Last night [Monday, November 30] Hip-Hop heads, friends and family gathered at MIST in Harlem to celebrate the hard work of writer and director Derrick Pridgen in advance of his new documentary, Give It Up For The DJ.
Conversations buzzed throughout the night about DJ culture, including the impact DJs have within the music industry and how their recognition is overdue, especially in regards to the many intricate roles that come with standing behind two turntables.
“To see where the DJ is at now is remarkable,” DJ Kid Capri said at the event. “For so many years the DJ had the door shut in their face, so this is a celebration of sorts.”
From being the pulse of the party to helping dictate the direction of popular music, some of the business’s most respected and recognized DJs, music executives and historians are featured in the film, including Kid Capri, Afrika Bambaataa, DJ Jazzy Jeff, DJ Jazzy Joyce, The World Famous Brucie B, DJ SNS and DJ Irie.
Conversations surrounding DJ culture, within Hip-Hop and the multifaceted music industry, are ones that can continue for days on end. Pridgen pieced together the documentary exceptionally, with many diverse topics being explored within the 90-minute film.
“Music helps you do a lot of things,” says Jazzy Joyce. “When you listen to a certain song, you remember certain things. The first song we all learn is the ABC’s, so you tell me how important music is.”
Four years in the making, Give It Up For The DJ shows the variety of life that comes with being a DJ and takes the audience across the globe, with tour footage from Stateside to Japan, Europe and beyond. From discussing music scenes in Philadelphia, LA, Miami, Chicago and New York, to reminiscing about lugging 12 milk crates packed full of vinyl, to DJing a simple BBQ with friends and family, the film has a sincere, raw and uncut quality to it with humor, honesty, and respect.
It also explores the less glamorous side of the craft, focusing on what a crowd doesn’t see and how much work a DJ has to put in to make a wave.
“When you’re a DJ, 15 people will help you bring your equipment into the club, but 0 will help you leave,” laughs new Love & Hip Hop: New York star DJ Self.
Calling all the DJs at Mist on stage for a photo following the screening proved that once and for all, it’s all love for this special element of Hip-Hop. Give It Up For The DJ was directed and written by Derrick Pridgen, produced by John Gilstrap and co-produced by Aqil Davidson and Gingi Rochelle.