DJ Amaze: The Triple Threat

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In the days where music is regional and one dimensional, there is a DJ who personifies the phrase “triple threat.”  He is the official DJ of Cancun for MTV and American Eagle, has a couple of radio shows including Sirus Satellite Radio’s Hot Jams 50’s FlashMash, and has hosted major events such as Funkmaster Flex Car Show.  With an album called Hood Elegance, DJ Amaze exercises his production skills and displays his lyrical ability to consciously speak about his environment, “Lean” to the swag of the South, and created hyped party breaks to make a girl shake her rump.  Transitioning into production and emceeing wasn’t meticulously planned, but he facilitated the growth with 15 years of experience rocking clubs and events all over the nation.In tracks like “The Big Butt Song” and “Boyz and Girlz,” you can listen to sounds reminiscent to Kanye West, Fatman Scoop, and even Dougie Fresh.   At the end of the day, this Philly born, Delaware bred DJ aspires to be respected for his work, to uplift his community with his “have fun” style of music, and calls for rappers to take responsibility in their music,.AllHipHop.com:  So how did you start as a DJ?DJ Amaze:  When I moved to Delaware, I got on a non-profit radio station in high school.  It was called 91.7 WMPH.  I had a little Friday night radio show there.  The show got popular because I was promoting it and local DJs were coming to do live sets.  With all the DJs coming in, some of them kind of took me under their wing showing me deejaying instead of actually on-air hosting. AllHipHop.com:  Some of the names you’re associated with are P. Diddy, Akon, and 50 Cent, have you worked with them on projects and events?DJ Amaze:   I worked with them live.  Down in Cancun I do spring break with MTV and American Eagle down in Cancun, Mexico.  A lot of times I open for them, host the show, and bring them out.  AllHipHop.com:  How did you ultimately get into production?  DJ Amaze:  I think for a lot of DJs it’s just a logical step.  Once you start remixing stuff, putting acapellas with other beats, that just opens up a whole other rabbit hole and eventually you’re going to want to put acapellas over your own beats and then I took it even further.  I wanted to make my own acapella with my own lyrics with my own beats.   It’s just a logical maturation of a DJ who is challenging himself to go beyond just playing records.  AllHipHop.com:  You come from the party scene.  Who were your influences to develop your style to what it is today?DJ Amaze:  Dougie Fresh, Fatman Scoop, Kanye West.  My style is more of a “have fun” type of appeal because I’m a DJ and my job as a DJ is to keep the party going, get people having a good time dancing, and all of that.  I put that into my music and a single comes out of it. AllHipHop.com:  How much of an influence was Fatman Scoop in your music?DJ Amaze:   He was very big because he was a pioneer.  What he does is party breaks:  “Get ya hands up! Get ya hands up!”  When I first started touching the mic, that’s who I was.  As a matter of fact, I got a deal with the same label as him initially which is AV8 Records.  They put out a remix of mine last year that did really well.  He was influential, but to me, I wanted to get beyond just the “Get ya hands up! Get ya hands up!” and make some real lyrics, but still get that same type of vibe.  I wanted to not do party breaks for DJs, but complete songs so it could be played on the radio and in the clubs more and not just be a transition tool for DJs to use in between songs, but to be an actual song.  AllHipHop.com:  Well in “Philly Heatwave” you speak about all of the violence that has occurred in Philly and you’re very conscious for a person of your background as a DJ.  What was the ultimate motivation for you to get behind the mic?DJ Amaze:  I’m removed from Philly, some what [but] I still feel the violence.  I still have people who I grew up with who are stuck on to violence, to death, to drugs, and to that whole lifestyle and don’t know any better.  I think that coming from an inner city you don’t have an outlet.  You don’t see that there’s a bigger picture out there because you see just to do your thing and that’s it.  You don’t get to see outside of that realm.  So for me, I question that if I stayed in Philly if I would have been the same way, maybe.  So that was kind of my tribute to Philadelphia and try to open my eyes to people who necessarily can’t really get away, but can buy a CD and see how things are and to reflect on that whole problem there.  And at the same time, it also a call for emcees that – I know it’s real poppin’ to be gangsta and all of that, but even the hardest gangsta got love for his mom, his sister, his family, so it’s a balance in life.  