Photo by David "Dro" Rosario
DJ Obscene has probably accomplished more at age 22 than most of the DJs doing it today. Getting an early start, he was the resident for two years at one of Miami's best parties in recent memory: Miami Live at Santos, which was voted Best Weekly Party in New Times' 2008 Best Of Miami issue. Most recently, he hosted a mixtape for local hip-hop artist Ice Berg.
But Obscene's story starts in the hip-hop world, and while he still boasts a foot firmly planted there, his budding career has him also now exploring other genres.Case in point: Besides his residency spinning a couple nights a week at South Beach hotspot STK, now he's just announced a new two-hour mix show on Y100, on both Friday and Saturday nights.
Crossfade got a chance to talk to Obscene about his new weekly gigs, his break from and reintroduction to the scene, as well as his plans for the near future. Read the Q&A after the jump.
Crossfade: Obscene, can you introduce yourself, for those who may not know you and to those who haven't heard from you in a while?
Well to keep it short and simple, I'm 22, and have been DJing for eight years now. I've been blessed to cross paths and work with many talented artists and individuals in the industry up to this point in my career. I've spent most of my time rocking clubs on South Beach since I was 16, and was able to build a strong following and presence in the game through mixtapes. I truly have a deep love for music and at this point have derived from focusing so much on mixtapes and have turned my attention to strengthening the other facets of my career, namely clubs, radio and beginning to explore production.
You recently won the Y-100 Mix-Off contest not too long ago and DJed at Mackapoolooza, the two-year anniversary party for the station's Mack At Nite show. How was that?
Yeah, the Y-100 Mix-Off was tons of fun. Fun coming up with the set, fun performing it, fun all around. I think that's why I enjoyed it so much -- because of the simple fact that I had tons of fun, which most people forget to do sometimes in this crazy industry.
The atmosphere at Mackapoolooza was great. Flo Rida made an appearance and the White Tie Affair performed for the fans. The relationship with Y-100 has definitely been a blessing. I wanna give a big shout to Mack from the Mack at Nite show for being about his business and holding me down.
I was actually just brought on board for the Club 100mix show Friday and Saturday nights from 10 p.m. to midnight, so you'll be able to catch me mixing on there weekly, spinning your favorite tunes.
A lot of people may know you from all the work you used to put it in within the mixtape scene. You've taken a break though and have recently surfaced with the new Ice Berg mixtape. Why the long break?
Well it was never really a "break," but a break from the public eye, that is for sure. A few things factored into this decision, but mainly it was the lack of quality music being released. I remember the days where there would consistently be new quality music that I would feel the need to share with the world, but that feeling slowly disappeared.
At the end of the day I do this because it's what I truly love, and I'm not about to compromise my integrity just for the sake of keeping something going, and I'm definitely not putting out a CD with a few good tracks and a bunch of trash. I slowly realized and discovered that I was disenchanted by the lack of good music and the feeling was sour to say the least.
I took some months to really explore what other music was out there, old and new as well as different genres, to see what I felt most comfortable with, because I knew it was becoming an issue when all the hip-hop I would listen was from the '90s and early '00s.
There are obviously exceptions because Rick Ross, for example, has put out some incredible music in his past three albums, and there have been plenty of other artists to put out great, quality music that I enjoy. But unfortunately it's only a small percentage of all the music actually being made -- and a tiny portion of the music we are subjected to hear on radio.
To make a long story short, I expanded my knowledge of other genres by 5000 percent and my natural ear for music made this fairly simple. That was, once again, a very fun experience, being able to discover new and old sounds that I hadn't been exposed to. It was the closest thing to digging through vinyl at a record store like I used to do. I felt like a little kid.
So can we expect any new upcoming releases on the mixtape side of things?
Ultimately I'm still open and willing to do hip-hop mixtapes. And of course, there are still projects that I will be involved with no matter what because of my relationship with the artist, as in the case of Ice Berg, as well as anything coming from my Poe Boy family.
I know you're also doing a couple different weeklies -- what are they?
Well I have been a resident at STK at the Gansevoort on South Beach since it opened in early January. It has been an incredible experience because all I play in there is '70s, '80s, rock, and a tiny bit of whatever else in between. It was fairly new to me at first but it has allowed me to grow so much as a DJ, as well as discover tons and tons of music from way before I was born. It was such a crazy experience because I felt as if I already knew what to play.
As more and more people told me, "Yeah, that's the jam," I realized the songs that I enjoy as my favorites were everyone else's as well. That was the moment when I knew I can just trust my ear going forward; it is definitely my biggest asset. In addition to playing there twice a week I've been rotating around monthly at Mansion, the Shore Club and a few other venues -- playing a mix of electro, house, hip-hop, rock, reggae, and funk.
Do you have a web site or any other future projects you want to plug?
Definitely head over to obscenesounds.com for all the latest daily info on me, where I'm playing at, fun blog posts, as well as those great free downloadable mixes that everyone loves. As far as future projects, I have a few mixes coming soon that are very different from what you're used to hearing from me unless you've heard me play live. I'm planning to release a Live from STK mix, as well as a new series of mix CDs gearing more towards dance music. I'm about to get started on them any day now and they will definitely be hitting the CD decks and iPods in the coming weeks.
Any last words for this interview?
I definitely want to end this by thanking God for his many blessings and opportunities. Big thanks to everyone that has helped me along the way as well as all my fans and supporters. Be sure to keep an eye out and catch me live at your favorite club, my schedule is always posted on my web site.
I am very excited about this new radio endeavor, as well as these new upcoming projects, and I can't wait to share them with the world. In this game it's all about adapting and constantly growing, those who don't are the ones who get left in the dust.