“Ain’t That DJChose over there?!” Once you hear this female voice, you automatically know the record is a banger.
DJ Chose embodies the definition of someone with an ear for good music, having produced endless hits including NBA Youngboy’s “No Smoke,” Kevin Gates “Time 4 That,” PnB Rock’s “Horses,” Megan Thee Stallion’s “Thick” (Remix)”, and more recently Fredo Bang’s “Top.”
Getting his start as a rapper in high school before shifting to making beats, real name Norman Payne hails from a small town outside of Houston called Brookshire, Texas, which inspired his group Brookgang. Speaking on his journey thus far, he states, “It feels good. It took me long enough, so it all paid off.”
While the name DJ Chose may allude to the fact that DJing might be his main passion, he merely views it as a source of income. With his talents and skillsets in the songwriter and producer roles, Chose remains hungry as ever — a role model to anyone with hopes of making it in the music industry.
AllHipHop: How was ringing in the New Year with a sold-out show in Gary, Indiana?
DJ Chose: It was lit. My sh-t been crazy lately, it’s a blessing to actually see how things can change when you work hard.
AllHipHop: How long would you say the grind has been?
DJ Chose: Oowee, I don’t want to tell everybody because if they’ve just now found out about me, then they’re going to try to do the math. But it’s been a while. [laughs]
AllHipHop: I feel like if anything, it would be motivating.
DJ Chose: Nah in 2021, people aren’t like that. They want to hear how you woke up one day and was famous. That’s the most interesting story, for sure. Everybody that’s successful these days, it almost looks like they just became that way or they were born that way. Me and you do, but most people don’t want to hear about the girl who had to workout to get a big booty. They want to see the girl who went and got surgery. I like the girl who works out, you feel me? I like the girl who had pudge and lost weight versus the girl who got abs by surgery. It’s the same way with music and musicians, it’s something about the person who became famous. A lot of the rappers who grinded hard get overlooked anyway. It’s a way to look at it.
AllHipHop: What were your dreams and aspirations coming up?
DJ Chose: I always was a rapper first. I always wanted to be an artist. Not really I wanted to be a rapper, I wanted to be someone who could influence and speak my mind. It was more about me being able to have a voice, not really a rapper in a sense. But rapping was a way I knew I could have a voice.
AllHipHop: Who were you listening to?
DJ Chose: Ja Rule’s my favorite artist, for sure. I’m f-cking with Ja.
AllHipHop: Favorite Ja Rule song?
DJ Chose: Probably “Always On Time,” honestly.
AllHipHop: How often are you playing that in your sets?
DJ Chose: If I’m DJing in the club and I’m going in, I might rarely play it. It’ll be after I know I got ‘em where I want ‘em, but not really. That’s for me in the car with somebody I really like type s###.
AllHipHop: What made you switch from rapping to production?
DJ Chose: I started making beats when I was 17 because I couldn’t afford beats, so I had to make them myself. [I taught myself through] Youtube, I was looking at tutorials. I had a hunger for it, so I had to figure it out.
AllHipHop: Someone asked, how long have you been DJing?
DJ Chose: Since my senior year of high school.
AllHipHop: What do you feel when you DJ?
DJ Chose: DJing to me was always a job. I’m passionate about music, so I love everything within it. DJing to me was always that one thing I knew I could make money off of, I could market and promote myself as well as other people that I got love for. I don’t think DJing was ever one of those things I had to be or I had amazing love for. When I DJ, unless the party’s crazy, sometimes I be ready to go. But I know how to DJ real good, nobody would know I feel that way.
AllHipHop: So it pays the bills?
DJ Chose: Yeah it’s something that paid the bills that I loved, that‘s also helping me get to my other goal. I often tell rappers when they want to be rappers, to find something within rap that you love because you gon’ end up making a lot of money off of that on the way up. For me, I could’ve been a DJ that worked at Kroger. I didn’t want to bag groceries so of course, I’m finna learn how to DJ and learn how to do this.
