Among the current members of the Hip Hop DJ royal family is one of the South’s most prolific mixtape and touring masters of the mix and his name is…Da’ Hitman. With multiple RIAA certified gold records and having hosted mixtapes for some of the new music elite, this Hip Hop celebrity mixer stays true to the real calling of the title. Da’ Hitman breaks records, gives artists the needed exposure to new fans and uses his radio platform as well as his social media presence like a true magician.
Music Industry changes have created a niche for DJs who specialize in the new version of the album…Mixtapes. While there are several divisions of mixtapes, i.e. celebrity hosted compilations and single artist projects hosted by the mixing DJ, the overall effect is the same, Long Play (LP) albums are making a return albeit in a different format.
DJs who specialize in producing mixtapes and spinning live mixes to audiences are once again being considered music industry royalty. Real DJs paying homage to the creators of the mix, cut and scratch elements of Hip Hop are now the one’s breaking records…again.
I was blessed to have Da’ Hitman carve out some time and give me one of the best interviews I have conducted with a Hip Hop personality in quite some time.
Who are your musical influences and why? As a DJ I give credit to Kool DJ Red Alert, Marley Marl, Funkmaster Flex – the DJs that kept me glued to a radio growing up. I think I get my drive to be the first to break a record from their shows. They always broke new records and that was their draw (for me). I would also have to mention Kid Kapri, Jazzy Jeff, Jam Master Jay and Scott La Rock…
When did you know you wanted to be a DJ? Every since I was 14 years old. The reaction I got as a kid making mixtapes and spinning house parties then graduating to youth center dances and finally club gigs. It’s that reaction I get from hearing a dope record for the first time and the reaction I get from people when they hear my twists to a mix.
What prompted you to venture into Mixtapes? I was doing weekly radio shows and gigs and it just seemed like an easy transition to simply record what I was already doing and venture into another medium. I started in late 2009, then built it up in 2010, but I think 2011 was really a breakout year for me. I have to give a lot of credit to DJ Ykcor for grooming me in the mixtape hustle. He basically mentored me through quite a bit of it.
What is your favorite part of performing/touring? The crowds. I love showing up at a venue and seeing a line at the door and knowing my name is on the flyers and the marque. The REAL joy is getting it in on them turntables and hearing/seeing the reaction. If I had to pinpoint a specific favorite of touring – crowd reaction, hands down.
What can your fans expect on the album you are currently pushing? The total package. I won’t endorse an album/artist unless I feel they are bringing something unique to the game and can deliver not only dope wordplay and lyrical acrobatics, but the production has to be the same. If anyone see’s me cosign an artist/album they can be assured the music is honestly dope, but just as important – unique.
Where is the one place in the world you would love to perform at and why? I keep saying this over and over but it still hasn’t happened – BRAZIL! I have to gig in Brazil before I die. Everything I see and hear about Brazil just screams good times and great memories. If I’m going to have women flashing their tits at me in the booth – I would LOVE for those to be Brazilian women lol
Tell us about the best part of what you do? I dig in crates weekly to find breaks, clips, samples, etc. then twist those gems into the mix under today’s music. I actually mix and I’m fanatical about that. It’s disgusting to me when I hit play on a so-called “mixtape” and there is no MIX. I embrace music from both Indies and majors and roll them side-by-side. Actual real DJ skills I think is really my identity. When I do drop a mixtape I get it in with promoting the mixtape and I think that separates me from a lot of other DJs too. A lot of DJs drop a mixtape and just spam it out over twitter and Facebook. I post all of my mixtapes to more than 10 different mixtape sites, then push it out to blogs, ning sites, music related websites, e-zines/magazines, newspapers, and apparently forgotten by man – THE STREETS. You have to get those mixtapes actually out in the streets to really reach an actual audience as opposed to a huge following of other DJs and artists on the social networking sites.
What do you think of today’s musical trends? I think there is a shift brewing from all the trap music. People are beginning to open up to a more musical sound and finally unique styles are standing out. I think female artists are seriously on a push to really make a mark in 2012. Kalenna, Guyana, Jazzy, Nikki Grier, Yenkho Aiko, Cocoa Sarai, Precious Paris, Kim Joyce… I also think that the more lyrical artists are FINALLY accepting production that is current and allowing their lyrical gifts to reach a broader audience.
Any upcoming appearances? March 5th premier of my Unique Styles Show on IceBreakerRadio.com with my co-host Kittie (from VH1′s “Lets Talk About Pep”), March 7th SWAC Basketball Tournament (Eclipse is performing at halftime of the 8pm game), SXSW, Core DJ Retreat (now called MixShowLive 2012) in May.
Any advice for upcoming artists? Be prepared to put in the necessary work AFTER you finish recording. Make sure your music is labeled properly. Get yourself set up so that you can record drops and do mixtape hosting right from your home (this really only takes a cheap desktop Mic and plain old windows media sound recorder). Once you have your single picked out – get a full DJ service pack prepared and have it available at a moment’s notice. Never deny a DJ’s request to push a record from your album because you had picked out a different record to push as a single. Let those DJs do what they do best – break your records. Network, network, and network EFFECTIVELY. Twitter works great if used effectively. SPAMMING DJS YOUTUBE LINKS IS NOT EFFECTIVE! Last but probably most important, when a DJ puts your music in the mix on radio, a mixtape, or in the clubs – PROMOTE IT HEAVY. If your name and your music is driving feedback and requests or even simple comments and tweets, a DJ is a LOT more likely to keep you in the mix. You are good for business for the DJ which is good for the business of breaking YOUR MUSIC.
Where can your fans find more info? I’m constantly adding content to my website www.dahitman.com with new mixtapes, new music, album reviews, etc. I’m usually pretty active on twitter too (@DAHITMAN).