You’ve been dropping a ton of mixtapes lately. What got you on your grind like that?
Just competition, man. They call me the DJ that never sleeps, but the internet will make you not sleep at all. You got a lot of competition right now that’s really not DJs but they got a good source on the internet because they’re dropping tapes and nowadays, to be a mixtape DJ, all you gotta do is drop a tape with a nice cover and they call you a DJ. And the mass appeal of my product doesn’t necessarily allow me to put out product every week, but it allows me to stay ahead of the competition. When I was first coming out a lot of the big dogs were sleeping on me and I snuck into my spot.
I’m guessing you’re not a fan of the free download.
There’s a gift and a curse to it. A lot of people don’t understand that a lot of people put their heart and soul into their mixtape. I can do a blend tape and it’s not respected by the public because the kids are not familiar with them and the bootlegging hurts a lot. Now you have free downloads on the internet and if you do have a mixtape out, people can go to the website and download it for free. There’s a gift and a curse to that because you have people overseas who can now get the mixtape. And music is coming out every minute and the people just want the music right away. It’s even a gift and a curse that people overseas can download your mixtape.
Has the internet slowed down business for you?
Most definitely. I think it slowed down business for everyone because you have a lot of people that you deal with that are in different states that want to get your mixtape and promote it with you but now their customers are just going on the internet and getting your mixtape. It’s bad because you can drop a mixtape that day and your mixtape is on the internet. I think it’s hurting a lot of people.
How did the RIAA raiding Drama and a lot of mixtape sites shutting down as a result of that affect you?
You got a lot of stores where people will have just a couple mixtapes and they can actually download your mixtape. You can get your cover on there and sell your own stuff. It’s real bad right now for the mixtape game. The popularity is going up though. It’s just like the music. The popularity is up but the sales are down.
You’re dropping Maino’s new mixtape soon. How did that project come about?
Maino’s been a good friend of mine. When I started popping, he started popping. That was about three years ago. I met Maino when he was on his come up. We stayed in touch and when he was putting a new joint out, I told him I would love to be a part of that project. Now I’m trying to just be real successful in this mixtape game. It’s more than just coming out with all of the new music. Even with the Busta tape that I did, a lot of people can’t go to stores and tell them that they can get exclusive songs for that. Maino’s on his grind and he’s signed to Atlantic right now and his music is incredible. We just have to drop this mixtape to get his buzz back to where it was.
What was it like working with Busta Rhymes on his mixtape I’ve Already Outshined Your Favorite Rapper?
Busta and I go back. I worked with him on a couple of Flipmode mixtapes. I was in the studio with him and Busta was talking to me about how he was dropping a lot of mixtapes. We was talking about the state of hip-hop and the jewelry now and how you’re seeing crazy jewelry and how you’re seeing dudes not going platinum. I was like, ‘Hey, it seems like you’ve done all of that in your whole career. You’ve already outshined their favorite rapper.’ He was like, ‘That’s a dope title’ and we went with it. As soon as I said the title, he called Miami Kaos to get the cover done and he told me he had 13 joints for me that he had knocked out in two days. That was just incredible.
You recently earned five nominations for Justo’s Mixtape Awards. What did that mean to you this year?
That meant a lot to me. When I first started putting out mixtapes, in my first year I was putting out mixtapes every three weeks and I felt like I was one of the prominent DJs, but I was young to the mixtape game and I didn’t know about the politics of the mixtape game. I was good in the streets but I had to get myself known in the industry. I had artists calling for me and I started getting more CDs in stores. I was nominated for Rookie of the Year and I felt like I should have won it but I feel like God didn’t want me to win it. I won Rookie of the Year the next year. That’s a big award and you really have to live up to being the Rookie of the Year. I felt like there was a lot of pressure on me and the competition made me go even harder. To get nominated for the Best Mixtape DJ for the East Coast and Best Personality, I think that’s good for me. Anybody that listens to my mixtapes knows that I talk on my mixtapes and I give a lot of energy on it. I dropped a Best of, Rest in Peace, with Stack Bundles before he passed away. I dropped one with Jim Jones. I did the Shesus Khryst mixtape with Remy Ma. We put a lot of energy into that and I directed two videos with Rik Cordero. Hopefully we can take those awards, but there’s a lot of big dogs in all of those categories and I’m just happy to be nominated for five awards.
