In the heart of downtown St. Louis, just blocks from the famous Gateway Arch and directly across the street from the St. Louis Cardinals Ballpark [Busch Stadium], DJs from all over the country and a few from as far as Germany, South Africa and Japan converged upon the elegant downtown Hilton Hotel to participate in the 2008 DJ Technology Retreat and Convention. The event, hosted by Jus Bleezy Entertainment, included seminars displaying the most recent technology and software, an informative panel discussion, networking opportunities, parties, and exhibitions like the new Serato/Rane video system presented by DJ Commando and an intense DJ battle. DJ Kut of Power 105.1 in New York, DJ Kay Slay The Drama King of Hot 97 New York, DJ Scratch of EPMD and DJ Eddie F from Heavy D and The Boyz were a few of the legendary DJs in attendance.
The mission of the conference, which was reminiscent to the Jack The Rapper conference that took place in the 80s and early 90s in Atlanta, was to inform DJs of the latest technology, but simultaneously, stress the significance of the DJ. In recent years, the club, street, and mixshow DJ have relinquished their power by allowing the powers that be, most of whom have corporate interests and no idea of what's hot on the club/street level, to control the DJ's music selections on the airwaves. Jus Bleezy, a rap artist from the tough Northside of St. Louis, wanted to not only show the DJs love by inviting them to the 'Lou', but emphasize the importance of the DJ regaining their power and "taking the game back." Bleezy addressed the DJs in the Hilton's ballroom with a heart-wrenching unscripted speech that displayed his passion for the music and his appreciation for the DJ. "I wanna thank everybody on a global level for coming out and being a part of the foundation of the groundbreaking DJ Technology Convention and Retreat." He went on to say, "Everyone that attended this first one is laying the foundation for this event in years to come!"
AllHipHop.com caught up with a few of the DJs in attendance to discuss their take on the 2008 St. Louis DJ Technology Convention and Retreat...
DJ Kut Power 105.1 New York City - St. Louis Native
AllHipHop.com: The convention's been a big success man! Give us your thoughts and opinions on how everything has been going thus far.
DJ Kut: One of the first things that comes to mind about this convention is it's one of the first that's ever been done in St. Louis, usually people don't do things like this here. But I have to say, and I would be a b***h a** n***a if I didn't acknowledge Tony Neal for doing a conference here in 2005 and he gave me an award as being one of the St. Louis pioneers so I gotta acknowledge that. For St. Louis people to come back and do it the way we did it this year was much needed. People are here from all over the country as well as Germany, South Africa, and Japan and it's all about growth. A lot of valuable information was given at today's panel discussion. A lot of people got a lot of knowledge from people like DJ Scratch, DJ Kay Slay, legendary DJ Eddie F turned producer, artist Murphy Lee, yourself DJ Ol' Skool K, and my man John C from Superadio Networks. These are people who've been in the game and started at a low point and ended up in a high position and aren't done yet. I hollered at my man Jus Bleezy from St. Louis, we go back like fourteen years, and we put this convention together and did something historic in St. Louis. The panelist didn't sit there and be anti-social, they sat there and gave out the blueprint on how you can make money in this game. They dropped a lot of jewels man and that's one of the biggest things. I want people to leave here being able to apply what they learned in their own market, then they have to reach back and teach somebody else. You gotta reach back and help the person that's coming after you. The whole thing is to help educate and help the next generation of DJs coming up and also bring back true turntablism.
DJ Sir Thurl 100.3 The Beat, St. Louis, Mo. - Derrty DJs
AllHipHop.com: Being from right here in St. Louis, the home of the 2008 DJ Technology Retreat and Convention, tell us a little about the deejaying scene and the whole Hip-Hop scene in the 'Lou'.
DJ Sir Thirl: It's natural for them to bring this conference to St. Louis. This is like a breeding ground for DJs. DJs above me like DJ Kut breeded us and we had to get to a certain level to be respected. That's why DJs and deejaying is big in this city. I've been deejaying for 15 years and I was deejaying for eight years before I even knew what a BPM was or anything like that. My man DJ Kut put me on and he taught me the game and I used to open up for him all of the time and start the party so I got the name "The Official Party Starter", and after doing that for a while the radio came and got me!
DJ Ken One Tokyo, Japan - DJ Battle Finalist
AllHipHop.com: You were in the DJ battle here and out of 16 DJs, you came in 2nd place that's really good. How did you like the whole experience of coming to America for the first time and competing in the DJ battle?
DJ Ken One: The DJ battle was very fun. I love to scratch, I think scratching is a language, a universal language. When I scratch people get excited and cheer for me so I like that a lot. Deejaying is very big in my country.
DJ 5 Starr - Baltimore, Maryland
"The conference has been of the chain, it's definitely a great networking opportunity for anybody and that's what it's about because we're a family. Baltimore City is definitely in the building heavy."
DJ Lex Queens, New York
"This was not some fugazzi s**t, this was real! I'm here, I wouldn't go to no fake s**t. I wouldn't put people on to some fake bulls**t. You know your word is your bond so you don't wanna tell people about some s**t and it be all fake and ain't nothing happenin' because then you look stupid and you can't get no money because people don't trust your word and you get no respect. St. Louis definitely put it down by having this DJ Technology Retreat, this s**t is official."
Big shouts to DJ Short-e, DJ Carl Cherry, The Derrty DJs, The Core DJs, DJ Big Jeff, DJ Momo, Brandi Garcia, DJ Big 6, Phenom, DJ Sugar Daddy, DJ Fusion, DJ Swift, Big D, DJ Lil E, DJ Deluxe, Christiana Houston, DJ Music Mike, DJ Babe, Bryan Lee, Tony Reddz, DJ Daniel Boom, DJ Qsuffix, G Mack & DJ Scholar of Future Star DJs, DJ Dub all of the other DJs in attendance [sorry we can't name everyone] Stay tuned for more excerpts from the 2008 St. Louis DJ Retreat and Convention including interviews with DJ Scratch, DJ Eddie F, DJ Naves from South Africa, DJ Kut, DJ Lex, and DJ Sarasa, a female DJ from Tokyo, Japan.