,” Roulsen’s “Rumble,” and Timmy Trumpet and Savage‘s “Freaks.” Also West Coast hip-hop and ’90s tracks.

    Do you get requests from players?

    All the time. I’m pretty hands-on as opposed to DJs from the past who had no contact with the players. I know them all and spend two days in the spring chopping it up with them about music. They make their own selections, but they ask for my opinion.

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

    I look for tracks that thump and have good house energy, not the fist-pumping songs that take too long to rise. Also, tracks that aren’t too in-your-face, something with a nice beat and horns.

    What is the toughest part about being a DJ for a professional sports team?

    Knowing your audience and what will work without making it about you and your favorite music or what’s hot. Most tracks don’t work in sports, especially baseball. It’s a super sensitive sport with a lot of tradition.

    Severe’s World Series playlist

    2Pac ft. Dr. Dre & Roger Troutman – California Love
    50 Cent – If I Can’t
    50 Cent – In Da Club
    A Tribe Called Quest – Bonita Applebum
    A Tribe Called Quest – 1nce Again
    Ape Drums ft. Dougie F – Go Crazy
    Beatnuts ft. Big Punisher & Cuban Link – Off The Books
    Big Daddy’s – Booty Sweat
    Bingo Players – No. 1 Disco
    Calvin Harris ft. Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry, & Big Sean – Feels
    Dr. Dre ft. Snoop Dogg, Kurupt, & Nate Dogg – The Next Episode
    Deorro ft. Elvis Crespo – Bailar
    Fitz and The Tantrums – HandClap
    Jason Derulo – Get Ugly
    Kendrick Lamar – DNA
    Kendrick Lamar – ELEMENT.
    Kendrick Lamar – Humble.
    Nas – Made You Look
    Calvin Harris ft. Ne-Yo – Let’s Go
    Party Favor ft. Keno – Wiggle Wop
    Skee-Lo – I Wish
    Steve Aoki, Chris Lake, & Tujamo – Boneless
    The Notorious B.I.G. – Going Back To Cali
    The Notorious B.I.G. – Who Shot Ya?
    The Pharcyde – Passin’ Me By
    The Pharcyde – Runnin’
    Timmy Trumpet ft. Savage – Freaks
    Tinie Tempah ft. Zara Larsson – Girls Like
    Ummet Oscan – Raise Your Hands Up
    Vince Staples ft. Juicy J – Big Fish
    Volume 10 – Pistol Grip Pump

    #Ballout AF @dodgers #kershaw

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    Follow DJ Severe on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

    Related: DJcity’s Most Downloaded Tracks of Oct. 2017

    Posted in DJ Culture, Tracks
  • London On Da Track: Transitioning From Producer to Artist

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    London On Da Track
    London On Da Track performs at LIV in Miami. (Photo source: RCA Records)

    In August, Atlanta hip-hop producer London Holmes, a.k.a. London On Da Track, signed to RCA Records as an artist. He became the latest hip-hop producer to sign with a major label as an artist, joining the ranks of DJ Khaled, Mike WiLL Made-It, and Metro Boomin.

    London, who’s 26, has been on the scene since 2011. His breakout came in 2014 when he produced a string of anthems: Tyga‘s “Hookah” featuring Young Thug, T.I.‘s “About the Money” featuring Young Thug, and Rich Gang‘s “Lifestyle” featuring Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan. All three charted on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 85, 42, and 16, respectively.

    In 2015 and 2016, London produced two more Billboard Hot 100 singles: Young Thug’s “Check” and Drake‘s “Sneakin‘” featuring 21 Savage. In 2017, when he announced his signing to RCA, London dropped his debut single “No Flag” featuring Nicki Minaj, 21 Savage, and Offset. The track, which marked London’s first collab with Nicki and Offset, became one of DJcity’s most downloaded songs of September.

    London has also been performing live, in which he both DJs and raps. He played at the Hard Summer festival in August and kicked off his “No Flag” tour in September. His next stop is at Los Angeles’ influential Control party at Avalon on Friday (Oct. 27).

    We spoke with London about his transition from producer to artist and asked him a couple questions about DJing.

    In a recent interview with Billboard, you said that you signed with RCA because they believe in your vision. What is it?

    My vision is to put together dope collaborations and show my versatility as a producer and artist. I don’t want people to think I can only do hip-hop or work with a certain type of artist. RCA believed in my vision to take it to the next level, so that’s what we’re doing!

