So You Wanna Party Like it’s the End of the World?
Before DJ Skribble makes his way to Philly for MAYA 2012: The Final Countdown Party this Friday, Dec. 21, he mused on his DJ experience and connection to Philly.
Q: You have been described as an MTV legend. Tell me about your history.
A: I was walking home from school and saw a park jam. Two turn tables. DJ. Dancing. And that was it—what I wanted to do with my life. I started DJ-ing in 1980 when I was 11 years old.
Then in the early 90s, I was a member of rap group the Young Black Teenagers and we had a hit record Tap the Bottle. We had a great time. I toured with Public Enemy and again—this was it for me. Next, I got the Hot 97 morning show with Dr. Dre and Ed Lover and then a couple years later, in 1998, I was invited to spring break to host MTV’s The Grind. I did Spring Break, Total Request Live, and went on to MTV Jams with Tyrese (Gibson) and we were on for five seasons. I was on MTV so much it was annoying!
Q: What were some of your favorite gigs in the 90s?
A: In 1988, I toured internationally and visited 54 countries. That was the most incredible and gratifying experience ever. But more recently, in 2008, I was the first DJ to headline a USO tour. I spent two weeks Iraq. I flew out in a C130 (Hercules) transport aircraft with my PA System, stage, everything. I brought Naughty by Nature with me to Iraq and we bounced from base to base playing parties for the troops. Black Hawk helicopters were our taxi cabs to the bases in Iraq!
Q: Have you ever been to Philly?
A: Yes! I used to play at Shampoo and Egypt nightclubs through the 90s and early 2000s. I did the Q102 jingle ball years ago. Philly’s great! But I’m not going out much nowadays. When I’m not DJ-ing I’m with my family. I have two boys and baby girl and I love spending time with them.
Q: Some of our favorite music was stuff we grew up listening to. Have your musical influences changed in the past 20 years and if so, do you like to sneak old favorites into your mixes today? And what are they?
A: Wow, the past 20 years—I’ve listened to a lot of music! I like it all. My Dad was in Doo-Wop groups Ovations and Velvatones when I was growing up. He’s the one that got me interested in music. I listen to a little bit of everything: funk, soul, R&B, hip hop, EDM club (house), top 40s music—you name it.
Q: What are you thoughts on music and being a DJ?
A: Music is a lot less segregated now. It’s all become one big melting pot—pop has absorbed influences from so many different styles of music and cultures these days—pop pulls from everywhere. When DJ-ing I listen to the crowd. I play what they want and I like to take requests. I could start a party playing house music but end up playing hip hop because the crowd has let me know what they want to hear.
We live in a society where radio dictates what we listen to. It used to be that DJs dictated what we heard on the radio. People today learn about popular songs from the radio but I absolutely mix my favorite songs in there from the 80s and 90s—during the hey day of hip hip.
Q: Do you know what songs you’re playing to take us smoothly into the end of the world?
A: No, I don’t know yet! You’ll just have to be there to find out!