AllHipHop: Did you used to work at Kroger?
DJ Chose: Yeah, I used to work at Kroger’s. I worked at Kroger from 16 to 17, then I started selling cars. When I used to sell cars, I got good. I’d made my first $10K selling cars. After that, I got fired. America’s economy was f-cked up, it wasn’t no cars selling. They had to lay people off.
AllHipHop: How’d you get your name?
DJ Chose: I feel like God chose me. I don’t say much, but if you really, really pay attention to me, you’ll notice sometimes I’ll pop out and say some real sh-t. I’m getting to the point now where I’m learning to speak my mind. Because I’m DJ Chose, God chose me. Sometimes, I can’t go with the way the world is. The world always be on some hype, some gas. Sometimes I’ve got to pop out and let you know how I really feel. Sometimes the way I feel is the way most people should feel.
AllHipHop: Who’s the female voice on “Ain’t That DJ Chose Over There”?
DJ Chose: That’s this girl I met in college, we got the same last name. I was working on a mixtape called Shakeback, she came to my crib with her friend and they did this drop for us. But we never used it, we used it one time. When my sh-t started popping, man I got to make the drop say “ain’t that DJ Chose over there?” Because at first, it said “ain’t that Brook Gang over there?” which is my old record label’s name. We switched it and ever since then, it’s been a win for me.
AllHipHop: What is Brook Gang & where’d the name come from?
DJ Chose: They’re my bros. Before I was owning that I wanted to be a rapper, I was producing and making songs for them. It was easier to be a crew back then. We didn’t have a lot of money, but when we put it all together, we had a lot of money.
AllHipHop: Fondest memories from the “Pop Dat” days?
DJ Chose: Man, we used to throw the biggest parties. Classic, that was the times. Them days made me who I am. Always. It’s a lot, too much to speak on.
AllHipHop: You can’t give us one crazy night in the club?
DJ Chose: I got some head in the bathroom, while I was DJing. I threw on a song, I went in the restroom and busted in 5 minutes. The song was 7 minutes.
AllHipHop: Favorite song you produced before Megan Thee Stallion’s “Thick”?
DJ Chose: One of my favorite songs right now that I produced is “Top” by Fredo [Bang]. Not going to lie, “Top” has to be one of the beats I’m most proud of. When I hear that beat come on, it does something to me. Damn, I made that beat?
AllHipHop: How did you and Fredo Bang link?
DJ Chose: That ngga Fredo DMed me a while back, he’s a real ngga. When he hit me at first, I was kind of scared to work with him. Forreal because of all of the bullsh-t. He’s tied in the streets heavy, the other people I work with are tied in the streets. None of these n*ggas like each other. I didn’t want to be in a crossfire because I heard Fredo was a real big stepper. I thought he was trying to set me up at the time. I responded to the DM, but it was more a thank you. I didn’t really hit him back with nothing else.
Finally, I realized I was overthinking it. He’s a real nggaa. After that, we started talking. I ended up flying to Miami to work with him. When I pulled up on him, he was still this gangster guy, the street ngga — but he still had that family orientation to him. We didn’t miss no meals, food was catered in the studio, sh-t you don’t expect from a street ngga. Damn, this ngga solid. We had talked and I realized that yeah he’s gangsta, but he’s got two sides. He’s a real n*gga and a real person.
AllHipHop: Did y’all think that song would take off the way it did?
DJ Chose: We’ve got a lot of songs that took off, but yeah. Every time we record something, we know it’s hard. It’s more about how the fans are going to perceive it sometimes, you’ve gotta let it do what it do.
AllHipHop: Bring us back to when you were in the living room with Megan The Stallion making beats.