    What are the challenges of transitioning from producer to artist?

    I wouldn’t say it’s a challenge, but now having full creative control is something different that I’m not used to. Sometimes as a producer, I’m not sure if a record will ever be used, but when I’m the artist, I can sign off on the vocals, artwork, the entire vision to make sure it’s what I want it to be.

    Has your background as a producer influenced you as a DJ?

    Definitely. I think it helps with blending the sounds and the transitions when I’m DJing.

    Has DJing changed the way you produce?

    I’ve only been DJing for a few months and this is my first club tour as a DJ, so I’m taking it all in and finding different ways to get the crowd hyped.

    You DJ and rap during your performances. How do you balance the two?

    It’s all about reading the crowd. If they are vibing with something, I’ll keep it in one lane and then transition to something else. I usually start by playing some of the hip-hop tracks I’ve produced and then transition to EDM just to change it up. My set has a lot of different moods to it, so it’s really where the crowd takes it.

    I really like using Pioneer DJ’s CDJ-2000NXS2 with Serato DJ. It helps me stay creative and able to have my entire library of music with me at all times. There are times when I have to DJ with no laptop; my next choice would be rekordbox.

    Do you take a different approach when you play for dance and electronic crowds?

    I try to play a little bit of something for everyone. I have to play some of my classics like “About the Money” or “Lifestyle” to remind people what I’ve done, but I also try to mix it with what’s hot and current. Whenever I play my new single, “No Flag” featuring Nicki Minaj, 21 Savage, and Offset, it goes off! I love seeing that. My goal is always to keep the energy up and make sure everyone in the club has a good time. The vision is always the same: give them one hell of a show. But dance and EDM crowds are explosive, fun and unpredictable. They give an incredible energy.

    Follow London On Da Track on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

    Related: Watch London On Da Track Explain How He Produced ‘No Flag’ Feat. Nicki Minaj, 21 Savage, and Offset

  • The Samples Behind Kendrick Lamar’s ‘good kid, m.A.A.d city’

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    Kendrick Lamar‘s breakthrough 2012 album good kid, m.A.A.d. city is arguably one of the most influential hip-hop albums. To honor its fifth anniversary, Power 106 has examined the album’s samples on its Wax Only series.

    good kid, m.A.A.d city, which tells the story of K.Dot’s teenage experiences growing up in Compton, debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 chart. The album contains production by top hip-hop producers such as Dr. Dre, Just Blaze, Pharrell Williams, Hit-Boy, Scoop DeVille, Jack Splash and T-Minus, among others.

    The 12-track project features singles “The Recipe” featuring Dr. Dre, “Swimming Pools (Drank),” “Backseat Freestyle,” “Poetic Justice” featuring Drake, and “B#tch, Don’t Kill My Vibe.”

    Watch Wax Only above.

    Related: The Samples Behind Outkast’s ‘Aquemini’

  • House DJs Discuss the Mental and Physical Toll of Touring

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    Pete Tong
    Pete Tong at Blue Marlin Ibiza. (Photo credit: Alex Caballero)

    In 2016, Avicii surprised the dance community when he retired from touring at the age of 26 due to health concerns. Now, more DJs have shared their struggles in a new documentary from Pioneer DJ’s DJsounds.

    Why We DJ – Slaves To The Rhythm explores what drives DJs to put themselves through rigorous schedules and the toll it has on their health.

    “I’m addicted to the feeling of connecting with a crowd and controlling the vibe,” says legendary DJ Erick Morillo.

    The New York City native’s sentiments are echoed in the documentary by renowned house DJs like Pete Tong, Carl Cox, Seth Troxler, and Ben Pearce.

    With their addiction to performing comes consequences, however. The side effects include deprivation, loneliness, drug and alcohol abuse, and pressure from fans and management.

    “I was deeply unhappy,” Pearce says. “I was drinking every day and basically chugging my life down the drain. And I think it got to the point that I knew that if I didn’t do something about it, I wouldn’t be around much longer.”

    Tong adds: “It’s a very hard job to get any sympathy for because everyone has this image in their heads of private jets and spraying champagne. But the touring life of a DJ is really hard.”

    The documentary was premiered on Wednesday during the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) in association with Help Musicians UK and the Association for Electronic Music. Both groups are dedicated to helping musicians with mental health issues.

    Watch it below.

