I been waiting for this type of night and knew that it was going to go down.
I catch the late night liquor store on Kingston and Dean in the Heights for some vodka, then grab juice at the corner store off Fulton before heading to the C train. Yes I’m trying to get my head right ahead of time so no time is wasted upon at arriving at Subrosa.
The subway situation is funny, lol. There a dude smoking a Black (black n mild) on the train and I’m thinking why is this dude smoking on the train. Like that’s the dumbest shxt in the world to do and has no value at all and lacks respects for passengers or children on the train, I think while smh…
Not gonna lie though, I wish I could have smoked my shxt on the train but my situation would have been louder than his regular Black. Then another random dude walks over commenting on his black and how he should light his shxt up and they become best train buds or something immediately talking about everything from their neighborhood to debating about hiphop top 5’s, Dipset era, old school emcees and some other shit . One dude is from the Bronx, he was reppin Big Pun pretty hard, the other from Brooklyn was all Biggie/Jay.
I’d come to find out later while writing this post, that the newly formed best train buds entire experience was almost a metaphor for my evening. Random souls + coming together + special black (a freaked black) + profound love of hiphop/music culture.
I got to the spot around 1am or so. Tailwind Turner (actor Dorian Missick) was on the decks and his ass was amped. Shit, it was his Birthday and the crowd was looking oh so right.
My man was suited up (it had a nice little tailored fit I might add) and going in on a Michael Jackson track. I can’t remember what, though… track details are always a blur, but I walked over to my usual spot near the dj booth to set up.
There’s a tap and I hear my name… “Gibril”, yo, it’s my homegirl Genia from DC. We used to dance on Planet Groove for a few seasons (90’s BET music/dance show, Rachel was so freaking sexy *link below*). So
(me with the Dreads dancing at the end, that split is mad laughable now, regardless, dance game always been on 100… big up all to the PG dancers and artist that came through)
Enough of the flashback…
Now I’m a bit more amped, got my homie in the house and Tailwind is rocking house. Wait, he’s not just playing house, he’s going deep with it, rocking the classics and soulful soulful.
I remember his set from before, he went from rare funk classics to house classics and it impressed me.
With Spinna in the house, he was bound to go harder and I was right. I’m surprised I never heard of him before hand, I guess he wasn’t spinning during my tenure with the Libation/Afro Mosaic Soul crew because I knew everybody. Either way, his musical spirit is heavily appreciated. Oh yea, he was rocking Serato.
Next was the switch up, I like this part. It’s the in between stage where the next Dj sets up. To the crowd the transition is relatively unnoticeable as they just want to hear the music. To me, it’s the cleansing of the the musical ground. It’s when the Dj is flipping through his/her bag-o-goodies, thinking “yea, i’m gonna rock this, let me take this out, i’m not sure about this but maybe…”.
In this particular case, Dj Spinna is flipping through 45’s with that expression of experience. He’s comfortable doing what he does, he’s one of Brooklyn’s most successful working Dj/Producers. I’ve witnessed on many levels his ability to move a crowd with versatile sets as well as genre or artist specific sets.
What was to come, was pure magic… but not before the live music act.
DapperAfrika performed two tracks with bass player and a singer joining in on the 2nd song.
There were a few technical sound leveling issues, which stalled the energy a bit, but by the 2nd song he had some momentum going.
When I see this type of thing occurring, I realize the importance of having a solid rehearsed routine ready. Any setups, tech stuff should be worked out in advance or else it takes away from the performance unless everyone is at that level where the spur of the moment is their thing. Either way, he had an interesting stage presence and has potential as an artist. His soulful voice is confident and cool.
For the 2nd song, a female emcee joined him (don’t know her name yet) but she balanced the energy out. I liked her voice, she reminded of a grittier Lauren. Not grittier, gruffer. That sounds weird, but her voice is heavier in delivery.
After the set Dj Spinna rocked, and when I say rocked it I mean he played a flawless all 45’s vinyl set.
Think about that for a minute, a perfect set.
What’s entailed in a perfect set? This is all my opinion as a tastemaker of sound, your opinion is your own. Let’s go…
7 Qualities of a Dope Dj Set by Gibril Kuyateh
- Dope ass tracks/records – not only do they have to be hitting, but they have to work with the party demographic (this is pretty much a given). Some make the mistake of starting off slow with sub par tracks to warm up the crowd. Thats cool in all, but honestly its best to come in with a bang. With all the music in the world, there is no reason to cheat the ears of listeners. So bring out the best…
- A story of sound, a journey – the ability to transport the dance floor to a place of your choice as a Dj. I personally want it to feel like i’m stepping out of one world and into another.
- Crowd control – how are you controlling the crowd? Are they tapped into your every beat or are you trying to tap into their’s?
