Best known as the official DJ for the Game, DJ Skee is doing much more than counting off Games 300, 600, or whatever other number of bars hell have coming. Recently selling his shares in his Hype PR marketing firm, DJ Skee has his eyes set on breaking new ground in mobile video services which will allow a new and exciting media to break the artists of today and the future. Responsible for having a hand in breaking The Game, Chamillionaire, David Banner and Akon, not only is his mixtape game certified, but his hustle all the way across the board could be used as a template for success.
Currently looking for the next generation of up and coming talent DJ Skee is the ears to the streets for the likes of Steve Rifkind and the countless labels and companies that seek his consultation service. AllHipHop.com and Skee crossed paths as he was in the studio putting the final touches on a new project for one his latest finds out of the Bay area. At a time where everybody in Hip-Hop is talking about race, see what this White industry giant says about dues paid.
AllHipHop.com: So for those who may not know, how did you and The Game hook up?
DJ Skee: We met when I was working at Loud [Records] in 2002, when I was doing marketing, and I was also helping to get SRC situated when we were making the transition from Loud to Universal.
AllHipHop.com: How did you discover him?
DJ Skee: Through my man Black. He was actually signed to a production company that was managed by my man Dougie and basically his whole circle was plugging me to him and always telling me about this new dude from Compton signed to Dre who was hot. I was like [nonchalantly], Whatever, its a new artist Ill take a listen, then I heard a freestyle of something that he did and I was like, Oh damn, this dude is incredible lets get down, and weve been doing it ever since.
AllHipHop.com: Im sure you get thousands of people wanting you to listen to music on a daily basis. What is it for you that gives an artist that it factor?
DJ Skee: Its the indefinable factor. Its not necessarily that they have the best lyrics or the best delivery, its just the whole way they come across. You hear the little things in The Games, the Ludas, the Jays, the 50s, the Ems; its certain parts in tracks the way they do things. You can just hear it. Its more instinct when you see a superstar you know it you either have it or you dont.
AllHipHop.com: Kay Slay has cosigned Papoose, Big Mike pushed Jae Hood heavy. Why is a DJ voucher so critical?
DJ Skee: With me, I have the ear. I know people want to hear Games s**t, people want to hear Snoops s**t, people want to hear all the s**t from those cats that I mess with, so theyre already listening to me for all that stuff so then I can turn them on to the new generation of talent. [For instance,] I was the first person to play Chamillionaires single in the country, and one of the first on the West Coast to play his new stuff, period, so wherever it comes from, I just try to break whoever is hot from wherever theyre from.
AllHipHop.com: Are the artists pretty good about showing love and remembering you once they blow up?
DJ Skee: Oh yeah, usually. You know, theres a few out there Ive done a lot of stuff for and I never go so much as a thank you, but Im not trippin cause its not always about that, or even about getting money. I mean, its a business at the end of the day, but good music is good music, and thats what its all about for me.
AllHipHop.com: Okay, lets back up a little further. Who is DJ Skee to even proclaim that The Game or whoever else is the next so and so. Some would say, What qualifies this White dude from Minnesota claiming to know so much about Hip-Hop?
DJ Skee: Well, I actually grew up all over. I grew up in New York, Minneapolis, Texas and Florida, so Ive literally been exposed to every corner of the country so that definitely adds to my cultural experiences. Im out here on the West now, and people take shots at me because Im not actually from here and its what I claim, but its not where you from, its where yo at. But its all about good music. Wherever good music is, Im trying to help all these dudes out here. I started of DJing when I was 15, and I started on the radio when I was 16 in Minneapolis, and Steve Rifkind discovered me out there and brought me out here so he obviously thought I was doing something right.
AllHipHop.com: Ive heard people argue that Hip-Hop wasnt commercialized until Eminem; Do you ever get flack about being White in a Black dominated arena? If so, how do you deal with it?
