What constitutes a real “DJ”?

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Imagine you’re in a party with your friends. Your song comes on and you’re dancing with that guy, or you’re dancing with that girl. Everyone is having a blast, and the song changes before the artist can even get to the chorus. Throwing off the vibe of the whole party.

Being a Disk Jockey, or DJ, seems to be a profession that some people just give a try thinking that just anyone can do it. That it’s not a skill that people have to practice and develop over a period of time gaining new experience with each gig. “Good DJ’s aren’t cheap and cheap DJ’s aren’t good,” an Instagram meme that stuck with me significantly because I DJ myself. When you’re starting out, no one wants to book you because they can’t believe you actually DJ or if you’re even good.

You have to “take an L” every now and then in order to brand your name and gain a following. However once that is done, you still come across people who don’t want to pay you for your worth. Not realizing that not only do you have to show up thirty minutes to an hour early before the event to make sure you’re set up and ready to go. You also have to carry all the heavy, expensive equipment from your home to the car to the venue and vice versa plus transportation. More than likely you’re by yourself and have to lift all of that on your own. Then you have to figure out what kind of crowd you’re actually playing for.

Hopefully they aren’t stiffs and actually came to dance, but most people in the new generation just smoke weed and snap chat all night. That’s when it’s your job to pay attention to who is in your audience. What age range? What’s the ratio? Is this a classy or ratchet event? What’s the ratio of men to women? Is this a gay or straight event? These are questions you have to ask yourself when deciding what genre of music to go into. But what makes a DJ a “good DJ”?

Some would say the selection of songs and the ability to mix them together. Others say you can’t call yourself a DJ unless you know how to mix and scratch, but the point at the end of the day is can you keep a crowd moving?  Are you fun? Can you engage the crowd by making announcements and adlibs periodically? All of these traits are things that come with time and practice. People don’t consider DJing to be a skill, but not everyone can do it honestly.

Personally, I think it’s the DJ’s ability to pay attention to the crowd. For example, if I’m at event where there is more women than men, I’m not going to play future or young thug all night, but there are DJ’s who do. Or if I’m at a family gathering, only playing what’s on today’s radio knowing I got people’s aunts, uncles and grandparents in attendance who came up in a different generation. You to be diverse and have music for the following sets to successfully keep getting booked.  They are hip-hop, R&B, reggae, soca, old school, 80’s,90’s, line dance, and or “twerk/dance music if your sticking to the African American dynamic. If not, then of course your pop, country, hard rock, EDM, and even house in some cases.

Most people will come up to the DJ and make a request, which is beyond annoying, however it’s going to happen regardless. Sometimes the DJ plays those requests and sometimes those requests go in one ear and back into the headphones. It’s cool to do your thing, but if you’re not catering to the people while doing your thing and no one is dancing, more than likely you won’t be hired back. The secret is to pay attention to the women.

The whole point of most straight men going out to the club is the potential of getting some after getting drunk, or having a nice “romantic” encounter with a young lady. Sure there are girls who will dance to Young Dolph, Yo Gotti, Jeezy, etc.., but when it’s time to create a social atmosphere of potential fornication, you have to switch it up.  Some guys are fine with jumping around with each other, but the ones who enjoy female energy aren’t really going to make a move if the ladies aren’t up enjoying themselves. DJ’s make a party, how many women were up enjoying themselves dancing around determines how “lit” the actual party was. A guy is going to remember who was the most turnt when “Panda” comes on, but he’ll remember that chick who gave him some “shake time”.

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By: Bronson Blair

Email: bronson.blair04@gmail.com
Ig @prothro_4
DJ HeavyB The Ratchet Dj
Prothro Productions (video production company)

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