It's not fair to say DJ Whoo Kid was a DJ before it was cool, because — let's face it— it's always been cool. But at the very least, he was a DJ before the only requirements were a laptop, an index finger, and a palmful of hair gel.
The Brooklyn native was one of the earliest members of 50 Cent's G-Unit and has been producing mixtapes with hip-hop's finest since the early 2000s. But he isn't critical of this latest generation of disc jockeys. In fact, his own definition is an encompassing and tolerant one.
"I respect anyone that can move a crowd organically," he says. Being a DJ, according to Whoo Kid, is all about responding to the audience and giving it what it needs. "You've got to understand who's in front of you."
Being able to connect with a diverse array of listeners is something at which Whoo Kid has quite a bit of experience. He joined G-Unit following 50 Cent's massive success with Get Rich or Die Tryin'. Anyone who remembers 2003 knows that everyone — from the suburbs to the projects — turned up the volume when "In Da Club" came on the radio.
But that was 2003. It's been 12 years since then. That's, like, 834 centuries by the entertainment industry's standards. So how did Whoo Kid manage to stay relevant? There are a lot of very interesting answers to that question.
One could point to his (quite entertaining) radio show, Hollywood Saturdays, which he's hosted on SiriusXM Radio since 2005. Or maybe it's his high-energy, Champagne-soaked live shows performed around the world. Surely, his savvy eagerness to work with everyone in the music industry from Raekwon to Steve Aoki didn't hurt.
And if this were a normal interview, we would talk about all those things. We would even discuss the fact that DJ Whoo Kid is the official running mate of Wacka Flocka Flame in the 2016 presidential race. Seriously! How cool is that?
But there is a word count on this article, which means I've got to start using space wisely, and there is just simply no way I cannot tell — in all its glorious entirety — what is perhaps the best story this writer's ever heard, one Whoo Kid told us during our interview. It involves, obviously, DJ Whoo Kid, a member of the Gaddafi family, and a very expensive — and now very unusable — shoe.
But let's back up a bit.
G-Unit, remember them from a few paragraphs ago? You know, the global phenomenon that had your nerdy little brother singing about his "magic stick" in the shower? They had a lot of fans in a lot of places. One of those places was Libya. And one of those fans was Al-Saadi Gaddafi, the third son of the very evil (and now very dead) Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
Saadi — who was the captain of the Libyan national soccer team (a spot his father secured for him) and Libyan special forces commander — was infamous for many things. But atrocities aside, he was famously flashy. His parties were million-dollar affairs, chock full of drugs and sex. He allegedly paid the Pussycat Dolls more than $700,000 to perform at one of his birthday parties to impress his girlfriend. But he had a special place in his heart for G-Unit.
"They used to throw a lot of private parties," Whoo Kid remembers. "I think we did like almost four or five parties for them."
Saadi was an odd one. "He was very, like, it's hard to describe," Whoo Kid says. "I don't know if he was starstruck, but he was very respectful." Saadi enjoyed G-Unit's particular brand of unapologetic gangsta rap. And from the way Whoo Kid describes him, it almost feels like Saadi wished he were a member himself.
Whoo Kid recalls meeting Saadi one time in Italy before a show with 50 Cent. Saadi nervously leaned in toward 50 and told him he really liked his outfit — so much so that he wanted to wire him more than $300,000 for it.
"Yo, man I never saw 50 Cent butt-ass naked so fast [laughs]. I think he paid like $350,000 for that outfit, and he wore it the next time we saw him."
But Whoo Kid's weirdest interaction with Saadi came at a Toronto Film Festival party. After reluctantly accepting an invitation, Whoo Kid found himself in Saadi's VIP section. Whoo Kid's guest was Julie Pacino, Al Pacino's daughter. Yeah, this is going to get weird. Bear with us.
"I love caviar, so I went to go get caviar, and I left Al Pacino's daughter in the VIP section," Whoo Kid says. "She was just hanging there with her friend, but [Saadi] Gaddafi wasn't there yet." When he did arrive, he wasn't too happy at the sight of a woman in his VIP section.
"You know, they just don't have respect for women like that. So his security grabs her, and he's like, 'Get her out of here!' They picked her up like a baby and just carried her away."
