DJ Quiz Jumps “In the Mix” (Exclusive Interview)
DJBooth just unleashed a special year-end edition of our Best of the Booth mixtape series - thanks to everyone who made Vol. 5 such an enormous success, - and this time around we have the honor of working with DJ Quiz, the executive director of Real Late With Peter Rosenberg on New York City's Hot 97 and much more.
Now that Best of the Booth Vol. 6 has become the greatest invention since the internet (yeah, it's that dope) we thought we'd take a step back and get to know the man behind the boards. In addition to numerous DJ gigs, Quiz is an executive producer at New York City's legendary radio station Hot 97, a founder and co-host along side DJ Enuff on AListRadio.net, the creator of the Quiz Knows interview series and much more.
You grew up in the South Bronx, a place with an extraordinary hip-hop history. How did the Bronx and that history shape your career?
I think growing up in The Bronx was a blessing for my career. The Hip-Hop culture caught me at an early age, I think I was 7-years-old is when I started to listen to rap music. (At least that's what I can remember LOL.) I guess it was being a part and witnessing the culture first hand made me realize how important this was to me. I thought rap music was so fresh when I was a kid. I couldn't stop listening. It was the usual things, like people breaking in front of my apartment building on cardboard boxes, that was so dope. It wasn't till I started DJing in 1992 that I really dug in and started finding/collecting records. Doing research and learning where it all came from at an early age was the greatest thing for my career.
Both as a DJ and as a music lover, what are some of your biggest influences and musical heroes?
I think Rob Base It Takes Two was probably the first rap song that caught my ears. Kool G Rap is one of my favorites, but the west coast movement stood out the most for me because the NWA was on fire! The early 90's movement was the most influential for me. Wu-Tang, Group Home, Black Moon, DJ Premiere - Gang Starr, Pete Rock CL Smooth, Snoop Dogg and Dre, I mean there's so many the lists goes on and on. As for musical heroes (man that's a tough one), Biz Markie, Jay-Z, Snoop & Dre, Wu-Tang, Kool G Rap, RUN DMC. It's really some of the same names and much more.
In addition to your DJing you're a radio host, an interviewer, and much more. For you, what separates a professional DJ from an amateur?
The thing that separates a pro from an amateur is the level of seriousness a DJ brings. It's just going through all the chapters of this art, and at the same time this art is huge! If a person wants to pursue radio, there's a whole bunch of steps to get to that high plateau in that field. Same thing goes if you want to be a turntablelist.
What records are out there right now that DJs have to include in their sets?
For the commercial part its the usual suspect: Kanye, Em, Drake, Wayne, Nicki etc. But I got favorites like Blu, Skyzoo, J. Cole, Big Sean, Torae, 88 Keys, Slum, Yelawolf, Wiz Khalifa, Black Milk. I can go on for days! I normally keep my ears out for the new blood or the ones that aren't mentioned on commerical radio.
Last words? Shout outs? Confessions?
Just want to thank you DJBooth.net for considering me for this opportunity. I'm truly honored to have you support my career. Quiz Knows is a movement! Shouts to Thatsenuff.com, AlistRadio.net. Much respect to everyone who believes in me especially DJ Enuff, Peter Rosenberg, June Biz, Los, DJ Big Ben, FWMJ, Global Vito, my family, my girl Christina and everyone that I did not mentioned because this list will be the pages long...and F**k Y'all Hatin Ass Muthaf**kas!