BHF11: Rappin' With Chairman Mao Part 2
Brooklyn Bodega: You’re an avid crate digger. You were deejaying before you were writing. I feel like DJs are the new black actors. I say that because in the 90s when all of the rappers started getting black acting jobs, it was more difficult to get seasoned, trained black actors to get roles in major movies. Studios could justify putting a rapper in a role because they sold x number of records and have a loyal following because more people might come to the movie and they’d sell more tickets.
Brooklyn Bodega: It seems like within the DJ culture there’s some similarities now. You have guys on reality shows getting huge DJ gigs because of their following from TV. Or you have pseudo models getting gigs because they look good. And you have rappers now who have expanded into taking DJ gigs.
CM: I think that’s an interesting parallel. I’ve never been likened to a black actor before. [Laughs] In some respects, I can definitely see it being a fair comparison. I think it sucks, man. People used to be DJs because you were the person that was into the music. That’s how most DJs became DJs. It wasn’t like, “I’m gonna be a DJ.” It was like, “Oh, you’ve got the records. Why don’t you be a DJ?” Or, “Oh, you’re the music guy. Why don’t you DJ or make me a tape?” It was just an organic thing. It was just an extension to what you were already into. Yeah, of course you were going to wind up DJing because it was something you were passionate about. If you could turn it into something more than a hobby and actually make a career of it then all the better. I think all this fake, phony DJ/model/actor/fill-in-the-blank is a bunch of bullshit. There’s no two ways about it. There are people who can definitely DJ that made the transition. If you’re serious about learning the craft of doing something, then you should apply yourself and be really good at it. You’ve got to work so much harder than you used to to try to maintain any kind of regular thing as a DJ -- which is not necessarily a bad thing. But the unfortunate part about it is the populace is not educated or informed enough or cares enough at all because of how technology interprets the music so they can’t even tell you who’s a shitty DJ. There’s no sadder reflection of that then what’s happening in New York City.
I’m looking forward to doing Salute The DJ because it’s an event. You want things to feel eventful when you do them and I feel that’s part of the problem with nightlife in New York. The best DJs in the world are here. Having to hustle harder as a DJ to maintain something is not necessarily a bad thing. Competition, in theory, is going to raise the bar. Quality wise, things would be better. But unfortunately, we’re not in an era or time or place where the audience is discerning enough or interested enough. The trust factor of someone being there and allowing [a DJ] to do their thing doesn’t exist as I see it. At least not in the city. It’s really depressing. It’s demoralizing.
I deejayed at APT [in the Meatpacking District] for nine years as the resident on Saturday nights. I had a lot of freedom to do whatever I wanted there. Initially, it was a pretty hip spot that was known for being a music place. They really encouraged the DJs to be themselves and do their own thing. Part of the reason I haven’t tried to pick up a residency anywhere else since is because I get the feeling that that’s not in demand anymore. At least not to the degree it was as far as that venue being what it was. I go out and here friends DJ sometimes and I see what they have to deal with and it’s really demoralizing. Not to say that there’s not people out there doing their thing or that there’s not successful parties, but as a general thing, it’s just not what it was. Part of it is technology and how people consume music. The fact that some of these other folks get hired to do gigs instead of people of who’ve actually been doing it for a minute and are good at it is kind of a drag.
Brooklyn Bodega: Do you still keep up with the artists that were on The White Rapper Show? Do you follow their careers and what they’re doing?
CM: For a while, [we did]. I know Persia’s still in New York and we hear from her. John Brown, I think he might’ve moved back to the West Coast. For a while they were doing these internet videos and putting out mixtapes and stuff like that. I saw a few of the Ghetto Revival guys last year at a couple event. I haven’t heard from John Brown. I don’t know if anybody else has in a minute. I haven’t really stayed in touch with the majority of them, though. I don’t think anyone has. But Persia’s still in New York and we’ll hear from her every once in a while.
Brooklyn Bodega: John Brown was pretty decent. He was pretty nice [on the mic].
CM: I will tell you this one thing, though: I will say the best fucking reality show ever done was The White Rapper Show. At the time I used to say that the best book ever done about Rap -- I think there’s plenty great books done about Rap -- but at the time, The Book Of Rap Lists encapsulated an era perfectly. And I take great pride in that.
But definitely The White Rapper Show. We got so much flack for doing that. I had to do these call in radio [promotions], you know. The VH1 people were like, “You’ve gotta do some promo for the show.” So I had to call into this morning zoo radio program in San Antonio or some place and they were just like, “Yeah, your show is just a bunch of clowns.” We caught a lot flack from people. “You’re desecrating Hip-Hop!” and this and that. When did that show come out? In like, 2006, right? And we’re desecrating Hip-Hop?
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