    Related: Pioneer DJ Brings Live Sampling to the Booth With DJS-1000

  • Watch: UK DJs Connect at DJcity Linkup in London

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    Last Friday, DJs from around the U.K. got together for the annual DJcity Linkup in London. The exclusive event, which took place at the Ace Hotel, featured guests like Charlie Sloth (BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra), DJ Stylus (BBC Radio 1Xtra and SiriusXM), Nathan Dawe, Manny Norte (Capital XTRA), James HYPE, and JFB (three-time DMC UK champion and 2016 Red Bull 3Style world finalist). Like all DJcity Linkups, DJs were able to catch up and build with each other. There were also jam sessions and interviews.

    Watch our recap of the Linkup above and check out DJcity UK for the latest music (non-UK subscribers can log in with their DJcity accounts).

    Related: DJcity UK’s Most Downloaded Tracks of Sept. 2017

  • Watch: A-Trak Reflects on His Career and Performs a Routine at Serato

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    A-Trak
    A-Trak at Coney Art Walls in New York City. (Photo Credit: Mel D. Cole)

    Following the success of his Goldie Awards DJ and producer battle in September, A-Trak sat down with Serato to reflect on his career. The Fool’s Gold chief also performed a routine using his single “Believe” featuring Quavo and Lil Yachty.

    The seven-part interview series is broken down into the following topics:

    – Starting off as a turntablist
    – When he learned how to rock parties
    – How he discovered Serato
    – Where he gets his inspiration from
    – Why he improvises his sets
    – His evolution as a producer
    – Why he launched the Goldie Awards

    Watch the interview series and routine below.

    Related: Watch A-Trak Explain How He Produced ‘Believe’ Feat. Lil Yachty and Quavo

  • Kid Capri on What It Means to Be a Real DJ

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    Kid Capri
    Kid Capri performs live. (Photo source: kidcapri.com)

    Legendary hip-hop DJ Kid Capri was a guest on Hot 97’s Ebro in the Morning show on Monday. The Bronx native, who’s credited with popularizing mixtapes in the ’80s, discussed the current state of DJing and hip-hop. He also reflected on some of his career’s greatest moments, like receiving a shout out from The Notorious B.I.G. on “Juicy” and contributing to Kendrick Lamar‘s DAMN. album.

    When asked about what it means to be a DJ, Capri had plenty to say.

    “My focus is to make sure I’m the best thing they’ve ever seen, and it doesn’t matter to me if this guy that’s coming on before me or after me has a platinum record and he’s the biggest guy. … And that’s the focus, to make sure that these people say, ‘Kid is the greatest I’ve ever seen.’ And that’s it. And that’s what real DJs are supposed to do. [They’re supposed to] come in there and make sure that everybody’s happy and be able to step out of the box and be good at it, where you not just playing one type of music. You’ll be able to play for anybody anywhere.”

    Capri went on to give a personal example of “playing to the crowd.”

    “When I did Khloe Kardashian’s wedding with Lamar [Odom], I knew that they was Armenian. So I went in, and I played the top Armenian records, and the whole place just shook. It was crazy to see how these people were so happy to hear this music because they didn’t think I knew it. But that’s the job you gotta have anywhere. When you go to Japan, you go to Haiti, you go to all these different places, they like our thing but what about what they do? When you got a place like Texas, they have so much Texas music that never get heard on the radio that doesn’t go anywhere. But when you come from New York, and you play that type of music, the first thing they saying is, ‘damn, how he knew that?’ And it drives them nuts, so and that’s what it is, it’s about knowing your job, knowing that it’s not about just MP3s. It’s about going out there, making sure every state is taken care of as if you’ve lived it and that’s what I do.”

    Watch the full interview below.

    Related: Watch DJ Premier’s Tiny Desk Performance and Genius Interview

  • The Samples Behind Outkast’s ‘Aquemini’

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    Power 106‘s Wax Only series is back to examine Outkast’s classic, third studio album, Aquemini. The album title is a portmanteau of Big Boi and André 3000’s zodiac signs: Aquarius and Gemini.

    The project was released on September 29, 1998, and features singles “Skew It on the Bar-B,” “Da Art of Storytellin’ (Pt. 1),” and “Rosa Parks.” The latter became the album’s most successful single.

    Produced by Organized Noize, Mr. DJ, and Outkast themselves, Aquemini was certified platinum two months after its release and certified double platinum in 1999. The album peaked at number two on both the Billboard 200 and the Top R&B/Hip-Hop charts.

    Watch Wax Only above.

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