DJ Rasta Root

Age: 29
Affiliations: Smokin' Needles Records, Beatz & Lyrics w/ Jay Force, The Bomb 88.5 FM. Tour DJ for Phife Dawg
Contact: rastaroot@smokinneedles.com; www.smokinneedles.com; 1-888-508-4975; 404-982-5466.
Spin schedule: Alternating Saturdays on 89.3 FM with Jay Force (Sat. 9-12 a.m.). Club Loud held monthly around the city. On rotation @ 88.5 FM on The Bomb(Sat. 9-12 a.m.).
Upcoming special events: Ongoing tour with Phife Dawg (North America, Europe, and Japan). Resurrection MC battle.
How long have you been in Atlanta? I have been living in Atlanta since '97. So that would be three years.
What genre do you usually spin? I am a hip hop head, so I would say rap.
What's your current top five?
1. "Calm Down" - MOP
2. "Miscellaneous" (Remix) - Phife Dawg
3. "Redbull" - Wu-tang feat. Redman
4. "HNIC" - Prodigy
5. "The Blast" - Talib & Hi-Tek
What's your all-time top five?
1. "So what Ya sayin" - EPMD
2. "Love is Stronger than Pride" (Smokin' Remix) - Sade
3. "Up Against the Wall" - Group Home
4. "Static" - Jeru
5. "Winter Wars" - Wu-tang
Who are some of your major influences as a DJ? Why?
Definitely DJ Premier 'cause his balance as a producer and a DJ is dope. Definitely the old school house DJs (Junior Vasquez, Franky Knuckles, Kenny Dope). Listening to there mixes is like listening to one long track. When people here the new song coming in, they are not sure if it is a new one, or their ears playing trick on them. I try to emulate that aspect of DJing into my stuff.
What artists do you most admire? Why?
Definitely Redman. He is an ill MC. He has also stayed true to his music and made listeners appreciate him for who he is. I also think that loyalty is key to success in the music industry, and he is a good example of that. I also admire artists like Jay-Z, Master P, Puffy and any other person making the music work for them. I may not admire their musical choices or topics, but I can't front on a good business man/woman.
What qualities do you think make for a successful DJ?
First, I think that as long as you are being innovative and creative you will be successful. Also a good balance is key. If you listen to my style, you can hear elements of turntablism, but you can also hear elements of a good mix. Combine that with a good selection of music and I believe that success will come your way. My goal is for people to listen to my stuff and be able to see what I am doing and hear how I am contorting the music and presenting it to them a different way every time. Tweaking the mixes so that it almost sounds impossible to do live. That is success to me. And of course, a tight circle of DJs who will help you grow and tell you when you mess up.
I believe that exposing as many people as possible to your style is key. For example, when I do shows with Phife. I always spin for a few minutes before he gets on. This is my time to show people my style and where I am at. I figure if I can inspire that one kid to pick up DJing or that DJ to push himself harder, then I am successful. If money comes along with all that, then I am successful. I am happy that I have a regular job, so that DJing can be something I do cause I love it — no pressure.
Do you have any pet peeves as a DJ?
I guess my only pet peeve is the DJs that only practice one thing over and over. The DJs who watch tapes and copy what they hear or see. I think there is more to it than that. Maybe if they want to copy, they should copy that DJs drive and commitment to the art. For example, I met this DJ who could scratch real well, almost flawless, but when it came to selection and mixing he was pretty bad. So I guess balance plays a big part for me.
What do you like about the Atlanta scene?
I like the Atlanta scene because it is still relatively young, and as a DJ or artist coming up, you have a lot of opportunities to make a name for yourself. I prime example of this is a group called Vintage Imperial. I won't say anything else about them, but hard work and determination pays off. I respect that about them. Just looking at when I first got to Atlanta, not knowing anyone, to where I am today. I would like to take this time to thank everyone who has looked out for me from day one. From promo records to doing shows around the city.
What do you think the DJ/Atlanta scene needs?
I think the DJ scene in Atlanta needs more of us putting out mix tapes consistently and trying to get distribution nationwide or even internationally. I think if each established DJ would take one or two upcoming djs under their wing, it would make their transition into the spotlight easier, and we would have a better DJ core.
Where do you see the Atlanta scene headed?
I see a lot of light coming back to Atlanta from artists that are doing things outside of Atlanta. People like Binkis, Mass Influence, Mark Spect, The Hemisphere, Micronauts, and DJ Klever are doin' it. Since I have been touring with Phife, I notice that when people find out I live in Atlanta they become interested in the scene. They are finding out that we have ill DJs and MCs. With mix shows like Beatz & Lyrics and The Bomb, we are educating and feeding those who love hip hop and those who want learn about it. For example, Jay Force, my partner from The Beatz & Lyrics Show, and I send out CD copies of our show to labels, friends and radio personalities, and the response is incredible. They now know what a tight mix show sounds like, and that you can find it in the "Dirty South".
Also watch out for The Beatz & Lyrics show coming to a city near you...it's real. Log on to www.smokinneedles.com for all DJ Rasta Root info.
Shouts: Jay Force, Prince Jamal, DJ Fudge, Xro, Earwax, Hit Disc, More Dusty, Tapemasters, Fat Beats, The Committee, Pam Waller, Khalfani, Jayise, Big Greg, Marlon, Jerry Clark, Phife, Bruce Wayne, Randall Moore, WWC, Extreme, Big Rock, Mr. Ruckus, Scott, Noble, Boom Beezy, Major League MCs, Prophetix, Vintage Imperial, Drama, Klever, Presto, 7blow, Exit, Kumar, Mafioso, Reality, Jay-Sun, Detail, and anyone I couldn't remember but didn't forget.