Thank God for the legendary Father of Hip-Hop DJ Kool Herc. Before
any observer felt and bore witness to the emcee move the crowd (Mic),
there was the DJ! RUN-DMC holds the title for having broken down
boundaries in mainstream music, setting numerous trends through
Hip-Hop. But none of that could’ve happened or been possible without
the sounds and the assistance of the DJ! “Then take a count
1-2-3….JAM MASTER-JAY…RUN-DMC!!!” I recently chopped it up with
SHADE45 DJ Wonder to talk about his craft/profession and get his
insight…behind the machine…
1. The moment in your life that triggered the motivation for you to
become DJ Wonder was when…
I was 10 years old taking classes at Del Tech Community College during
the summer – one of the classes was DJing – since then I’ve been into
it heavy. In high school I set up the old turntables and mixer that
were just sitting around and used to practice every day in AV class.
Later I started doing the home basketball games. I actually became
“DJ Wonder” when I was at Hot97. Before then I was known as “DJ
Delawhere” (haha) – until Miguel Candalaria and Reggie Hawkins
christened me Wonder (as in Wonder Bread because there weren’t many
white people at the station at that time).
2. SIRIUS XM-SHADE45 radio is obviously a tremendous international
media platform to launch your brand with on the DJ level. New York is
the #1 radio market. Why not HOT97 or Power 105.1 or WBLS?
I started my career as an intern at Hot 97, later working with all the
morning shows like Star and Bucwild, Miss Jones, Sway, Joe Budden,
etc. It was fun and definitely a learning experience. Sirius XM
gives me a lot more freedom to play whatever I want, uncensored.
Also, I play for all of the U.S. so I can get into the different
regions of music, not just what NY wants to hear.
3. You’ve had the pleasure of working with two great morning show
hosts (Angela Yee) and now MTV and radio legend Sway. Describe the
experience with both in a few words.
Angela Yee is the hardest working person I know. She was also a
natural on the mic from the very beginning. It was a pleasure working
with her from her first day (she had never done radio before) to
seeing where she’s at today. Sway really is a legend. You learn from
him every day. He’s also a team player allowing everyone to shine.
It’s been great working with both of them.
4. Do you have a certain amount of freedom to play the records you
like or does the program director set up your playlists?
We have a small list of records that are played throughout the hour,
based on research of what listeners want to hear. Besides those, I
can fill in the rest of the songs with pretty much whatever i want.
It’s a crazy feeling – like if I’m listening to a random old
Gravediggaz track on the way to work, I can decide to throw that in
the mix, which is pretty much unheard of on other mixshows.
5. In your own personal opinion, what do we most need to see more of
in Hip-Hop and why?
We need more originality. I’m bored with a lot of the stuff that
comes out, so when an artist tries to do something different it makes
me want to play their records. Whether it’s beat selection or
showmanship, anything that sets new artists apart from the rest will
help them stand out to me. DO NOT JUST STAND THERE AND RAP AT YOUR
LIVE SHOWS. Wear a damn pumpkin mask or something and have some girls
6. Being a DJ in NY on a station that serves not only NYC, but the
entire U.S and overseas how do you maintain a healthy balance of music
everyone can get into?
No matter what region of music I’m playing – I have to feel it. Even
if something is popping off crazy in Houston right now, I have to like
the song, whether from its production value or media hype. I like
getting into sets from different areas because it allows you to have
some variation from day to day (I mix 5 days a week) and it also shows
that I can play anywhere (BOOK ME SON!)
7. What does DJ Wonder have going on currently?
I’m all about more music production for 2012. I’m currently working
on an E.P. for an early Spring release. Also I have a group
AnimalStatus (www.animalstatustv.com). We focus more on dance music
production. Also you can catch me every Mon-Fri at 9:30AM E.S.T. on
Sway In The Morning – Shade45 – Sirius XM. I guarantee you’ll never
hear the selection of songs I’m putting together every day on any
Follow me fool – @djwonder
Derryck “Nes” Johnson