|By William Hernandez
This is interview was done during Winter Music Conference here in Miami in late March 2007. Rest in Peace DJ Roc Raida.
WHO?MAG: What have you been doing recently?
Roc Raida: I’ve just been doing a lot of traveling. I was in China for a month and a half, just traveling. I’ve been behind the scenes for a little for the last year or so. We have the Gong battle going on. We did Miami today, we’re doing Baltimore April 5th, New York April 12th, LA April 27th. I’m just trying to give back to the community where I came from.
WHO?MAG: Talk about these Gong DJ battles you’ve been organizing?
Roc Raida: The Gong DJ battle is my way to give back to the turntablist industry that I come from. What we kind of did was combine the gong show and DJ battle. Basically if you get up there and you’re wack you get gonged, if you’re good you go on the finals to be what we call “ungongable”.
WHO?MAG: What other things are you doing?
Roc Raida: I’ve been doing a lot of stuff. I’m finishing up my album, a lot of comedy stuff Prince Paul and I are doing. We’re doing a comedy DVD later this year. Mainly just traveling and finishing up my album.
WHO?MAG: Talk about the album?
Roc Raida: Features Xcutioners, Preemo [DJ Premier], Pete Rock, and a bunch of real hip hop dudes. I’m just trying to give back to where I came from. Of course I have the elements of what we do, like with the scratching, beat juggling, and everything. My production is mixture of half production, half scratch, and half vocals. I’m just trying to rep what I do and bring it to the mainstream, not have it so far over their head that they can’t appreciate it. I’m just trying to ride that fine line of hip hop and turntablism.
WHO?MAG: What are your thoughts on DJ programs such as Serato, Final Scratch, etc?
Roc Raida: It has its pros and cons. I use Serato. I use Final Scratch. The upside to that, if you ever see me I’m a short dude. I can’t carry cases of records through the airport. This is what I use to travel and I basically do my set. At the end of the day Serato or Final Scratch doesn’t make you a better DJ. If you’re wack you’re wack. If you’re good you’re good. It is what it is. Using a computer doesn’t make you a better DJ.
WHO?MAG: Talk about the DVD you’re doing with Prince Paul?
Roc Raida: We’re doing a comedy DVD. It’s me, Prince Paul, Lord Sear, Mr. Dead. Picture American idol/junior high school gym that’s what it’s going to be. We’re looking for the next super group.
WHO?MAG: Do you practice new routines?
Roc Raida: DJing, turntablism will always be a part of me. I’m always practicing, doing production and stuff. If I’m not busy I’m fucking depressed basically, and I’m never depressed. I’m always practicing, doing beats, trying to figure out how to take it to the next level. It’s not a hobby for me, it’s a way of life. Whether I was making money from it or whether I lived on it or not I’d still be doing this. Hip hop and turntablism will always be a part of me. I’m always practicing and always doing something.
WHO?MAG: Any final words?
Roc Raida: Just check out my album later this year and check out the Gong Battles. We got the Gong Battle DVD out right now. Just check for it. Check out my myspace pg http://www.myspace.com/rocraida