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The first time I caught DJ Sandman, it was a Sunday afternoon outside by the pool at the ever-swinging Shore Club. TAI Entertainment was throwing another one of its long-running blowouts, and the joint was jumping with more models and bottles per square foot than Hefner's dream house. Even better was the beat the crowd was keeping to, a beat that said we were right where we wanted to be.
Behind that beat, of course, was DJ Sandman, the kind of boldface heavyweight head-spinner who knows just what to play and just when to play it — not to mention just which parties to play. Born in Chi-town but raised in Miami, Sandman comes to the turntables through no less a name than DJ Irie. See, it was Irie who took a then-18-year-old Sandman under his wing, showing him what worked where and how, and how to make certain where you were working was where it was at. In other words, not only did Irie put Sandman's ear to the music, but also he gave him entry to some of the best venues in the world.
Then along came Tommy Pooch and Alan Roth, the two kingpins who run TAI Entertainment. Like Irie, Pooch and Roth saw something extra-special in the Sandman, and they gave him his first solo gig, at South Beach's ultra-hip Astor Hotel. That was five years ago, and Sandman has been with TAI ever since. In fact, three out of his four weekly residencies are for the firm, and once a month he even heads back to the Shore Club just to keep his feet wet and the beat true.
Naturally, if you spin in all the best spots, you're privy to all the best action. As highlights of his head-spinning career, he counts throwing down with the Sugar Hill Gang at the Delano, handling Shaq's birthday up at Seminole Hard Rock, and spinning for Erykah Badu at Chakra.
With a resumé that ranges from Cameo to Karu & Y, a pedigree fit for Irie's Artist Related firm, and that all-important go-to position with the TAI boys, Sandman's got it going on indeed. Don't believe us? Try slipping into the Mondrian one Friday night and watch the throng sway as he plays a patented mashup from Tim Westwood. Or brave the ropes at the Delano on a Tuesday and get a peek at the elite moving to the beat of Biggie. Hell, just close your eyes and imagine you're at the hottest party you've never been to; then double it. You'll get the idea, all right. And then you'll get going out. Happy clubbing.
DJ Sandman's current top five:
2. "Roc Boys," Jay-Z
3. "Rockin' That Shit," The Dream
4. "Jockin' Jay-Z," Jay-Z
5. "Always Strapped," Lil Wayne