Interview by Shiyana Bellamy
HowsMyRolling: Growing up how did your Haitian descent influence your DJ skills?
DJ Whoo Kid: Having a Caribbean background gives me some form of rhythm which is probably one of the reasons why I know how to take decent music 80% of the time. You can’t be perfect, sometimes you like something that everybody hates, but I’ve been that guy that at least 80% or 90% of the music I chose is hot. That’s why I’ve done so many classic mixtapes. At the end of the day it helps to have a good ear, since you have a Caribbean background with all the Compás and all the Haitian music I use to listen to. My father use to blast that, but he didn’t just blast Haitian music. He would blast Spanish music and all kind of stuff. I was like, “what kind of household am I living in?” (Laughs) I guess growing up with Haitian parents you get that feel of the live band. That’s something we don’t see now a days, going to a party and there’s a live band there. I just grew up with all the famous Haitian bands because my father use to do all the parties for them. I guess that gives me some form of rhythm, so me picking something hot when an artist asks me if this beat is hot or is this whack? I tell them, “nah this is garbage.” If they give me something with a little rhythm or spunk I tell them, “This is kind of hot right here.” So people do rely on my opinion, you see a lot of dj’s are chosen to come to the studio rather than their a&r of a label. Dj’s are usually in the clubs and they sell music for a living, so they know what’s hot.
HMR: I’m glad you brought up mixtapes and your influence. In this era of technology what keeps you motivated?
DWK: The way that a lot of these artists are being a little bit more creative. The fact that I don’t do multiple artists mixtapes anymore. So, what keeps me motivated is when you do a singular artist and their fan base is going to be really proud of what you get out of that one artist. Whether if it’s a whole cd on Snoop or a whole cd on 50 Cent or Young Jeezy those cds are more popular and more successful. There’s no way that you can get twenty hot records from twenty different artists, it’s like impossible. I gave up on doing those kind of cds years ago. You got like four or five hot records and the rest of the new joints be garbage. They rather have all hot stuff, usually when you work in conjunction with an artist it’s a one on one thing. Then I can tell them, “yo, I don’t want this record” or “this record is whack” and he’ll give me like thirty records, I’ll pick ten or twelve out of that thirty. So it’s like a better situation and it’s like a 90% chance that you will have a hot cd. Unless the artist is really garbage and they pay you to do the mixtape, so there’s no way of getting around that.
HMR: So are there any new artists you heard and said “wow, they got skills”?
DWK: I did my homework especially for the past two or three years I been going through all the underground cats the college cats, cause you know I came to the conclusion that the guys who’ve been running it can’t be running it forever. I’ve been doing this for years anyways I always find out who’s new, but you know J. Cole, Mac Miller he’s definitely another kid, but I met him through Wiz Khalifa. I did my research on Wiz Khalifa way back then, B.O.B. like two or three years ago. That’s why me doing my research is the reason why XXL Magazine always hollers at me to do those freshmen mixtapes ‘cause I’ve always tried to figure out who’s going to be that next guy. It’s crazy because you can’t really rely on the same dudes every year and you can see the transition like we’re going back to the college or weed smokers. Even this year Lupe Fiasco was real big then you got these other dudes, those crazy dudes from L.A. eating roaches [Odd Future]. You can see the transition all these big pop dudes are getting pushed out and everybody’s young now, back into the college thing. Then you got the technology thrown into it with the twitter and the downloading, cool concerts and festivals. You got all these situations coming at you all at once, the transition has to happen and you have to be aware of who’s going to be next. I don’t want to be blasting new Nas and everybody’s on Wiz Khalifa or Chiddy Bang. You can’t be ignorant to who’s next and that’s what’s going on right now the transition.
HMR: Besides the obvious DJ Kool Herc, Jam Master Jay & DJ Kid Capri, in your opinion what other DJ’s impacted the game?
DWK: The main impact dude, who’s probably the father to anybody that’s doing mixtapes, would probably be DJ Clue as far as success. You look at him like the dude that had the cars back then, rolled with Jay Z, kind of like looked up to him like this is what I want to do. Connecting with 50 Cent I got the artists, I went through the cars already, I kind of went on the same model. He kind of showed me getting exclusives is what it’s about. I creatively made it worst, I got movie stars posting exclusives, comedians, sport stars, getting rappers to do songs over. I went over to 50 Cent to Snoop Dogg, to down south. I went even further now where I’m just doing mixtapes with artists overseas, I don’t mind if people know me as 50 Cent’s dj. So, now it’s like instead of you knowing me as 50 Cent’s dj, you know me as the radio show dude on Sirius XM working for Eminem, I interview Hollywood stars or you know me for doing mixtapes with all the top UK artists.
HMR: Speaking of UK artists I saw that you worked with Tinie Tempah. What is the dj scene like over there?