DJ Chose: Megan was family. Before anybody knew Megan, she always had talent. She knew she was a star. I knew she was a star, that’s why I hopped on it so early. Everything she is now, I don’t know this version of Megan like everybody does. I only know the quiet Megan, y’all know Megan as Cognac Queen Megan. I know Megan with no alcohol, sober, but was asking “Chose, could you go get some Hennessy?” At the time, I didn’t have it in the studio because I only drunk on the weekends. I know the sober Megan, I know the Megan that didn’t twerk. I knew Megan before she used to twerk.
AllHipHop: Way before Tina Snow?
DJ Chose: It was even before that, because one thing she and her mom would pride herself on was she didn’t have to twerk. She was the best rapper without having to twerk. I know the Megan that people don’t know today.
AllHipHop: She said whenever you hit her, she got you. How does that loyalty feel?
DJ Chose: It feels good to know all my hard work paid off. Even with artists like Fredo and Kevin Gates, it feels good to know “hey, them beats and that time I spent focusing on your career, now that I got a career, you’ll show me some love from time to time.”
AllHipHop: What did you do for Kevin Gates?
DJ Chose: I did “Time For That”, I did “Face Down,” I did “Money Long,” “Ain’t Too Hard.” My favorite is “Time For That” though. I perform that when I perform because it’s a big part of my life. That song changed my life.
AllHipHop: How did you tap in with these Baton Rouge artists?
DJ Chose: I feel like I’m the BR key. I’m the glue in BR. Them n*ggas aren’t going to ever get along, but as far as some hits, I’m sort of the glue. With what I’ve been through and my energy when I make beats, and what they say on them, it’s almost always going to be a hit.
AllHipHop: Were you always this confident?
DJ Chose: Hell nah, I had to work here. That’s why I say when n*ggas ask “how long you’ve been doing this?” Sh-t, I’ve been doing this since I was shot g########.
AllHipHop: What was the creative process behind remixing Megan Thee Stallion’s “THICK”?
DJ Chose: She called me like, “I’ma send you a verse.” I’m like “whatever, you lying.” [laughs] I said “you’re too busy,” because she’s been busy. She’s so busy that I don’t even ask for sh-t no more, but she did it so I knew it was up.
AllHipHop: What’s the hardest thing to adjust now that you’re gaining more recognition?
DJ Chose: You gotta watch what you say, you gotta watch what you do. We’re in a world where people take anything and turn it into fake news. I gotta watch what I do, watch what I say. You’ve damn near got to watch who you support and how you support them. Motherf-ckers try to tie you in with other people’s personal life. Man, what they’re doing on their own time really doesn’t bother me. I’m cool with who I am and I know who I am, so don’t ever try to confuse me with the next person. It be weird.
AllHipHop: What are the pros?
DJ Chose: All this money. I didn’t used to have no money, I used to be broke. Getting all the money really changed my life and my family’s life, so that’s a pro.
AlHipHop: What do you do for self-care?
DJ Chose: If I didn’t have this interview, I was supposed to go get a massage and a facial today. I need a facial because I’m hating these marks when my face breaks out.
AllHipHop: How was working with “Let Me Find Out” with Tyga? Is there a video coming?
DJ Chose: I sent him some songs and some hooks, he said “I want that.” He put a verse on it, he said “I want to put it out.” Alright bet, just like that. He called me randomly, I’m like “who this?” He said “Tyga.” Damn, that’s lit. Artists don’t do that sh-t. Artists be real Hollywood, so when you find an artist who’s not Hollywood, that sh-t be a blessing.
AllHipHop: That was on his tape right?
DJ Chose: Yeah, I think he’s about to re-put it out top of the year. He should be dropping it soon on all platforms.
AllHipHop: Highlight from working with him?
DJ Chose: Sh-t, nothing really because of COVID. We ain’t really linked up or nothing, i’s been FaceTimes and general conversation.
AllHipHop: What can we expect next music-wise?