We are glorifying a lot of the negativity in Hip-Hop but not giving the conscious and the other side an opportunity to shine just as much.  So I’m just trying to do that.  AllHipHop.com:  “Lean” has been out for while now, hasn’t it?DJ Amaze:  It’s been out for a year and it’s been well received by the DJs, and the public, and the youth.  No matter if you can’t dance or not, you can lean! That’s why I think it’s had such a great response and I’m here from the east coast to the west coast and DJs been giving me feed back.  That’s another thing I have at my advantage.  I have a network of DJs that I know personally around the world, so I would hit them up and get feed back if they were playing my track where a lot of artists would have to go through some sort of promo team or some sort of middle man.  Because I’m a DJ, I just rely on my brotherhood to get it out and let me know how they feel about the record.AllHipHop.com:  Who are some of the DJs that are in your network?DJ Amaze:  Clinton Sparks, Clark Kent,  DJ Excel, The Mix Master, DJ Rated R, Big Ant, Tim Westwood in England, I mean the list goes on.AllHipHop.com:   Some of the biggest singles out right now on Hood Elegance are “Boyz and Girlz” and “The Big Butt Song.”   DJ Amaze:  I think that’s a party right there.  That’s kind of in my bag, so to speak.  That’s what I do—especially “The Big Butt Song.”  That’s what I’m all about.  If anyone comes to a party I’m all about shaking it! Not to the extent of Uncle Luke, but you got to say “shake it!” to get somebody to move.AllHipHop.com:  So being a DJ played an incredible role in creating those party songs on your album.DJ Amaze:   Of course! That’s definitely my experience because even before I thought about touching the mic, I was very vocal live in the party.  Doing my set on a Scoop type thing in my own way, I eventually tried it in a studio so that other DJs could use what I had and use it at their party and make their party even more live. AllHipHop.com:  When you do spin, are you known for spinning your own records?DJ Amaze:   Actually, people have come up to me and tell me I need spin my music more.  I play myself as I would play any other artist.  I’m not just going to inundate my crowd with my music and it’s just going to be a DJ Amaze show all night, because everybody didn’t come to hear that.  I do mix it in just like I mix in Jay or Wayne or anybody else, I just mix it in.  As a DJ, the idea is to keep the party going.  So that’s how I’m looking.  If I can throw a track in, then I do but I don’t force it. AllHipHop.com:  Was it a conscious decision to demonstrate an array of sound in Hood Elegance? The music ranges from booty shaking to R&B.DJ Amaze:  It’s not something that I sat down and said I had to have this, this, and this, but I did in my head say I want my album to be complete and that epitomizes what Hood Elegance is.  You can shake your butt and have a good time in the club, but you also have to have that grounding to know that you’re going to an event and you want to be elegant.  You have to dress a certain way and there’s a certain way things should go.  It comes from awareness of your surroundings of your environment in the form of “Philly Heatwave,”, have fun in the form of “The Big Butt Song,” “Boyz and Girlz,” and “Drop It Low,” but also have that R&B/soulful influence like my R&B singer D. Goode in “Twisted.”AllHipHop.com:  Now that you’re coming out as a rapper, are you getting booked for dates as an artist or a DJ?  DJ Amaze:  Both! People don’t know what to do with me right now! They’re confused!  Me and my manager try to talk them through it because – lets say it’s a live event.  They want me to come host and do my thing and do my set, but they also need a DJ so why not get that money too!  So I just tell them I can do it!  Awe man, you let me know what you need and I can provide it!  You know what I am capable of.AllHipHop.com:  As a DJ, producer, and a rapper, it’s safe to say you’re a triple threat.  DJ Amaze:  It’s safe to say that?AllHipHop.com:  It’s safe to say that now!DJ Amaze:  Well let’s say it then! [laughs]AllHipHop.com:  [Laughs] Where are you ultimately trying to take your music?DJ Amaze:  To gain respect from my peers, to continue to make good music for my fans and my supporters is really my short term goal and that’s what I got my sight set on right now—just to continue to make music that has impacted the community on several different levels:  the community on a positive conscious level, the community on a have fun and party level, the community on a respect level that people kind of respect and appreciate my body of work.

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