EXCLUSIVE: Sway Calloway Says EDM DJs Can’t Do What Hip Hop DJs Do + Talks Global Spin Awards


(AllHipHop News) Today (November 18th), the international community of the DJ culture will preside at New York Times Center in Manhattan for the 2013 Global Spin Awards. At September’s press conference to announce the nominees for this years Global Spin Awards, the show’s host, Sway Calloway gave an EXCLUSIVE interview with AllHipHop discussing the evolution of the DJ culture, new ways of branding and compares EDM DJ’s to Hip Hop DJs.

In the early 2000’s, Young Jeezy, Lil Wayne and a litany of other MCs would attest that DJ-hosted mixtapes were integral in their eventual rise to rap superstardom. However, in the past five years, punctuated by the metoric rise of Drake’s So Far Gone, the DJ is no longer an essential piece in making a mixtape successful. Sway spoke on this change but hinted that award shows like Global Spin Awards and the recent rise of EDM as proof that DJs are regaining their spot at the top of music relevancy:

What happened was the DJ used to be the most important figure in Hip Hop. The dancer, the graf writer and the writer all kind of came behind the DJ. The DJ controlled the party. The rapper, the MC, was the guy that kept people hype. But when the rap business invaded the culture, the rapper became the front guy. In the process, the business did not care about the DJ, they cared about the front guy and who they can profit from. Who is the guy in the gold chain. Who was the guy who controlled the mic. That was the person that was in the video more so than the DJ.

Further delving into the evolution of Dj’ing, Sway spoke on how the human element of a DJ will always trump the convenience of internet-curated playlist generators such as Pandora:

I think people are realizing that it’s imperative that the DJ is apart of this process. Even as powerful as the internet has become, you still need the DJ. To really influence the audience. The internet has become a strong tool similar to a DJ. But you not going to turn on the internet when you go to a party. [Laughs] You not going to log on to Pandora when you at the party. So we’ve seen a lot of the evolution.

EDM DJ, Calvin Harris was the highest paid DJ of the past year, raking in $46 million with a reported $200,000 per show earning. While EDM DJs have skyrocketed into being the most sought after DJs in America over the past three years, Sway believes the skill set of a Hip Hop DJ still trumps that of a traditional EDM DJ:

When I was growing up, you had to spin all genres. Whether it was soul, whether it was dance, hip hop, polka, pop, whatever. [DJ] Scratch could spin on any platform. You could take him to those EDM parties. Dance music is the easiest  music to mix in my opinion, the BPMs are all the same, the melodies are all the same, the chords are all the same. They can kill that. But you cant take an EDM DJ and bring him to a Hip Hop party and expect him to kill it. There’s a lot of guys who do both but chances are they wouldn’t be able to do it.

The Global Spin Awards is tonight (November 18th). Check out the trailer for the event below: