DJ DIAMOND "THE ARTIST"

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK | DJ DIAMOND THE ARTIST

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK | DJ DIAMOND THE ARTIST

BY TERRELL “REALIFE” BLACK

VALIDATED: YOU GREW UP DURING THE BIRTH OF HIP-HOP, WHAT'S YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY OF HIP-HOP CULTURE?

DJ DIAMOND: EARLIEST MEMORY OF HIP HOP CULTURE WAS DJING WITH MY BIG BROTHERS AND A FEW NEIGHBORS WHO KNEW HOW TO DJ AS WELL. I WAS A LITTLE KID BUT WOULD CUT IT UP WITH THE OLDER DUDES.


VALIDATED: YOU BEGAN DJ'ING AT AGE 8, WHAT WAS IT ABOUT DJ'ING THAT DREW YOU TO IT AT SUCH A YOUNG AGE? HOW DID YOU HAVE ACCESS TO TURNTABLES?

DJ DIAMOND: MY BROTHERS DJ MANIAC AND DJ GREG G PURCHASED A DJ SET AND I INSTANTLY FELL IN LOVE. I WANTED TO BE LIKE THEM SO BAD THAT I WENT BEHIND THEIR BACKS AND TAUGHT MYSELF. BY THE TIME I GOT CAUGHT OUT THERE I WAS BETTER THAN THE BOTH OF THEM. LOL


VALIDATED: HOW BIG OF A ROLE DID BIZ MARKIE PLAY IN YOUR INTRODUCTION TO HIP-HOP MUSIC?

DJ DIAMOND: BIZ MARKIE IS MY HONORARY BIG BROTHER. I MOVED TO LONG ISLAND AROUND 10 YEARS OLD AND LUCKILY I MET HIM VIA HIS BROTHER DIAMOND SHELL. BIZ WOULD COME DOWN THE BLOCK AND PLAY ALL THE CASSETTE TAPES OF WHAT WAS GOING ON IN THE CITY LIKE COLD CRUSH, FORCE MC'S, ETC. MAN I EVEN HEARD DOUG E FRESH AND SLICK RICK'S DEMO BECAUSE OF BIZ! I CAN NEVER THANK HIM ENOUGH FOR KEEPING ME IN THE LOOP.


VALIDATED: YOU STARTED OUT AS EPMD'S ORIGINAL DJ, WITH ALL OF THE GROUPS SUCCESS, DID YOU REALIZE AT THE TIME HOW MONUMENTAL YOU GUYS WOULD BECOME TO HIP-HOP?

DJ DIAMOND: NO NOT AT ALL. WE WERE JUST KIDS (ME BEING THE YOUNGEST) MAKING MUSIC. WHO KNEW! LOL


VALIDATED: WHO DID YOU MEET FIRST ERICK SERMON OR PARRISH SMITH?

DJ DIAMOND: I MET AND BECAME FRIENDS WITH ERICK FIRST. WE WERE BOTH IN ROSS HIGH SCHOOL TOGETHER AND HE USE TO RAP AT A LOT OF THE PARTIES I DJ'D. I MET PARISH LATER ON VIA ERICK.


VALIDATED: HOW DO YOU FEEL DJ'ING HAS CHANGED OVER THE YEARS? IS THERE A LACK OF SKILL WITH DJ'S NOWADAYS? IS THERE A LOSS OF THE ART IN THIS DIGITAL SPACE?

DJ DIAMOND: THE STATE OF DJING A FEW YEARS AGO WAS COMPLETELY HORRIBLE HENCE WHY I MADE THE SONG "RESPECT THE DJ". NOW A DAYS IT SEEMS TO BE GETTING SOMEWHAT BETTER. I MEAN YOU STILL HAVE AN OVERABUNDANCE OF SHORTCUT TAKING BUTTON (ONLY) PUSHERS AKA STOP N DROP DJS JOCKEYING FOR SUPREME MEDIOCRITY, HOWEVER THERE SEEMS TO BE A RESURGENCE OF DJ'S (AGES 8-17) WHO ACTUALLY WANT TO BECOME GREAT AT THE CRAFT AND MOST HAVE CHOSEN TO USE REAL TURNTABLES OVER THE EASIER MORE CONVENIENT CONTROLLERS AVAILABLE IN TODAY'S MARKETPLACE.