Caviar in hand, Whoo Kid returned to find Pacino missing. Saadi let him know that he took care of that stray woman hanging around, and then Whoo Kid told Saadi — an apparent Scarface fan — who he just threw out. "He was like, 'What?!' So he went crazy, and then they carried her back like a baby."
Satisfied that Julie Pacino wasn't off being electrocuted in some Libyan interrogation room, Whoo Kid was ready to call it a night — but Saadi had other plans. Before he left, Saadi invited Whoo Kid back to a private afterparty at his hotel suite. Whoo Kid told him he'd be there despite having no intention of actually showing up. He then retired to his hotel with 50 Cent, and just as he was preparing for bed, there was a knock on the door. He opened it.
Standing in front of him was a handful of what looked like Libyan supermodels. Except these models were dressed in military garb. And they had guns.
"They're like, 'We're here to pick you up for Gaddafi's private party.' I was like, What? How did y'all know I was here?" They didn't give him an answer. They only told him to bring music.
Ten minutes later, Whoo Kid is sitting in the middle seat of a Mercedes, sandwiched between Saadi's personal team of supermodel assassins. "So I get in the car, and they're all, like, models," he remembers. "These aren't security dudes. These are all models, but they all have Uzis." The only other man in the car was a silent driver.
After a short trip, Whoo Kid arrived at the type of scene you'd expect.
"I get there, and I see a mountain of cocaine. I've never seen so much cocaine in my life."
He sidestepped past the avalanche of blow and navigated through the river of women, finding the CD player and popping in his mix. "I grabbed, like, Katy Perry and some Britney Spears shit," Whoo Kid remembers. Ever mindful of his audience — even in the living room of a cocaine-crazed dictator — Whoo Kid wanted to make sure the ladies had something to dance to.
And it was going well until Saadi came crashing out of his room. "He comes out in a robe screaming, 'Who the fuck got this stupid music on?' I was like, 'Oh shit.' Everybody got quiet."
Whoo Kid stepped forward and explained the situation. Saadi shook his head before trotting off to fetch his laptop. He showed Whoo Kid his music library. "He was like, 'Yo, I respect 50 Cent, but all I have is your mixtapes. That's why I really wanted you here. I'm just happy that you're here. It's your tapes I used to listen to.'"
At this point, the night was starting to feel like a bad Misery reboot. Saadi was confessing his love for Whoo Kid left and right, desperately trying to get him to sample his cocaine.
"I had to literally make believe I took some coke so he would leave me the fuck alone."
Eventually Saadi disappeared to bury his nose in more powder with "somebody that used to work with Puff Daddy, but I can't say his name." Now Whoo Kid was finally alone, getting close with one of the many women in attendance. Saadi had offered Whoo Kid his room if he needed privacy, but that didn't feel right. "I didn't want to start fucking her in the bedroom. He's coked up, and I didn't want him to come in and start forcing himself on the girl or whatever."
Fighting the ancient battle between brain and penis, Whoo Kid improvised. He took his partner by the hand, and they sneaked into Saadi's closet. The two got down to business.
"He had like the biggest fucking closet on the planet," Whoo Kid remembers. And the floor was littered with shoes, from front to back. But their adult time was reaching an end, and Whoo Kid was about to do what the male body was designed to do. Only seconds remained until blastoff.
With his brain whirring, Whoo Kid did the first thing that popped into his head. He reached down to the floor.
"I didn't know where to come, so I came in, like, one of his shoes." [laughs]
We did warn you this was going to get weird.
"I came in the shoe that was all the way in the back, because it didn't look like he was gonna wear them any time soon," Whoo Kid says. "The chick is laughing and shit, and I was like, 'Let's just get out of here.'"
Whoo Kid doesn't know what became of that shoe or Al-Saadi Gaddafi. "Even to this day, I never investigated if he's still alive. I mean, rumor has it they killed everybody, but he was hiding in Europe for a long time."
When Libya fell and his father was murdered in the streets, Saadi fled to Niger in search of asylum. After three years on the run, in March 2014, he was extradited back to Libya, where he remains to this day facing a death penalty. Photos emerged shortly after he was taken into custody showing Saadi in a blue prison uniform while Libyan rebels shaved his head.
It was unclear what shoes he was wearing.
DJ Whoo Kid. 11 p.m. Friday, June 26, at Liv, 4441 Collins Ave, Miami Beach; 3056744680; livnightclub.com. Tickets cost $40 plus fees via flavorus.com.