Published in The Pulse of The Twin Cities
DJ Chuck Chizzle can be called a "Prince" if we were to classify him under the banner of local hip-hop royalty. Two Kings in the local hip-hop game groomed him since he was a kid. He is the son of old school disc jockey DJ Chuck Chill Out, and a true Twin Cities hip-hop pioneer, Travis "Travitron" Lee, mentored him.
DJ Chuck Chizzle hosted Friday Night Live on KMOJ for two years before settling in with the Beatmasters on B96. But don't get it confused, his roots are underground and his DJ crates are stacked with street hip-hop you won't hear on B96 or even at your local Best Buy store.
Kandis: When did you start DJ-ing? Who taught you?
DJ Chuck Chizzle: I started back in 1993. Travitron and my dad used to DJ together back in the days and I used to bother everyone to teach me how and finally Travitron told me he'd teach me but I had to get my own mixer. Six months later I was DJ-ing at an old club called The Industry.
Kandis: Your show is still on the air on KMOJ right?
DJ Chuck Chizzle: Yes, Del Dilla is still doing the show, I still have my finger in the show as far as music goes, I still am in the studio with him from time to time kicking back.
Kandis: What type of equipment do you use?
DJ Chuck Chizzle: Standard Technic 1200, Vestax Mixer, Digital Eight Track, MPC 2000, anything I can get my hands on.
Kandis: How do you feel about the new CD turntables?
DJ Chuck Chizzle: I have mixed feelings, it is a good thing because no one is trying to pay a DJ what they are worth nowadays and it is hard carrying 500 pounds of records.
Kandis: Is there a difference between radio, party, mix and scratch DJs?
DJ Chuck Chizzle: There is a very big difference. Radio DJs play cuts just whatever is a hit. A scratch DJ is a form of a battle DJ. Scratch DJs are off into the break records, they are trying to make the beat with the record versus just spinning records. I think what is really missing from the game is that nowadays you are either a battle DJ or you are a mix DJ.
Back in the day you had to be able to do both. DJs didn't only rock the club, they had an emcee they DJed for, so they would do shows together. Somewhere in the show the emcee would step aside and let the DJ do his thing for like five minutes. Nowadays there are just club DJs and battle DJs. I think the two should merge again we are really missing it.
Kandis: How do you classify yourself?
DJ Chuck Chizzle: I grew up as a party DJ but I was always fascinated with battles because it is amazing what you can do with just two records. Listening to DJ Jazzy Jeff do his thing or to go to a concert and see the DJ do his thing like DJ Evil E when he came here with Ice T.
Kandis: How do you stay on top of new music and new trends in music?
DJ Chuck Chizzle: The streets set the trends so I keep my ear to the streets. If you are a part of that lifestyle you will never fall behind. Some people watch BET or MTV uncut late at night or surf the web for new music or meet people from different parts of the country who bring new flavor up here. It is not the radio that decides the hits, it is the people who decide the hits. Once a song gets on the radio it is done.
Kandis: Who is your favorite DJ of all time, why?
DJ Chuck Chizzle: I got to say all of the DJs who came before me. My dad, Chuck Chill Out is one of the best. I grew up listening to Travitron, Disco T, Mike Mack, DJ Jules, The Wizard, Ray Seville. I used to listen to the Hip-Hop Count Down Report, Rap Radio with Mike Mack, Brother Jules and The Black Out, Derrick Delite and Wizard, Travitron and the Hip-Hop Shop. There used to be hometown hip-hop showcases at The Capri Theater before local hip-hop got downsized. I have been a student of the game for a long, long, long time. Just to have my name mentioned among the greats is mind blowing.
Kandis: How do you read a crowd?
DJ Chuck Chizzle: You hit them with fillers until the crowd gets their "buzz on," then you hit them with the hard cuts. I start the night out with B side songs and as the night heats up you hit them with the songs they know.
Kandis: What is your advice for upcoming DJs who are finding it hard to get some respect out here?
DJ Chuck Chizzle: Don't stop. Get out here and pound the concrete, be where things happen.
Kandis: Do you get a lot of local emcees still give you their music? What is the quality of the submissions like?
DJ Chuck Chizzle: Yes, some are really good and some I listen to and I am like "OK I don't think this guy put his best foot forward," but I listen to everybody. If it is hot it is hot.
Kandis: How can local emcees get their music played on the radio?
DJ Chuck Chizzle: There is a segment every Friday on KMOJ called “Get Down with The Hometown.” All we ask is you put your best foot forward. Just drop it off at the radio station for Del Dilla. There is also a segment on B96 featuring local music.
Kandis: For those DJs and emcees who want to get in touch with you?
DJ Chuck Chizzle: They can e-mail me.