Oscar G: Ones and Twos 101

"I've heard music," Oscar G says, "my whole life."

"It's been pretty amazing to go from almost nothing to the center of the universe."

Born in Miami to Cuban parents, he took piano lessons, learned to play drums, and joined the church choir. But it was those slabs of black plastic that eventually obsessed him. And so, the future house-music legend got into the habit of crate-digging and collecting vinyl before he'd even graduated from grammar school.

"My mom, she's not a musician, but she's always been a music lover, and we had good records at home," Oscar recalls. "My aunt, though, she was a huge disco fan. She would give me a lot of 45s. And my own collection came about pretty early."

Oscar G
Stian Roenning
Oscar G

He coveted everything, from disco and new wave to old-school Afro-Latin vibes.

"Just like now, I was into all kinds of stuff," he says. "I really liked Donna Summer and Blondie, but I was also real interested in guaguancó, which is very traditional Cuban music that's percussion-heavy, with claves and chants.

"The music was just everywhere. So I started DJ'ing really young."

And Oscar isn't joking about his precociously youthful debut at all.

"I was literally 12 years old when I was going to other people's houses to play parties. And I guess they were real," he jokes, "because they were paying us money.

"Basically, me and my friend, we were working with two belt-drive turntables, his old disco mixer, and some, like, home stereo speakers," he laughs. "We were playing parties for kids from school or the neighborhood, and the parents would offer to let us use their stereo speakers, because theirs were better.

"It was that kinda thing," the DJ points out. "Low budget. Real 305."

Three decades later, Oscar G's still staying true to the MIA. Even after scoring 12 top-ten hits in 17 years on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Songs chart (alongside Murk collaborator Ralph Falcon) and even while touring the world, he continues to live in Miami, hold down residencies at the area's biggest clubs, and rep the local scene by linking with next-generation dance wünderdudes like Lazaro Casanova.

"I would've never predicted what's happened to Miami," the DJ admits. "In the early '90s, there wasn't much going on in town, as far as house music, except at the gay clubs and really small underground spots. But now Ultra and WMC has become a full-on, two-week, festival slash spring break. And every single week, the lineups at the clubs are festival-worthy.

"It's been pretty amazing to go from almost nothing," Oscar muses, "to the center of the universe."

 
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