A Day With DJ Set-Free

DJ Set-Free is a well-known name in New York hip-hop. He was born in NYC but moved to Philadelphia at a young age. For most of his life he traveled back and forth learning to be a DJ under Prince Paul. He went on to work with AND1 Basketball where he created the AND1 mixtape series. After doing that for some time he decided it was time to venture onto a new journey in life so he went to work at Universal Records doing marketing for a few years.

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Once day he had the realization that he didn’t want to work for people anymore. Instead he wanted to be his own boss, which is exactly what he did. Since that day his company has worked with a variety of brands from EA Sports, Serato, Mitchell & Ness, to Activision and others. He has also worked with artists ranging from Mos Def and Swizz Beatz to The Underachievers.

In 2008 Set-Free had another yearning to do something that would be a creative art studio for people to come to come and work in a place where they could all be inspired by each other. The Compound was originally started in Philadelphia but soon moved to The Bronx. Ever since it got here it has only been getting bigger and better.


Before starting it Set-Free noticed that creative people were boxing themselves into specific spaces. He saw that if you went to a music studio you would never see a graphic designer working in there. Similarly, if you went into a nice photography studio there would never be a producer in there making music. The Compound came about because he wanted a place where everybody could feed off the collective creative juices flowing in the room to help make the best possible products. Because he is a big fan of art and toys he thought there was no better backdrop than that for the space.

As of now, The Compound doesn’t have any corporate partnerships backing it up. It is just Set-Free and his team, who has helped make the space so successful. When asked about the future, Set-Free is quiet on details. He did say that The Compound will be expanding, and that over the next five years it will be a huge creative force in the hip hop world. He really feels places like this are needed, and that people are just tired of being in old white walled office setting.

When it comes to his inspiration Set-Free is encouraged by creative energy and creative people. He realizes that God has blessed him with the vision to create The Compound, and he believes it is his job to keep expanding on this journey of building one of the best places on earth to work.