- Seamless Transitions – one should be aware of the capabilities and limitations. Trying to do to much and transitioning sloppily is cool for house parties and all that, but there are to many people around that really understand music on a deep level. They see the flaws and make mental notes as necessary. While that may not be a concern, understand it’s happening. Performing at your best comfortably should not happen on that night but weeks before. Rocking a dope party wit an incredible set opens up new doors period, even if that door is respect of your peers.
- Creativity – how creative are you during your set? Nothing wrong wit playing tracks transitioning perfectly and going on to the next track. But it not that it gets boring, it just not as memorable as hearing a cut your familiar with and adding a little flavor to it. Either subtly or some in the moment remix/scratching. Something to take your mind off the normal flow of the song, waking you up out of your programmed flow to be like “damn, i didn’t expect that” or “yo, they switched it up”.
- Attention to Detail – House/Dance Dj’s are very good at the subtleties (light details) as it’s expected to alter the sound using filters, pans, echoes, fade outs and all the bell’s and whistles. While HipHop and most other genres more so showcase skill with scratching/blends, not really fuxking with ya mids/highs/lows in comparison. The ultimate Dj does it all confidently, seamlessly and without falter.
- Comfort level on the decks – are you all into the computer vs looking at the crowd? Is it taking mad long to get that next track on? Is the look on ya face the look of worry/uncertainty or just another day, i can do this in my sleep. Are you moving and dancing or really getting into your mixing? Are you picking up the mic and talking…
Each one of these are mad important when evolving into a dope Dj.
Dj Spinna is a dope ass selector on the decks. He slowly carried the crowd’s energy with the standard Soul In The Horn tradition. 60% set with Horns (dope shxt though, no cheesy/commercial set) the rest, whatever the Dj wants but best if Horn accents are intertwined.
You had rare grooves, funk, soul, hip hop sample originals sprinkled with classic hip hop. All 45’s I might add, not a needle skip for the entire night. The sounds were knocking as the quality from 45’s are much more intense than cd or digital files. Everyone is happy, dancing and feeling oh so good.
I posted up near the wall of the near the Dj booth as he was getting creative with Aretha Franklin’s “RockSteady” 45’s on both decks. Watching him bring back the track and mixing the break is just art. The pace and heat in the building continued to rise as Brooklyn’s Beloved Dj caught wreck without breaking a sweat.
Now is the time when DProsper (curator of Soul In The Horn/entertainment industry heavyweight) announces last call, you could feel the sighs in the room.
Damn, it’s that time already?
Regardless, the party kept going as Natasha Diggs (resident Dj) transitions in for the remainder.
I know she was spinning earlier, but I got there later and missed that set. She didn’t miss a beat though and rocked her party as she typically does.
The good thing about Natasha is she is versatile.
Being a female Dj is easy and tough.
Opportunities arise easier with attractive looks/qualities, but when your around that dominant Pro dj energy, you can’t come with wackness. Abilities develop quicker and the intuitiveness of those that are around you sink in at a quicker pace. Natasha Diggs has been around many of the worlds best Dj’s of every genre, so she has a few tricks in her bag. Tonight she was rocking Serato and not her usual 45’s.
I heard transitions, fades, dropping the highs and letting the lows rock, filter transitions and what attracted me to her sound. Plus she was on her square, as the week prior (Soul In The Horn, Just Blaze, bday) it was a little different than usual. But this night, was the Natasha that I was used to.
My night was complete at this point, the camera had to be put down and I pretty much got it in for the little bit of time I had left. It was a great night, plus did a little networking which is always good.
As I’m heading back to Brooklyn in a cab, I’m thinking how lucky I am to have found a new home to enjoy on Friday’s in NYC. I missed dancing, progressively socializing and being creative around creative people.
Hold the fuxk up… actually I was twisted and falling asleep in the cab trying to act like I was going to sleep like someone was watching me or something… that was an after thought the following day. Not sure why I was lying like that? I just in the zone of the story, everything else is Gucci tho…. (remind me to never use Gucci again, must be the mainstream mixtape playing in the back… damn, my mental is slipping. Where’s my Special Black at)
The curator DProsper is pretty much a man of mystery, but I respect his artistic sense as he’s directly impacted the music industry burgeoning many of the artist that we all love today. His humbleness is admired, as that trait is a difficult one to maintain in the pool of music industry sharks.
But don’t get it twisted, you have to be a shark to swim with sharks.
Fortunately this shark, is truly about building a dope legacy and carrying on the vibrations of good music, good vibes and extraordinary talent. Catch you at the next Soul In The Horn!… written by Gibril Kuyateh aka GiKu
ps… videos take work and mad time to say the least, no time to edit the many clips but will add a least a few clips this week.