DJ Warrior: Golden State Great

W When you think of the West Coast, no particularly mixtape DJ comes to the average mind – as say a Drama in Atlanta or a Clue in New York. DJ Warrior is trying to change the way the industry looks at and markets the west with his Cali Untouchable Radio mixtape series and his […]

W When you think of the West Coast, no particularly mixtape DJ comes to the average mind – as say a Drama in Atlanta or a Clue in New York. DJ Warrior is trying to change the way the industry looks at and markets the west with his Cali Untouchable Radio mixtape series and his new venture with DJ Strong known as Hip Hop West. After 10 years in the rap game, Warrior fancies himself with major label deals, consulting jobs, and a nationwide name for keeping the left side in the rotation all over.

Recently aligned with Jimmy Henchman’s Czar Entertainment, Warrior is going for the gusto. However, his veteran stance shows in the fact that when profiling the West’s impact in Hip-Hop he’s as quick to acknowledge Ice-T as The Game, and Mitchy Slick as Bishop Lamont. If one man can unify the West on wax, DJ Warrior doesn’t come out to play. With new albums coming out from The Game, Snoop, and Tha Dogg Pound climbing the charts it looks like there is a resurgence of the West Coast—

DJ Warrior: — Don’t forget about Ice Cube, E-40, another kid making a lot of noise is Mitchy Slick, Keak Da Sneak from the Bay. There’s a lot of cats that have been doing things out here. Ice-T has just dropped an album, so he’s back in the game. They’ve always been out here doing things but I feel like we just don’t get enough opportunity. The West Coast is on fire right now, and an artist like The Game have helped to open a lane for more West Coast artists. Now it’s just up to the new cats to get their s**t right so they can be just as good as him if not better. The Game blowing up was a good thing, and his second album is just incredible. It’s a beautiful thing for me as a DJ to see that the West Coast has five or six singles getting heavy play on the radio and club circuit. What made you decide to release an album now instead of continuing to release mixtapes?

DJ Warrior: I had to work my way up. I mean, look at the market that I’m in. What I’ve done as a DJ, I [have created] without a publicist, without a manager. My partner DJ Strong and we have accomplished a lot on our own. The movement that we have created has taken time to move through the West Coast, but the market….mixtapes have always been here, and the West Coast has always had dope DJs. What wasn’t around was the personality and representation that we brought. A lot of people just weren’t street and we came and just made a whole new platform for mixtapes in the West. We brought the culture that was in the East to the West. I still give credit where credit is due because there are a lot of people out here who are dope. DJ Quik, Julio G, DJ Maestro, Dr. Dre…there are a lot of people that I’m forgetting right now who used to do mixtapes back in the day. When they got bigger, they went into the production side and they really didn’t carry it on because they didn’t need to. Everyone had to move on to that next level in life. But for a period of time there was a gap in the mixtape scene. A lot of people out here didn’t even know what the mixtape culture was about. Plus the people that did remember were focused on just a local area, but Hip-Hop is the fastest growing culture in the world. We had to take it to a bigger, national level. That leads me to my next question. Hip-Hop is growing at such a fast pace, but most of the emphasis is placed on rappers as opposed to the rest of the culture. What do you feel is the role of the DJ, particularly on the West Coast?

DJ Warrior: You’re right, a lot of people don’t necessarily think of the mixtape DJ when they think of the West Coast. But now, the way things have been going for the past five years has been amazing. I’ve gotten a deal out of it, toured the world, sold-out concerts, [and] broke new artists. We’re quality DJs. Hip-Hop is not what it used to be because the music is just not that solid anymore. Today it’s all about marketing and promotion. With us, we just had a reason and a purpose behind everything that we do. We created a wave that everyone can jump on. The question is when you jump on this wave what are your reasons? Do you just want to be big? Do you just want to look cool? That’s not our whole thing. We’re creating and branding something for the whole world so that when we leave, there’s something left so other can build. Basically, we’re pioneers of the West Coast mixtape scene. We created the West Coast mixtape scene. The whole purpose is that it’s not about us, it’s about the West Coast. Who are you working with?

DJ Warrior: We’ve got a few irons in the fire. Right now, I’m working with this kid named Roccet. My main focus is on a cat named Misty Hustle. We’ve got Mitchy Slick out of San Diego, this other kid, Diego Red. As far as majors we’re working with Lil’ Eazy E, Crooked I, E-40, and The Game. We work with everybody, but our focus right now is to work with those unsigned artists and try to blow them up. That’s when you can really talk some s**t because you took a guy from nothing to something. That’s what we specialize in. A&Rs need to holla at us because we’re the A&R for the West Coast right now. I’ve got a lot of superstars under my belt; it’s just that they haven’t been made into superstars yet. Whatever I touch, everyone wants to touch. An artist gets on my mixtape and all of a sudden A&R’s are calling like “I heard you were on Warrior’s s**t.” If that’s the case then f**k it, it’s time for DJ Warrior to have a record and label deal. If I got the blue—I’m not saying I run everything or I’m the man over here, but if I got the mixtape blueprint or created the mixtape blueprint then come holla at me. I’m not the man; I’m just the man who is serving the man, who is God. You just spoke on E-40 who is a veteran in the game and is now pushing the Hyphy sound which a lot of people in the nation never knew about. Do you feel the West Coast has been put at a disadvantage by being placed in a gangsta rap niche?

DJ Warrior: All these sounds have always been there but the industry markets the sound how they want to. Overall, it’s a good thing that new sound is finally getting out there. You’ve got a lot of different sounds out here but it’s just what the industry wants to put out. I can’t even tell you why it’s that way. You’d have to ask someone on the inside. The Hyphy movement is definitely helping. You’ve got the more than just the gangsta’s but that’s all the labels are looking for. Tell the VPs and A&Rs to come holla at me and I’ll find you the next artist out of the West Coast. You have so much culture over here. It’s racial over here. It’s international over here. There are so many things going on over here it all just need s the opportunity to be heard. Earlier you were speaking about how Hip Hop is losing its underground but you have a lot of artist on the West that vary drastically. Artist like Murs—

DJ Warrior: Oh, Murs is dope! You know a guy like Murs needs to have the money put behind him so that another sound can be brought out of the West Coast. All these cultures have been here. The West isn’t just made up of gangstas and lowriders. They’re here, but it’s more than that. There’s different nationalities, different food, the weathers different in different parts of the West Coast, the Bay area has their own thing, San Diego has their own thing, and different parts of L.A. have totally different culture. S**t, even Vegas is West Coast. Something should be popping out of Vegas. The Bay has the Hyphy sound, but at the same time they’ve got that laid back Too Short/Richie Rich sound. At the end of the day we’re all West Coast.