DJ Skee: I mean, honestly, you gotta look at it factually. White people are the biggest consumers. I believe they account for about 70% of all purchases, which is why when theres somebody White that all these buyers can relate to, that looks like them cause there wasnt many real White rappers out there that could really spit like a Black dude till Eminem did it. Hes incredible, whatever color his skin is.
AllHipHop.com: Speaking geographically, I guess its kinda like how in Japan they really study Hip-Hop and are so immersed in the culture so for them it does have little to do with race.
DJ Skee: Its crazy, them dudes are still buying cassette mixtapes a lot of times cause they want the literal terms. Like my man Tomo who flew out when I had my car show. Dude was in line at 7 a.m. and the doors didnt even open till noon, and when he walked in, he gave me a gift – these Black Wall Street Japan shirts. So I took him backstage to meet Game, and now he has a Game tattoo on his arm. Them dudes are really into it and its a good thing, because they cant even speak English. Its amazing to see how much they feel it.
AllHipHop.com: Why is Hip-Hop so important in your life besides all the checks youre collecting?
DJ Skee: Its enabled me, as a White dude thats moved around everywhere to really grow up in something that Ive always loved. Ive always had that love for Hip-Hop and I kinda found my lane in the DJing and the marketing aspect, and its enabled me, someone who didnt go to college, to live [well], and Ive just seen it transform so many peoples lives for the positive.
AllHipHop.com: Okay, so lets bring it back to the music. You just renewed your contract with Sirius Satellite and relaunched your radio show?
DJ Skee: Yes, we just resigned, and were the top rated show on Hip-Hop Nation, shout out to my peoples over there, [especially] Reggie who always holds me down. I started off at Sirius about three years ago just doing regular mix segments back when they had Wax 42. They saw what I was doing cause the mixtapes started cracking just a little bit, and they really hooked me up before I was really doing anything big. I didnt really start getting mainstream attention till I started doing 300 Bars and all that stuff. But they picked me up way before that because they recognized my talent, so its great to stay where Ive been to see what its turned into cause Im syndicated in six countries. We got the podcasts going on every week online and were getting hundreds of thousands of new listeners every week, its amazing.
AllHipHop.com: So whats gonna change about the show?
DJ Skee: Just freshening it up, ya know. I got the new intro, which I change every year. Just more new, fresh music, more guests, more exclusives, just gonna keep it moving and keep taking it to the next level cause Im never really satisfied with where Im at, so its always improving.
AllHipHop.com: How do you determine who you work with, because you really put people on the map?
DJ Skee: Its about finding the right talent and finding someone who has the right music and the right vision. When I do stuff, I try to make it epic. I dont just drop mixtapes just to drop mixtapes. You heard the stuff I did with Game. I just did the Snoop and Whoo Kid joint, I got a bunch of stuff coming up like Expensive Taste, which is gonna be the first time in the world anyone has heard Paul Wall, Travis Barker and Skinhead Rob on the same album together. Its gonna shock a lot of people. Its gonna be crazy so when I say epic thats what I mean. The music has to be there and the talent has to be there because when I do something its definitely a reflection of my name, so if Im just putting out bullshit people are gonna associate me with bullshit. But Im constantly striving to keep my level improving, so every time they hear my name, I want people to want to hear it because they know its gonna be great music.
AllHipHop.com: How do you come up with some of your collaborations? Im still tripping off Travis Barker and Paul Wall.
DJ Skee: Man, they got a new group that nobodys heard the music on, theres some label politics going on, but its called Expensive Taste. People dont know what to expect; they think its gonna be Rock but its not, its Hip-Hop. Travis Barker produced all the stuff, and Skinhead Rob, whos with the Transplants. Hes down with my boy Cartoon so I saw him and Paul Wall rapping and Travis on the beats and Travis got some hot s**t! I was really surprised. He put me in the studio because they were finishing up the music for the mixtape, and I was like, Wow! Its just a different vibe, like you can tell the Rock influence, but its Hip-Hop and its definitely gonna reach a chord with a whole new audience. So were gonna be dropping that real soon.