DJ Green Lantern: Honoring Hip-Hop
DAgostino, better known as, DJ Green Lantern, has been personally
honoring Hip-Hop since 89. Creeping towards perfection, the self-proclaimed The Evil Genius can
transform a computer into a musical instrument, People are surprised
when they find out Im a professional producer. Ive been producing
since 1991; I never stopped. Adding to his diverse musical repertoire
The Evil One has become an accomplished DJ, an entertaining on-air personality
and a prominent mixtape guru. These collective efforts are a way in
which he continues to infuse his unique creativity into Hip-Hop.
worked many of Hip-Hops elite, The Evil Genius still welcomes working
with the inventive new faces like Johnny Polygon, the compelling voice
that singing the hook on Nas Black President. JP is the first
artist signed to Greens Invasion Music. He actually has a project
look out for it. Its pretty dopeits left of what youd expect.
Johnny Polygons debut effort, Wolf
In Cheap Clothing is due later this year.
an exclusive interview with AllHipHop.com, DJ Green Lantern discusses
everything from his favorite creative aspect of Hip-Hop to payola to
You can be considered a musical Renaissance man youre a DJ, youre
a producer and youre an on-air personality. Within Hip-Hop whats
your favorite creative medium?
Green: With producing
I can do what I want to do. I can take a sound-bite from a movie, I
can take a little phrase that somebody says from a record and use it
acapella and little phrase that someone says from a record. I can
get a beat from somewhere else and mix em all up and do what I want
with it; and make it all artistic and creative. People will be able
to sit with it and rewind it and really catch the creativity. Sometimes
being on the radio those elements like fly over peoples heads. You
just listen to it in real time you dont get to rewind it like that.
So you do different things on radio you have moments with [the] artists.
Then in the club those kind of moments kind fly by them. When you put
a set together you do it more simple [and] more to the point. You try
to get that response in the club. I would say creatively, just strictly
creatively speaking, I would say the mixtapes. But I enjoy being a club
DJ, a DJ and an on-air personality and writer of songs and what not.
AllHipHop.com: Can you
remember what motivated James DAgostino to make Hip-Hop his career?
To make it my career was [doing] the mixtapes. The rush that you get
from the love from putting out a project. People are ohhhing and ahhhhing
over it because it was so creative. It was next level with the production
and what not on it. It wasnt what people were used to. I was getting
responses like, Yo, that shit was crazy. That shit is hot. It
was a different type of response. I was like I can work with this thing.
It wasnt let me make a living off of this; it was let me just keep
getting that response. The by-product of that was all of a sudden some
money came through. I was able to quit a job and really realize my love
and just do this.
Before I was a DJ I was making
beats and calling myself a producer. This was back in 1991. Some beats
I had was on the back burner then the DJ thing came around. Then the
mixtape thing and it brought my name to the world; people kinda paid
attention when I produced a song. I was able to walk into a studio with
a big name artist and turn in my beats because they knew me as a DJ.
Thats how I got able to produce Ludacris Number One Spot and
Busta Rhymes and Rick James In The Ghetto, you know stuff like
that, Nas Dear President.
you ever recycled a beat?
Man, I think I just did that. Thats a thorough-ass question; I just
did that, probably a few times. Like, I might have made something and
I really didnt do nothing with it or nobody took the beat. I guarantee
you I just did that for this dead prez song. I had an original beat
that I had made. Damn, I dont want to give this awayokay, Ill
say it like this. There is this huge project that is coming out that
I cant say the name of. I had shopped the beat to this artist. He
ended up not getting back to me saying that he wanted the beat until
after I had recorded the beat with dead prez.
Thats just kinda the standard
in the music game; you shop beats to a whole bunch of different people,
whoever wants to get on it will get back to you. If business is right
thats who gets it. Sometimes people will have beats. Just because
they have six million beats in their computer doesnt mean that theyre
theirs. You have to pay for them Bottom line, there was this song
I shopped to this huge artist. This artist has been working on this
big ass project that everyone has been waiting on for a bunch of years.
And that says enough.
your overall feeling about the time that you spent with Shady Records?
Ah, man, blessings, I learned a whole lot. I toured the world. I was
kind touring the world before that. I had been to Europe and Australia
on a deejay level where youre doing clubs and things like that. But
that was a whole nother level that I saw with [Shady Records] which
was like 50,000 people in an arena, and outside and shit like that.
It was definitely a great time in my life; big up to everybody over
whats its status, will it be forever banished to the land of lyrical
[laughs] You have a crazy vocabulary on you. Did you say purgatory?
Wow. Dang, can I use that? Armageddon was almost finished and
it was kinda left alone when I left that situation. You know, some of
that music was attached and owned by the labels, so you have label issues
going on. I make so much music so if thats going to be a stipulation,
then aight, cool.
AllHipHop.com: How do
you incorporate an artist that you normally wouldnt listen to? When
theres a popular record that people love; but, you as a man may think
it is garbage; when youre deejaying, how do you remain unbiased?
