DJ Yoshi Keeping busy is all that DJ Yoshi is about. Besides being the NJ Nets resident DJ, the 5*Star record pool, and his helpful newsletters, he also puts out a killer mixtape. Check out how one of Jerseys finest breaks down the politics for upcoming DJ’s.
Interview by Rob Schwartz
WHO?MAG: A lot of big things have been happening for you lately. How did you get involved with the NJ Nets? DJ Yoshi: My man DJ Quest & I were talking 1 day. I was like dawg, how hot would that be if I got up with the Nets and you got onto the Tampa Bay Bucs? We both said f*** it. We emailed the organizations. I literally just hopped off the plane in Cali when I got a call from Jennifer MacLure from the Nets. She said she was interested in my proposal. I had my 1st game as a trial run on New Year’s Eve of ’04 against the Warriors. I flew down to Miami before that to study my man DJ Irie who pioneered DJ’ing in a NBA arena. Irie was helpful. He gave me tips, told me the things that work. The NBA LOVES Irie, and from his voucher, I was able to land the gig. It’s constant work, but I love it. Shouts to all the NBA DJ’s out there
DJ Irie: Miami Heat
Supa Sam: Seattle Sonics
Paul Bunyon: Indiana Pacers
DJ Bedz: Denver Nuggets
Kid Jay: LA Lakers
And extra love to the ONLY NFL DJ: DJ Entice: Miami Dolphins
WHO?MAG: What can an upcoming DJ do to get themselves recognized? DJ Yoshi: Here are some KEY rules.
DO NOT undercut another DJ.
Create mixtapes and for the 1st few months, GIVE THEM OUT. Spend the money to work on your promotions. This is a business. Promote yourself, the craft, and know your worth. There’s a difference b/t charging what you’re worth and undercutting someone else just to get a hot gig. If you’re good, everyone will eventually hear it.
NETWORKING is key. Hit up industry events. Go to clubs. Hear what other people are doing. Listen to what’s working and what doesn’t work so you know what’s going to work for you when you’re on the set.
WHO?MAG: You frequently send out your 5*Star newsletter with all of your picks for R&B and hip-hop. Explain how you develop your contact list and how important it is for a DJ. DJ Yoshi: Networking is the industry. Your name and reputation holds the key to your future. The newsletter started out as just me sending out my charts to label reps. I sent it to a few A&R reps and then people started replying saying: can you add so and so to your list? Before I knew it, my list grew from 50 to 50,000. Now the list is at 8 million people, and the newsletter reaches: artists, artist management teams, actors, actresses, promo, A&R, executives, DJ’s, radio personalities, MD’s, PD’s, APD’s and the general public. It truly is a blessing to see that people respect my opinion in music and entertainment. It also helps that people these days started buying advertisement space. As for me developing contacts, I try to head out to every event possible. From awards shows to mixer events, concerts/showcases to meet & greets… my a** is on the phone trying to get tickets and passes weeks in advance. From there, I always bring a bag of at least 30 mixtapes and a bag full of business cards. I give them out to random people, and you never know who you’re going to meet. I could be walking up in Short Hills mall and I’ll see someone shopping. I don’t nag them, but I simply introduce who I am, give them a card or a mixtape and that’s it. From there it’s all reference. It’s a small industry so everyone knows each other. Like I said, your reputation is the key.
I remember my 1st major event that I went to. Al Lindstrom (formerly of RPM) invited me down to MPS. So I went by myself. I was all nervous since I was alone and I didn’t know who my roommate was. I said f*** it and it was seriously 1 of the best weekends that I’ve ever had. It turned out that I ended up knowing a handful of people, but made contacts and I still speak to every single person I met that weekend today.
WHO?MAG: What is a record pool and how does it work? What differentiates your record pool with others? DJ Yoshi: A record pool is a service that people receive a slated amount of vinyl/CD’s each month. From there we help DJ’s who don’t get serviced, but have a good exposure rate the material. We charge a relatively small amount of $ each month. We get feedback from the DJ’s to see how the songs are doing in their market. We pass that feedback back to the labels to help them decide what to do with the tracks. I would say the 5*Star Record Pool is different b/c we charge literally A SMALL amount of $ to be in it, and we hit the DJ’s off with everything from: Hip Hop, Club, R&B, Reggae and Reggaeton. Our pool is the 1st national pool to handle reggae.
WHO?MAG: Besides record pools, how else can an upcoming artist get there material out to DJ’s? DJ Yoshi: DIGGING AND SHOPPING. Even though I get serviced from the labels, I’m still out in the stores buying joints and digging for tracks. I spend about $100 a week on vinyl. And, with Ebay, it’s real easy to find something that you thought you couldn’t find.
For artists, MP3’ing is a really good way to break yourself. My man Stat quo MP3’d us to death with his sh**. He gained enough supporters, got a great manager, and now he’s signed to Shady/Aftermath. Purchasing mixshow accounts with promo companies is also another good way to create a buzz. You guys can also purchase ad space for your artist mixtapes in my weekly newsletter (shameless plug).