Didn’t you get sued over a beat on the Remy Ma tape?
Yeah. A lawyer called me over a beat for Shesus Khryst. I was actually working closely with this producer under my management company Northside Management and this kid wanted to come out and he definitely was starving to have himself heard and he was like, ‘Yo, I got a couple of beats for Remy to rhyme over.’ The next thing you know, Shesus Khryst blows up and lawyers are calling me telling me that [his beat is] not supposed to be given out and he knows that he gave that beat to me.
It’s just a fact that when you get bigger, everybody figures that you’re making a million dollars off of this and we actually did that just to show him love. He was on J Armz’ instrumentals tape and it actually blew him up. It was a sample beat and I had four to six producers telling me that they had done a beat like that. It’s just funny but he knew that this couldn’t go nowhere, so right now he’s about to drop that anyway.
How was it working with Remy on that?
I mean, it was great. Unfortunately things happened when we were putting that out and it could have been a whole lot more to it because we had other songs, but people think that the mixtape was a publicity stunt but that tape was done way before everything happened. It was in every big magazine and every internet website. A lot of people got it misconstrued about Shesus Khryst to be something where she was going against God and it wasn’t like that. She just felt like she was going through it in the industry and people were holding her back and we were watching Passion of the Christ. Remy was like, ‘This is how I feel in this rap game and this is how it is in the industry.’ Shesus Khryst did very well in the streets and I know Remy has a new mixtape coming out with my man DJ Bedtyme. Shesus Khryst was one of the biggest mixtapes of the year last year.
Do you ever worry that because you drop mixtapes at such a constant rate that the quality will be sacrificed?
When I drop mixtapes I just go for good material. Personally, I’m not writing the song. I’m just putting out the songs to promote the artists because radio only has a 15 song rotation and a lot of these guys experiment with songs on the internet and they just want to hear their feedback. I just try to do that in the streets. Good music to me is just real creative and I go with the mixtapes like that. There’s new music every day. Lil’ Wayne puts out new music every three days and I think mixtapes are real good for me, creativity-wise.
You also linked up with Steve Rifkind for an energy drink he’s promoting. How did that come about?
My homegirl from Universal was feeling a couple of things I had done with Hood Rich and Steve Rifkind wanted to pop this energy drink off. I had to show them what I could do for that energy drink and most definitely it came out right. They liked what I was doing in the streets and it just came out right. It’s a great energy drink. Music can go anywhere from promoting Burger King to anything else. They felt like I was relevant in the streets and I did a Loud Energy mixtape that Sheek Louch hosted and Loud put it out and it was real successful. We’re coming out with five other mixtapes with the five other flavors they put out.
Where do you want to take your DJing in the future?
I’m definitely trying to take it to another level. I don’t want to be doing mixtapes at the age of 40, so right now, having the popularity and having the connections with all these artists, I’m starting to get bigger, promotions-wise. I just started a film production company for up-and-coming artists to do videos. If you look at the Busta Rhymes trailer, I did something with him. I’m just bringing more creativity to mixtapes. I just did a deal with T-Mobile to bring them free mixtapes.
How’s your official album coming?
My album has been on hold because I deal with Lamar Odom from the L.A. Lakers. His business right now is playing ball and that’s one of the biggest things. I’m just trying to put my album out and he’s working and I’m working, so right now my album is on hold but I’m trying to get everything together. When I first came and signed a deal with Lamar and Rich Soil, I was new to the game and I didn’t know about clearances and doing stuff with artists and getting stuff cleared, but now I got everything together. It’s just held up because he’s playing ball and it’s hard to talk to him but hopefully my album will be out in July.
When will we see Ali Vegas’ album?
Pretty much the same time as mine. His album is crazy. He has Nas, Styles and the girl from Crime Mob on it. It’s crazy. He’s just waiting on his time but it’s hard when you’re waiting on somebody who’s doing a lot of things and he’s rich but you have to respect what he’s doing with his job as far as playing basketball. But both of our albums will be out by the summertime.
What’s the next move for you?
My album. I’m trying to get my film production company off. I’m doing strictly artist mixtapes and doing videos. I’m trying to promote the mixtapes. I just signed another deal with an entertainment company that’s trying to break new artists. I’m working with other artists and I’m working with Clap Cognac, he’s an unsigned artist from the Bronx. I’m working with a lot of artists right now.