Interesting, that kinda doesnt collide with me, Im really lucky
to be in that situation. In my current radio show on Sirius Radio they
say play what the hell you want to play, you know. But at the club,
I would say that that may apply because I play for the people; I play
for the crowd thats in front of me. If I dont like a particular
recordLike, I wasnt big on Miami Bass. Honestly when it first
came out I wasnt big on it but I knew that for at least for that
10 or 15 minutes a night you had to play at least four records at the
club. If I gotta play Me So Horny in the club, if thats going
to make the crowd go crazy, how could I deny that? Its only like
that in the club and Im not mad at that because I can look at these
1000 people going crazy to this record
AllHipHop.com: As a
man with a voice youve been forthcoming with some of your political
opinions you were part of the Bin Laden track and you teamed up
with Russell Simmons for the Yes We Can
Mixtape. Do you think that Hip-Hop is an effective form to catalyze
Most definitely To put it in simple terms, if you have the people
and you have the politicians, if the politicians see that the people
are feeling a certain way and that theyre organizing and gathering
a certain way and theyre gathering around, lets say music. Then
you have people with political ideas like Immortal Technique or a Dead
Prez and its galvanizing x amount of people and these people are
protesting and their voices are starting to get heard. Then x amount
of politicians or political entities will take that into consideration
when they formulate policy.
Thats how I look at things.
If you stay quiet and keep your mouth shut, to them everything is cool
theres no problems, nothing needs to be changed. On a basic level
people are stirred up or inspired by music. Say a song like Bin Laden
or whatever else, you know, Nas Black Presidents or Jeezys
My President Is Black the people that are making decisions
just on a small level will consider [that] if I want to stay in power
[and] if this is the general consensus of the people that will be electing
me two years from now, Ill need to put some policies in play that
will reflect their concerns and their interests.
bring this back to Hip-Hop, as a DJ you have a lot of power in regards
to what songs will get played. Have you ever participated in any payola?
Hell no! Something was brought up, there was a disgruntled artist [who]
put a accusation out there that I told him I needed some money from
him to play his shit, and hell no! First of all, let me be clear, I
work one day a week on satellite radio for two hours. That dont garner
no damn payola. First and foremost, if theyre paying somebody theyre
paying the guys that on every day. But strictly speaking, they dont
even offer the one-day-a-week guys no brown paper bag or no type of
money, period. Because, we dont affect the BDS's (Broadcast Data Systems) like the every day
guys do. So, when you hear about people being accused of payola, its
mostly the guys thats on every day. Thats not to shine the light
over there; Im just saying you shouldnt look over here. A once-a-week
guy is not enough to sway your BDSs. If I give you one spin a week,
you know, the math doesnt add up.
the last five years which two Hip-Hop tracks do you think have had the
Great question, damn. I would say one of which is the Jay-Z and Nas
Black Republicans and I believe that L.E.S. did. That was on the
Nas album it was the song where they crushed the beef and all that.
That beat to me is just retarded; definitely a favorite. I loved the
Jeezy beat from the last album, it was a song called Who Dat,
Shawty Redd made the beat. The Who Dat beat is crazy. I appreciate
the Southern just as much as I just named the Black Republicans
beat [because] its a straight sample and horns and a super New York
sounding beat. I still appreciate it for what it is a straight super
Southern joint in my eyes. It is done well. To me that beat right there
is straight aggression, the way the drums come in, and it switches up
and goes up in the register. Its crazy to me. I love the Busta
Rhymes [Respect My Conglomerate] beat. I love that beat. Im
just a fan of beats. I could go on and on.
get on producers; within the last year has any emerging producer caught
Probably Exile. Hes crazy If you Google him or YouTube him, Exile
does these live MPC things where hes going crazy on the MPC live.
His beats are real ill. Hes kinda in the school of J Dilla where
its like super chopped up samples and dope shit like that. I would
say Exile and on the Queen side of things, theres a up-and-coming
producer, Nicco. The reason I say him is because theres another
spectrum across from Exile. He has a really dope futuristic-sounding
music where its not sampled based. I can appreciate the whole spectrum.
question, beef; is it necessary within Hip-Hop?
I f**king hate beef; Im a vegetarian. I think that beef has gotten
extremely out of control. Its not genuine anymore; the issues that
people have I dont believe anything anymore. I feel like the whole
thing is just a marketing ploy. Its been pimped and hod like many
other aspects of Hip-Hop. At one point it was interesting because of
the human nature point of it all. You know, back when LL Cool J versus
Kool Moe Dee that was interesting. Back then we never thought that shit
was a fake or WWE; but, later on you did because it got pimped and hod .
With KRS-One versus MC Shan,
that thought never crossed your mind, that that s*** was fake. That
s*** was real. The money wasnt there; they werent using it as
a marketing clause for album sales or visibility on blogs or to help
generate interest on a album; none of that s***. Its become retarded
its crazy. I hate the word and its disgusting.