DJ Chose: I’ve got a song that’s about to come out on the 22nd, my next single. It’s featuring somebody very, very big. I’ma just say 1017, featuring the legendary. January 22nd, I’ll be back for more.
AllHipHop: For the VERZUZ, you had Gucci or Jeezy?
DJ Chose: Uh, definitely had Jeezy. I like Jeezy. I f-ck with Jeezy. I like Jeezy’s inspiration, he’s very inspirational. I used to love his albums, they used to make me go harder back in the day.
AllHipHop: 3 things you need in the studio?
DJ Chose: Man if I’m having it my way, I need some bad with me. I need some Don Julio or even some Malibu, or even some Crown Apple. They my 3 bottles, but I don’t need them in the studio. I can’t remember the last time I had a drink in the studio. I don’t even really drink like that unless it’s the club. Other than that, I need some good food and some fruit. That’s about all, and some water.
AllHipHop: What kind of food?
DJ Chose: If I’m in LA, I like Love Baked. Whatever that is, that’s good. I be eating that Love Baked. Usually some chicken. I like chicken, like chicken strips because you can’t go wrong with that. Plus, I don’t really eat a lot of pasta because I’m trying to get my abs back. N*gga’s trying to be sexy, ya feel me?
AllHipHop: Are you working out? Who are you bumping when you’re working out?
DJ Chose: Yeah, I’m back working out twice a day. Who am I jamming? I’m jamming ET, the hip hop preacher. Eric Thomas, he’s a motivational speaker.
AllHipHop: Goals yourself as an artist at this point of your career?
DJ Chose: I want to see $100 million in the next 3 years.
AllHipHop: One thing you’re excited for for 2021?
DJ Chose: My birthday, February 15th. I’m an Aquarius. They say we’re toxic, but it’s only because we got this thing where when we’re focused on what we’re focused on — if you’re not able to handle that, we could easily forget about you. That’s so serious. If I’m talking to a chick and she’s like “what you doing today?” I say “nothing,” she says “come see me” and she’s 30 minutes away — but today I wanted to sit in the studio and work, I already cancelled that out. I’m not getting the f-ck up to come see you, I’m working today. If you want to involve yourself in my life, then you can come. As far as me coming to you and forgetting about what I need to do for you and your carelessness, nah. I’m not driving 30 minutes away to go out to eat with you. It wasn’t a part of my day, so I’m not f-cking with it.
AllHipHop: Do you have criteria when it comes to girls?
DJ Chose: I like my women beautiful. It’s more about… definitely looks, definitely the inside. Most people think I like these big, humongous a####. I like any. It’s really about who you are to yourself. I done talked to thick women, I done talked to slim women. I done had relationships with bigger women. All of them have got their own perks, I guess it’s all about how well-rounded you are.
AllHipHop: What drives you to be successful?
DJ Chose: I used to think about this trailer house I used to stay in. I always think about the poverty, of course. Now, I still think about that. When I’m working on songs, sometimes I think about being in that cold a## trailer house with no heat. We had a summer where we had no air. A lot of that sh-t crosses my mind, it makes me work harder because it’s bigger than just me now. Now it’s about my kids’ kids, it’s about a couple more generations. I know my kids are good whenever I have them, but I need to make sure that their kids and their kids after that… I need to make sure the sh-t’s generational.
AllHipHop: Anything else you’d like to let us know?
DJ Chose: I’m finna drop an appreciation version of “THICK. I’m finna drop a “THICK” video this week. My last one got shadowbanned, it got 2 million views on Youtube. A lot of people don’t think I’ve got a video to “THICK.” The original had a video, it just got shadow banned because it was real ratchet. They had on clothes, but it was ratchet. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to shoot a cool version of “THICK” that wasn’t so ratchet. I’ma shoot it and drop it, I’m thuggin’.
AllHipHop: How’s the independent grind?
DJ Chose: It feels good, I ain’t got to answer to nobody. I make my own money, spend my own money. I get to see my chicks, so I love it.