Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Kansas City to DJ Jazzy Jeff: "Do Not Play Hip Hop"

Interesting story coming out of Kansas City. Apparently legendary DJ Jazzy Jeff was booked to DJ at a venue...but they didn't want him to play any Hip Hop. So they booted him Uncle Phil style...

Here are the details according to URB.com:

On Saturday, June 6th, DJ Z-Trip performed at the Power & Light District in Kansas City, followed by DJ Jazzy Jeff, then MSTRKRFT. That evening, Jeff’s set was unexpectedly cut short by the venue. While speculation continues as to the reasoning behind this action, Z-Trip was present at the time of the debated incident.
While soundchecking, Z-Trip was asked by certain venue employees to “not play any rap music.” As one of the founders of the mash-up movement, hip-hop is heavily prevalent in Z’s repertoire. He proceeded with his set as planned, playing ODB and Pharoahe Monch.
Z-Trip watched Jazzy Jeff go on immediately following, joined by his MC, Skillz, playing a set full of Top 40 Hip-hop which included Jay-Z, Rihanna, Neyo, and TI. Mid set, Z-Trip, while standing on stage, witnessed Jeff's tour manager relay the complaints the venue had about the music he was playing. “I was really surprised the venue were upset by Jeff's set. This is Jazzy Jeff we're talking about, the guy who won the first Rap Grammy,” offers Z-Trip.
The entire venue watched Jeff leave the stage early. Once back stage, he was informed that lewd conduct by Skillz was the reason for his set being cut short. Soon after, a different reason was offered: Jeff was pushing the mix too far for their $50k audio system to handle.
"They had a team of sound engineers in front of the stage who controlled the master volume of the whole venue,” says Z-Trip. “No matter how loud a DJ plays, the person in front of the stage controls the show. So how can you blame it on sound levels – especially since this was the third explanation given.”


Update: DJ Z-Trip--who performed before Jazzy Jeff in KC--was told not to play hip-hop. His manager tell us: "ZTRIP was told not to play rap at soundcheck. he did anyway. his set was b4 Jeff. no issues."

Of course, this could be read as proof that the issue was sound levels if Z-Trip played at a lower volume. Or it could mean that the venue targeted the African-American DJ, or the fact that JEff had an MC onstage with him. More fuel for the firs for sure.


The venue, The Kansas City Power & Light District, tells a completely different story, that the show was shut off due to sound levels and Jeff's management refusing to turn it down. Add a history of anti-hip-hop accusations against the venue, plus the fact that the whole thing was meant to be a branding event for Bacardi, and you have the perfect recipe for a shitstorm.

As anyone who has ever worked at a club can tell you, things get pretty confusing stuff like this goes down in a loud venue where folks have been drinking. A game of telephone can easily commence between the management of a venue, the management of the artist and the final message that gets to the DJ. So it's probably safe to assume the truth falls somewhere in the middle.


Needless to say, Jeff was pissed. So he took it to the Tweets!

Either way, its silly as hell to book DJ's and tell them ish like "no Hip Hop" or "not to loud." If that's what you want, bring your own damn radio and just put it on the Top 40 station. Why book DJ's only to tell them what they can't do. Reminds me of when I used to DJ in college and the police and other school officials used to be like "don't play 'Hit A Muthafucka'" but yet everyone on the dancefloor wants it. Whatever man!

Where's Wil when you need him, maybe he coulda worked some of his newfound hocus pocus on the promoters to get them to stop tripping.


Ain HD said...

Wow. We're censoring DJs now at live events...


Bayan The One said...

yeah we need a crackdown on hip hop, so it becomes suppressed and in trying to survive revives itself and gets resurrected and reinvented