VALIDATED: DESCRIBE YOUR FIRST DJ'ING GIG.

DJ DIAMOND: MY FIRST GIG I'M SURE I WAS ABOUT 9 YEARS OLD AND TO ME IT WAS A TRAIN WRECK. IT WAS A BLOCK PARTY IN BROOKLYN AND I WAS MESSING UP PRETTY BAD BUT THE CROWD LOVED ME BECAUSE I WAS A LITTLE KID. LOL BACK THEN I WENT BY THE NAME DJ BABY J.


VALIDATED: WHICH DJ'S INFLUENCED YOUR STYLE OF DJ'ING?

DJ DIAMOND: JAZZY JEFF, KID CAPRI, JAM MASTER JAY AND DADDY RICH (3RD BASE).


VALIDATED: WHAT, IF ANYTHING DID YOU BORROW FROM THEM?

DJ DIAMOND: JEFF'S LIVE AT UNION SQUARE ROUTINE THAT WAS BROADCASTED ON 98.7 KISS FM IN NY WAS GROUNDBREAKING AND LIFE CHANGING FOR MYSELF AND PROBABLY EVERY DJ WHO TUNED IN. JEFF MADE ME WANNA UP MY SKILL SET BEYOND A DOPE PARTY DJ. CAPRI MADE ME ELEVATE MY PARTY GAME EVEN HIGHER TO HELP CREATE THE MONSTER YOU HAVE BEFORE YOU TODAY. JMJ TAUGHT US ALL THAT THE DJ IS A STAR IN THEIR OWN RIGHT. WHEN RUN DMC PERFORMED YOU SAW RUN AND D, BUT YOU ALSO SAW JMJ WITH THE FURS, JEWELS, KICKS, ETC. JAY'S SWAG SCREAMED SUPER STAR ALL DAY... WORD! LASTLY, THERE'S RICHIE RICH AKA DADDY RICH WHO I FEEL IS THE MOST UNDERRATED DJ / TURNTABLIST ON THIS PLANET!!! RICH (SIMPLY PUT) IS INCREDIBLE. HE WAS MY PHIL JACKSON, MY COACH. HE TOOK HIS TIME IN ORDER TO HONE THE RAW TALENT I HAD AND HELPED ME FINE TUNE IT IN ORDER TO CONQUER THE BATTLE SCENE AND I CAN NEVER THANK HIM ENOUGH FOR THAT.


VALIDATED: WHO HAVE YOU INFLUENCED OR MENTORED? WHICH PROTEGES ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?

DJ DIAMOND: BEING THE CREATOR OF THE MACHINE GUN SCRATCH AKA PUSH TECHNIQUE (EX PETER PIPER) THE CONTINUOUS FLARE (EX GOODTIMES) AND PITCH JUGGLING (EX YOU'RE A CUSTOMER) AND ALSO PIONEERING PLATTER OFF ROUTINES (EX ROCK THE BELLS) THE AMOUNT OF DJ'S I'VE INFLUENCED I'D ASSUME WOULD BE WELL INTO THE THOUSANDS. AS FAR AS MENTORING I'VE MENTORED MANY HOWEVER NO ONE STANDS OUT LIKE OUR DYNAMIC BROTHER WHO IS NO LONGER WITH US ROC RAIDA. HE WAS A DIFFERENT TYPE OF DOPE!!!


VALIDATED: PLEASE EXPLAIN THE DJ'S ROLE IN HIP-HOP AND THE IMPORTANCE OF THAT ROLE.

DJ DIAMOND: THE DJ IS THE ALPHA AND OMEGA. THIS WHOLE CULTURE DERIVED FROM THE DJ EXPOUNDING OUTWARD. IT'S SAD THAT DUE TO RECORD LABEL'S GREED THEY SET OUT TO MAKE THE DJ'S ROLE UNIMPORTANT OR EVEN NON EXISTENT, HENCE NO LONGER SIGNING DJS TO CONTRACTS ALONG WITH THE MC (BUT THAT'S A WHOLE OTHER INTERVIEW). LONG STORY SHORT THEY TRIED TO SHUT DOWN THE DJ BUT WERE NOT SUCCESSFUL. WE HERE TO STAY!!!


VALIDATED: YOU'VE BEEN IN THE INDUSTRY FOR OVER 2 DECADES, LOOKING BACK OVER YOUR CAREER WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?

