DJ Rondevu Being one of the most talked about mixtape DJ’s in the hip-hop game, DJ Rondevu has redirected the game into different levels. Not only is he the tour DJ for DAS EFX, he also was the one who put DJ mixtapes on the map. What’s it take to be a DJ? Find out first hand from Rondevu.
Interview by Rob Schwartz
WHO?MAG: How did you get into DJing? DJ RONDEVU: My father was a sax player in a band so music was always around me. I was fascinated by the records he always had and would always find myself playing around with the turntable as well as all the other musical instruments that were around.
WHO?MAG: What differentiates you for from other mixtape DJ’s? DJ RONDEVU: I can actually DJ!!! Most “mixtape djs” nowadays are guys with high speed internet connections, a CD burner, and the phone number of a good graphic designer. I take pride in putting out products that stand the test of time and sound as good, if not better, years later while these other guys CDs can be compared to white castle burgers. Something you consume quickly and sh*t it right out, never to think about again.
WHO?MAG: Tell me about Dangerous Minded 2 and how it changed the mixtape game? DJ RONDEVU: I don’t boast about it, but I was one of the pioneer djs of the street DVD game. I was one of the first mixtape djs to drop a DVD back in 2003 and the first to drop a DVD with an actual studio album that I produced most of the tracks on, not a filler CD, to accompany a DVD with DM pt 2. It was well received and even was highlighted in The Source. In a way it raised the stakes and let it be known that these types of projects can be done independently. Anyone who has checked it out looks at me as way more than a mixtape DJ and more as an actual artist/entertainer/entrepreneur.
WHO?MAG: What is the hardest part to becoming a mixtape DJ? DJ RONDEVU: Finding your lane. With the advances in technology anyone can be a mixtape DJ, but can they find an audience? That to me is the hardest part, finding your audience and then keeping them once u have them.
WHO?MAG: How does a mixtape DJ stand out from the crowd? DJ RONDEVU: For me it has been my remixing and production skills as well as networking and collaborating with artists on projects. If the only means you have to release a mixtape is to download some “exclusives” from box denor and message boards, you will have a short career.
WHO?MAG: What was your involvement with Das EFX? DJ RONDEVU: I met them in 99 through a mutual friend as a producer. They liked my beat CD and we hit it off from there. I did a few unreleased tracks with them and even put out a white label with them, Boot Camp Clik, Junior Mafia, and others around that time. One day I got a call asking what I was doing for the weekend and if wanted to go to Brazil and DJ a show for them. Since then, I have done hundreds of stage show with them around the world and rocked some legendary hip hop concerts. I also produced the title track and the intro to their last album.
WHO?MAG: Besides remixing hit songs exclusively for your CDs, you add your own songs that you produce as well. How do you get your clients? DJ RONDEVU: Sometimes I reach out to the artists and send them the tracks and we make the song for the CD. Other times, I have accapellas that I use with my own production.
WHO?MAG: In Dangerous Minded 2, you travel all over the world to different venues. What is the biggest difference you notice from hip-hop overseas verse the US? DJ RONDEVU: The biggest difference to me is respect for the forefathers of hip hop and love of true hip hop, not what is being pushed on the radio stations. Artists like Das Efx and such who are legends can still play to a packed house overseas where a high energy hip hop show is still appreciated, while in the US it is more trendy and people follow “what’s hot” or “what’s new” opposed to what “they love”. At one of my shows overseas, you can hear some classic hip hop as well as the new hot joints, but u might see some break dancing going on or a graffiti corner where there are places for writers and artists to tag. It is more about the “hip hop culture” overseas vs. rap music alone as it is nowadays in the states.
WHO?MAG: What’s next up for DJ Rondevu? DJ RONDEVU: I am looking to produce more and land some placements on some major albums. I will continue to do shows and parties across the globe. I may not drop as many mixtapes as I have in the past, but the ones that I will drop will be nothing but heavyweight work. I also plan to maybe do some TV and possibly some acting as well as continue to release my DVDs and try to get them placed on TV. I also plan to do some things outside of music such as real estate and franchising. I’m trying to do it big!