2015 marks 20 years for me in the art of DJing. Ever since 1995 I’ve dedicated countless hours, days, nights, weekends, holidays, and $$$ to the craft. Starting out with a used set of Gemini turntables I dreamed of having the Tech 12’s. Soon outgrowing the Gemini’s, I got a set of Technic 1200’s from Armand’s Records on Filbert Street for $850 CASH. Armand almost said nah but I had cash in hand and walked with the set. It was an unforgettable feeling opening those boxes, placing the Ortofon needles on some wax, and feeling the stability and quality of the 1200. I was setup in the upstairs attic/bedroom and stayed there daily and nightly listening to radio DJ’s, mixtapes, and other inspiration while practicing to try and sound like that. I wanted my blends to be precise, my cuts to be clean, and I wanted to learn it all. DJ’s like Ran, Jazzy Jeff, Cosmic Kev, Jay Ski, Stretch & Bobbito, Revolution, The X-Ecutioners, and Premier were just a few that I always studied. It wasn’t until 1999 when I moved to Philly that I realized how many dope DJ’s there were and how much more there was to learn. I immediately got a job at Armand’s Records (Chestnut St) while going to college. They had just moved stores from Filbert St. to Chestnut St. and I worked after class on most afternoons and weekends. Kenny Meez and Joey Blanco were the two guys in charge of most record buying and managing the floor. I was sorta nervous but eager to work. I was treated good and they all definitely welcomed me into the Armand’s fam. I had seen Meez play years prior at a house party somewhere in South Philly and was familiar with the blends and records he released. It was real cool talking to him and learning more about Philly, hip hop culture, reggae culture, graffiti and the music/DJ business in general. My record collection and range of music quickly grew. I knew when records were coming in and I knew when records were being cutout. I began buying a ton of 7″ reggae/dancehall records and original sample records as well as backpack hiphop, and new joints. The anticipation around the release of an album or 12″ was so much bigger and better back then. I think it made people appreciate the music and album more. Especially when you had to pay $5 or more for every 12″ single and most of the time you needed two copies! I really got better with my mixing and blends hearing more DJ’s in the big city. My transitions got sharper mixing the reggae 7″ records which were usually 2, 4 or 8 bar intros or a drum roll in.
Sometime in 1999 Meez approached me to be resident for a new party called “Definite” on Fridays at Eden Roc (15th & South). I was like uhhh yeah but wasn’t sure if I had what it took to be in that spot. Outside after work on that first Friday Meez jokingly but kind of seriously said “see ya tonight, don’t fuck up.” Classic! And I knew it was spot on. Philly has great DJ’s and people are accustomed to hearing that dope sound at a party. I had to show up and continue to get better. The party was awesome and I quickly learned which records worked, how they worked, and when to play them. It really broadened my horizons. That 3 or 4 year residency opened doors for other nights, a few fill in gigs for Philly great Sat-One at Grape Street Pub and eventually residencies at Glam, Shampoo, The 5 Spot, Transit and so on. I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for Meez and the experiences I had in Philly!
So fast forward to 2015 and I’m still here learning, searching for new and old music, practicing scratches, incorporating new technology, and being professional about my career. I still buy records and it’s my preferred choice for listening to music. I thought LunchBox 50 should be something special so I broke out a slew of wax and did several hip hop/reggae blends throughout the mix. All the music, 12″, and LP’s are from 1995. Many of the tracks are what I was really into at the time and this is not a “best of” 1995. I also asked my good friend Kenny Meez to take part and do the second half of the mix with dancehall/hip hop/reggae reminiscent of our Definite mixtape from 2000-2001.
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