DJ DIAMOND: I WAS RECENTLY GIVEN A LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD BY THE NERVE DJS AND MORE RECENTLY WAS INDUCTED INTO THE LONG ISLAND MUSIC HALL OF FAME ALONGSIDE MARIAH CAREY, BILLY JOEL, PUBLIC ENEMY, LL COOL J AND MANY MORE. THOUGH I AM EXTREMELY APPRECIATIVE OF THESE ACCOLADES THEY FAIL IN COMPARISON TO MY TWO BIGGEST DJ MOMENTS. THE ORIGINAL ONE I USE TO SPEAK OF HAPPENED IN THE EARLY 90'S WHEN I FIRST MET PRINCE (RIP) AND HE TOLD ME HOW MUCH HE WAS A FAN OF MY WORK (I ALMOST PASSED OUT. LOL) AND THE SECOND BIGGEST DJ MOMENT HAPPENED LAST YEAR WHEN DOUG E FRESH (THE WORLD'S GREATEST ENTERTAINER) PULLED ME ASIDE AFTER A SHOW, SAT ME DOWN AND SAID "LET ME TELL YOU WHY I FEEL YOU'RE THE BEST DJ I'VE EVER SEEN..." (I'M LIKE WTF!) WHEN TWO OF THE WORLDS GREATEST TAKE TIME OUT OF THEIR BUSY LIVES TO PRAISE THE WORK THAT I'M DOING OUT HERE, THAT BEATS EVERYTHING!


VALIDATED: COMPETITIVE BY NATURE, YOU ALSO TRIED DJ BATTLING AND WERE PRETTY SUCCESSFUL AT IT. WHAT ARE THE MAJOR DIFFERENCES IN SKILL SETS BETWEEN A TOURING DJ AND A BATTLING DJ.

DJ DIAMOND: BATTLING AND TOUR DJING HAVE SIMILARITIES AS FAR AS GRABBING PEOPLE'S ATTENTION, HOWEVER YOU HAVE TO ADJUST FOR ONE OR THE OTHER. ME BEING A NATURAL PERFORMER IS WHAT PROBABLY HELPED ME WIN THE 5 OUT OF 6 BATTLES I WAS IN.


VALIDATED: HAVE YOU EVER PARTICIPATED IN ANY OF THE FAMED DMC'S?

DJ DIAMOND: YES I WAS IN THE USA DMC FINALS WHICH IRONICALLY WAS THE ONLY BATTLE I DIDN'T WIN BUT YET STILL MADE HISTORY AS THE ONLY DMC CONTESTANT TO PLACE TOP 3 WITH AN INCOMPLETE ROUTINE. I HAD A TECHNICAL ISSUE AND HAD TO STOP ABOUT 1 MINUTE SHY OF MY GRAND FINALE. I WAS READY TO COME BACK NEXT YEAR AND TAKE THE WHOLE S*** BUT PRINCE AND THE NPG HAD OTHER PLANS FOR ME.


VALIDATED: YOU ARE A FOUNDING MEMBER OF THE WORLD FAMOUS X-MEN/XECUTIONERS, HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT?

DJ DIAMOND: I BECAME A MEMBER OF THE X-MEN AT THE USA DMC FINALS. ONE OF THE COMPETITORS, STEVE D WHOM I NEVER MET BEFORE PULLED ME ASIDE AND SAID "HEY MAN I'M STARTING THIS CREW AND I'D LOVE FOR YOU TO BE DOWN." 28 YEARS LATER WE STILL ROCKING!


VALIDATED: WERE YOU APART OF THE FAMED X-MEN AND QBERT'S INVISIBLE SKRATCH PIKLZ BATTLE?

DJ DIAMOND: I PLAYED A SMALL ROLE IN THE TEAM BATTLE OF X-MEN VS ISP AND WAS SLATED TO GO CRAZY AT THE 1 ON 1 BATTLES LATER THAT NIGHT. UNFORTUNATELY DUE TO TIME RESTRICTIONS AT THE VENUE THAT PART DIDN'T HAPPEN BUT IT STILL WAS A BLAST. ISP ARE OUR BROTHERS 4 LIFE!


VALIDATED: YOU'VE DJ'ED ON TOUR FOR ICONS LIKE EPMD, PRINCE AND BEYONCE, WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST MOMENT AS DJ?