DWK: Every time I go to these clubs, I’ve been going there for six or seven years I’ve been hearing the same three or four artists that kill the clubs that I hear other djs play. I’m like who are these dudes in the UK and there’s hundreds of clubs in the UK. From London, to Ireland to Scotland and I’m constantly torn. I’m like let me start get involved because I’m hearing them all the time. As a dj I wanted to learn the language, the lingo and different parts, so it’s like I’m always there. A lot of djs don’t tour so they’re not going to understand the situation, but that’s why the UK accepted me to even do these cds. I got my experience from going out there, but once I did it and combined them with Jim Jones, Snoop Dogg and it’s just weird I just mixed them with all the artist here [US]. It just opened a new doorway and another way it’s crazy because I’m looking at Tinie Tempah who’s the biggest international star and I did his mixtape. Now I’m looking at him on Conan O’Brien, I just saw him on the View, Jay Z talks about his songs. I’ve not only been listening to his songs in the UK, but with the elite young kids that’s in the clubs out here and all the posh clubs play “Pass Out.” Once Snoop Dogg got on it and did the remix it became a personal cool thing. It’s like you got a pair of Nike’s that nobody got, just flaunting it. When you go to these clubs they play Tinie Tempah, these white kids and black kids that got their crazy rich parents, they go out and party. It feels like that’s their s—t ‘cause they go overseas and hear the song. So when you go back and hear it in these clubs that regular kids can’t get into, once they play it I was like, “yo, what the f—k? I’m hearing Tinie Tempah in New York at 1 Oak” or “they playing him in Greenhouse?” I just plan ahead in the game and I see nobody’s doing it, once you get involved now I can tour the UK for the rest of my life. I use to just walk around the UK go to the malls, get my sneakers and people don’t give a f—k. Occasionally, “oh that’s 50 Cent’s dj,” but now it’s like “holy s—t that’s Whoo Kid mate!” They going crazy because they can’t believe I did a cd with Giggs who’s like the 50 Cent of the UK and then I did Skepta who is the grime king. Then I did Tinie Tempah who’s like the only one that won two MOBO awards. He’s not only black, but he’s a rapper and Jay Z’s talking about him all day, Diddy hangs with Skepta. You can see the combination, everybody tours overseas. I just got tired of going there just to go, I wanted to give back to them. I’m showing them the mixtape culture that we grew up on, that every rapper here is killing. Young Jeezy, T.I. and everybody all these guys came from the mixtape map.
HMR: I saw some footage of tours on RadioPlanet.tv and you’ve traveled everywhere. Any place you would say are memorable? Any countries that was dangerous?
DWK: The funniest place is Africa. I’ve toured a lot of places in Africa, I toured all of Nigeria. Bugs attacking me, driving through the jungle in jeeps with the army. I got army dude troops with me, you got to have troops with you because they’ll pull you over and you’ll have to pay at every stop. So once they see the army they just keep it moving. When I was there “A Milli” was the biggest song from Lil’ Wayne because he was like “…Nigerian hair.” I had to play that like thirty times at each club, they didn’t care about any other song. I’ll take any paycheck, a lot of djs are scared I’ll dj anywhere; I’m just like 50 Cent. 50 will perform in Iraq and I’ve learned because I’m his dj and I have no choice, but to be there. We did Kosovo, Iraq, we performed where people were shooting in Africa, we had tanks, and we had blackouts. Like I deejayed the whole f—king grid and Africa had a blackout! The way we got out was through tanks, they threw us in a tank and we drove out the city in a tank. They were like, “yo, you might get killed here.” We were like ok. (laughs) I been through it all, nothing really scares me.
HMR: If you had the opportunity to go back, what would the new DJ Whoo Kid tell the old Whoo Kid?
DWK: You stupid ass you should have started when you were eighteen, not twenty four d–khead. (laughs) If I had started this s—t when I was eighteen, I would have been different. Then I probably wouldn’t have been where I’m at either. I think fate is a m—therf—her, depends on who you meet and who you hang with. All the people that I’ve known that were huge back then, looking down on me like “what the f—k is a whoo kid?” All these guys aren’t doing s—t, I don’t even know where they’re at. The 360 effect is real, even in the clubs in New York I remember back in the day there was so many politics just to get into the club. Djs were trying to cut throat me, now I see them they’re either still doing what they’re doing, but hasn’t really excelled. I can see it in their faces that they got to come say what’s up to me and that’s enough for me be like, “yeah, m—therf—her.” I’m not a f—ked up person where I’m on some revenge s—t. Me doing radio, I can read people’s faces and I love it because it’s an ultimate stab in the heart. Like when you see them and they know that they have to come in front of you that’s the best feeling ever. I’m so cool at the end of the day, I always believe like you brought it up, me being Haitian a Caribbean works ten times as hard than an average person because we never had s—t. I’ve always believed in plan a, b, c, d, e.
HMR: Lastly what can we expect from DJ Whoo Kid in 2011?
DWK: Probably like a sextape with two unknown chicks. (laughs) Nah, I’m just gonna try to concentrate on the TV. thing now. I need to be on TV. format, I’m looking into that. So, 2012 hopefully you’ll be watching me doing an interview on TV. or doing some stupid s—t, but I will find my way on TV. somehow. I got the radio on lock, got the fashion on lock with krsp.com and my website radioplanet.tv I own it with 50 Cent. You know he owns Thisis50.com so who am I going to look up to as far as the web expertise goes. I’m touring endlessly, my tour s—t is serious. I’m opening my veneers of the world by doing all this international mixtape s—t, it’s going to be a busy summer for me. It’s all good, I’m Haitian, I’m Caribbean. (Laughs) Another thing I’m getting into is video games too, heavy in video games this year.