Thursday, September 20, 2012


It would be an understatement to say that interviewing my long time friend, mentor and resident Hip Hop historian was an honor, but it indeed was.  I've been looking forward to sitting down, choppin' it up, and bringing forth a discussion for all the world to see.  Here is the first part of an interview conducted with DJ Awethentic, one of the dopest DJ's I've ever come into contact with, who also happens to be a member of our Gray Matter crew.  Call it Hip Hop nepotism, but I still wanted to bring an unbiased account into full view of what it is like to be such a talented individual and still not be heard by the masses.  Hopefully that will change, but if it doesn't, so be it.  It's all about the love, and if the accolades come, cool.  If not, EVEN COOLER! 


Discuss your direction that you are taking with Hip Hop/DJing in 2012 and beyond.

For starters, I'm just trying to keep the artform of turntablism alive. I try to introduce young aspiring DJs to the artform of it whenever possible because it's dying. Cats swear they're doing something on the tables until I show them videos of the greats like Roc Raida, Total Eclipse, Craze and A-Trak to name a few. Then I'm like "yeah, that's what it's all about young fella...battling". Secondly, Hip Hop in my opinion is so one-sided right now. Southern Rap, or whatever you want to call it, is so dominant right now that even East Coast emcees have changed their styles to fit in. I like a lot of stuff out there and as a club DJ I have to stay in tune with all of it and remain unbiased. It's hard though (lol), I'm East Coast to the core. So, what I try to do is infuse some of my "East Coastness" in when I spin. I'll mix a down south joint w/ a hot East Coast beat and it usually goes over well in the club. I guess I'm trying to make the hip hop audience more well rounded and diverse. They way I see it there's room for everyone.

What sparked your passion with getting reacquainted with DJ culture?

There was a fire burning inside me man. I really missed spinning and I got tired of seeing garbage ass DJs getting money, when I could be getting paid too. The love of good music and mixing it never died, even though I was out of the game for a minute. Plus when I got on my man Polo's set it was like the skills really didn't diminish at all, so I said what the hell and bought my own equipment. DJing is my sanctuary, and it's proven to be my roadmap to get to where I want to be financially as well.

Name 5 Hip Hop/DJ influences.

Oooohhh, I'm so glad you asked this one (lol). Too bad I can only name 5, because so many have influenced me.

DJ Premier, DJ Jazzy Jeff, KRS-One, J Dilla, Frankie Parran aka DJ Frank Cola, Common and The Roots.

Okay so I named seven...shoot me!!

Describe how Hip Hop has molded Awethentic.

Hip Hop made me the DJ I am today. It drives me to become better at my craft and has given me an undying love for music as a whole. Hip Hop is a culture man; maybe the most influencing culture ever known, possibly surpassing the Rock genre. Hip Hop is everywhere now. Maybe because I've been there since its inception and have seen it grow from nothing into the behemoth it is today is why I have such an affinity for hip hop. I still remember the first time I heard classic joints like "Eric B for President", or Illmatic, or "I Used to Love H.E.R.", or Spoonie Gee, or T La Rock's "It's Yours". I remember seeing Jazzy Jeff live in B-More (before anyone really knew who he was); absolutely destroying Peter Piper during his solo, and thinking to myself "damn I need to practice." Those types of moments made DJ Awethentic.

Who is Awethentic?

Awethentic is a DJ committed to keeping hip hop alive & rocking crowds in ways no one else can...PERIOD. I'll be bumping hip hop 'til the day I die.

If there were aspects of Hip Hop you would or could change, what would those be?

Quite simply, I would like to see a resurgence of good East Coast hip hop. There's a lot of nice cats out there that people ain't trying to hear and I don't understand it. If you got some substance to your lyrics cats ain't checking for you. No knock against what's hot right now, I'm feeling a lot of that too; but come on y'all...can we get a little diversity? Also, I would make sure Little Brother reunited 'cause they're dope! LOL

How has Awethentic changed since your introduction to Hip Hop?

Hip Hop made me that wide eyed little kid & still does to this day. I can't really say it changed Awethentic, but it MADE Awethentic. I always loved music as a youngster. I guess you could say hip hop brought out my creative side.

Name one DJ that you would love to spin with in the club or collaborate with in the studio.

I would love to spin with Jazzy Jeff man; that cat is like my idol 'cause we're both old (lol) and versatile in the way we spin joints. I would love a studio session w/ 9th too though. Dude is the truth!!

Is there the possibility of Gray Matter recording an actual album?

For sho'!! As long as there's breath in my lungs and I don't have arthritis in my hands it's possible. Gray Matter for life yo! I got 'dem

Discuss the dynamics of being in a group that has not realized its potential.

Well, at times it's a little disheartening; especially knowing the talent that lies within all of us. My life's dream has been to be a performer of sorts and I guess I'm kind of living that out to some degree now since I'm DJing in clubs. But, I wanted it for us man...we brought a different aspect or perspective to the game. I also know everything happens for a reason and we're channeling our energy in different ways now. I feel good about what I'm doing at this point in life. Looking back at the incredible grind we would've had to go through to be successful in the rap game vs. being there raising our families; I wouldn't trade it. Rap fans are so trendy and fickle man, I would've been pissed if we went unnoticed and unappreciated after putting in all that work.

How do you feel about today's Hip Hop climate?'s alright. As I said before, there's not enough diversity in it right now. Or should I say the diversity doesn't show, because media doesn't expose us to the entirety of dopeness that's out there. Everybody's beats sound alike, everybody rhyming the same. What's up with the stuffy nose sound? Change your flows up.
Because we have SO MUCH MORE to discuss, we will follow-up with a continued, more in-depth interview with DJ Awethentic.  Hopefully the next round of discussion will be audio/video in the same location.  Until then, peace to all of the WISDOM SEEKER followers in the blogosphere!


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