DJ DIAMOND: MY BIGGEST DJ MOMENTS I TOUCHED UPON IN AN EARLIER QUESTION, HOWEVER I CAN SAY THAT MY HAPPIEST TIME TOUR WISE IS RIGHT NOW. BEING REUNITED WITH MY ORIGINAL GROUP EPMD AND TOURING THE WORLD WITH THEM FOR THE PAST 3 YEARS HAS BEEN GREAT. NOTHING LIKE BRINGING JOY TO THE MASSES WITH YOUR DAY ONE HITTA!


VALIDATED: WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT "THE ON THE SPOT RADIO SHOW"?

DJ DIAMOND: ON THE SPOT RADIO WAS A CONCEPT SHOW I DEVELOPED WHILE UP AT SIRIUSXM WHICH WAS A LOCATION DRIVEN HANDS ON DIFFERENT APPROACH TO RADIO. UNFORTUNATELY THE NEW PROGRAM DIRECTOR WHO CAME FROM HOT 97 DIDN'T SEE THE VISION FOR IT SO I MOVED ON TO DO SOME STELLAR THINGS WITH WCR NOW KNOW AS FRPTV AND LOOK FORWARD TO THEIR RELAUNCH IN THE NEW YEAR. ALSO IN 2019 BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR THE LONG AWAITED PODCAST STARRING ERICK SERMON AND MYSELF CALLED "THE SERMON" GIVING YOU THAT NO HOLDS BARRED SAGITTARIUS PERSPECTIVE ON WHAT'S REALLY GOOD OUT ON THESE STREETS!


VALIDATED: YOU'RE AN ACCOMPLISHED PRODUCER AND STUDIO OWNER, TELL US A BIT ABOUT THAT.

DJ DIAMOND: I'VE CO-OWNED BPM STUDIOS FOR OVER 15 YEARS WITH MY PARTNER SUPER ENGINEER LENNY ACE MARROW AND WE'VE DONE AMAZING PROJECTS OUT OF THERE INCLUDING CRAIG MACK'S LAST BODY OF WORK BEFORE HE PASSED AWAY. SPEAKING OF THAT I PRODUCED CRAIG'S 1ST TWO SINGLES WHILE HE WAS ON SLEEPING BAG RECORDS, CO PRODUCED VARIOUS PROJECTS WITH PRINCE INCLUDING CARMEN ELEKTRA, MONIE LOVE AND TEVIN CAMPBELL, DID OFFICIAL REMIXES FOR GRAVEDIGGAZ AND ALSO PRODUCED SOME SONGS FOR BILL BELLEMAY'S "HOW TO BE A PLAYER" MOVIE AS WELL AS PRODUCING MY OWN ARTISTS ALBUMS. GOD WILLING YOU'LL GET A FULL LENGTH DJ DIAMOND "THE ARTIST" PROJECT IN 2019.


VALIDATED: DO YOU RESIDENT ANYWHERE REGULARLY WHERE PEOPLE CAN CHECK YOU OUT LIVE?

DJ DIAMOND: IN NY I'M AT MADAME X, FAT BHUDDA, ICON, AND GOTHAM ON A MONTHLY BASIS. I'M CURRENTLY WORKING ON A SOLID RESIDENCY IN VEGAS AND DUBAI AS WELL.


VALIDATED: WHERE CAN THE READERS SUPPORT YOU ONLINE AND SOCIAL MEDIA?

DJ DIAMOND: PLEASE BY ALL MEANS CONNECT WITH ME ON YOUTUBE "DJ DIAMOND THE ARTIST", FACEBOOK "DJ DIAMOND THE ARTIST OF EPMD", TWITTER, SNAPCHAT AND INSTAGRAM @DJDIAMONDTHEARTIST. FOR DAILY MUSIC AND VIDEO STREAMS DOWNLOAD THAT DJ DIAMOND THE ARTIST APP FOR IPHONE AND ANDROID AND OF COURSE YOU CAN ALWAYS FIND THE LATEST TOUR DATES MERCHANDISE AND MORE AT WWW.DJDIAMONDTHEARTIST.COM. THANKS FOR HAVING ME VALIDATED MAGAZINE, IT'S BEEN A PLEASURE!

Troy Hendrickson