Interview: DJ Dynamite
By Kandis Knight
It was the night of Lil’ Scrappy’s Bred to Die Born to Live album release party in Atlanta. I arrived at the venue early enough to scope out the crowd and enjoy the soul food buffet.
Before long, I spot Petey Pablo’s Philly born, South “Cack” (Carolina) raised dj, Dj Dynamite, “Did you try a Crunk Juice Bomb?” he asks me.
Several bombs later, I get the full scoop on Dynamite, who started djing in the late 80s due to his affinity for the late Jam Master J. “I liked the simple fact of the matter that he was so cool with the art of djing,” Dynamite adds before taking one more “Crunk Bomb” to the dome.
Dynamite fondly recalls the day he first saw the video Walk This Way and fell in love with Jam Master J’s scratches. “That was like the coolest thing I ever seen. I was fascinated then I saw Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick The Show and I loved the hip-hop game from that point it became my following.”
When Dynamite was twelve years-old the young hip-hop fanatic received a mixer for Christmas. “Then my cousin suggested I get two turntables. I got one turntable, a component set. It had two tape decks, the receiver and one mix table at the top. I had to go inside the component system to plug it into my mixer.”
As Lil’ Scrappy enters the room we are briefly interrupted by all the commotion. We stop to say hello and take pictures and congratulate Scrappy on his album.
Back in the day Dynamite was in a dj crew called the Boulevard Rockers, Dj E Ski was instrumental in shaping Dynamite’s career. “He showed me the ropes and how to be a dj and go from record to record, when to scratch and when not to scratch.”
Dynamite quickly began his search for vinyl. “I would take my little money and I would go buy records. The first records I had was the Beastie Boys, Paul Revere and New Edition Cool It Now, then LL Cool J Radio and from that point on there was no turning back.”
But life was not always happy hip-hoppy for Dynamite, who lost his mother when he was an infant. “My dad raised me with a sense of purpose and being. My dad taught me right from wrong it was not easy.”
Dynamite realized young that he had his biggest supporter in his dad. “I always knew that when my time for school was up, I was going to be a dj. Early on my dad used to always tell me to get my education but I had a different belief.”
In the summer of 1996, Dynamite’s career was in high swing. “I gigged for Teddy Riley and Black Street in Miami. It was their White Linen and Platinum Mansion Party on South Beach right across the street from Tony Montana’s house, Gloria Estefan was on her yacht checking the party out,” he laughs. “I got a $1000.00 bonus that night.”
He also picked up Teddy Riley as a main client. “After that I did most of Teddy Riley’s parties, I met Pharrell and The Neptunes, Timbaland and many more over the years. The more parties the more people knew me, like a chain reaction.”
In 1999, Dynamite started rocking with the hottest entertainment company in Charleston, South Carolina, Raw Dogg Entertainment. We were a dj crew. One of our members, Ricky Lee actually landed a job at Hot 98.9 in Charleston and he brought us all on board and we were there doing big things. We had the number one show on the radio in the market, along with a kid named Charlemagne Tha God, who works alongside Wendy Williams.
“By 2001 Hot 98.9 brought in a new Program Director, but I was already busy in the club circuit doing parties across the east coast.” Around that time, Dynamite’s career hit overdrive, he received a tap on the shoulder and a nod.
“I got a phone call from Dj B-Lord who was Petey Pablo’s Tour dj he had some misfortune and asked me to go with Petey Pablo on tour.”
At the time Petey Pablo was on top of the game, and standing right behind him was Dynamite. “I was nervous the Sugar Hill Gang was opening for us. They were up performing and they did Rapper’s Delight and I am in the back thinking I was dreaming.” I finally have to retire from the Crunk Bombs, Dynamite and I both look over at all the action on the dance floor, the entire room is bouncing. Dynamite nods his head across the room, DJ Drama and Lil’ Scrappy are looking back. I had to snap this picture.
“Now a days a dj is not just a dj anymore he is an artist. Djs now a days get more money than the actual artist themselves. You got to be an entertainer. It is a digital era, someone like me goes to Germany and overseas.” -Dj Dynamite
So back to the story, two months later B-Lord called Dynamite again and asked if he could go back on the road again. Dynamite was Pablo’s dj on the Same Eyes on Me album tour. “There were some classic joints on that album.”
Before long, Dynamite was on television. “I have been on Rap City thirteen times, I’ve been on 106th & Park, I’ve been on the Apollo.”
With all his experience, Dynamite is still just a normal guy. “New djs coming along stick with it, practice makes purpose you got to perfect you craft and believe in yourself. I believe all djs should have real wax roots before they jump into anything digital. If you go to a venue that doesn’t have a digital set up you have to be able to jump on the ones and twos.”
Some people think turntablism is becoming extinct, but to Dynamite it is fundamental. “You can be a dj and fly around the world, however any kid can grab a lap top, some turntables then undercut you on the money. At the end of the day they can have all the music they want but if you don’t have the art and craft side of it you are missing the essence of djing.”